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Istanbul Akvaryum

At first I did not want to write a post about us going to an aquarium. But I took two nice pictures I would like to share with you!

The first one shows Anja with a sand tiger shark. Another visitor was just about to take a photo with his mobile phone, I took the chance to use his permanent strobe light for my own picture, too.

Now look at the second (poor-quality) picture that will probably remind you of the movie “Jaws”. If I had to guess the species, I would right away say that it is a great white shark or maybe a mako considering the small teeth. But actually it is a sand tiger shark again! I am so happy for this picture because you will hardly see a sand tiger with its mouth wide open. Sounds ridiculous because a shark would always pose like that? No! Google for a similar image of this species, I bet you will not find any…! And that is the reason I am proud to be able to share this remarkable snapshot with you – enjoy it!

- Bernd -

Scuba diving safari @ Brother islands, Daedalus reef, Elphinstone

Going on a scuba diving safari is different from how I used to dive in the past – stay in a hotel and make one or two dives on a daytrip. It means living on a boat for some days, standing up at a time I would call “in the middle of the night” and maybe getting so seasick that you have to sleep on the upper deck of the boat ;-) On the other hand it means having the chance to dive off-shore reefs and see a lot of big fish – and that’s what we’ve got!

Brother islands
- Grey reef sharks on several dives – unfortunately not close enough to take good pictures, but very impressive
- Ship wrecks of the Numidia and Aida
- Oceanic whitetip shark (“Longimanus”) during the descent

Daedalus reef
- Thresher shark on the first dive – very shy, but big and I swear it was starring at us
- Longimanus on almost every dive, very close, sometimes even three of them at the same time, usually at the end of the dive between 1 and 5 meters; all in all I was able to spend more than an hour with the Longimanus which allowed me to take some pretty good pictures and interact with the sharks
- Big shoal of about 15 hammerhead sharks in a depth of 50 meters

Elphinstone reef
- Lots of jewels grouper
- Shoals of barracudas
- Big Longimanus at the end of the last dive

Did I mention that we all had a lot of fun on board of the Golden Dolphin II and that our dive guides Matthias and Alba are the best in the world? :-P

Thank you very much to Peter Antoszkiewiez for taking great surface pictures! And to Gert Schnurrer for providing this video:

The video does not only show the Longimanus in action but also became a little “Making of” of my own photo series ;-) Enjoy!

- Bernd -

Our boat M/Y Golden Dolphin II anchoring in Port Ghalib (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
Our boat M/Y Golden Dolphin II anchoring in Port Ghalib (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Jewels grouper in a colorful reef, Elphinstone (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Jewels grouper in a colorful reef, Elphinstone (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Sea turtle, Brother islands (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Sea turtle, Brother islands (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus with pilot fish, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus with pilot fish, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Napoleon at the Numidia wreck, Brother islands (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Napoleon at the Numidia wreck, Brother islands (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Shy thresher shark, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Shy thresher shark, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of fish, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of fish, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Anemone fish, Elphinstone (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Anemone fish, Elphinstone (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus approaching scuba divers, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus approaching scuba divers, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead shark, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead shark, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Barracudas, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Barracudas, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Longimanus, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Sea cucumber, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Sea cucumber, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Descent to 50 meters, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Descent to 50 meters, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead shark with our dive guide Matthias, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead shark with our dive guide Matthias, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Hammerhead sharks, Daedalus reef (© 2015 Bernd Neeser)
Scuba divers, dive guide Matthias and the boat crew (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
Scuba divers, dive guide Matthias and the boat crew (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
Sunset at the Daedalus reef (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
Sunset at the Daedalus reef (© 2015 Peter Antoszkiewiez)
 


The Florida Aquarium

After the disapointing trip to Sea World we took another shot at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
With lovely arranged sceneries, wide-open tanks with an intact marina life and a huge glass house with free flying birds this aquarium was well worth visiting.

- Isabell -

The shark tank (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
The shark tank (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Scary jaws of a sand tiger shark (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Scary jaws of a sand tiger shark (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Duck face (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Duck face (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
He reminds me of someone...can't remember the name...ah, GRANDPA! ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
He reminds me of someone…can't remember the name…ah, GRANDPA! ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Turtle (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Turtle (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skin of a snake (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Skin of a snake (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a lemur (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a lemur (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Smile and wave... (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Smile and wave… (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Photoshoped owl - hope you like the composition (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Photoshoped owl – hope you like the composition (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
 


Sea World – petting zoo with orcas

Drawn here by their main attraction, the wonder- but also pitiful orcas, Sea World is just another Entertainment Park wrapped in a maritime costume.

