Wednesday, 28 November 2007

New Decals for my Double-12s

Here are my new decals for my Double-12s. Aren't my doubles a beauty??? :)




Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Getting a new TTL converter

Good evening,

I am getting a new TTL converter from Japan. I was told they have developed a new TTL and that does not have the same problems as the other ones. I hope this time is for good since I am getting really tired with this.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Still having problems with my Sea&Sea housing

Finally got my housing back from Japan Friday. When I took it home and tried it, guess what? Didn't work again...

So I still don't have a solution on this one. Trying to figure it now.

Very upset...

Monday, 12 November 2007

New Uwatec Digital 330M

Scubapro Uwatec recently announced the launch of their new Digital 330m dive computer, which will be available from all authorised Scubapro Uwatec dealers.

The all new Uwatec Digital 330m is capable of displaying depth upto 330 metres, calculating the average depth during a dive, and will display the ascent rate in metres.

Designed to cater for the newer diver as well as the technical diver the Uwatec Digital 330m has a wide range of features for divers looking to maximise their dive information.

Finally Back for Diving !!!

Evening Gents,

Long time has passed already. Indeed, I have been having some issues. My drysuit has been repairing and my UW housing is still being fixed. More on the UW housing when I get it. Anyway, I am finally back in action !!!

Meanwhile, here is a picture I shot in the Bay Islands of a Hermit Crab.


Sunday, 5 August 2007

On vacation

DSC03130, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

See you in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Utila Aggressor: April 7-14, 2007

I spent a wonderful week on the Utila Agressor in the Bay Islands. Although the weather forescast was not very promising, we were blessed with beautiful weather the whole week with temperatures around 30 degrees C.

The water had an average of 29 degrees C with visibility ranging from 15 to 40 meters.

Almost all objectives were achieved in this trip. Not only did we get some great diving, we also got to swim with Whale Sharks, Mantas, and a some of us with a Blue Marlin! Well, only one objective was not accomplished - the "Rembrandt" of the whale shark, like Clyde said... Well, next time!!!

What made this trip even more special was our group. I was lucky to be with a great... I mean... really great group!!!

Sunday, April 8

We started off our week of diving at Cayos Cochinos where we dove on three different sites. Throughout the day we saw a baby Southern Stingray, Honeycomb and Scrawled Cowfish, a Smooth and Spotted Trunkfish, Great Barracuda, a Diamond Blenny, a Large Eyed Toadfish, four Caribbean Octopus, huge Spotted Sea Hares, a mini Sea Hare, a Slimy Doris, a Tufted Nudibranch, Reef Squid, and a Lettuce Sea Slug.

Monday, April 9
For our second day of diving we moved around quite a bit. We got to dive Coco's Seamount which is 6 miles off of Cayos Cochinos, then Mary's Place and Valley of the Kings on the South side of Roatan, and then Taviana’s Wall on the West end of Roatan. At Coco's we saw Horse Eye Jacks, Yellow Tail Snappers, Great Barracudas, Ocean Triggerfish, huge Barrel Sponges, a Southern Stingray, and a free swimming Green Moray. On the South Shores of Roatan we saw different types of Black Coral, a Spotted Moray, a Cubera Snapper, Blue Tangs, and soft Gorgonians. For our last afternoon and night dive we saw a Caribbean Octopus, Brittle Stars, Caribbean Lobsters, and a Long Horn Nudibranch.

Tuesday, April 10
For our last day of diving on Roatan we headed to the West side of the island. We dove the Aguila Wreck/Reef for the morning dives. During the first dive Capt Eddy and DM Nestor went down with the guests to put on a little show. Our friends the Black Groupers, the Cubera Snapper, and the curious Green Moray all came out to play. For the rest of the day we dove at Half Moon Bay Wall where we had some amazing dives. We saw a couple of Hawksbill Turtles, a Spotted Eagle Ray, a Caribbean Reef Squid, a Spotted Lobster, schooling Blue Tangs, French Angels, a Scrawled Filefish, a Spotted Drum, Yellow Head Jaw Fish with eggs in their mouths, a Caribbean Octopus, a Nodose Rubble Crab, Tufted Nudibranchs, and a Fringe-Back Nudibranch.

