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New Above & Below photo workshop series launched in Mexico

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A new photography workshop series entitled Above & Below has been released in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The workshop series pairs award winning underwater photographer, Jay Clue, and Sony Alpha ambassador, Stan Moniz. Unlike most destination photo workshops, the Above & Below photo workshop series combines underwater photography with aerial, landscape, and astrophotography giving guests a much wider range of tools to add to their repertoire. But not only that, the logistics for the workshops are being run by one of the top names in dive travel, the Los Cabos based Baja experts — Dive Ninja Expeditions. 

Photo: Stan Moniz

Mexico’s Baja California peninsula has quickly become known to have some of the best big animal encounters in the world. Throughout the year this narrow strip of land plays host to mantas, whales, over 12 species of sharks, jaw dropping mobula ray aggregations, heart pounding striped marlin & bait ball action, playful sea lion pups, gigantic schools of jacks, and so much more. The beautiful desert mountain landscapes which backdrop these abundant waters combined with some of the darkest night skies on earth create a plethora of unique opportunities for photographers of all experience levels. 

In a recent interview, Jay Clue commented:

“It’s such a special project. Each workshop in the series has been hand tailored by Stan and myself to find the perfect subjects and spots to shoot for each location at that specific time of year. There’s mobula rays and the milky way, whale sharks and Orion rising, and so many others in the works.” 

Photo: Stan Moniz

The 6 day photography workshops combine hands on tutoring with classroom presentations & post processing sessions to help those looking to learn new photography techniques or fine tune their skills. Throughout the trip Stan and Jay will be helping you learn underwater photography, astrophotography, and landscape photography as well as sessions on topside wildlife photography, aerial/drone photography, and editing techniques with apps such as Adobe Lightroom. The workshops are customized to meet each students unique experience level so that photographers of any level can join – even those just picking up a camera for the first time. Additionally each workshop is limited to a maximum of only 6 guests to provide the best opportunities for hands on training.

Photo: Stan Moniz

The first Baja photography workshop in the series kicks off with Mobula Rays & Dark Skies on May 28, 2022 to coincide with the New Moon and galactic core of the Milky Way being visible almost all evening. Plus the trip takes place during the peak of Baja’s annual mobula ray aggregations – which can see schools of the rays number in the thousands. Stan and Jay have teamed up with their partners at Viking International Phototours to put this extra special workshop together. Throughout the trip you’ll spend time on the ocean freediving and snorkeling with the mobula rays, as well as visiting a cactus forest, artisanal salt mine flats, an old lighthouse and more. 

Photo: Jay Clue

The next segment in the series takes place in beautiful La Paz, Mexico from November 17-22, 2022. This special La Paz Above & Below photography workshop takes guests swimming with whale sharks, getting in the water at a massive sea lion rookery with tons of curious pups, as well as to one of La Paz’s most beautiful reefs. For topside they have something very special planned – shooting sunset and astrophotography from Espiritu Santo Island National Park! For those that don’t know, this is incredibly special as it requires special permits to be on the island after sunset. Plus with it’s location so far away from the city there is zero light pollution. Throughout the trip they’ll also be visiting some of La Paz’s beautiful landscapes & bays. And if that wasn’t enough, Jay will be hosting a special underwater portrait photography workshop too!

Tickets for the first 2 photography workshops are now on sale on the Dive Ninja Expeditions website. To learn more about the workshops or book your spot, visit the Above & Below Photography Workshops webpage. 

Header Photo: Jay Clue

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 2

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Day three of my trip to Somabay and we were spending the day on the Lady Christina and diving on the wreck of the Salem Express.

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Diving wrecks for me is always one of mixed emotions. The excitement of diving a wreck is more than often tempered by the thought of loss of life when she sank. The Salem Express was a passenger ship and a roll-on/roll-off ferry travelling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Safaga, Egypt. Most passengers were of poor class travelling home from their holidays while around 150 people were returning home from their pilgrimage to Mecca.

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The ship struck a reef and sank within 20 minutes. Passengers were trapped below deck and the ship was filled with fear and panic.

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The wreck area is strewn with personal belongings from the crew and passengers such as a transistor radio and a flat iron for clothes. A diver at sometime has put them in a prominent place to be seen.

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Tragically only one life boat was launched while the others went down with the ship. More than 600 men, women and children lost their lives here.

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It’s a stark reminder that the sea can be unforgiving and so when we dive on such wrecks we should do so with humble regard.

Returning to the surface, shoals of fish are gathered under our boat and seem to be welcoming us back into the light.

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Back at the Breakers I sat in the dining area with a beer and a very good meal while my thoughts still remained with the day’s dive on the Salem Express.

Check in for part 3 tomorrow for Jeff’s last day of diving with Somabay on the off-shore reefs looking for turtles.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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TRAVEL BLOG: Jeff Goodman Dives SOMABAY, Part 1

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somabay

For a week at the end of February I was invited to sample the diving with Orca Dive Club based at the Breakers Diving and Surfing Lodge by courtesy of SOMABAY.

Somabay covers an entire peninsula and is home to several resorts as well as residential  compounds. Somabay caters for scuba diving as well as many other sports, including windsurfing, golf, sailing, go-carting, horse riding and many other activities.

All the activities are of a world-class standard and any or all of these can be booked directly from The Breakers.

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I took Easyjet from Bristol (UK) to Hurghada. Easyjet are not by any means my favourite airline but the flight was cheap and direct (except for the surprise extra £48 I was charged at the gate for my carry-on bag).

I was met at Hurghada airport by a driver and car and taken to the Breakers 28 miles (45Kilomaters) south along the coast. Once at the hotel I was too late for an evening meal and so a basic meal was delivered to my room. That and a beer from the fridge and I was fast asleep.

Early the next morning after breakfast I arrived for my rep meeting at the Orca Dive Center for 8.00am. I was immediately made to feel welcome, and after brief introductions I got some dive gear from the store, had a chat with my dive guide Mohamed and got ready to try the house reef situated at the end of a very long wooded pier where all diving gear and divers are taken out by buggies.

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Once at the end of the pier, a helping hand from staff makes sure your gear is set and then it’s a short walk to the very end where you can either climb down a ladder of simply jump in the water  next to the reef. The house reef extends both north and south giving a very easy and safe dive with plenty to see. At this time of the year the water temperature was a constant 22 degrees Centigrade and there was little or no current, so there were no issues in swimming back to the pier.

somabay

Quite a few divers were in dry or semi-dry suits, but being from the UK and used to the cold I found a 3mm wetsuit with a 3mm neoprene vest quite comfortable. Even after 50 years of diving I still find that first dive of a trip slightly nerving until I am actually underwater and then all becomes relaxed and I ease into auto diving mode. There was plenty to see with many of the Red Sea favourites along the way.

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After the dive and a buggy ride back to the hotel for a very good buffet lunch I was back in the water, once again on the house reef for an afternoon dive.

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Check in for part 2 tomorrow when Jeff gets on a day boat and dives a few of the off-shore reefs.

Book your next Red Sea dive adventure with SOMABAY! For more information, visit www.somabay.com.

Stay at the Breakers Diving & Surfing Lodge when you visit! For more information, visit  www.thebreakers-somabay.com.

Find out more about ORCA Dive Clubs at SOMABAY at www.orca-diveclubs.com/en/soma-bay-en.

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