Douglas Seifert’s illustrated notes from the field
The first underwater photograph I was paid for was published 20 years ago this year (in Scuba Times). Since then, I have worked for DIVE Magazine in the U.K. for 18 years, with the last five as World Editor, producing the images and words for “Water Column”, a regular feature exploring underwater animals, phenomena, and places I find fascinating and want to share this fascination with others. I wrote and filed the 49th Water Column (on the subject of Cleaning Stations) last week, so now, with a bit of time off from my wicked publisher, my friends at Wetpixel have persuaded me it might be fun to share a little of the adventure on the road, with some occasional and (hopefully!) interesting “Field Notes” jotted down during my travels
January 2014 – South Australia:
Our “Jetties of South Australia” Expedition has gotten off to a roaring start, departing the prosperous but charmless town of Port Lincoln, South Australia onboard the Princess II, a relatively comfortable, sturdy vessel with a terrific crew and a high sense of adventure.
We started off our tour of unique South Australian sea life by deviating from our original plan of diving jetty, jetty, jetty and, instead, succumbing to “white shark greed.” This is the season of abundant and active great white sharks at the Neptune Islands so we chose to begin our first two days of a dedicated macro expedition with the widest of wide-angle subjects.
The preceding hot spell of 40° Celsius summer weather broke with southeasterly winds and intermittent cloud cover. It made no difference to the sharks. We could see up to eight different sharks at one time on a cage dive to the bottom, with two or three 3.5 meter sharks milling around at the surface behind the boat, seeking the source of the minced tuna flakes dribbling into the water.
According to Andrew Fox, our shark expert who has spent 30 years working with white sharks in Australia, in two days we were visited by seventeen different animals, the majority of which had been identified from trips in previous seasons. We did also see some new recruits. For those of us in semi-dry wetsuits, the water temperature is a tolerable at the surface (68 degrees Fahrenheit) and a vexatious (64 degrees) on the bottom.
Our special guest onboard this trip is diving legend Valerie Taylor, who has kept us entertained with stories of filming white sharks for Blue Water, White Death, Jaws, Orca, and many many many documentaries over the years. Nights are filled with brilliant conversation, incredible meals cooked up by Joe, wine tastings of local Australian vineyards, a whole lot of laughter and, best of all, no internet.
To be continued…….