Wednesdat, April 11
Early in the morning we made our way over to Utila for our two morning dives at one of Utila’s seamounts, Black Hills, off the East side of the island. During the dives we saw a free swimming Green Moray, Hawksbill Turtles, Horse Eye Jacks, Black Durgons, Pillar Coral, huge Sea Fans, and Scrawled Cowfish. After the morning dives we headed out into the blue to search for Mr. Big. We could see quite a few fish boils so we agreed to sacrifice a dive so we would have more time to search. We ended up finding two different Whale Sharks and got to do a few jumps! Everyone got to see Mr. Big at least once and smiles were from ear to ear. For the last two dives we headed to the West side of the island to Jack Neil Point. During the dives we saw a Hawksbill Turtle, a Yellow Stingray, a Large Eyed Toadfish, an Intermediate Spotted Drum, Caribbean Octopus, and a Quilfin Blenny.

Thursday, 12 April
For our last full day of diving we dove the Marine Reserve on the North side of the island at Old House for the morning. Everyone loved the site and all the macro options that were available. There were Lettuce Sea Slugs a plenty, Red Lip Blennies, mating Flamingo Tongues, two Red Banded Lobsters, School Masters, Mahogany Snappers, big Brain Coral, and a beautiful sheer wall. After our "Burgers in Paradise" lunch we headed back out to look for more whale sharks. For us the shark was more important than diving so we ended up spending all afternoon looking. The first hour was looking to promising but then we hit the jack pot! We ended up swimming with four different Whale Sharks as well as Manta Rays and a Blue Marlin! The sun started to set so we made our way over to the east side of the island at Radar Reef for our night dive. We saw a baby Hawksbill Turtle, a Copper Lobster, a Sculptured Slipper Lobster, Lettuce Sea Slugs, a Nodose Rubble Crab attempting to eat a Flamingo Tongue, a Sand Dollar, and beautiful Bio-luminescence.

Friday, 13 April
For our last morning of diving we Dove Ted’s Point on the East side of the Island. Just when the guests thought that the week couldn’t get any better, they were proved wrong when DM Nestor found a small white Long Snout Seahorse, and a Southern Stargazer! We also saw Brown Garden Eels, an Eyed Flounder, Sergeant Majors, Bermuda Chubs, and a Spotted Drum.

Monday, 23 July 2007

TDI Advanced Nitrox / Decompression Procedures Completed !!!

IMG_0795, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I finished on the 8th July the Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures course. The final exam was done in Hemmoor, Germany, where we spent the weekend diving.

Dive site: Kreidesse Entrance 5
Depth: 45 meters
Duration of the dive: 43 minutes
Mixes used: 25% and 50% (deco)

Weather was nearly storm conditions with exception of the exam day when we finally got some beautiful weather.

Thanks to everyone and specially to Nico for giving us the course!!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Testing my MS Office 2007

This is just a test to my MS Office 2007. Still did not publish my trip report, I know. Been really really busy… Sorry.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Utila Aggressor (Bay Islands) Video

Still had no time to process my shots so meanwhile here is the video from my trip. Double click to play

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Back from Utila Aggressor in Honduras

Reef in Honduras, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I just got back from my trip to Honduras with the Utila Aggressor. The trip was great and I met great people while there. When I have some time I will post a trip report together with some shots I took there.

By the way, I got to see 4 whale sharks !!!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Utila Agressor - Already in Atlanta, US

On my way to Honduras, I am staying tonight in Atlanta, US. Today I rented a car to go to a dive store over here.

Guess which car I got???

Ford Mustang... Not bad, hey?

