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Scrub-a-dub-dub, There’s Sharks In My Tub!

Before getting  carried away, I must provide a brief disclaimer: there are no pictures of sharks in this post!    It’s a long story; we’ll get into it below…

Our first adventures on the Big Island would be SCUBA diving.  Kelly convinced my that the ability to swim around underwater and ‘look at crazy fish and stuff’ would be worth the investment of time and money, and she hasn’t led me astray so far (MTB, cyclocross) so I decided to give it a whirl.  We completed our classroom and pool work with Rick from the Boston Scuba Academy, and planned to complete our open water dives in Hawaii with Jack’s Diving Locker.  Both turned out to be great choices for novices to the sport.  With a bit of homework and more than a bit of cash, you can quickly learn enough to enjoy the sport, which subsequently turned out to be way more fun that I had imagined.

As a total noob to the sport of SCUBA, I was hesitant to get carried away with much in the way of gadgets and cameras.  Such distractions are hardly a concern when it comes to familiar domains such as skiing or biking, but I was concerned that all of the SCUBA gear plus crazy cameras might be more than I could juggle at once.  Ultimately, I ended up using a single Hero 3 Black mounted to the head strap for several of the dives.  I only had so much battery life, limiting the amount of shooting I could do each day.  Also to complete our open water diver requirements we needed to demonstrate various skills such as the ability to remove and replace our masks under water.  In these situations I didn’t bother to bring the camera: the last thing I needed was to be chasing a $400 camera around the ocean floor with a mask full of sea water.  Just too much for a novice diver…

Anyway, I did manage to get a ridiculous amount of still footage.  In hindsight, some different apparatus would have been appropriate.  Many divers mount the camera to the end of pole with a wrist leash.  Additionally, a red lens apparently goes a long way toward restoring the natural color of the sea creatures and plants after the deep water strips out much of the light.  You live and you learn…  As with any other sport, figuring out how to capture the essence of it takes a few tries…  I’ll have to give it another shot next time.

During our 4 dives, split across two days, we saw several sharks, a turtle, a large manta ray, innumerable fish, corals, dolphins (from aboard the dive boat) and heard whales singing underwater.  Unfortunately I did not have the cameras handy for the sharks or the manta ray or the dolphins…  Bummer.  Even so, there a number of cool shots that really give an idea of how fun it is to dive.  Check it out!

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Kelly catches some raysfrom the bow of the dive boat.

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The stern of the boat was outfitted with all sorts of special compartments to anchor the SCUBA gear.

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Getting ready for a dive!

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Our instructor Sven, conducting one of the skills tests required for our open water diver certifications.

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Endless corals!

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Making sure I didn’t use up all of the air!

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Chasing some fish.

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Sven prepares to administer the underwater mask clearing exercise: we remove our masks, replace them, and clear them by forcing air back into the mask through our noses.

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Kelly searches for more fish.

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Sven rallies our group to show us a turtle lurking under the reef.

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Not sure how he spotted it under a rock…

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School of tiny fish!

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Investigating a sea arch!

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Smiles all around!

Gear List:

GoPro HERO3 Black Edition - Adventure GoPro HERO3 Black Edition – AdventureYou’ve already sold your Hero2 in preparation; you’ve read all of the literature that you could get your hands on; you’ve waited patiently with bated breath, and now the next generation of GoPro is finally here. The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition – Adventure has arrived, and we assure you that it’s worth the wait. Just looking at the external appearance of the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, the difference in iterations couldn’t be more night and day. The camera has been reduced in size by 30%, and the camera weight was reduced by 25%. In fact, the Hero3 tips the scales at an alarmingly low 2.6 ounces. The camera body has received a black backing treatment, and the front now boasts a more accessible and progressive user interface. And GoPro didn’t simply stop redesigning at the camera body, the new external housing not only bolsters the durability of the body, but it’s also fully-waterproof at depths up to 197′ (60m). Now, let’s get into the guts of the Hero3. The lens makes use of a new flat design with a waterproof housing. It’s what GoPro calls a six-element aspherical lens. What does this mean? Simply put, the lens has been designed to operate evenly across more light conditions than ever before. For the camera nerds; it’s an f/2.8 -6.0 lens. So, you’ll experience sharper image quality whether it’s blisteringly bright or the sun has nearly disappeared. And in low-light conditions, specifically, you can expect twice the light performance in comparison to the Hero2. The new lens also allows Ultra-wide, Medium, and Narrow field of view modes, and you can operate the White Balance in either auto or manual modes (3000k, 5500k, 6500k, Cam Raw). Now, you can expect crystal clear resolution from sunrise to sunset. Possibly more important for your mounted shots, the lens has made huge gains in decreasing distortion, so you can say goodbye to frame-warble when the Earth is berating your rig.






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