X-Ray Mag #82

Don Silcock
100 spreads (double pages)
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Feature articles in this issue with stand-alone pdfs

Mark Powell  

Diving instruction has standards, qualifications, materials, governing bodies and best practices. So why do we see such poor examples of diving practice? Why do so many new divers struggle with basic skills? Why do tech divers forget some key techniques? Is it poor instruction or something else? At least six of DAN's Ten Most-Wanted Improvements in Scuba Diving (see sidebar) are covered in every entry-level diving course, but the problems still occur.

Brandi Mueller   Brandi Mueller

There is nothing small about the Great Barrier Reef. It is not only the largest coral reef system on Earth, but probably the most well-known. You would be hard-pressed to find divers who do not have it on their dive wish lists. It is Earth’s largest living structure and reaches over 2,300km (1,400 miles) down the coast of Queensland, Australia. It covers more than 344,400 square kilometers (133,000 square miles) and comprises over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. One could probably generalize and say, “It’s big.”

Don Silcock   Don Silcock

The giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) is the largest cuttlefish in the world, reaching up to half a metre in total length and weighing in at around 11kg. Solitary animals, they are found all along the coastline of the southern half of Australia—from Central Queensland on the eastern coast, right around the bottom of the continent and up to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

Kate Jonker   Kate Jonker

By adding divers to our underwater photos, we are able to bring about a sense of exploration, highlight a focal point and provide a sense of scale to the scene, especially in wide angle reef and shipwreck photography.

Edited by Gunild Symes   Courtesy of Jay Maclean

With a background in marine fisheries biology, Australian artist and diver Jay Maclean, who is based in the Philippines, creates brilliant paintings of stunning underwater scenes using unique angles and artistic techniques. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to find out more about his artwork, insights and creative process.

Brandi Mueller   Brandi Mueller

Rarely do you come across someone who has a negative opinion about Bali. More often than not, you will find previous visitors raving about Bali as magical, some suggest it is spiritual, and others find it relaxing, or even full of adventure. It is a place I have come to love and enjoy returning too often. But its magic is no secret, and anyone who has spent an evening on Kuta Beach will discover themselves among about 600 other soul-searchers... or perhaps just partying Australian 20-somethings. But I got a tip—sort of a do-not-tell-anyone whisper—of a still secret place on the island of Bali, which is less crowded, quiet and less touristy than the popular destinations of Kuta, Sanur and Ubud.

Michael Menduno  

Project Baseline’s team conducted over 100 video transects of coral reef and benthic habitats of the Great Astrolabe Reef in Fiji, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, to compile baseline reports in order to effectively monitor the health of the reef.

Millis Keegan   Millis Keegan and Seabob

The SEABOB is a luxury seatoy designed for “fun in the sun.” Corporate divers or technical divers are not invited to this party—unless they are vacationing, of course. No, this is a unit for scuba divers, free-divers or snorkelers, and meant to be purely recreational.

Don Silcock   Don Silcock

Australia, the great brown land down under, is home to many iconic and often strange-looking creatures, both above and below the water. But few are as unique and visually spectacular as the leafy seadragon!

Simon Pridmore  

You must walk before you can run, so why do so few dive centres teach people how to swim before they learn to dive?

Nigel Marsh   Nigel Marsh
Leafy seadragon, Australia. Photo by Brent Durand.

Most divers heading to Australia make a beeline straight to the Great Barrier Reef. And while this wonder of the world has some amazing dive sites and marine life (and is still very much alive, contrary to claims in the media), it does not have many species that are uniquely Australian, as most of its tropical species are common throughout the Indo-Pacific region. To see Australia’s most unique marine life, you have to travel south of the Great Barrier Reef and dive into the country’s cooler temperate seas, as this is the realm of giant cuttlefish, PJs, leafies, weedies, wobbies, handfish, blue gropers, goblinfish and many other wonderful endemic creatures.


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