Nearly every tank is linked to some kind of attraction – the crowded manta bay only seems to be the sidekick of the manta-style rollercoaster. Same can be said about the (touch-a-)sting-ray shore, the turtle & manatee shelter (incl. a 3D underwater simulation), the (feed-a-)dolphin lagoon and the shark tunnel – a truly moving experience (not because of the animals but the conveyor belt on which you are moved through the tunnel).

The orcas themselves are amazing, beautiful and left us speechless (and dripping wet). Yet their show is just a wanna-be “take-care-of-our-environment” theater.
As if this isn’t sad enough we were almost shocked by the last part of our tour through bling-bling Sea World: Antarctica. A traumatized walrus, an apathetic polar bear and five (!) stressed belugas packed in a huge, air-conditioned to a chilly temperature, fake arctic research station – to be entered through a simulated helicopter ride, of course.

After all, this was a dissapointing visit. If it wasn’t for the orcas and connected to them maybe the intention to create a more sensitive handling of the environment, we would not recommend to visit Sea World.

- Isabell –

The orca theater (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
The orca theater (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orcas (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orcas (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orca posing for the audience (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Orca posing for the audience (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Deep blue water (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Deep blue water (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion and its teacher having fun with each other ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion and its teacher having fun with each other ;-) (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Baby gators (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Baby gators (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell trying to take a picture from the conveyor belt - worst shark experience ever (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell trying to take a picture from the conveyor belt – worst shark experience ever (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Manatee gasping for breath (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Manatee gasping for breath (© 2014 Bernd Neeser)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
Selfie!!! (© 2014 Isabell Gernert)
 


Bye for now!

New Zealand is done, what comes next? Of course, Australia! Sydney. What a surprise! ;-)
Two days ago we arrived in the land of Vegemite and Kangaroos and we`ve liked it from the first minute. People are very friendly (except of the grumpy staff in our Hostel), you can still buy chocolate Donuts like in USA and the Darling Harbour of Sydney is just amazing. A few of the city´s best attractions are there as well e. g. the Sydney Aquarium with a big exhibit – the SHARK HQ – where you can see a 7 meters model of the Great White and you get a lot of background information. They also had living sand tiger sharks and several reef sharks – we spent a lot of time watching them, this time separated by a glass pane (…)

One evening we went to the world`s biggest IMAX 3D theatre and watched the Legend of the Guardians. We`ve seen the premier in Hollywood, do you remember? And yes, the movie was as good as expected. Not funny, but with very impressive pictures!

Tommorow we`re gonna leave Sydney and take a train to the North to … hm … who knows? This being said: It`s the reason we were not able to extend our stay in New Zealand (because we had booked in advance) and it will be somewhere in the Outback. I think we will not have Internet access but we`ll be back for blogging in about 10 days with (I hope) a lot of pictures and (of course!) with some exciting storys!

Take care!

- Isabell & Bernd -

P.S. Just for the case we won`t come back: Thanks again for reading, commenting and following us on this website ;-)

Sydney`s Darling Harbour (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sydney`s Darling Harbour (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Did I mention that she has to touch EVERYTHING? ;o) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Did I mention that she has to touch EVERYTHING? ;o) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
No joke, this is a WATER DRAGON (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
No joke, this is a WATER DRAGON (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A scary-looking but harmless sand tiger shark (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A scary-looking but harmless sand tiger shark (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A solid shark cage (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
A solid shark cage (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Giant grouper – they can grow up to 9 feet large! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Giant grouper – they can grow up to 9 feet large! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Shark portrait (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Shark portrait (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)


Meet the bulls!

Bull shark - © pterantulaDear readers, did you ever feel like diving with a shark species that

“[...] may be more dangerous to humans than any other species of shark, and, along with tiger sharks and great white sharks, [they] are among the three shark species most likely to attack humans.”

?

Well, maybe you never felt like diving with sharks at all ;-) but if you`re a fan like us then you should go to Beqa Lagoon – the top spot on Fiji – and see their bull sharks (Quote above from the Wikipedia article). We`ve been diving there yesterday and had over 20 of them on one dive, big ones with a fat body but still so much faster and agile than you´d think. It was an overwhelming experience seeing those 10 feet (3 meters!) tall fish swimming around only a few meters away from you and the best thing was: We were in the open water, no glass between, no cage, nothing! It wouldn`t have been necessary as our dive guides were very experienced and equiped with metal bars to hold back sharks that would come too close.
Beside the bull sharks we had a lot of other species like whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks. You would be very lucky to face one of them on an ordinary dive but the bulls definitely stole them the show!
I do not yet have an underwater housing for my new DSLR camera so I can`t offer you pictures from the dives – sorry! But the bull shark on the picture (that has also been taken in Beqa Lagoon!) could be one of those we saw – thanks to pterantula for sharing the picture under Creative Common licence!

- Bernd -

P.S. For more pictures have a look at the gallery on the website of our tour operator, the Beqa Adventure Divers!