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Marine Life & Conservation

Diver with whale shark – Behind the Shot

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Great moments happen in an instant and you have to be ready for them! Working with underwater models can be challenging, but then add marine life into the mix and you have to be ready. Sometimes you’re dealing with limited visibility, currents, changes in light, shy or uncooperative marine life and camera gear. I love to have a shot in my head before I splash; sometimes I have a whole wish list, but that doesn’t always come true. I guess that’s why it’s called a wish list.

Becky 2

In July 2012 I got on a plane to Mexico to film whale sharks, the biggest fish on the planet! I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally get there and begin shooting. Our boat left at 6am which is way earlier than I like to get up! It’s a long ride and the sharks don’t’ stay in one location. The captains from Solo Buceo were fantastic and know where to find them. When we arrived I looked out into the water it looked like whale shark soup. There were a few hundred whale sharks swimming around on the surface feeding in the warm morning light! It’s an incredible site to see 20-40ft sharks swimming just below the surface all around you! I could hardly contain my excitement, geared up and slipped into the water.

Becky 3

Instantly I came face to face with a large whale shark. For hours I happily snapped away, learning the whale sharks movements and personalities while getting some natural shots. The image I really wanted was of a person swimming next to a whale shark to show the size of the animal. This can be difficult – getting the sun in the right position, a nice angle on the whale shark and of course a model that is willing and understands what to do to and how to pose. Then you just need all of these things to come together. Additionally we aren’t scuba diving, it’s not allowed here so we could only freedive.

Becky 4

I had several friends on the boat that day willing to model and pose for shots and I explained what I was looking for. We were in the water for a few hours before I took this shot. The model and I saw the whale shark coming in the distance and signaled to each other to dive down. Just then the large shark came right into my frame, I saw the model and click..click…click… cick the fourth shot is the one! I knew I got it! I also had a small Gopro on top of my housing that captured video of the moment I got the shot. It’s easy to see how fast everything comes together and how the shot happened. Time in the water is everything and being patient and knowing what you want. This is the perfect place to play, practice and come home with a photo you can check off the wish list. Then again, I really want to go back because now I have a whole new whale shark wish list!

 

Images were captured using a Nikon D700 with 15mm fisheye lens in an Aquatica Underwater Housing. Natural light F8  1/200  ISO 400

Becky is an Emmy Award winning underwater cameraman, photographer and technical diver whose work can be seen on major networks including National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet. She specializes in bringing back video from challenging aquatic environments including caves, under ice, shipwrecks to sharks. Becky has over 19 years of dive experience logging thousands of hours underwater. She is a NAUI Scuba Instructor, and holds certifications in Cave diving, Tri-mix, Rescue, and several closed circuit Rebreathers. As a cameraman her projects have taken her all over the globe from documenting historic wrecks in over 300 feet of water in Japan and the Great Lakes, to rappelling into caves, filming under ice in the Bering Sea and even diving cageless with Great White Sharks. Her experience working in remote locations around the world and facing the challenges of filming in extreme environments has earned her a reputation of producing quality images in challenging situations. She's participated in several expeditions that earned her a place as a Fellow in the Explorers Club and in 2013 Becky was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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