Scuba Diving, Dive Travel and Underwater Photography in the Indo-Pacific
The Manatees of Florida’s Crystal River
Kings Bay at the head of the Crystal River in Citrus County is probably the very best place in the world to see and photograph the very special Florida Manatee.
Every winter, as water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico drop to the low 70’s Fahrenheit, the manatees of the Gulf seek warm water refuges like Kings Bay to restore their core body temperatures.
Up to 500 manatees now visit Kings Bay every winter – up from around 50 in the 1970’s.
They come because of the dozens of fresh water springs that pump huge quantities of warm water in to Kings Bay from the massive aquifer under the state.
The Florida Manatee is listed as “endangered” and fully protected by State and Federal legislation, but in Crystal River tourists are still allowed to enter the water with them and enjoy limited interaction – the only place in the USA where that is possible!
In February 2014 I spent 10 days at Crystal River photographing and experiencing the Florida Manatee first hand – they really are a unique creature and I documented the whole experience on several pages on this site.
I have also wrote an extended article for Anima Mundi which will come out early next year, but for now you can use this link to read about the Manatees of the Crystal River.
Diving Papua New Guinea – Kimbe Bay, the Coral Crucible
There is a line of thought in the scientific community that this is where it all began and the first corals originated… a large sheltered bay, roughly one third along the north coast of the island now called New Britain.
The bay is called Kimbe and the country is Papua New Guinea — the wild and exciting nation crafted together in colonial times from the eastern half of the huge island of New Guinea and a string of other islands stretching out in to the Bismarck and Solomon Seas.
Surveys have shown that Kimbe Bay is host to around 860 species of reef fish, 400 species of coral and at least 10 species of whales and dolphins. To put that in a global perspective — in an area roughly the same as California, PNG is home to about 5% of the world’s marine biodiversity.
Just under half of those fish and virtually all of the coral species can be found in Kimbe Bay, which means that the bay can be considered as a kind of fully stocked marine biological storehouse.
X-Ray dive magazine has just published a 10 page article of mine that documents the incredible diving in Kimbe Bay and the extensive efforts being made to protect and conserve it.
You can download it on this link to Papua New Guinea, Kimbe Bay – The Coral Crucible
Diving Indonesia – The Rich Currents of Raja Ampat
High on the “bucket list” of most divers and underwater photographers is Raja Ampat.
Located in the remote far east of the vast Indonesian archipelago, it is Raja Ampat’s isolation and its rich currents that have helped make the area so incredibly biodiverse.
Those currents surge down from the deep oceanic basins to the north, through the Dampier Strait in to the Halmahera Sea, bringing the rich nutrients that are the life-source of Raja Ampat.
The diving in those regions is some of the very best in the world, but can be quite different – ranging from the incredible Manta Mantra manta ray cleaning station in the Dampier Strait to the black sand critter sites like Black Beauty at Batanta.
I have documented my experience on the fantastic sites of Raja Ampat o in various magazine articles and have just had another seven page article published in Nuigini Blue.
If you are interested in diving Raja Ampat you can use this link to download the full article, plus check out the numerous new pages on my Raja Ampat location guide which has lots of information on the area plus detailed dive site descriptions and image galleries.
Diving The Solomon Islands – Uepi Island and Munda in New Georgia
Like a series of random punctuation marks, the many islands of the Solomons archipelago lay along the southern section of the Pacific Ring of Fire, in between the countries of PNG to the north, and Vanuatu to the south.
An independent country since 1976, the Solomon Islands are a quite special blend of Pacific Island Melanesian culture and phenomenal tectonic forces, which have created a chain of mountainous islands that are rich in native rainforest, spectacular volcanoes and incredible lagoons.
Underwater there are rich reef systems and an amazing variety of marine life together with one of the highest concentrations of WWII wrecks in the Pacific.
In mid 2013 I finally made it to the Solomons – but where to go in a country that consists of nearly 1000 islands? I decided to start with Uepi Island and Munda in New Georgia and spent three weeks diving the great sites there.
I documented the whole experience in a 12 page article that has just been published in X-Ray magazine, with one of the images from Su Su Hiti near Munda getting the highly-prized front cover! You can use this link to download the full Solomon Islands article.
The Sharks of the Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands
The sharks of the Marovo Lagoon hold a special place in the local culture of this part of New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands.
Reef sharks, rather than being feared, are regarded almost like dogs in that their behavior is generally docile and non-threatening, but they can quickly sense unease and can be potentially dangerous to those who fear or provoke them.
You will see sharks on virtually every dive, but the best place to see a lot of them is the welcome jetty at Uepi Island resort.
Here they gather in significant numbers and the in-flight magazine of Solomon Airlines recently published an article of mine on the sharks of Marovo Lagoon which you can download on this LINK.
An Insider’s Guide to Tulamben’s Liberty Wreck in Bali
The Liberty wreck at Tulamben on the north-east coast of Bali is the island’s most famous dive.
People travel from all over the world to dive the Liberty and to a some degree the wrecks popularity is killing it.
So is it still worth diving, or should we just move on and leave it to the backpackers?
Last year I decided to try a spot of immersion therapy on the Liberty…
Instead of the usual 1 or 2 dives a day on the wreck when I stay in Tulamben, I did 4 to 5 a day for 6 days!
The whole experience was documented in an article is in Australia’s SportDiving magazine plus I have added several pages to my site as a kind of “insiders guide to the Liberty Wreck”…
You can use the following link to download the full SportDiving Liberty Wreck article.