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Meeting Shaun the Sheep

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One of our Christmas traditions is to sit down together and watch an Aardman Animations film. Shaun the Sheep has become an instant hit with all of us, and even more so, when images of his namesake nudibranch started to appear online. However, for some years now, we have looked, but never found these tiny, elusive nudis. Until now…

On a recent trip diving in the Philippines with Magic Oceans Dive Resort, our guide seemed perplexed that we had not seen one before. He promised to find us one on the very next dive and, perfectly on-cue, we were both excited to see him signalling to us within minutes of getting in the water. We approached carefully, as we were in a sea-grass area with a sandy bottom, and peered at the portion of greenery that he was aiming his pointer at. Neither of us could see a thing and signalled that we were perplexed. He pointed more carefully at a tiny speck of what looked like fluff, and gave the two-fingered signal for nudibranch. We looked more closely and more carefully – could this be the Shaun the Sheep, that elusive nudibranch? Yes! But, it was tiny and we had no idea that they were that minuscule!

Pointer to demonstrate how small they are

Our guide left us to work out how to go about photographing our new subject, while he looked for more. Soon he was back to say he had found two more. How he found any of them is a complete mystery to us. We also now have even greater respect for anyone who has ever taken a shot of this subject! We are not getting any younger, and the Shaun the Sheep nudibranch is made for young, sharp eyes. We were delighted to get a couple of decent photos from the dive.

There is something amazing about finding a species you have always wanted to see. Especially one that looks so much like an animated character you know and love. So, we were delighted to add this to our amazing list of dives on this trip. These tiny nudibranchs are only around 2mm in size, but along with their cute looks, are also quite amazing in another way: they can photosynthesize! The algae they feed on contains chloroplasts and these are assimilated into their own cells in a process called kleptoplasty. These are truly “solar-powered” nudibranches!

Image courtesy of Aardman Animations

We would like to thank Aardman Animations for allowing us to use one of their images of Shaun the Sheep to show you why the nudibranch has been given this name. The resemblance is uncanny!

Equipment Used:

Nikon D800; Nauticam housing; INON Z-240 strobes

Olympus OMD EM-1 mkII: Nauticam housing; INON Z-240 strobes; Nauticam CMC 2 macro lens


For more information please visit:

www.magicoceans.online

www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk

www.aardman.com

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

Gear News

Introducing the Mares Magnetic Connector BCD Accessory

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The innovative magnetic securing system by Mares is the ultimate way to connect your diving accessories and equipment. Gone are the days of dangling hoses and lost dive lights. The Magnetic Connector is a versatile and unique system that includes many uses such as an octopus and console holder, torch/dive light hook, camera attachment, and much more!

The Magnetic Connector’s simple yet effective design allows you to quickly find the connection site,
especially when the connection point is not easily visible. The audible “click” of the attachment
also lends assurance that everything is securely connected. The advanced engineering of the
mechanical closure system locks the fastened item in place safely and reliably. It can hold over
60kg (132 lbs.) of equipment.

The Magnetic Connector’s compact design not only keeps your diving accessories secure but as
streamlined as possible. In fact, the Magnetic Connector is even shorter than a double-ended
carabiner and just as easy to install. By simply unscrewing the connector’s head, the threaded pin
can easily connect to all BCD D-rings.

Another valuable benefit is its 360-degree free rotation, which allows for the perfect placement of
your equipment and accessories. The free-swiveling ball head also allows the connector to tilt in
every direction for maximum comfort. The Magnetic Connector is currently available in two color
options, black and yellow.

Although it is rugged and extremely secure, Mares still made it easy to use by allowing divers to connect and disconnect their equipment to it, not just single-handedly, but with the use of only two fingers! The Magnetic Connector is simple, quick, and safe. It unlocks quickly even under a full load and is the smartest alternative to a carabiner.

Features:

  • SIMPLE AND SECURE
  • FAST AND EASY MAGNETIC CONNECTION
  • SINGLE-HANDED USE
  • 360° FREE-SWIVELLING
  • SAFE UNLOCKING, EVEN WITH A FULL LOAD
  • DESIGNED TO ATTACH TO ALL BCD D-RINGS
  • HIGH-QUALITY, STURDY MATERIALS

For more information visit the Mares website by clicking here.

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Gear News

Hammond Drysuits launch CoreTek Base

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For those times when you need to layer up, or for warmer days when you need something lighter just to take the cool edge off the air temperature, the next must have item for your kit bag is the CoreTek Base from Hammond Drysuits.

The CoreTek Base has been designed to be worn next to the skin. It is the perfect extra layer for those cooler days, and the ideal layer on its own for the warmer ones.

CoreTek Base features:

  • 100% Polyester for easy care
  • Snug fit for superior warmth
  • Brushed fabric for maximum comfort
  • Longer length to remain tucked in to keep warm

Our three-piece undersuits, CoreTek and CoreTek X, have been well received by customers since their launch in 2018,” comments Chris Hammond Managing Director for Hammond Drysuits. “Customer feedback has resulted in us reviewing the layers in order to extend the temperature range they are
effective in. As our clients sail and scuba dive around the world, water and air temperatures vary, and this is the layer we have been missing from our product range.”

Sizing: Unisex Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and XXL
Available: Now
Price: £14.95

For more information visit the Hammond Drysuits website by clicking here.

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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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