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The Captain’s Blog: Spectacular Turtles!

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Another amazing Blog from Mike Ball Dive Expedition’s Captain Trevor Jackson

I’ve been at sea for 38 years. There’s not a whole lot out here that can make me ‘just shut up and look’, these days. But such was the scene at Raine Island just now. Everyone was back onboard, the tenders hoisted into their cradles… It was late in the day… The sun was trying to bust through the cumulus for one last peek at the island… the dusk was golden… And there they were, on the beach… Turtles… Not dozens, not even hundreds… but thousands!

One of the hundreds of turtles

I radioed the dive deck, stuck my head through the saloon door, got on the intercom. I told everyone, crew and guests alike…  “Drop what you’re doing, and take ten. Come and see one of the wonders of the natural world unfold right before your eyes!”

We were so close to the shore, just drifting sideways at half a knot, literally metres outside the protected zone. The beach at Raine Island is unbelievably steep. “How do they even make it up that slope?”. Everyone was thinking that at the same time. We could see the sand getting swept aside as they clawed their way up the embankment. A silent unstoppable march in the dying light.

Raine Island’s unusual coral formations

The whole day had been awe-inspiring. A crack o’ dawn dive on the wreck of the HMS Pandora; then Tiger sharks, Great Hammerheads, 40 metre viz and countless turtles in the water here at Raine. It was our second day at the island and the turtles on both days were so thick that every boat movement had to be done at an idle. And still now, even as it seemed like every single turtle in the known universe was halfway up that beach, they cloaked the sea in every direction. Quiet fell across the decks. It was one of those moments you remember for all your days. Spears of golden light, distant tropical rain, and an unfathomable determination on the beach. A genuine wow moment, in a world were nothing seems to wow anyone, anymore.

Indigenous art of stingrays and turtles on Stanley Island

I nudged the boat back into gear. Pushed the wheel towards the western horizon and ghosted away. All eyes stayed on the beach till the gold turned to grey. Evening came. The turtles are up there laying their eggs now and we are southbound. And but for the sound of the birds and the sweeping sand, Raine Island is quiet for another year.


Find the expedition you are looking for at: www.mikeball.com/compare-expeditions

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operates exciting scuba diving expeditions on custom-built, award-winning liveaboard Spoilsport, to some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Enjoy spectacular biodiversity on the northern Great Barrier Reef including the world famous Cod Hole, or venture out into the remote Coral Sea for exciting big fish action, shark encounters and excellent visibility. Find out more at www.mikeball.com.

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World Shootout winners revealed at Boot

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The World Shootout winners were announced at this years returning Boot show.

Producer David Pilosof initiated the first World ShootOut online competition in 2011, breaking all boundaries and introducing an international competition as never produced before.
Hundreds of photographers from around 40 countries around the world take part in the World ShootOut competition year after year, submitting thousands of images and videos, ranging from those that capture the calm lakes of the Nordic countries and Canada, showcase the exotic secrets hidden in Alaska and introduce the great dramatic white shark in the Gulf of Mexico.

Claudio Ceresi from Italy won the top valuable prize for best picture of the year $10,000 worth of 3 weeks diving vacation for 2 people, in Papua New Guinea.

The winning video can be seen here:

We have featured a few of the category winners in the gallery above. To see all the images placed in this competition, visit the World Shootout Website

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New book by diver aims to inspire teens to protect sharks and the ocean

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A new book by experienced diver Christine Edwards has just been published, which aims to inspire children and young people to better understand sharks and become advocates for ocean and environmental protection.

Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? tackles themes such as the human impact on the environment and the protection of sharks and their habitats. The story depicts the emotional journey of Charlie Parker, a fearful twelve-year-old boy, and Jane Jones, a retired dentist and scuba diver, who meet by chance on a beach. Despite the years that separate them, they discover they are more alike than they could have imagined.

Sharing the world through the eyes of sharks, hearing about the struggles and dangers they face and how they are on the brink of extinction, brings the two friends closer together. In this book there are stories of shark encounters, the majesty of the underwater world and how the impact of human activity and plastic pollution is affecting their habitat. Most of all, the two characters learn about the power of the human spirit to change in the face of adversity.

Author Christine Edwards was born in Chester in 1962. She read psychology at Warwick University, then worked as a teacher for twenty years. In 2004 she trained at Birmingham Theatre School to become an actor. As a teenager Christine feared the sea and the sharks that swam there. After trying a scuba dive in 2006 and making 1,200 dives around the globe, everything changed. She now adores sharks, hence writing this book.

Christine says: “Conquering a deep rooted fear of the sea and terrified of the sharks that roamed there, I made the astonishing decision to try a scuba dive in 2006. The moment I sank beneath the waves and glimpsed at the world below the surface, I was well and truly hooked. Since that first plunge underwater, I have accomplished over 1200 dives in seas and oceans around the globe. My fear of sharks has turned into a passion for them. Whenever I would describe my shark encounters to friends or family they invariably expressed concern and questioned why anyone would dive with such a dangerous species.”

Christine continues: “My book came out of the need to redress the balance for this wonderful fish. Sharks have existed for 450 million years, well before the dinosaurs, and still exist today. They are being hunted and cruelly killed for their fins and are probably one of the most misunderstood creatures on our planet. The knock-on effect of their demise will be catastrophic. Oceans without sharks will cause negative changes to other species – without this apex predator keeping other fish in check, our coastlines and reefs will ultimately suffer. The oceans need sharks!”

The paperback of Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? (ISBN  9781915352613) is out now and was published on 28th January 2023 by The Book Guild, an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd. Priced £8.99, the book is available from https://bookguild.co.uk/bookshop/ as well as at bookshops and through Amazon and other retailers.

Check back for our review of Sharks Are Scary Aren’t They? soon!

Header Photo credit: Jane Davies Photography. Photo of Christine Edwards on a dive.

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