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Dúlra Photography Blog

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Latest News

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All good things come to an end at some point I suppose and this trip is no different. We've officially handed the boat back to Des with much thanks and I am left considering how I take on the next leg of this epic adventure...

Before I go too far into that though I'll give you a brief rundown of events after we left Inis Turk.

I am sorry to report that the swell and bad weather prevailed making diving into my chosen spots contiuously difficult.

Deas came back on board and we headed north under a heavy stormy sky with the odd rainbow.




We were hoping to dive the Bills (Southwest of Achill Island) but way too much wind and swell. Here's a wee pic of them....looking awesome.

Someday I'll get to dive them. Apparently The Bills are a dive site on every Irish divers bucket list....




We had another night on anchor at Keem Bay in Achill hoping to dive Achill in the morning...Nope.....access denied!!

So on we went with a brief lunch in Blacksod and a very close encounter with some foul ground. We made it as far as Rinroe in Broadhaven for a safe anchorage hoping to dive around Kidd Island the next day. Despite the heavy surge the next day we managed to get into a cave but couldn't stay long as there was too much movement.

I could typically be at my camera adjusting settings and a surge could come and move me 5m from the camera. The back surge would bring me back but all this movement and working hard to stay in position means I go through my air rapid quick. I have to keep a constant eye on my air guage and my dive computer to ensure I have enough air to achieve all safety stops on my return to the surface. The art of losing myself in my surroundings and feeling the powerful energy around me is peppered with safety reminders and surges.


We headed back to Sligo as Des's family had planned to use the boat for a week but unfortunately for them the weather turned even worse and prevented them getting out......some summer!


A week later Ciaran, Joe and I were back aboard and heading towards Donegal. The week's weather promised light northerly winds, sunshine but the dreaded swell was still there. I love surfing and have spent over 20 years catching waves all over the place and this summer was a great surfing summer.....not so hot for diving!


Ciaran & Joe on the lookout!




We had a night on a mooring in Killybegs....Ireland's enormous industrial fishing port and the next day went looking for sheltered spots. We saw this cave near Teelin from a few miles away and headed over....




 A very shallow dive into pitch black with loads of life....so many prawns, plaice, congor eels and incredible light on the surface.

 Here's one not too far into the cave but still very dark...




We had a night in Teelin but winds had gone to the south and we made the call to head back over to Downpatrick Head which would benefit from the southerly winds. 6am departure had us arriving at Dun Briste at about 12:30pm.

I love this perspective....




No escape from the swell but managed a dive anyhow on the most sheltered side. I haven't spoken about plankton much but from the surface to about 20m plankton is all about at this time of year. It reduces visability and adds a milky mistiness to any scene. You can see their movement through the shot on a long exposure. Here is a shot of a towering pinnacle with plenty plankton at Dun Briste. A sacred standing stone in the land under the sea.




A very welcome return to the surface....still in our O'Three Thermals and Joe had some delicious Hot Chocolate drinks ready for us from Skelligs Chocolates. They gave us a whole range of amazing chocolate drinks to take with us including Chilli and Cinnamon flavours. Big thanks to them.




A hefty 4m swell was coming (surprise, surprise) so we picked Des, Leon his grandson and Durka his dog up from Kilcummin and made a hasty retreat to Sligo for a fantastic Fleadh weekend.


We made sure to breath some of our 50% oxygen first. I think Ciaran has passed out here....




So....that brings us to the end of our adventures aboard the 'Nanette' for this year. The project is by no means over. I plan to wait for the optimum conditions and dive these elusive locations continuing to build this incredible project. 

The blogs will continue.......stay tuned!



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We crept into Westport Quay and 'come in, she said 'I'll give ya....shelter from the storm''.

We waited there for 4 days until the storm had passed and then we were able to get going again. I got a great invite to eat jumbo prawns at the Idle Wall for a BBC show. Cooked to perfection by Áine.

Even though we were able to get going there was still strong winds and the swell was still knocking about. This seems to be the story of the summer. Constant wind and swell making it extremely difficult getting into the areas that I feel fit with this new project.

Caves and gullies are the choice areas but constant surge makes them very difficult. I will be setting the camera up for a shot on the quodpod and suddenly a surge comes and I am about 3 metres away....luckily the surge brings me back again but it makes it pretty difficult.


So we headed off from Westport with Joe our newest team member and spent the next 10 days mainly around Inis Turk with a visit to Inis Boffin trying to get dives in sheltered areas...mainly on the south and east. 


Here's one of Ciaran from Carraig Cos Cheim on Inis Turk...


