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Dive Fest Diaries – Day 2

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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…


Thursday 5th July: Day 2

Refreshed and ready to go, we awoke to a bright sunny day in Barbados. We were back diving with West Side Scuba Centre and the plan for the day was some more west coast diving in the morning, followed by a night dive. Whilst we were diving, other centres were involved in introducing people to freediving as well as scuba diving, with events going on at different locations around the island, but we were here to dive!

Our diving equipment had been rinsed and dried off by the team at WSSC and so by the time we arrived at The Boatyard, the dive boat was fully loaded and we were ready to go. Our first dive saw us head out to the outer reef and a dive site called Castle. The reef was covered in huge barrel sponges – it was incredible! Everywhere you looked, these purple towers reached out from the reef bed.

We found shrimps hiding within them and lobsters taking cover at their bases. Turtles grazed, undisturbed by the divers drifting past in a light current. All the dive guides here carry spears to hunt any lionfish found on a dive, and there is even a competition during Dive Fest. Our guide caught one of the invasive species during the dive, showing expert skill. We let the current take us along the top of the reef, enjoying the reef-scape, until it was time to ascend back to the boat, which had been following our guide’s SMB.

We headed back to the dock to drop off some divers doing just one dive that day and then headed back out to one of the signature dives of Barbados – Carlisle Bay. Here a host of wrecks have been sunk in shallow water to create an underwater park for divers and snorkelers alike. You can take it slowly and examine each wreck as an individual dive, or you can move a little faster and take in a few. The beauty is, that as the site is so shallow, you have plenty of time underwater. Whilst we have dived here before, we had never ventured inside the Bajan Queen wreck, and so this lady was our dive plan. On our way, we came across the biggest stingray we have even seen, skimming over the reef that skirts the wrecks at Carlisle Bay.

The inside of the Bajan Queen is wonderfully atmospheric. The light penetrates through the gloom in sunbursts where doorways and hatches in the metal structure look up to the surface. Every now and then, you might get a flash of red as a fish swims through a shaft of sunlight. There is plenty of room to swim through the boiler room and into the quarters at each end and we had the place to ourselves – it was wonderful. Outside, schools of fish were hanging out at the propeller of the Bajan Queen, creating an attraction for both the divers and freedivers that visit the site. We still had time, after our exploration on the Bajan Queen, to visit two other wrecks, each one with its own ecosystem and highlights. We could dive this site every day and never get bored.

We had an extended lunch at the Radisson Aquatica, whilst discussing their plan to reduce single-use plastics in the hotel. Already they are using compostable food containers and cups, and provide a re-hydration station where fresh water with tropical fruits tempt guests away from plastic water bottles. It was refreshing to hear such a positive, conservation-minded vibe from a major hotel and to hear how passionate they were about the marine life just a stones thrown from where we were sitting.

Our final dive of the day saw us heading back to Carlisle Bay to dive the wrecks as a night dive. We jumped in as dusk fell, allowing our eyes to adjust to the gloom and the darkness to fall around us while we were on the dive. As expected, just like our daytime dive, there was a huge array of marine life. Nick found a tiny seahorse clinging to a small sponge on the seabed as we swam between wrecks. A turtle cruised past and an octopus displayed as the camera focussed in on it.

To top off the day, we ate dinner at the fabulous Waterfront Café to the sound of a live jazz band. Delicious, cold cocktails and great food by the waterside was, without a doubt, the perfect way to end the day.


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.radisson.com/st-michael-hotel-bb/brbbbds

www.waterfrontcafe.com.bb


Equipment used:

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

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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