SCUBA News 235
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 235 - January 2020

Welcome to SCUBA News. Our best wishes for a diving-filled new year. To save you money on scuba insurance on your travels we've negotiated a special discount especially for our readers. Get 15% off from Columbus Travel here.

You can download a pdf version of the newsletter here.

What's new at SCUBA Travel?
Ocean Art announce winners of best underwater photos of the year
Featured Liveaboard: Save $400 on Southern Sport
Diving news from around the World

AquaMarine Diving - Bali

AquaMarine Diving - Bali
10% off published prices, free rental gear and an AquaMarine Goodie-Bundle when you use code ScubaTravelUK2020 at

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Gas mask on the Fujikawa Maru in Truk Lagoon

Wrecks Unlimited

Nowhere else in the world can you find so many shipwrecks in such clear water as Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon.

Cup coral

Europe's Best

Europe boasts some world class diving, with great visibility and masses of underwater life. Plus, of course, wreck diving galore. We've updated our list of the top ten dives in Europe, from Iceland in the north to Malta in the south.

Soft coral on the wreck of the Carnatic

Hurghada Hotspots

How to dive from Hurghada in the Red Sea - liveaboard or shore-based?

15% off Scuba Travel Insurance -
only for our Readers!

We've negotiated a special discount for SCUBA Travel and SCUBA News readers on diving travel insurance - get 15% off here.

15% off insurance

Ocean Art announce winners of best underwater photos of the year

Congratulations to all winners of the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition 2019, organised by the Underwater Photography Guide. The 8th annual competition, this was one of the most competitive years. The two new categories, conservation and blackwater diving, had incredible photos and were two of the highlights of the competition.

Crabeater seal
1st Place Coldwater and Best in Show by Greg Lecoeur.
“Crab-Eater Seal”

This thrilling photo of a crab-eater seal dodging through freezing waters under Antarctic ice won Greg Lecoeur the Best in Show award.

The winner of the Rising Star Photographer Award, the 1st Place Novice Macro and a close runner-up for best of show, was Jules Casey with an superb shot of six seahorses.

1st Place Novice Macro by Jules Casey, winner of the Rising Star Photographer Award. Seahorse Bus
1st Place Novice Macro by Jules Casey, winner of the Rising Star Photographer Award.
“Seahorse Bus”

Jules commented “I picked up a second hand TG4 early in 2019 & I’ve spent almost every day in the water with it since. Capturing 6 baby seahorses all facing in the same direction while sharing a piece of weed is an extremely challenging shot. These babies will often pull in different directions & face away from the camera. So I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share such a split second in time before this scene changed dramatically. ” He used an Olympus TG-4 Camera, Sea & Sea YS-03 Strobe with settings 1/250, F6.3, ISO 200.

Panoramic view of the engine room of the wreck of the Chrisoula K at Abu Nuhas, Egypt, Red Sea by Tobias Friedrich
Panoramic view of the engine room of the wreck of the Chrisoula K at Abu Nuhas, Egypt, Red Sea by Tobias Friedrich

Other extraordinary winning photos include dramatic animal behaviour, stunning marine life portraits, heart wrenching and uplifting conservation scenes, weird and wonderful blackwater creatures and many, many photos that showcase the powerful beauty that is found in our oceans.

1st Place Marine Life Behavior by Paula Vianna.
“A friendly ride”

This amazing photo is of pink whip rays catching a ride on a small-eyed ray on the Yongala shipwreck in Australia. The photographer says “The theory is that by doing this they seek protection from predators, save energy and also get leftovers from the big ray. This rare behaviour…has been registered on the same dive site for around a decade, with different individual small-eyed rays. Could this be passing on through generations?”

2nd Place - Paolo Bausani Shot in Anilao, Philippines
2nd Place – Paolo Bausani
Shot in Anilao, Philippines
“Lethal Fluid”

The judges included prestigious underwater photographers Tony Wu, Martin Edge, and Marty Snyderman, accompanied by Underwater Photography Guide publisher Scott Gietler. The judges evaluated thousands of entries from 78 countries before selecting the final set of images as Ocean Art winners.

