Desert, Ocean and Contrasts


Hurghada, Egypt, 29/2-2012


Sailing distance made: 7094 nautical miles

After many weeks and months out at sea it is finally time for us to get on dry land...

... and with dry land I truly mean dry land, with other worlds we are on our way hiking in the dry sandy desert.

Under water filmmakers out in the desert might sound a little inappropriate though... ;)

However, even if we are not in our normal surrounding, we have a great and rewarding time in the deserted neighbourhood.

The sun is warm and shiny and for every step we take the massive mountains is coming closer and the scenery is getting even more epic.

After a great and warm time in the desert it feels good to be back close to the salty waves again...

... and back in my right enviroment I hardly can wait to get into the water... :)

Even with heavy diving equipment, cameras and strobes I feel like flying during my time in the great blue surrounding.

I am amazed about the great contrasts between the dry, sunny desert above surface to the totaly different under water world hiding beneath the water line.

The impressive gorgonians covers the drop off and becomes a given object in front of the cameras.

Under the surface I never feel alone. Here is always someone watching me. Some of the sea creatures prefer to hide, while others are getting quite curious about their new company...

For every dive there are new experiences and encounters. It doesn´t matter if they are big or small, it is always interesting to study the different behaviours of the many species and individuals living in the same habitat.

It is not only the fishes that haves many different shapes and colours. Independent were I am looking always I see something to get amazed of.

But, as normal, the disadvantage to be under water is that the time is limited. When you truly enjoy your time beneath it feels like it is passing by really fast, too fast... ;)

Back at the surface again, the sun has already disappeared behind the mountains. The beautiful sunset colour makes the surrounding atmosphere real magic. Even life above the surface is a true and colorful scenery! :)

After our divings we have to wash our equipment and cameras. Batteries and lamps need to be recharged and thereafter we are ready to get into the water again... :)

"Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea"

... ;)




Small Giftun, Egypt, 8/2-2012


Sailing distance made: 7020 nautical miles

After four weeks out at sea, we are now back at the Giftun islands, east of Hurghada. During our time at sea, we have spent both day as well as night out at reefs and smaller bays.

This time, I want to share some of our experiences, as well as photos, that we got during our time at Elphinstone reef.

Elphinstone is a reef in the open sea at 12km off the shore. This 300 meter long reef is well known for its god drift diving.

However, this off shore reef is quite exposed to wind in all directions. So to be able to work there we truly need
calm weather...

After many days with lots of winds and heavy seas we are really happy when the weather is getting calmer and gives us the great opportunity to sail over to Elphinstone! :)

When we arrive at the reef, it does not take a long time before we enter the water...

The diving here is drop-off with huge walls mainly covered by soft corals.

During our dives we see lots of different kind of marine life in variable shapes and colours. But our main reason why we have been sailing over here is that we hope to find sharks...

Elphinstone is known to be a god spot for different shark species. With many days of good weather, we so hope we will have a chance to find the widely known oceanic whitetip shark...

At the south plateu we get nice encounters with shoals of barracudas.

Between our dives we always have a good look out at the surface around the boat. Who knows, there might be a shark close by...

Suddenly, we see a massive shadow beneath the surface. There is no doupt, it is a oceanic whitetip shark in the water!!!

And with shark in the water it does not take many minutes before we are there too...

First we see the shark in distance, but slowly it is coming closer...

The oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) is a large pelagic shark, with a maximum length of 4 metres.

This opportunistic shark species is suspected to be responsible for many fatal attacks on humans.

However, as for all shark species, the oceanic white tip is far more threatened by humans than the other way around...

New studies show steeply declining populations because of both being directly targeted for human consumption (where the large fins are highly valued in shark fin soup), as well as being a common bycatch species in pelagic fisheries.

Recently, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, moved the oceanic whitetip sharks to 'vulnerable' status...

It is a huge experience to see this impressive predator so close. While watching us, the shark is circulating with slow, but powerful, movements.

It seem to be a little bit curious about us, but after a while it slowly disappear into the big blue pelagic ocean...


Whale shark!!! :)


Giftun Island, Egypt, 1/2-2012


Sailing distance made: 6995 nautical miles

After lots of amazing dives together with the legendary dugong, it is time to continue our trip...

We head further south, to make more drop off diving and hopefully find and film some sharks... But what was really waiting for us, out there in the deep blue, we could never imagine...

Early next morning, we leave the coast and head for deeper, pelagic waters... :)

I have an eye at the surface all around me, always in hope to see something in the water... You never know what is hidden close by...

Suddenly there is something huge and dark just under the surface... It does not take a long time before I realize what I see, it is a whale shark!!! :) :) :)

The whale shark seems curious about us and starts slowly to come closer... and on the boat, we are all very exited!

She comes closer and closer... Finally, the whale shark is side by side with our boat and it looks like she appreciate her new company!

For a long time ago, it has been a huge dream of mine to dive with whale sharks...

... so with this great opportunity, it does not take a long time before I enter the blue pelagic water and "my right element"...

Even the whale shark seems curious about me and is getting even closer...

It is my first dive with a whale shark ever and my new encounter make me feel so happy! :) At the same time I feel this entire happiness I do my best to concentrate at my camera work...

During my time under water, the whale shark behaves really calm. She swims slowly towards me, looks at me and then she swims a little bit closer to our boat again...

What an amazing and lovely animal! :)

There are nothing else, but wind, waves, ocean and sky that are surrounding us and our boat...

... and in the blue water I feel like both time and world stands still, when I am diving together with the biggest shark in the world, the whale shark... My huge dream has become true!!! :)