Anchoring the eelgrass

I’m just back from a filming trip to Dorset. The weather wasn’t great but I managed a couple of days’ diving at Studland Middle beach. I’ve dived here during August for several years and it’s interesting to see how things are changing.

A lot of the animals I’ve seen before were absent: no juvenile black bream, no red mullet, no 15-spine sticklebacks, no undulate rays, and sadly, no seahorses.

I did find a few pipefish, sole, spider crabs, juvenile cuttlefish, gobies and sea bass but that was about it.

While I dived, around 100 yachts were anchored in the eelgrass area of Studland bay. Do anchors damage eelgrass? There are differing opinions on this, but here’s a clear picture of the damage one anchor caused.

I don’t think anchors are the only reason for Studland’s decline, but I do think digging up the eelgrass is a contributory factor. I hope the third tranch of MPAs takes on this controversial site and pushes for the installation of a seabed-friendly mooring system.


Images and words by Andy

NB: Any TV or news agencies who wish to broadcast this anchor footage, please get in touch. I’ll be glad to offer it free of charge to help protect our fragile seagrass habitats everywhere.

Guillemots swimming – Farne Islands

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Farne Islands to film puffins underwater. It was a tall order. Puffins are easily-spooked and speedy swimmers. Great shots of them underwater are rare.

I developed a puffin plan and with skipper Ron Cooper at the helm of Mara Mhor, we set off chasing puffins.

Thankfully, filming went extremely well. I had some truly magical moments underwater with adult puffins and baby pufflings darting around in front of my lens. The footage is pretty special and I’m in discussions with a broadcaster at the moment – which means I can’t share it here yet.

However I do have the next best thing: while I was filming puffins, I was joined by guillemots and I can show you how spectacular they are. If you look very carefully, you might just catch a glimpse of a swimming puffin in the distance…

With thanks to Andrew Douglas of Sovereign Diving for organising the boat.


Images and words by Andy

Moon Jellyfish – Loch Shieldaig

I’m just home after a ten-day diving adventure along the west coast of Scotland. I was onboard the fantastic MV Cricklade from Oban to Ullapool and back. At the end of day 3, we dropped anchor in Loch Shieldaig to go ashore for dinner.

I watched the anchor break the glassy surface and noticed hundreds of moon jellyfish drifting past. A few minutes later I was back in my drysuit, slipping into the water again.

I swam through the jellyfish soup, beautiful shots in every direction as the light faded. The way the sun shone through their bodies, their graceful pulsating movement, the vast numbers around me, and the subtle colours made this a magical moment I’d love to share with you.

Thanks to everyone on MV Cricklade and in particular Mally and Keith for delaying their dinner to help me.


Images and words by Andy



Andy’s Challenge – BBC One Show

In May, I worked with the BBC One Show to produce this 4-minute film about one of our most unusual animals, Dead Man’s Fingers. It was filmed on location at Conservation Bay, Loch Carron and includes my underwater stock footage.

It’s narrated by Miranda Krestovnikoff and was broadcast on Thursday 9th June 2016. If you missed it, here’s the link to the BBC website: Link to film


Images and words by Andy

Spring Seals in the Farnes

This weekend, I joined a Scarborough Sub Aqua Club trip to dive with grey seals at the Farne Isles. The skipper of Glad Tiding VII took us to Crumstone where our playmates were waiting.

I decided to film on top of the reef where light would be plentiful and breaking waves would form a wild and lovely backdrop to my images. The seals quickly accepted me, playing and prancing in front of the camera.

This sequence was filmed at a high frame rate to slow everything down. I hope you enjoy watching the seals play pass-the-seaweed and make-the-cameraman-dizzy.

It was a wonderful yet challenging dive. Watching on screen, you have the benefit of slow motion. In real time, the waves bobbed me up and down, the sea weed swayed in the current, and after I’d spun a few times the seals definitely won the dizzy game!


Images and words by Andy