Posted on June 14, 2013
The first half of this material is mostly the wreck of the British submarine E49 in Balta Sound, Shetland in 30m of water. We dived this site at 5Am in July 2011 and we were blessed with excellent viz.
The rest of the footage is from various locations around the UK. The ship’s bow in torchlight was filmed off Whitby in 72m of water, the bell revealed the wreck to be the steam trawler OTTER.
The shot looking over my buddy’s shoulder (Colin Bell) is in the Firth of Forth at 56m on the wreck of the British submarine HMS K4. These were steam powered submarines and are they are huge.
Divers swimming past an upturned hull and propellor were on the SS JANE wreck of Fetlar, Shetland, the colourful red spotty Ballan wrasse was also at this site.
The shinny bomb is on a small WW1 coaster wreck off Whitby in 54m. The “bomb” has been identified by the IWM as a 500kg German Luftmine A (LMA) known by the Admiralty as a Parachute Mine Type D it is made of an aluminium alloy and is still live!
The swim over a propellor is on the wreck of the German submarine UB30 in 52m of water off Whitby.
I have a great deal of shipwreck footage in stock particularly off the North Yorkshire Coast.
Posted on June 13, 2013
A few months ago, the cliff slid into the sea, taking Babbacombe bay from top Devon dive spot to silty soup. When Saeed Rashid tweeted pictures of cuttlefish in clear blue water, and said, “Get down there soon,” we didn’t hang around.
Babbacombe is a beautiful sheltered spot just around the headland from Torquay. It’s a relatively easy shore dive, with Wayne’s beach café serving up jumbo sausage surface intervals on seafront tables and chairs. The cuttlefish waited just a few metres out to sea and joined us on every dive. We had three days of glorious sunshine, five dives, and almost every cuttlefish mating behaviour our crossed fingers could deliver. The biggest group – eight cuttlefish – had three mating pairs with two spare males waiting for an unguarded moment to slip their genes into the melting pot.
I filmed over two hours of mating, male/female tenderness, egg laying, male bravado and aggression, camouflage colour changes, and females tending their eggs; all in shallow water with natural light, balanced to show vivid cuttlefish colours. I then filmed cuttlefish caught in pots just outside the bay. But… more about that soon.
We’re making a short film about these beautiful cuttlefish to tell the story of their annual mating ritual and to show the impact of fishing practices. Here’s a taste of the images. Stay tuned for the story.
Posted on May 8, 2013
I shore dived Selsey yesterday for the fourth time this year. The sun was out and the conditions were perfect. The bank holiday divers were all back at work and we had the place to ourselves. The tide was still running when we arrived so my cocker spaniel Bruce had plenty of time swimming out to fetch sticks while I noted how much the tide was taking him along the beach. The slack was just about right at 3 hours after HW Selsey Bill and I could count several posts underwater down the breakwater making the viz at least 5 metres.
This isn’t an easy place to film as the steep shingle beach makes it hard work to get the kit down to the water’s edge but it is worth it for such a good site where you can park within a hundred metres of the beach. There is also a public toilet there so it is really good for facilities.
After 60 minutes in the water without seeing a Cuttlefish I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen, especially as the cold had started to creep in and I was losing dexterity with my fingers. Then I curiously followed a lost rope on the seabed and at the end of it was a long lost crab pot with an open top. In the shelter of the pot was a lone Cuttlefish that seemed unperturbed by my arrival. I think it was probably a female waiting for her man to turn up after selecting a great egg laying site. There were no eggs yet but I do know they really like laying them on the mesh of pots and nets.
She allowed me to get some great closeup shots and even ventured out at one point for a little swim around before going back to the sanctuary of her pot. I hoped to go back today to see if her mate had arrived but unfortunately the forecast of a three foot swell will have killed the viz. I will probably return on the next neaps to see if she laid her eggs there.
Posted on April 21, 2013
I had a report today that the sea temperature on the Sussex coast is still only 5degC. Normally the Cuttlefish would be in peak spawning activity by mid April, this year they haven’t even started! I’m told they need water that is around about 10degC to get going so my best guess is that it will be a couple of weeks yet.
The plan is to shore dive under the old jetty at Selsey lifeboat station. They are seen here in large numbers most years so there should be a good opportunity to get mating / spawning footage.