Posts Tagged ‘sea’

Making Friends

November 5th, 2012

Some of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve had while snorkeling or diving have been with sea turtles.

They each seem to have very distinct personalities and generally extremely curious and playful. This seems to be true wherever I have encountered them (though off the coast of the UAE and Oman, the smaller turtles are generally skittish and won’t let you get too close, while in the Seychelles, they would often either ignore me completely or swim up to meet me).

I spotted this fabulous little guy swimming along the corals about 8 meters below the surface, off the coast of Grande Soeur (Big Sister) island in the Seychelles.

I swam down to meet it and together we circled back up to the surface, almost in a dance. I spent some 40 minutes or so swimming with this turtle, it seemingly as curious about me as I was about it.

More coming soon!

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Anemones

October 25th, 2012

These days, I seem to be increasingly turning my focus to underwater photography. Something about it makes it just so very attractive to me. Perhaps it is the challenge of shooting in this difficult environment, or perhaps the sense of wonder brought on by the alienness of the landscape and the life. And it must be said, the coastal waters of the UAE and Oman offer many opportunities for the adventurous.

Few species of life appear as alien as do anemones. These animals are named after the colorful terrestrial flower. They are carnivorous polyps which sting their prey – any fish which stray too close to their tentacles – with a potent neurotoxin.

These two closeups were taken some four to five meters below the surface about 10 minutes apart, during the course of a snorkeling session.

The first is a closeup of a type of anemone which is commonly home to clownfish (which, especially if you have kids, appear to have now been renamed “Nemo fish”). I love the purple tips.

I’m assuming these are a type of anemone as well. Any confirmation of this is welcome. These grow in massive domes reaching a meter or more in diameter.

More coming soon!

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Nudibranchs

October 15th, 2012

Until a perfectly normal wreck dive off the coast of Abu Dhabi I had never heard of, nor seen, any nudibranchs. Suddenly there they were: all over the sunken barge. Nudibranchs are a type of soft sea slug which are apparently among “some of the most colourful creatures on earth“. Absolutely beautiful creatures.

The bright colouring is a form of defense, indicating it would make either a very bitter or extremely toxic meal for the passing fish.

While there were two types of nudibranchs on the barge, there exist thousands of species.

While some species can grow to up to 60 cm in length, the specimens seen here only measured some 5 to 10 cm. As you can easily see from this shot below of a fellow diver taking a picture of one. If you look closely, you can make out three specimens along the bottom of the image, to center-left.

More coming soon!

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Seychelles Wedding

October 10th, 2012

I seem to be shooting a fair few weddings of late. :)

One such wedding took place on the beautiful island of La Digue, Seychelles. A place that is as close to paradise as there can be.

It was the wedding of a dear friend and wonderfully talented photographer Diane Aftimos (check out her work here). The wedding was a small and intimate (we were no more than 20 people attending) fairy tale affair. I was very privileged to have attended, and doubly so to have been asked to photograph it.

Here are a few shots from this extraordinary heart-warming wedding:

Confetti were flying everywhere when I took this shot.

The massive granitic boulders which are scattered along the beaches make for some extraordinary settings, especially with the warm light of the setting sun and the dramatic crashing of the waves on the rocks.

More coming soon!

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Spotted Ray

October 5th, 2012

This shot was made off of Oman’s extraordinary Mussandam peninsula during my first ever night snorkel session.

We jumped off the boat and dropped about 5 meters below the surface of the calm waters. Almost the moment we hit bottom, the light of my torch illuminated this beautiful spotted ray.

We saw three more rays and many fish that night, but I am most proud of this shot.

More to come soon!

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One Year Later

May 20th, 2011

I know it’s been a bit light of late, but well… Today marks the second of two very special first anniversaries this week.

On the 20th of May 2010, along with a small group of friends, I hit Fisterra (or Finisterre). My Camino was over. My 900km trek – spanning 36 days of walking and totaling some 39 days – had come to a close.

On the 16th of May 2010, my 33rd day of walking, I entered Santiago de Compostella.

So this week I’ve been remembering so many of my wonderful experiences on the Camino and thinking of the family I made along the way. Not that a day has gone by without my thinking of the people who made it so magical.

