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Mandarin Magic in the Philippines

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The Mandarin fish has to be one of the most exquisite fish in existence. It has a simply wonderful colouration, pattern and delicacy that makes it a real treat to find and photograph. We have done several dives dedicated to finding these delightful fish that hide amongst both dead and living hard corals and yet have never really had that “wow” moment … until our recent dive with Magic Island Dive Resort in the Philippines.

We had arrived in the early hours of the morning and had grabbed a quick snooze to recover from the long journey, but wanted to get diving and pack in as much as we could on our short stay, so we chose an afternoon house-reef dive and a shallow dive to see mandarin fish mating at dusk. The afternoon dive ensured that all our equipment was working and we were hoping that the dusk dive was going to set the tone for this whole trip. Whilst, in the past, we have seen the male dart around looking for the smaller females in the coral, we really wanted to capture the moment these gorgeous fish rise up, out of the coral, to mate.

It is a challenge for underwater photographers for many reasons. We were asked not to use any lights (not even those with red as an option), as this can make the fish shy and less likely to perform. We were wondering how our cameras would focus in the diminishing light. Our guide, Jason, said that he would use his torch, mostly covered by his hand, to illuminate the fish using a small beam of light, from between his fingers, when the moment was right. So, we hovered over the coral, letting our eyes adjust to the gloom and waited.

We were rewarded with a spectacle like we have never previously witnessed. Rather than just the usual toing and froing of the mandarin fish in the reef that we have seem so many times in the past, the pairs rose up in a beautiful dance above the coral and then in a flash (releasing their eggs and sperm) they were gone. The male performs his courtship dance to a handful of females that gather in the same area, and so we were treated to several of these rituals on a single dive. We were the only divers in the water and, with the dive site only a short swim from the dive centre, and in only 6 or 7 meters of water, we had plenty of time to take in this incredible display.

What an incredible start to our time with Magic Island Dive Resort! Elated, we finished the dive, hung up our gear and headed to join the other guests staying at the resort for dinner. We shared tales of our diving day whilst all sitting together for a wonderful meal, a few drinks and some great scuba stories. A perfect start to our trip.

For more information about Magic Island Dive Resort, visit their website by clicking here.

For more information about the Philippines click here.

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

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And the winner of our Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment as a prize!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Megan Kinsey from the UK

Congratulations Megan – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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Aqualung launches all new XSCAPE Collection featuring eco-responsible wetsuit

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Aqualung has announced the launch of its all new XSCAPE collection. Featuring a 100 percent neoprene-free wetsuit and a rash guard made from sustainable materials, the XSCAPE line is designed for a variety of water activities and reflects Aqualung’s commitment to innovation, ocean discovery and sustainability.

Made with Yulex® eco-friendly natural rubber and ultra-stretch fabric, the 4/3mm XSCAPE wetsuit provides enhanced comfort for diving in warm waters or above surface activities in colder temperatures, and can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, paddling or a variety of other water sports. The flexible and lightweight XSCAPE wetsuit, available in a red and olive design for men and a tropical-inspired print for women, connects consumers to nature and the natural materials the collection is made from. The suit also features Powertex knee pads, recycled, quick-drying fleece around the torso area to provide additional warmth and comfort, and a reusable mesh bag for storage after use or collecting trash from the beach or water.

“The XSCAPE collection continues Aqualung’s legacy in innovation and their tireless work to create the most forward thinking and eco-conscious dive company in the world,” said Aqualung global ocean ambassador Philippe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of one of Aqualung’s original founders, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. “We all have the power to change the world with the choices we make and the XSCAPE sets the new standard for wetsuits and rash guards that are stylish, functional and sustainable.”

The new collection’s long-sleeve rash guard for men and women, and matching women’s leggings, offer maximum comfort and breathability and can be used above or below the surface. All rash guards and leggings feature UV protection and are made with polyester fabric sourced from recycled plastic bottles. The entire XSCAPE line comes in plastic-free packaging with hangtags made from recycled cardboard.

“Our aim was to design the ultimate eco-friendly wetsuit that could be used for all kinds of water sports,” said Laurent Boury, Senior Vice President of Brands at Aqualung Group. “Aqualung is committed to using environmentally-friendly materials and processes whenever possible to help reduce our carbon footprint and we made design choices to ensure the XSCAPE collection was as sustainable as possible.”

“The collection name, XSCAPE, is meant to evoke the feeling of freedom and the quest for wonder that surround exploration, travel, and Aqualung’s storied history, including the first “aqua-lung” created by Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan that made underwater exploration possible,” added Boury.

To learn more please visit www.aqualung.com.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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