1st Place Nudibranch by Jenny Stock "Treats from Maloolaba River"
1st Place Nudibranch by Jenny Stock
“Treats from Maloolaba River”

Over $85,000 in prizes have beem awarded, making the Ocean Art prize value among the highest in the world. The most lucrative included a luxury liveaboard trip on the Socorro Vortex, Indonesia liveaboard trips (and 50% off a companion) on the S.M.Y. Ondina and M.Y. Oceanic, a 7 nights Palau liveaboard trip on the Solitude One, a 7 or 8 nights Indonesia liveaboard trip on the Coralia and a 7 nights liveaboard trip with Bilikiki Cruises.

1st Place Blackwater - Fabien Michenet Shot in Tahiti Island, French Polynesia "Snaketooth Swallower"
1st Place Blackwater – Fabien Michenet
Shot in Tahiti Island, French Polynesia
“Snaketooth Swallower”

The quality of images submitted this year was exceptional – making judging very difficult and demonstrating that the winning images are some of the best in the world. Underwater Photography Guide publisher, Scott Gietler commented, "I continue to be amazed by the wonderful images that today’s underwater photographers are producing. The two new categories, Conservation and Blackwater, were true standout categories."

3rd Place Conservation - Brooke Lori Pyke  "Plastic Soup"
3rd Place Conservation – Brooke Lori Pyke
“Plastic Soup”
5th Place Blackwater  Tianhong Wang "Bride"
5th Place Blackwater
Tianhong Wang

See all the winning photos

Featured Liveaboard - Southern Sport

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Mexico liveaboard

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Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Blue whale

Malaysia changes dates of Sipadan Closure
Rated one of the best diving areas in the world, Sipadan will be closed this year during November - a change from the previously flagged December closure.

Sharks in the Bahamas

Where to dive in February?
Last minute January trip? There are loads of fantastic places to go at the start of the year. Mexico scuba diving in January is all about huge megafauna. The small African nation of Djibouti is also at its best this month, offering the chance to snorkel with numerous whale sharks. For manta rays go to the Maldives.

Pink soft coral in Red Sea

easyJet to resume flights to Sharm El-Sheikh this summer
Following the recent lifting of government restrictions on UK flights to Sharm el Sheikh, easyJet will offer two flights a week to the Red Sea diving destination commencing on 7 June from Manchester and 30 September from London Gatwick. The airline is also extending its winter flights from Manchester to Hurghada

Filling the car

Why action on climate change gets stuck and what to do about it
Climate initiatives can get stuck because the momentum they generate is not always in the direction of substantial change. For instance, moving from coal-fired to natural gas electricity production can lower emissions. However, turning to this bridge fuel reinforces dependence on fossil energy. Political coalitions that support and benefit from such an initial change might not favour more aggressive action.


Shark sightings shouldn't deter Kiwis getting in the water, expert says
Shark expert Riley Elliott said more shark sightings are nothing to be afraid of. With technology like drones and cell phones, it's not surprising that there are more sightings. At the end of the day everything around you is more dangerous than a shark is

WW1 Ship

German WWI wreck Scharnhorst discovered off Falklands
The wreck of a World War One German armoured cruiser has been located off the Falkland Islands, where it was sunk by the British navy 105 years ago.

Bluefin tuna

WWF calls out MSC for proposed certification of bluefin tuna
WWF has formally objected to the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of an Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery, warning that this would provide a dangerous incentive to the market and compromise the long-term recovery of the stock.

BP logo

Trump weakened environmental laws after BP lobbying
Letter suggests oil firm pushed for changes whereby fewer projects would need impact assessments.

Walking shark

New walking sharks discovered strolling off coast of Australia
Scientists have discovered four new species of walking sharks that can use their fins to crawl about in search of prey, according to a new study published by Conservation International.

Stellar sealion

Four animal species surviving extinction against the odds
There are species of animals that have, thanks at least in part to human intervention, come back from the edge and continue to survive today against the once seemingly insurmountable odds.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though are copyright the photographer. Please get in touch for advice.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme

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