Well, prepare to go to bed. Tomorrow another day carrying my luggage around.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Almost there - Utila Aggressor

The day has come! Friday morning I will be flying to Atlanta, US where I will stay overnight, and Saturday I will be flying to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. From there, I will go to La Ceiba where I will join the Utila Agressor for one week.

The weather forecast doesn't look that great: thunderstorms, rain all time. Let's hope this changes !!!!

My best half (Pinnie) will not be able to join me this time. This is the bad part about this trip... I hope I can still have a good time without her (not easy). I will miss you Bi !!!

Friday, 30 March 2007

Luxfer Stage Bottle

Luxfer Stage Bottle, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I just got a Luxfer 40cft aluminum stage bottle. I will be using this for my Advanced Nitrox / Deco Procedures course.

Sea&Sea DX400D Review

I have been experiencing some problems with my TTL connector in my housing. The Dutch distributor kindly offered to change the housing for either a new DX350D or for the DX400D.

I went to check the DX400D and see whether it was worthwhile to swap the DX350 for this new model.

In my opinion, the main new features of this model are:

- built-in TTL converter

- optional magnifying .8 viewfinder

Built-in TTL converter

The built-in TTL converter saves some space outside the housing and the slight additional weight that the external TTL converter puts on the left side of the housing.

There is a button inside the housing to switch between Manual and TTL. This can only be chosen before the dive. The other drawback of the internal converter is that you are not able to choose flash compensation as with the external TTL converter.

This TTL converter uses a flat battery which will be in stand-by when the strobes are off (will still consume energy even while you are not using the camera). I called Sea&Sea Japan and they informed me that under "normal" use conditions, the battery should last approximately 1 year.

The DX400D only has one strobe connector on top of the housing

Optional magnifying .8 viewfinder

The DX-400D uses a different viewfinder which allows you to upgrade to a .8 maginifying viewfinder instead of the .66. I assume that in the future there might be a 45 degree viewfinder for this model (just an assumption).

Buttons on the back of the housing

Until so far, I was more or less convinced on changing from the DX350 to the DX400D. The problem arose when I checked the buttons in the back of the housing.

To my surprise (shock?) a couple of buttons just disappeared in this new "improved" housing. Namely, the menu button and the delete is gone. Also the display button is gone.

This took away all the doubts I had whether to change to the DX400D housing. As an example of a big disadvantage, without the menu button you are not able in the 400D to select a picture to do custom WB. With a small adaptation of the DX350D housing you can use the 400D camera with all its features.


I cannot understand what made Sea&Sea develop a new housing where they take out such important buttons (they were there in the DX350, you just needed to put them to the side!!!)

The TTL inside the camera makes the camera more streamlined (also with less air inside the camera, meaning more negative) but gives you less flexibility in using the TTL.

IMHO, this housing is a no go, at least until the other buttons are added to the housing.

Any comments, please email me.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Diving with the Great White

This one is worthwhile watching... This guy is freediving with the Great White. He is actually more than just diving with the Great White. Double click the image to watch it. Music is also interesting...

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Diver exploring wreck (Oosvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring wreck (Oosvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Beetle and diver (Oosvoornse Meer)

Beetle and diver (Oosvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver exploring Beetle (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring Beetle (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Fisheye FIX LED 48DX

Last post of the day. I am posting some pictures of my new focus / dive light for using in my housing. This light is great having a battery life of 4-8 hours and a knob to adjust light intensity.

I put some semi-transparent tape in the front of the light to act as a diffuser and get a more even light beam.

Canon EOS 400D on Sea&Sea DX350D Housing

Sea&Sea has announced some time ago their new housing for the Canon EOS 400D. Meanwhile, Wetpixel member Pakman has found a way to use the Canon 400D in the DX350D housing without any major changes. Indeed, only the buttons on the left of the LCD are in the different place than in the 350D. The solution is the use of wall anchors (specifically, wall anchors nylon size #4 worked great for me) in the place of the rubber buttons originally in place.

