Epic Underwater Adventures latest issue of AWAYN magazine

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Susanne Palmer The Underwater Temple Garden (Taman Pura)

The Underwater Temple Garden is also known as Taman Pura is an incredible and unique dive site in Pemuteran. 

 

Pemuteran is a lovely fishing village on Bali's northern coast. It would be a beautiful refuge from the crowds, considering that most people rarely venture further north than Ubud. I would highly suggest a visit to Bali Sea Rovers, especially given the shallow depth of the Ceningan channel Buddha. There you can have a fantastic diving experience in an underwater garden once in a lifetime.  

 

 

The Buddha is facing North and is located at the entrance to the Ceningan channel. To arrive there take a local boat from the mangrove forest on Lembongan Island. Having said though I think cenigan Channel should be dived by experienced divers only. The currents change like the wind from smooth, calm glass like seas to whirlwind currents which can only be described as being like a cork in a washing machine where you are being dragged to the bottom rapidly. Extremely experienced divers have lost their lives here never to be seen again. It is as deadly as it is beautiful.

 

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Robin Hurrican Scubba Diving Trip in Barracuda point

Barracuda point is quite simply one of the top 5 dive sites in the world, making it the most popular dive spot in Sipadan. Barracuda Point is located on Sipadan Island's northeastern part.

This dive starts as a slow drift and goes down a wall 22m/72 ft deep. Divers should bear in mind that strong currents are always possible. Divers end their dive in the shallow coral garden.

There is a great barracuda shoal with thousands of barracudas milling around, and divers can even find themselves in the center of this giant barracuda tornado.

There's a huge shoal of thousands of barracudas that often make a tornado and darken the sun! A must-do for any photographer underwater! You can also see parrotfish bumpheads, dozens of tortoises and reef sharks patrolling the area. Sometimes there are also hammerhead sharks, so keep looking blue! The site consists of a steep wall that often goes down to 22 m deep with strong currents. After your nice drift, you finish your dive in the shallow coral garden.

The average water temperature remains between 26-30C/78-86F and air temperature ranges from 25C/77F to 32C/89F. Visibility varies from 10m/32 ft to 30m/98 ft.

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AWAYN Editorial

Geoff Coombs an unseen Underworld

Don't worry you won't be the first person who is asking: what is this? Is this real? What is happening? How did they shoot this!? That’s how you fall in love with Geoff Coombs’s photography. 

Toronto, Ontario based freediver and photographer’s enchanting collection of underwater photography captures the underworld we don't get to experience a lot. Awayn had a pleasure of chatting Geoff to talk underwater photography. 

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What first drew you to underwater photography?

I’ve always loved sports and action sports, specifically anything around the water. At the same time, I always loved to express myself artistically but found painting and drawing to be too slow. I wanted to be active and use my physical abilities to interact in nature while creating art. I found photography when I was on a family trip to the Bahamas in 2015. There, I was introduced to freediving and took photos with my old GoPro. After that trip I was hooked. 


how do you decide to take the shots? Give us an insight into your world as an adventure photographer

I find my subjects just through my core group of friends. The majority of my underwater work is of my best friend Andrew Ryzebol. Together we’ve grown to be very close friends and we trust each other with our lives when we are pushing the limits under ice or performing deep dives. When I am travelling or just in my local ‘backyard’ of Georgian Bay, I sometimes will plan shots ahead of time. I imagine an image in my mind and then try to recreate it with my subjects. It is a team effort with my underwater work, where I will tell the subject what to do, and then I will get into position and capture it. A lot of other times though it’s just spontaneous. 

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What I really like about your underwater work is that it takes the audience to a completely another universe. I am sure making beautiful composition is hard! So what are some of the challenges of photographing your subjects?

The biggest challenge of my underwater work is just getting in the right position at the right time. All of my underwater work has been shot while I am freediving. So going down to 10 meters on one breath with a big camera in my hand, while equalizing, and at the same time positioning myself to capture my buddy in a great position, and doing all of this while trying to stay relaxed is difficult. My under ice work adds an extra element of difficulty just because it is so cold. But your body and mind adapt to those conditions over time. I find it very rewarding, especially when we pull off a great shot.


What is the most memorable trip you have had in recent memory? What kind of hidden places did you get to explore?

All of my trips have been memorable, it’s difficult to choose just one. But the one that sticks out to me is the trip I did to Kauai back in summer of 2016. We were camping 4000 feet above sea level on an epic spire one night overlooking the Kalalau Valley. The sunset was incredible. I remember waking up at 3am and stepping outside and seeing all the stars. It was beautiful. That was a special moment. 

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What equipment do you use?