Ciaran at oog 1


 The Idle Wall in Westport after the best feed of prawns ever!


Idle wall


Our small outboard engine for the dinghy stopped working so we headed over to Scuba Dive West to try and repair. Andy and Ciaran gave it their best and it seemed to work....for a bit!




We tried this gully on the South side of Boffin....guarded by a fair number of Shags.....


 Here's a 4 second exposure just below the surface from the south side of Turk.....
This one is from the same location....I managed to rest the quodpod on the rocks either side of the crack.
Joe chilling on board in Boffin harbour...
A big shout out to Batchelors...they sponsored all sorts of beans....baked, cannellini, kidney, chick peas.
Here's Ciaran enjoying a fine chorizo and bean casserole predive.....
Talking of Ciaran....he has been an incredible support. Not just an extremely skilled diver, sailor, anchorman but general all round knowledge of the sea and fixer. I go through my air pretty quick trying to take pictures in the surge so in order to help me conserve my air he takes my quodpod until I start taking pictures.....
Oog More....south Turk.....
surface reflection
And another from Oog More looking to the surface....
anemone on rock
Inis Turk morning at sunset.....
And we continue our journey of weather dodging and diving!

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A nice anchorage at Keem changed over night as the winds veered to easterlies. Uncomfortable to put it mildly so we headed off to find a dive site. We had heard tell of some epic locations near Achill head facing south west. Wind was from the East so we started looking for some interesting topside topography.
We came across this spot and felt it could be interesting underneath…..A narrow gulley with tonnes of boulders wedged in.
We geared up, swam across and here is one of Ciaran just before we descended.
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It certainly didn’t disappoint. The feeling I get by dropping into these gullies is like passing through some gateway to a sacred chamber or tomb.
A gateway to the underworld. Such a powerful emotion comes over me that it is difficult to hold onto my air. I am excited by my surroundings, I am using a tripod (Quodpod) that has 4kgs attached to it. My air goes quick!
I have to be efficient with my decisions, executions and movements. Each dive I am improving.
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On returning to the surface the forecasted gales had already started. This proved difficult for us getting back to the boat. A full on swim later and we were aboard and making a run for Westport to hide from the storm.
Back to Westport and we have to say goodbye to Matt, who’s making the documentary, legendary crew and cameraman. You’ll be missed amigo.
Here’s a wee one of Ciaran, Matt and I reviewing some images.
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Richard Thorn gave me a couple of quality suggestions not far from Erris Head….Eagle Island and Scotch Port Rock. Unfortunately, at Eagle Island the side we wanted to dive on still had plenty of swell and wind. We had a dive on the sheltered side and found this little gully in shallow water. Loads of surge so difficult to capture. This is one of the many continuing problems I encounter trying to photograph around. 
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A short hop and a jump and we anchored at Frenchport and had a very mellow nights sleep.
Seriously, we have our fair share of windy nights and this was a wonderful anchorage.
Next day we headed to Scotch Port Rock which was way more sheltered.
We geared up and got in the water and were given a warm welcome by plenty Jellyfish.
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As soon as we descended we found we had dropped right into a spectacular gully.
Here’s ciaran a ghostly diver swimming through the gully.
I managed to get another pic as we safety stopped on the way up….A small pinnacle.
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Past Black Rock and onto Achill for anchorage at Keem Bay
15Black Rock
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After our short but windy stay at Rossport we made our way out of Broadhaven Bay and a return to the Stags…...a small group of rocky islands not far from Portacloy.
Winds were from the south and swell was still hitting these small islands but we found a small sheltered spot on the north east side. Plenty of the cutest puffins hanging out. Funny looking little lads but always a delight to see.
We set a good anchor, geared up and headed over to the sheltered dive in our little dinghy. A small grapple anchor at the dive site and ready to roll.
Nice Scubapro fins!
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Great visibility and a stunning location. This next shot I put a 6 stop ND filter on the lens before putting it on the Aquatica housing. This enabled me to get 2 minute exposures on F11.
I love the surreal nature of the moving seaweed contrasting to the stillness of the rock. Still not 100% happy with the workflow but experimenting as I go.
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We headed for Portacloy for some safe anchorage and some quality grub.
Here’s a pic of Ciaran getting stuck into some amazing air dried pork and beef from McGeoughs Connemara Fine Foods.
They gave us enough of this delicious meat to do us for the entire trip. No refrigeration required!!!
Relishes by Caroline Lennon and Buillín Blasta are fast becoming a staple condiment for every meal.
Next day another dive at the stags before a visit to Kid Island. Parsons Rock seen through the gap...
A small piece of seaweed just below the surface.
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Tuesday, 7th of July, we finally got plan B on the go. Although it seems the wild Atlantic weather systems are not finished with us yet…..strong winds and heavy swells are continuing to batter us. Not ideal diving weather! I started getting a cold the day before we left. Still, we persevered, loaded the boat and set sail as far as Killala on the first night. Des. our skipper, Matt, the documentary guy, Ciaran, the dive guru and me…..photo guy! A skeleton crew from what was originally planned for Greenland but we’re up for the challenge!
We left Killala on Wednesday morning hoping for a dive at Dun Briste at Downpatrick Head but the swell was too high. Zero chance of diving. Typical…. I have chosen these epic locations that are exposed to the severe winds and swells….and this summer is a turbulent one.
Pic 1
Saw some basking sharks on route…