Above, our Camino Family. Or a small part of it, at any rate.

There are many ways to enter Santiago. You can enter it on horseback, shortly after dawn:

You can enter it by bike, like these three matching ladies and their matching bikes here:

Or you could enter it on foot, which is what I did.

However you enter the city, you will be overcome with emotion. You will stop, in awe or shock or both, in the square in front of the cathedral. Perhaps you will stand in silence. Perhaps you will cry, because you can’t believe it’s over and because it is.

However after those first few moments pass, and you start meeting up with people you’ve met on the Camino, they will make way for joy.

On the 18th of May I departed Santiago and began my Camino to Finisterre. I was lucky. I walked with friends. That first night, I came across this entry written by a friend in a diary at an albergue in the town of Negreira. Brought tears to my eyes.

In the distance to the left is Cape Finisterre. The End of the World:

Our little family of pilgrims made their way to our agreed meeting point at the cliffs at the end of the cape, where we prepared for sunset.

After the sun had set, we set fire to the wooden dummy, dressed up as a pilgrim in clothes abandoned by pilgrims. We each tossed something into the fire. A symbol of our lack of attachment to material things, or of a promise to abandon a habit… As many reasons as there were people.

We have all since scattered to the four corners of the globe. And though I am quite bad at staying in touch, I have not forgotten. I miss you all.

Tonight I will be thankful, and I will celebrate.

More coming soon!

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The View from the Sea Plane

April 6th, 2011

As promised earlier, here are some pictures of the view from a sea plane made in that most extraordinary of countries, the Maldives. They were made in December of last year. I was pretty much glued to the window, in awe.

Above, taxiing by the quay before takeoff.

Above, the view onto the international airport in Male. It’s basically a single airstrip.

Above, islands, lagoons, and ships, as far as the eye can see.

Above, stunning coral reef-ringed lagoons.

Above, these lagoons are pretty big. That’s an oil tanker up in the right corner.

Above, one of the resort islands. You can see the U-shaped string of bungalows out on the shallower waters of the lagoon.

Above, a lone, remote and uninhabited island. Seen on the return leg to Male.

More coming soon.

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Look Ma, No Shoes!

March 2nd, 2011

My apologies again for the delay since my last post. Will be endeavouring to schedule posts more regularly, but what with work and everything else it’s been proving a little difficult. So thank you for bearing with me. :)

This was taken on my trip to the absolutely stunning Maldives in December of last year. It was my first time in a seaplane and I was all excited. I must say, was a fantastic experience and a surprisingly smooth ride with glorious views from the confined but comfy space of the Twin Otter‘s tiny 19-seat cabin.

I took this picture when I looked into the cockpit, the rare moment when I was able to tear myself away from the window. I loved that the pilot was so much in his comfort zone piloting the aircraft that he did so barefoot.

Look for pictures of the view from the windows to follow!

More soon!

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Lion Fish

January 29th, 2011

Last month I went on a boat trip in Oman with a few friends. We took a dhow along the coast of the Mussandam peninsula, starting from the port in Dibba.

While snorkelling on this trip I came across three separate lion fish. Now, I’ve seen many lion fish before, but never quite like these. All the one’s I’d seen before would be peacefully floating about under an overhang, or hiding in a hole or some such.

But these three were out hunting. They were spread out, some 50 or more meters apart along a wall of coral, and swimming about in pursuit of schools of small fish.

Above a lion fish swims off in pursuit of rapidly disappearing small fish under the curious gaze of two of my buddies.

Above, a lion fish tries to close the deal. It was impressive to watch the lion fish in action. However, I was quite surprised at how slow a lion fish at full speed is. In the near 2 hours I spent in the water snorkelling near and around the hunting lion fish, I did not see a single charge ending successfully with a catch. I guess the bigger they are, the lazier they get… ;)

All pictures taken with my (very) old Fuji FinePix Z100 in an underwater case.

More coming soon!

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The Wreck

October 20th, 2010

On my last trip to Khasab, in Oman’s Mussandam peninsula, I came across this abandoned dhow.

I had to stop the car to snap a few pictures. This is one of them.

On a completely different note, for a totally different experience – namely an awesome selection and range of pictures of animals, click here.

More coming soon!

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