The majority of my work has been shot on a Canon 6D in an underwater housing. Recently though I bought the Canon 5D Mark IV as my new primary setup. It’s a beast. I also use various lenses from a 15mm fisheye, 24mm 2.8 prime, 16-35mm f/4 lens, and a 70-200mm f/2.8. All Canon gear. I’ve put this stuff through really harsh conditions, and it’s always reliable and brings out high quality images. I also have basic freediving gear including a 7mm Riffe wetsuit, mask, Moana carbon fins, and other little things. All of the gear is easy to use and works well. The biggest challenge is just travelling with all my gear, but I try to keep it simple so it’s not too bad. 

 


Do you have any tips or habits from the road you can share?

I find it useful to have a routine, and little comforts that you can bring with you when you’re travelling or in uncomfortable places. Having proper gear and clothing is essential when I travel. I always make sure I have food with me that doesn’t get easily crushed – such as nuts, hard fruits, peanut butter, bread, and especially in cold months, a thermos of hot tea. It’s the little things that bring some comfort when you’re out in extreme conditions. 

Follow Geoff 

Instagram @geoff_coombs 

www.geoffcoombs.com 

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More ADVENTURES highlights

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Georgia Ray SS Yongala Shipwreck

Escape the crowds and plunge into an experience on the Great Barrier Reef offered nowhere else.  Yongala Dive takes dive enthusiasts from all over the world on an' Adventure' dive trip to one of the planet's best dives, the famous shipwreck of S.S. Yongala.

As a unique location in Alva Beach (Ayr, QLD) PADI 5 Star Dive Resort, Yongala Dive specializes in S.S. PADI Dive Courses, Yongala Day Trips, Hospitality and East Coast Dive Packages.  You don't need to look any further with an international reputation for providing a quality dive experience, professional service, safety and value while still retaining the' laid-back' day in Northern Queensland. Former steel passenger and freight steamer, the Yongala Shipwreck is 110 m. It sank with its 124 passengers during a tropical cyclone in 1911. The Shipwreck was only found in 1958 and is now Australia's main tourist attraction.

The SS Yongala's main gateway to dive is Townsville. It takes about 3 hours (89 km) to get to the shipwreck by fast boat from Townsville. For a much shorter trip (30 min boat ride instead of 3 hours) it is also possible to dive the Yongala from Ayr (1 hr drive south of Townsville). The shorter trip means that due to weather conditions it can be accessed more and is less likely to cancel.

On their way to the Great Barrier Reef, several liveaboards start from Townsville and visit the SS Yongala.

For Wreck Diving, most people are here.

All year long you can dive the SS Yongala Wreck. Access: from the coast. For the exact location, see the SS Yongala Wreck map on the right.This is a diving experience for those with a sense of adventure, a passion for exploring, learning about the tragic history, and witnessing marine life on the face of this planet matched by a few other places.

 

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Georgia Ray Cenote Taj Mahal Riviera Maya

It is situated 25 kilometers from Playa del Carmen, in the state of Quintana Roo and today it is called Tajma-Ha as a derivation of the Mayan word Ha which means water.

It is part of the same cave system that also includes Chac Mool. Thanks to the solar rays that filter through the thick jungle, you can witness an incredible light show. In the middle of the dive, there is a crack in the roof of the cave with a diameter of 10 meters where the divers reaching the surface can admire the beauty of the jungle.

It is one of the best cenotes to dive with a bottle due to its spectacular caverns and the play of lights that are generated with the contact between freshwater and saltwater.

The maximum depth is 40 meters. It is considered one of the most beautiful in the area. It is open daily, from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. In it that can be seen - by the transparency of its waters -, not too deep, to the haloclines, that is, the meeting surfaces between large quantities of freshwater and saltwater at the bottom of the cenote. You can practice scuba diving and see incredible light games in its depths.

In terms of diving, it is one of the best cenotes for this activity, thanks to its caverns and its spectacular play of lights on sunny days that generates incredible effects on the water and through it. Also, the possibility of admiring its fossils and the dome of the cenote.

The practice of diving here is a unique and exciting experience. An immersion will allow us to enjoy spectacular light games in its crystalline waters, in the same way as observing the different caverns that make up this cenote. You can enjoy and admire stalagmites and stalactites with their beautiful forms.

Mainline to the Jumma River, Cenote Buena Vista, downstream to Cheers ' Room and Sagrado Cenote. Other spots include the room of Agre City, Nachich Cenote and upstream to the Chinese Garden beyond the cavern area. This is a more advanced snorkeling area that can be seen very close to the entrance with spectacular light shows. 26 km south of Playa del Carmen / 5 km south of Puerto Aventuras can be reached.

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