Beppu Hot Springs

Beppu Hot Springs, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

The wonderful city of Beppu on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu is home to a wierd and wonderful assortment of hot springs and bath houses.

Located right on the sea, Beppu is a terrific place to enjoy a relaxed Japan, with spectacular countryside and a wide variety of springs and mud baths. Located in quite a temperate, even sub tropical, climate, its strange to see the steam coming off the baths.

Who Me?

Who Me?, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

This little fish was found at the Uepi dive site called North Log.

He doesn’t seem to pleased to see me!

I like the left to right composition of this image, as well as the colours and the use of the rule of thirds.

PS. Sorry about the interruptions to the Photo of the Day. I aim to post daily when at home, but I’ve been traveling in New Zealand in the last week, and couldn’t get a chance to post.

Schooling Fish at Luaudi

Schooling Fish at Luaudi, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

Luaudi (Dinahs Beach) is the dive site in PNG’s Milne Bay where the term muck diving was coined.

I went there setup for macro with a 60mm lens, and was really pleased with the small stuff. Incredible variety of wierd and wonderful things I haven’t seen anywhere else.

I was also impressed with the schooling fish in the shallows, and how close they let you get. This image was made right underneath our diveboat in perhaps 2-3m of water.

Variable Aphelodoris on a Collision Course

Last weekend Bela and I had an easy dive at Clifton Gardens, in Mosman, Sydney. This shallow, inner harbour site features a wide array of small marine life – octopus, cuttlefish, juvenile fish and nudibranchs.

In particular, there were plenty of the species Aphelodoris varia. They were present in large numbers, and were some of the biggest of these species I’ve seen anywhere. They must be well fed at Clifton Gardens.

I liked these two A. varia that were on a converging path on sand. Moving at snails pace (sorry for the pun), I don’t think there would’ve been much damage in this collision.

Fisheye Blue

Fisheye Blue, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

One of the more common fish seen at many Sydney divesites is the Eastern Blue Wrasse (commonly called a blue groper).

At Oak Park, near Cronulla, these fish are so friendly that they will swim right up to divers. This one was actually getting in the way of my photos, so I decided to make close up images of its features.

The Eastern Blue Wrasse is a protected species in NSW. Once quite threatened, their nature makes them easy targets for spearfishers.

Kurukuru Wall at Uepi

Kurukuru Wall at Uepi, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

Kurukuru is one of the amazing wall dives at Uepi. With the wall dropping from the surface to over 2000m, it is covered in fantastic corals, such as the picturesque sea whips.

The blue waters are generally very, very clear, and as can be seen, are full of small anf medium fish. Large fish such as sharks, mantas, bump headed wrasse and more are regularly seen. We were told that orcas and dolphins are also seen from time to time, but sadly, we didn’t get to enjoy that experience. Maybe next time.

Uepi Shark Feed

Uepi Shark Feed, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

Shark Feeds, like this one at Uepi in the Solomon Islands, are an interesting affair. In the blue waters of the channel leading from the ocean into Marovo Lagoon, the Uepi people conduct occasional feeds.

This is an efficient way to get rid of some waste, as well as an opportunity to build shark stocks in the area. Its also great as a photography opportunity.

On our shark dive, there were 15-30 sharks. It was the first time I had photographed a shark feed with an SLR, so I now know things I’d do differently if the opportunity arose again, in terms of camera settings.

This is not my greatest photo, technically, but it conveys the story of the shark feed quite well, so for me it is a keeper!

PADI Announces Commitment to Rebreather Training

PADI, the world’s largest diver training organisation has announced that PADI will be launching rebreather training for closed circuit rebreathers (CCRs) in 2011.

Mark Caney, Director, Rebreather Technologies in PADI’s Technical Diving Division, today announced that PADI is planning to introduce its first rebreather courses to include closed circuit rebreathers next year.

PADI has had limited training for semiclosed rebreathers for some time, but the step into the launch of training for CCRs shows a recognition that these products are now ready for playing an important role, if not in the mainstream, on the edges of the mainstream.

Caney said that PADI will produce a range of rebreather courses covering the needs of recreational and technical divers, and that the first courses will become available next year. They will be supported by the usual high quality educational materials that PADI is well-known for.


No announcement has been made of which rebreathers will be initially supported, but I woud guess that the Hollis Prism 2 and the Poseidon Discovery units that have recently been, or about to be, released would be strong candidates, as they are well supported units that support a range of diving from recreational to technical.

Rebreathers, and rebreather training, are not new. Until now, however, they have been rather niche due to their cost and complexity, as well as the limited support for rebreather supplies in many parts of the world. With PADI coming on board to support CCRs with its high quality training, I suspect that the tipping point is approaching when they become more mainstream.

With that said, I also don’t think CCRs will be replacing traditional open circuit scuba any time soon. Instead they will become a great option for some divers and some diving applications.

Wrasse in the Blue

Wrasse in the Blue, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

This colourful wrasse was swimming in a fairly consisten pattern around me as I was taking macro photos, so I noted the point at which it would come above me with a blue water background, and took a shot each time it came past that point.

Made in November 2005 during a photographer trip aboard the MV Esperance Star, a liveaboard then operating out of Brisbane’s Morton Bay.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish at Uepi

Ornate Ghost Pipefish at Uepi, originally uploaded by BlueBeyond.

After my first visit to Uepi back in 1997, I always throught of it as a destination for big stuff – mantas, sharks, walls, gorgonians, and so forth. But on our return in 2009, I was blown away by the quantity and variety of small life.

We’d heard rumours of ghost pipefish, but we were literally on the safety stop of our last dive, at a site called North Log, when I found this ornate ghost pipefish living in a crevice on the wall at around 4m.

These little creatures are delicate, and truly ornate, and I was very lucky to have been using the macro lens that captured the tiny details so well.

The big stuff is mind blowing, but the small stuff really makes you appreciate the diversity of life in the oceans.