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Dive Fest Diaries – Day 1

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Each year the magical, Caribbean island of Barbados holds a festival to celebrate scuba diving, free diving and marine conservation. This year, Nick and Caroline went along to see what it was all about…


Wednesday 4th July: Day 1

We arrived in Barbados last night, and headed straight to our hotel: Coconut Court. We have a large room, with plenty of space for all our camera equipment and a stunning beach view from our balcony. We had dinner with the group and then headed back to our room to prepare our cameras for the diving tomorrow. At breakfast, we discovered that if you do not cover up your food, whilst heading to the buffet to collect items, the bananaquits, pearly-eyed threshers and any other savvy bird, will come in and steal your food and drink!

We are diving with West Side Scuba Centre for the first couple of days of Dive Fest Barbados and on this day one, we have two morning dives planned, before joining in the underwater clean-up dives that all the dive shops will take part in. West Side Scuba Centre is based at The Boatyard, and we met the team early in the morning to start to prepare for our day ahead. Peter, the owner, greeted us and informed us that the plan for the first dive was the SS Stavronikita wreck – a huge wreck that is a highlight of the diving here. It was going to be a great start.

The wreck does not disappoint. We made a tour of the exterior, marvelling at the incredible, lush coral growth on the deck and masts. The top of the deck lies in about 20 metres of water, with huge a-frame style masts reaching up to the surface, but not breaking it. These structures attracted schooling fish and even, at the very end of the dive, a solitary turtle. What a great start to Dive Fest Barbados.

Our second dive led us to explore a shallower reef, with a small wreck thrown in too. Alas, a tropical storm was heading our way and the waves and surge were picking-up and hence the visibility was not so great. However, even in these conditions, we found plenty to enjoy, hunting out tiny Flamingo Tongues, huge lobster, Moray Eels and Drumfish.

It was a short ride back to The Boatyard and time to grab some lunch at this busy and popular tourist hangout. While youngsters soaked up the sun and partook in drinking games, we re-hydrated in a more sensible fashion, as we still had another dive to do! Once we had eaten, we jumped back on the boat and headed to the National Park area to help out on the underwater clean-up. West Side Scuba Centre offered this dive to its customers for free, to ensure a large turn out to help collect any rubbish we found.

Underwater, all the volunteer divers formed a large line and we started our search for trash. Each diver had a mesh bag to collect the detritus and we found items of clothing, lighters, plastic cups and other plastic utensils, discarded fishing gear as well as plenty of undetermined pieces of plastic. Between us we pulled up a good amount of rubbish, but not as much as we had expected to – which is good news for this area.

Our day was rounded off with an exceptional Thai meal at the Zen Restaurant, where we watched the storm clouds build from behind the huge glass windows of this tranquil dining room. Our first dive of Dive Fest Barbados had given us some great diving, and shown us the spirit of this event: to bring together divers who are passionate about protecting marine life. Now we needed some well-earned rest…..


Want to join in on all the fun at Dive Fest Barbados 2019 – put the dates in your diary: 3rd to 7th July 2019!

www.divefestbarbados.com

www.westsidescuba.com

www.coconut-court.com

www.theboatyard.com

www.zenbarbados.com


Equipment used:

  • Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, INON Strobes
  • Olympus OMD EM-1 mkII, Nauticam housing, INON Strobes
  • Olympus TG5

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

News

Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera

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Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the a7C offers the underwater image maker one of the most compact and travel friendly full frame systems available on the market today.  The a7C features Sony’s latest stellar autofocus and a much improved battery life thanks to its use of the larger Z series battery. The BIONZ X processor delivers superb low-light performance and faster image processing. For video shooters, the a7C features internal UHD 4K capture in the wide-dynamic range HLG image profile at up to 30p.

Nauticam has housed more mirrorless cameras, and more Sony E Mount cameras than any other housing manufacturer. This experience results in the most evolved housing line with broadest range of accessories available today.

Pioneering optical accessories elevate performance to a new level. Magnifying viewfinders, the sharpest super macro accessory lenses ever made, and now the highest quality water contact wide angle lenses (the WWL-1B and WACP-1) combine with the NA-A7C housing to form a complete imaging system.

Nauticam is known for ergonomics, and an unmatched experience. Key controls are placed at the photographer’s fingertips. The housing and accessories are light weight, and easy to assemble. The camera drops in without any control presetting, and lens port changes are effortless.

NA-A7C features an integrated handle system. This ergonomic style provides exceptional control access, even with thick gloves, with ideal placement of the shutter release and a thumb-lever to actuate the AF-ON button from the right handle.

Nauticam build quality is well known by underwater photographers around the globe. The housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water corrosion. Marine grade stainless and plastic parts complete the housing, and it is backed by a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

For more information in the UK visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

For more information in the USA visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

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Blogs

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.

The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

We have a new host, Dr. Colleen Bielitz, and today we’ll be interviewing a recent college graduate as part of our once-a-month episode that focuses on students: the next generation of conservationists, researchers, and activists.

What are the next generation of ocean stewards doing to protect our Blue Earth? Join us as we find out by speaking to Lauren Brideau, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Lauren started as an undeclared major but soon found her calling, now she is part of a research team conserving life below water.  She is a prime example that if you want to defend our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea to survive, now is the time to become part of the solution.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

 

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