UNDERWATER

I bought a Canon G12 with an underwater casing a few years ago and enjoy taking shots with it.

However, I think it may be time to consider taking my 5D underwater (although the price tag is not for the faint of heart).

A few underwater favorites from Palau. Off of the beach of our hotel was a marine sanctuary and the biggest clams I have ever seen. This one was more than 1m long and if you got to close, it would snap shut.

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I had never seen a blue starfish before. They were everywhere.

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Hang on little starfish.

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Come to think of it I had never seen a neon blue and pink clam before either.

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This fellow was tucked in the coral and looked rather ominous.

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The other thing that I noticed was that many clams were literally embedded into the coral, like these two. One has to wonder how many years that took?

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Coral as far as you could see.

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Note the sharp looking teeth on this cheery pink fellow.

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Spot the fish.

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Last shot, the rain from below.

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JELLYFISH LAKE, THE ROCK ISLANDS OF PALAU

I read about Jellyfish Lake years and years ago. It has always been in the back of my mind as a place where our family needs to go. It is a fascinating story of the natural evolution of a species; the golden jellyfish which inhabit the lake have few predators and have almost completely lost their ability to sting.

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The lake is wide and different to many lakes as the 15m threshold leads to no oxygen, high levels of toxic hydrogen sulfide and lots of ammonia. Our guide stated that decades ago a group went down to 30m and in minutes the water started to eat away their wetsuits (hence, no divers allowed). You can read about the lakes ecological make-up here.

We arrived after a windy and rainy ride, ahead of the majority of tours. It is the peak time for Japanese tourism which means groups of 50, moving in tight packs with life jackets on. We had our snorkel gear with us and decided to skip the life jackets so that we could dive.

With very little trepidation, we headed past the tight, lifejacket wearing packs to the deeper middle part of the lake where the sun was shining and the golden jellyfish were floating near the top, in the thousands.

It was mesmerizing. Configuration: Canon G12 with Canon WP-DC34 underwater casing.

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Due to the make up of the lake, the water has this green tinge too it and visibility is limited to around 2m.

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The jellyfish were more “solid” than I expected. Almost rubbery to the touch and no sting.

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I found myself gently moving them around .. bouncing the jellyfish up and down, while watching their pulsing .. rhythmic movement. We were also very careful with our fins .. kick to hard and you would cut one in half.

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And of course, we had to dive through them .. floating up through hundreds of jellyfish is a unique experience.

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This shot provides a perspective on the numbers. If you go .. swim to the middle .. toward the sun, away from others.

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It is like nothing I have ever done before. Fortunate to have the opportunity.

AUSTRALIA’S GREAT BARRIER REEF

 

Getting to the end of my Australia posts.

One of our excursions was to the barrier reef. The boat ride out to the reef (we were heading to the outer reef) was beautiful as we wove through the islands to the outer reef.

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There are a lot of islands with no one on them.

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Arriving at the outer reef is an odd experience as it is not an above water destination. You look down and it is there. Fish quickly congregated off the back of the boat, obviously conditioned to our arrival. These fish were big .. and friendly.

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The coral was beautiful.

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It amazes me how the colors change over short distances. This is the same coral (as above) but from a bit farther away. Note the way the colors wash out. I have just started playing with underwater photos and the G12, but one thing is clear – closer the better.

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A beautiful pink coral.

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As luck would have it the trip was rather uneventful as snorkelling is all about timing and we didn’t see any fish life that were more interesting than what we saw in the reef off the beach. We had better luck in Belize, but one off the bucket list – we have been to the great barrier reef.

SNORKELLING AROUND HAMILTON ISLAND

 

The tide goes out in the afternoon providing excellent access to the reef system off the beach. You walk in ankle deep water for 300m and then make your way out to the system. The wind and waves will determine the visibility. On boxing day we spent a couple hours snorkelling with excellent visibility. I was swimming with my Canon G12 and an underwater case.

The coral is beautiful.

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I have no idea what type of fish this is but the camouflage was very impressive.

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There were a few jellyfish so you had be careful. Most people were not wearing a stinger suit.

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I happened upon this huge sea turtle grazing. No one else was around so I just hung out for 30 minutes swimming beside him/her and snapping shots. They are such magnificent creatures.

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He/she was not bothered at all.

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The turtle was over a meter long. Beautiful.

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Amazing experience.

A CAMERA UPGRADE

 

For traveling I have two camera choices – the full rig (Canon 40D with a number of lenses) and a portable. The portable (And old Canon SD1000) was carried in my laptop bag and was primarily used for underwater shots …. thanks to an amazing waterproof chassis that I grabbed after a trip to Bora Bora when a friend took this shot with the same chassis.

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It has been a great product that we use all the time. Below are a few underwater photos from a trip to Mexico in August. The quality is fantastic for a 7 year old camera.

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But it was time for an upgrade. For Christmas I received a Canon G12 and a WP-DC34 underwater case. I cannot wait to test out full HD video, RAW and the advances that the camera offers when we are snorkelling in Grand Cayman. Can’t wait.

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