By Alex Rose
There are few marine creatures as fascinating to watch as cephalopods. From their tentacles that each seem to move autonomously, to their unbelievable ability to change colour and texture, to their alien feeding habits, these molluscans never cease to amaze us. Although they may look absolutely nothing like clams, cephalopods are considered mollusks and are more closely related to bivalves than any other group of sea creatures. Octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and nautiluses all belong to the class Cephalopoda, which means “head foot.” Mollusks in general are not known for their intelligence and most don’t even have a proper head, let alone an impressive brain, but cephalopods differ drastically in this regard. They have large brains and well-developed senses and it almost seems as if there’s an evolutionary correlation between the loss of a shell and increased brain function. Perhaps as the hard, constrictive shell shrank, there was more room for a larger brain to develop along with a need for intelligence in the field of self-defense now that their calcified armor was no longer around to protect them. Nautiluses, the most primitive cephalopods still in existence, most closely resemble their shell-dwelling relatives, and can completely withdraw their tentacles and other soft body parts into their shells in case of danger. Cuttlefish have a thick internal shell called a cuttlebone, and squid have an even further reduced structure called a pen, while octopuses lack one entirely.
By Vanessa Mignon
As I look at the dozens of shark fins breaking the surface, I cannot help thinking about my mum’s face if she could see what I am about to do. Here I am, in the Bahamas, getting ready to jump in the middle of sharks!
I gear up, thinking about the crew’s advice; when you get in the water, go straight to the bottom. There is no cage and no protection, just my camera and the hope that I am too skinny to be even considered as finger food! My heart is full of excitement and anticipation.
By Cristina Zenato
The horizon is the beginning of my world. As I started as a young diving instructor in the Bahamas I used to ride the boat sitting on the roof with fellow instructors, soaking in the morning sun rays, as the boat glided over a shimmering road of glittering sea. It was perfectly paved to show us the way to the first dive of the day, the first adventure.
By Ivana Orlovic
It is almost like the end of the world, and beyond! To give you an idea just how remote this place is, I have been travelling by car, plane, bus, and boat for three whole days. This is a hidden utopia for divers, underwater photographers and videographers. In addition to decades of economic embargo and political isolation, Fidel Castro declared this part of Cuba a national reserve in the nineteen sixties. Few people have had the privilege to come here and enjoy its unscathed nature and abundant wildlife. There is no commercial fishing, no oil pollution and no commercial ships. This is a place untouched by commercial activities. This is Jardines de la Reina, the Gardens of the Queen, a barrier reef off the southern coast of Cuba.
OGX Emerging Pro Wildlife Photographer
- A pair of spotted dolphins darted beneath me while I was snorkelling in the pristine waters of the Bahamas
Wai Hoe started taking interest in wildlife photography in 2011. He has since received the OG Pictures of the Year Photo-Journalist award as well as the Wyland Master of Competition Award. His images and essays have appeared in Ocean Geographic, and he has also been recently inducted to the Ocean Artists Society with peers such as David Doubilet, James Cameron, Ernie Brooks, Stephen Frink and Michael AW.
Besides pursuing his passion in wildlife photography, Mok is also the Executive Director of an industrial electrical engineering company. He has a background in Marketing and Management, with a PhD in Business.
See more of his work at Natures Palette - www.mokwaihoe.com
Review by Billy Snook
Rebreather technology has been around for about a hundred years but it hasn't been until recently that it has become practical for the masses of recreational divers. Bob Hollis & Company have done just that, and they are selling and promoting a truly recreational semi-closed rebreather aptly named the Explorer. The advantages of diving an Explorer are that the diver makes very little noise as compared to conventional open circuit diving, available dive times are much longer (as long as three hours), and you’re breathing warm, moist air instead of the cold, dry air and subsequent dry mouth characteristic of an open circuit system. Not blowing bubbles affords the diver much better marine life encounters and photographic opportunities and is ideal for wreck diving so as to avoid disturbing silt and drastically decreasing visibility.