Pic 2

We returned to Kilcummin, took up a mooring and got battered by swell for the night. We managed a quick tour of Killcummin where General Humboldt landed in 1798. 

Pic 3

On Thursday we tried again for a dive at Dun Briste and this time we managed to get in.

Pic 4

We did a full 360 of the stack as it was the least amount of surge.
For all you non divers out there…diving involves a lot of gear and particularly underwater photography.
I am trying to do some long exposures with my underwater quodpod from Anchor Dive Lights.
My idea was that I would assess the dive first with just the camera and lights and return to the spots on a second dive with the quodpod.
I have 4 KGs attached to the tripod so it makes diving with it difficult. This is a luxury that doesn’t seem to be possible as the weather prevented us getting a second dive in. This means from now on I need to dive with the quodpod. This makes diving way more difficult and my air consumption is much higher. I also have to be careful to dump air in my drysuit before letting it go or I will shoot to the surface.
Having said all that, Dun Briste was a fantastic dive, full of life and interesting rock formations. I have ear marked a few places that hopefully I can get back to when the weather is better.
We headed on to Rinroe for safe anchorage although the winds were howling from the south. Another rocky nights sleep and next morning we filled our tanks with air. Not much space so careful coordination is required.

Pic 5

The same goes when charging batteries for cameras, lights, phones, iPads etc etc etc!

Pic 6

On Friday we managed to find a sheltered spot just east of Portacloy which was sheltered from the south winds and the SW swell.
We were able to anchor the boat and Ciaran and I got 2 dives in here.
Pic 7

Pic 8

Here’s a shot a got on the second dive.

Pic 9

Parsons Rock

Pic 10

The Stags, hoping to dive them on this journey.

Pic 11

Des, the esteemed Doctor, left us on Friday evening at Rinroe and we headed for Rossport as there was some heavy winds coming. Rossport has excellent anchorage but we were once again battered by the wind. Rossport locals (Sean from Dennys bar and Barney) were very friendly and provided us with showers, a small shop and a lift to a garage to top up on fuel. 
Hopefully now we are establishing a bit of a workflow. Weather reports are for more swell and winds so it’s all messing up the visability. 
We live in hope……!

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The saga of the damaged engine aboard the Killary Flyer is not done yet. It turns out that when we were sitting in the big storm with our stern to the storm (see previous blog) and swell pounding the boat, due to the continuous pressure some water went up the exhaust and into the engine. There is a yoke called a ‘baffle’ to help protect against this but unfortunately it didn’t do enough this time. This water in the engine did untold amount of damage, seizing the engine and burning the starter motor.
So….where does that leave us?
Des Moran, County Coroner in Sligo for many years and crew aboard the North of Disko trip in 2013, has a small boat that he has offered so that we can get to dive sites around the coast. 4 weeks, 4 people, living aboard this little beauty….