This solution is great because the housing can be retrofit to the 350D anytime, just changing the wall anchors for the original rubber buttons.

Also you can see completely the new 2.5 LCD in the housing. This nice bright LCD shows you all the camera settings without needing to put your eye on the viewfinder or on the old display.

Tokina 10-17mm FishEye DX - Adaptation to use S&S Canon EF-S Ring system

As I mentioned previously, I got myself the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye DX lens for my Canon. The main advantages of this lens are, additionally to the obvious wide-angle produced, the sharpness of the corners underwater and the close focus capability.

Unfortunately, there is no ring system for this lens, at least for my housing (Sea & Sea). Thus, I tried several alternatives to use the zoom of this lens underwater.

My first test was using some kind of foam tape around the zoom in the lens and then put my S&S 60mm focus ring system on top. This seemed to work since the Tokina lens is only slightly thinner than the Canon EF-S 60. This system not only looked bad but also was not very stable. The zoom ring would tend to get out of the place and eventually fall out of the lens to the Dome port - Not such a good idea.

For my second test I used elastic bands (the ones you get for adjusting your clothes) and put it around the zoom. This seemed to work pretty well at the beginning - looks good and it is easily removable from the lens. For this one, I had the help of Rita, my mother-in-law, who generoulsy offered herself to teach me in the art of using an electric sewing machine (cool stuff, let me tell you guys!!!). The problem was that the zoom ring would still tend to fall out of the lens. The problem is that the o-ring inside the zoom ring is in the front of the ring and therefore it would not touch the elastic band.

Third test - final solution: I bought some velcro tape and "glued" it inside the zoom ring (in the oposite side of the existing o-rings). This mad the velcro tape "grab" the elastic band and the zoom ring feels now snug in the lens. I tried already several times and it works perfectly. Just be carefully to check whether the AF is still chosen since the elastic band might put it in MF when putting the zoom ring in the lens.

Since I glued the velcro tape in the lens I still had to make it work with the EF-S 60 lens when using this. For that, I slightly cut the velcro teeth so that they would not scratch in the 60mm lens.

Some pictures below of my solution:

Friday, 16 March 2007

New Camera, new Fisheye lens and new focus light

I got the new Canon EOS-400D, the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye lens as well as a new focus light Fisheye FIX LED 48DX.

For the Canon EOS-400D, I had to do a slight adaptation into my Sea&Sea housing. The fit is perfect and the large screen is a big advantage underwater. The adaptation does not have any impact on the camera which can be easily retrofit for the EOS-350D.

The Tokina fisheye lens has the advantage of focusing extremely close and of keeping the corners sharp underwater (Canon 10-22 does not provide such results). I was able to use the zoom ring for the Canon EF-S 60 with a small adaptation.

The Fisheye LIX LED 48DX has the advantage for providing a powerful light and at the same time has the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the light power with the twist of a simple knob.

While my latest pictures were already taken with the EOS-400D, the Fisheye LED is still to be tested.

I will post some pictures on the adaptations made soon.

Going skiing to Austria

I will be skiing for a couple of days in Sankt Anton, Tirol area in Austria. No diving for me this weekend. I will be back next week.

Dive safe !!!

Diver exploring a wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring a wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Divers in Oostvoornse Meer

Divers in Oostvoornse Meer, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver exploring the Beetle

Diver exploring the Beetle, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Beetle in Oostvoornse Meer

Beetle in Oostvoornse Meer, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver on wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver on wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I went this weekend to Oostvoornse Meer with my buddy Fred and took a couple of pictures. I will post some now and much more when I find the time.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Diver Exploring

Diver Exploring, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver Swimming

Diver Swimming, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Sunken Bus in Vinkeveen

Sunken Bus in Vinkeveen, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver on top of bus (Vinkeveen)

Diver on top of bus (Vinkeveen), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

This shot was taken in Vinkeveen on top of the bus. Frans is the diver in the picture.