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A busy day in paradise

  • By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown
  • 11 Dec, 2016

Matava diving & teaching

Today was our last day here at the Matava Resort and we had some diving, testing of new gear and a student to certify as a diver, so it was going to be a busy day! Alas, our start to the day was not great, as the divemaster told us we could not go to see the famous manta rays that live here. We were, instead, to dive one of the more local reefs, two walls that made up a cut through the main reef system. 
To make up for it, Caroline decided to try out the Saga Magic Bubble lens for the first time. This is a wet lens designed to fit onto a 67mm thread port for the Nikon 60mm lens and creates a bubble effect in the shot. Caroline spent the two dives searching out different subjects to try with this lens, that we picked up at DEMA, and found the sea fans to be the most obliging of subjects.
A quick lunch and we were back in the water again, this time to finish the open water course for Josh, who came to Fiji to finish his referral course. We stood in for the injured instructor here and put him through his paces, as well as taking for a dive around the coral bommies around a small island 10min offshore from the resort. He got to meet Nemo for the first time!
Tomorrow it is time for us to hit the road again. Well to be accurate, a short wade out to the boat, then a boat ride with a short truck ride to the airport, then a flight to Suva and onto our next adventure. 

Frogfish Blog

By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 12 Jun, 2017
Those of you that follow our work will know that we love to spend a little bit of time above water on our travels abroad, and especially love to visit vineyards and sample the wines that benefit from being close to the coast. So we were delighted to discover that we had been invited to visit Gozo, and that there was a local tasting available for us to attend. We had two days of diving on our short visit, and a day to absorb the local culture above the water. We dived with Calypso Diving Centre , visiting caves, reefs and wrecks doing both boat and shore dives. The vineyard we visited was the Tal-Massar Winery which offers a series of lovingly made wines. 
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 27 Apr, 2017
We are off to Cornwall for some scuba festivities at the Cornwall Scubafest over the bank holiday weekend. Whilst it is a long drive from Manchester, it is always a good event. We have our fingers firmly crossed for good weather, so that we can make the most of our long weekend. So what's the plan?
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 17 Apr, 2017
Caroline recently took two awards at the NUPG / GNDS Print Awards. The winners were selected by the general public at this diving event held in Manchester, along with overall winners being selected by sponsors. The above shot of a Grey Seal from the Farne Islands won the British & Irish Wide Angle category. The Cape Fur Seal clinging onto a kelp frond while looking straight into the camera won the Overall Overseas title. Why? Well the public love cute, and seals and sea lions have that in spades. But, they also look right at the camera, giving the viewer of the image the feeling they are engaging with the photo and they can really imagine being there in that moment. This is what makes these images so popular.
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 18 Mar, 2017
I think it is fair to say that we love our wide angle, big animal photography best. So it is with more than a little excitement that we start to get ready for our group trip to the Revillagigedo Islands that lie some 600km off the Mexican coastline, out in the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most prolific pelagic encounter destinations, but you have to have a slice of luck on your side. Both the weather and the marine life can be unpredictable! 
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 20 Jan, 2017
Any doubts we had about taking our precious iPhone underwater we soon swept aside when we tried out the LenzO housing. It is tough, well made, has good closing mechanisms with a reassuring clunk as the port and back secure into place. You do not need a special app to get the camera to work. It has excellent optics and the controls mean that you can access both the different modes of the camera (slo-mo, panoramic, video etc) and the exposure controls with ease. You can review your images with the swipe feature, as well as read an iBook on your safety stop. It has a special "selfie" lens too! 

Best bit? You can post your images and video onto social media just minutes after getting out of your wetsuit (or drysuit). For more about this, have a look at our review on Scubaverse by clicking here .
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 09 Jan, 2017
We have not been diving in Sharm el Sheikh for many years now. But we were invited to come and write about the diving here, and to, hopefully, re-ignite the passion for this iconic location for British divers who have been staying away. We jumped at the chance. Whilst there are still no direct flights from the UK, we were surprised to see how many routes the loyal repeat customers have found to get here. Camel Dive Club are hosting us, and their team are happy to help find suitable routes from all the major UK airports. 
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 17 Dec, 2016
With the weather only getting worse today, and no diving to do, we were stuck for something to occupy us. Simon Doughty, Operations Manager, stepped in and went above and beyond, to take us out to Fiji Siren in the pouring rain and to give us a tour of this magnificent liveaboard. She is in "cyclone mode" and so all her sails and soft furnishings and the like are all safely stowed away, but even with these precautions in place, she is a sight to behold. Mo drove over one of the tenders to the shore at Volivoli Beach Resort to pick us up. 
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 16 Dec, 2016
We arrived at Volivoli Beach Resort last night, being chased as we headed north by a storm front that brought plenty of very heavy rain. We were greeted here by the staff as if we were long lost friends and shown to our room that has an amazing view of the sea (and weather). The dive shop here, Ra Divers, whilst dubious we would be diving in the morning, said they would do their very best to get us out. So we were delighted to be told at breakfast that we would be treated to a day on and under the water, and that we would also be able to get in three dives. 

The storm was still getting closer, and the conditions were not what you can usually expect here, with reduced visibility and some swell, but we were just happy to be diving. We were not disappointed either, with the reef in healthy condition and crammed with orange soft corals that lend their name to the dives sites, such as Golden Dream. 
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 14 Dec, 2016
Warren had a worried look on his face last night. The latest weather report was not great, with strong winds and large waves heading our way. All night the rain poured down and the palm trees bent over with the strong gusts. But this morning, it did not look so bad and so to our delight, we headed to Beqa Lagoon. This site is famous for its Bull Sharks and we really, really wanted to dive there! The water was a little green and the rain must have kept away many of the other divers, as the only boats at the site were ours, and Aqua-Trek 's, who run this shark feed and pioneered shark diving here some 20 years ago. We geared up and jumped in, hoping that, of the 9 species of shark you can see here, we would get some big female bull sharks coming up close to us.

Nick got a very close encounter, with the shark wranglers, who watch over the divers with large hooped poles to ward off any over friendly sharks, having to guide a big shark away from his camera lens. Whilst most of the divers stay behind a wall and watch the feed a couple of meters back from the bait boxes, we were given special permission to join the feeders and get in closer to the action. The Waidroka Bay Resort team had phoned ahead to put in this request for us (without us even asking) and it was fantastic to be able to see these huge predators up close.
By Caroline And Nick Robertson-Brown 13 Dec, 2016
Sitting down for dinner with the team and guests at Waidroka Bay Resort , we knew right away that this was our sort of place. Diving, conservation and marine life talk buzzed around the table and our excitement grew for the diving ahead. The resort has a mixture of surfers and divers, and the divers are here for shark diving and for the wonderful reefs. Our first day diving was to visit the reefs, and with tales of colourful corals and plenty of marine life, we were looking forward to it.
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