Ah no…he has a gorgeous 30 foot yacht called ‘Nanette’
Unbelievable generosity form Des. Ciaran is still coming along as my back up diver and Matt is going to document for the next couple of weeks.
We still have the portable compressor courtesy of Scubadive West.
I put a call out to the diving community through the CFT underwater photography page looking for suggestions of unusual caves, tunnels, pinnacles, rock formations and people have been brilliant. Many thanks to Richard Thorn, Martin Kiely, Nick Pfeiffer and Ciaran O’Murchu for all their wonderful suggestions. We aim to travel the West of Ireland in Des’s boat diving as many locations as possible.
I will utilise the underwater quodpod provided by Anchor Dive Lights to create long exposure images of the underwater world. 
Here is my first attempt from Carriage Cois cheim on Inis Turk. It is a blend of 5 images and edited quickly to give you an idea of the style of imagery I am trying to capture. Breffni from Scubadive West put me right onto this location.
I cannot describe the incredible energy I felt as I sat at the bottom of this cave on my own soaking up the incredible mood.
Shot on the new Canon 5DSr 50.6 MP camera so should be able to get a nice print from it.
Nice top side scenery too…great day out diving.
Shot from dive 1
The next 2 are from right at the slipway at Scubadive West.
SW slipway 1
SW slipway 2
Mweelrea in the background.
Sealife housing
An old Sealife Housing I came across yesterday. Cameras Underwater ever stock these?
We set sail tomorrow (Tuesday 7th of July) hopefully to begin this Odyssey at Dun Briste and Downpatrick Head.
Watch this space…..
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It is with deep regret that I must report that the 'Into the Blue' project to Greenland is over for this year.

We got caught in a large storm that caused severe damage to the boat and particularly the engine.

We were stuck in a storm for 48 hours with the 'Drogue' deployed.  Here's a small passage I wrote about it while on board:

'50 mph winds direct from the west make it a very uncomfortable experience. 
So much so that our famous 'Jordan's Drogue' which was used on North of 
Disko I was deployed last night at about 9pm. This 100m of rope with about 
150 little parachutes attached. The whole thing is tied off the aft and 
hugely stabilises the boat. As the giant swell rolls through all tension is 
taken up by the drogue lines. They creak and groan under the strain until 
the wave passes....and then the next wave arrives and so on.  Watch system 
has changed as we are going nowhere and it is now 1 hour on alone and 5 
hours off. This is a watch to make sure nothing goes wrong with the Drogue.
Now, although the Drogue steadies the boat a bit we are still being tossed 
about the place and being smashed with waves over the deck. These one hour 
watches became known as 'The Death Watch' by Claire on the last expedition. 
Basically all hatches are closed and you go out on deck on you own while 
everyone else sleeps. Appropriate name....I was on my 2am one last night, 
winds howling and shrieking through the rigging. I was sitting on the deck 
of the cockpit when a giant wave smashed over the entire cockpit soaking me 
from head to toe. This has happened to all of us at this stage.'




The 'Jordan Drogue'


Storm chart


A snap of our chart plotter in the middle of the storm. We travelled 80 miles in the wrong direction...towards Iceland!


The starter motor ended up heating so much to create a small fire. Not ideal 500miles from land! This effectively left us with no engine and no means of steering around those beautiful but dangerous ice bergs in Greenland. We had no choice but to turn around.




The offending item....the starter motor.


Here are 2 very contrasting views in the middle of the Atlantic...




The calm before the storm.




Rolling swell in the middle of the Atlantic.


Storm graph


And this is what we had coming next!!




Adam at the helm.




Ciaran with Carolines (his mum) hard tack. Caroline made loads of amazing flapjacks, chutneys, jams, soft and hard tack.


Hard and soft tack is a very old recipe for a bread that would last many months at sea without growing mould.


Weevils might get at it but if you ate it in the dark you'd never know. Soft tack is a wee bit salty but easier to bite but hard tack is a tooth breaker. Think of the hardest pizza crust you have ever tried...leftover for a few days....and add a bit of cement for good measure.


So....we are all extremely disappointed to have had to end our mission to Greenland. I am particularly disappointed not to be giving all our wonderful sponsors what they signed up for. I have made contact with almost all of our sponsors and so far the general feeling is about our safety. I have had a few days of trying to swallow the bitter pill. Months and months of training, planning and preparation by all involved.....not easy to accept but in the general scheme of things we are very lucky. I am not about to let it all die so already I am planning an alternative expedition this summer. Once the Killary Flyer is repaired we are expedition ready and are planning an trip of diving from the Skelligs to Rockall and many islands in between. We'll have the air compressor on board ready to explore some of the least dive sites off the Irish Coast. I am also planning a return trip to Greenland in 2016.

Watch this space!!!






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Ok...Good news....gearbox repaired by the wonderful John Ruddy and all going well we will be on our way again this afternoon.




Here's John and Andy assessing the situation.


1b Arctic Sunshine


Fingers crossed that it works out this time!




And we get some more of these stunning conditions!


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4:30pm 9th of June…..The scene was set, the crowds had gathered and we were on our way. Months of preparation and training and finally we had cast off.




The send off party




Ciaran at the Helm




Not long after clearing Killary Harbour we had some force 3 northerlies which enabled us to head West at about 7kts. Watch systems established….Andy & Ciaran, Jamie & Josie and Adam & I…..3 hours on 6 hours off.  Our first watch was 9pm to 12pm and was a stunning one….great sailing and a fiery sunset. 




