underwater

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Art Science

An 80-Foot Steel Kraken Will Create an Artificial Coral Reef Near the British Virgin Islands

October 18, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via Owen Buggy

This past April a massive 80-foot steel kraken was purposefully sunk into the Caribbean Sea on top of a decorated WW2 ship. The former Navy fuel barge and its monstrous passenger were placed underwater in order to jumpstart a new coral ecosystem, while also serving as a cutting-edge education center for marine researchers and local students from the surrounding British Virgin Islands. The project is titled the BVI Art Reef, and aims to use sculptures like the porous kraken as a base to grow transplanted coral.

The Kodiak Queen, formerly a Navy fuel barge named the YO-44, was discovered by British photographer Owen Buggy approximately two and a half years ago on the island of Tortola. Instead of letting the historic vessel get picked apart for scrap metal, Buggy approached former boss Sir Richard Branson about collaborating on a restorative art installation. Together with nonprofit Unite B.V.I., artist group Secret Samurai Productions, social justice entrepreneurial group Maverick1000, and ocean education nonprofit Beneath the Waves, the project was established as both an eco-friendly art installation, and a philanthropic measure to rehabilitate native marine species.

“It’s envisioned that within just a short space of time the ship and artwork will attract a myriad of sea creatures,” said Clive Petrovic who consults on the environmental impact of the BVI Art Reef. “Everything from corals to sea sponges, sharks and turtles will live on, in, and around the wreck. The ship will become valuable for future research by scientists and local students alike.”

To sink the massive ship, the project sought the help of the Commercial Dive Services who safely submerged the vessel off the coast of the island Virgin Gorda. It was the first time the ship had been in the water for nearly 17 years, and was lead to its final resting place by a bevy of boats and helicopters.

Filmmaker Rob Sorrenti filmed both the construction and sinking of the kraken and its ship. The full-length documentary is currently in post-production, with an estimated release early next year. You can watch a clip from the upcoming film below. For information on visiting the BVI Art Reef, and to learn more about its educational programs, visit the project’s website and Facebook.

 

 



Photography Science

A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

July 4, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Franco Banfi / Licensed for use on Colossal

Photographer Franco Banfi and a team of scuba divers were following a pod of sperm whales when suddenly the large creatures became motionless and began to take a synchronized vertical rest. This strange sleeping position was first discovered only in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into their own group of non-active sperm whales. After studying tagged whales the team learned this collective slumber occurs for approximately 7 percent of the animal’s life, in short increments of just 6-24 minutes.

The image, Synchronized Sleepers, was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature. You can see more of the Switzerland-based photographer’s underwater photography on his website and Instagram. (via kottke.org)

 

 



Photography

Heavy Metals: New Underwater Ink and Metal Photographs by Alberto Seveso

January 5, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Bristol-based illustrator and photographer Alberto Seveso (previously) just shared a new collection of underwater ink photographs titled Heavy Metals. Seveso achieves the ethereal forms in his photographs by mixing ink with metallic powders which are then suspended in different fluids. You can see more of his fluid-based photography and illustration in his portfolio.

 

 



Amazing

Freediver David Helder Possesses the Uncanny Ability to Blow Perfect Bubble Vortexes Underwater

August 10, 2014

Christopher Jobson

French freediver David Helder has been diving for over 35 years, and somewhere along the way he discovered a strange ability. Like a dolphin, Helder can blow perfectly controlled bubble rings underwater. While many divers have playfully experimented with blowing these whirling vortexes, Helder has dedicated significant time to perfecting the technique which he uses to perform dozens of different tricks. Watch the video to see him in action, thing get really interesting around the 2:40 mark. (via Sploid)

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Photography

Cenote Angelita: An Underwater River Photographed by Anatoly Beloshchin

July 29, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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It seems improbable, but these photographs by Anatoly Beloshchin tell the story of a hidden underwater river in in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula called Cenote Angelita or “Little Angel”. While it appears as though the divers are hovering in the air above a small creek, the photos were shot entirely in a submerged cave formed from collapsed limestone bedrock called a cenote.

The river itself is actually a sort of illusion due to a phenomenon called a halocline, where waters with different levels of salinity form into layers because of a variation in density. According to Beloshchin, Cenote Angelita is comprised of fresh water until about 29 meters when it switches to a 1-meter layer of hydrogen sulfide, after which the entire cave bottom is filled with saltwater from 30 to 60 meters deep. So in reality the “river” is actually just a dense layer of saltwater resting at the bottom of a cave. You can read more over the SeaWayBLOG, and see many more photos in the Underwater Caves section of Beloshchin’s website. (via my modern met)

 

 



Art Photography

Black and White Underwater Photography by Hengki Koentjoro

May 15, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Underwater photography of scuba divers, coral, or wildlife can sometimes seem commonplace regardless of the remote destination or subject, but Indonesian photographer Hengki Koentjoro (previously here and here) bucks the trend with his desaturated, dark, and often brooding images taken in and around Jakarta, Indonesia. While his landscape photography above ground is often dreamlike and mysterious, as soon as the blue is removed from the ocean it introduces a slightly menacing tone that while deeply beautiful, sets the viewer a little on edge. Oh and also the sharks. Koentjoro is one of my favorite photographers right now and you should get lost in his photos for a bit. Find him on 500px, Flickr, and Art Limited. (via my amp goes to 11)

 

 



Photography

Vibrant Macro Photographs of Coral by Felix Salazar

January 17, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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LA-based photographer and composer Felix Salazar recently captured some wonderful macro photos of several inhabitants in his salt water aquariums. The shocking variety of color makes the coral look like digital renderings, but Salazar assures me each is a unique photo selected from hundreds of attempts to get just the right shot as he experimented with focus and light. You can see many more on his website. (via my modern met)