Perfect conditions, a fine chorizo and pasta dinner, delicious chocolate and banana cake by Ma Muldowney, a spectacular sunset……what could go wrong?


The winds eased throughout the night and by the time Adam & I came on watch for our 6am watch the winds had died completely. We were 100 NM from Killary. An easy decision to bring the engine into play as we had slowed right down. After a few minutes it sounded wrong so we shut it down and started looking into it. A leak in the gearbox almost all all the transmission fluid had leaked. We had spare but we had lost about 2 litres. This was critical and could leave us with out the engine. So….a hard but easy decision…..about turn and return to Killary. Initially we had slack winds meaning it could be days returning home but luckily our fortune changed and we got perfect winds. We lost wind along the Killary and Shane, Jamies son, came out and towed us in to anchor. 






So, currently we are at anchor and the gearbox has to come out. Until we have this problem resolved we cannot continue on route……….Watch this space!!!




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At last after many, many months of preparation the Killary Flyer is finally locked and loaded and ready for departure later today.

Lots and lots of last minute jobs to be done. No more training...it's all the real deal from here on in.

You can keep an eye on our progress as we cross the Atlantic as we have a GPS tracker here.



1b Arctic Sunshine


Our home for the next few months


2015-06-08 17.43.43


Brand new instruments and navigation



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Andy on deck



Forward cabin


Forward cabin full to the gills


Josies Kayaks
Josies kayaks are works of art...as is his mounting system
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Many, many thanks to Ruben, Caroline and all at Sandisk for their wonderful sponsorship of the 'Into the Blue' project.

Not only have Sandisk generously sponsored us but they have also supplied our whole team with all our memory card needs.

We will be making two 30 sec short videos for them in Greenland.

Sandisk memory cards

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Impending trip to Greenland
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As we get nearer to our imminent departure (9th of June) the last few bits of kit are arriving and we are putting it all together. My brand new high end Scubapro kit arrived last week which is different to what I had been using.

They sent me and Ciaran a Back Plate, Wing and Harness with an integrated weight system along with their MK17 G260 Regulator with an environmentally sealed first stage. Basically a great regulator system for the cold water we will be dealing with in Greenland. I have recently learnt about a thing called 'Freeflow' which is caused by cold water temperatures and your regulator freezes in the open position and you lose your air at high speed.

This is one of our many concerns for cold water diving but these regulators from Scubapro are top class and hopefully will minimise that risk.

I had been using a BCD jacket courtesy of Scubadive West and I was expecting the transition to the new system to be a challenge. Not so....I instantly liked as I can now dive without a weight belt and I feel much freer in the water. Big thanks to Andy Shears and all at Scubapro.


I spent a very interesting evening at the National Aquatic Centre testing both my Canon 16-35mm and 14mm lenses. It was an evening run by the Ocean Divers Club and I basically plonked myself at the bottom of the pool with my camera and tripod photographing tiles. Very different diving in a light wetsuit and I ended up at the bottom of the pool with way too much lead in my pockets with a couple of drysuit fins that didn't work.

End result......I could barely get back to the surface with the tripod. BCD was popping with too much air!

Good to test the lenses and I am a bit further along in understanding how they perform behind a glass dome underwater.

Cillian pressure testing my drysuit

Cillian pressure testing my O'Three drysuit at Scubadive West. As mentioned in a previous post (See below) we have 'P-Valves' attached to extend our dives. I thought I had a leak in the drysuyit but it turns out I wasn't closing the valve tight enough and a small amout of saltwater was leaking in through the valve.

Jamie, Adam, Matt and Andy

Sooo happy that Dubarry have supplied the whole team with sailing boots. Last time around I had wellies and my feet stayed wet for most of the crossing. Jamie, Adam, Matt and Andy L to R

Food packing

Food packing last weekend in Jamies....Lots of beans!

Vacuum sealing the endless amounts of porridge

Vacuum sealing the endless amounts of porridge and other good stuff!


Barrels packed and labeled...ready for stowage aboard the Killary Flyer.

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Things are flying along now and we have a new addition to the crew, Andy Stuart. Andy will form part of the documentary crew along with Matthew Boyd. Matthew is the director and land/boat cameraman and Andy will

film underwater and with an Inspire one aerial drone. Here's a shot of me and Andy at Scubadive West with both our cameras.


Here's Breffni from Scubadive West and Ciaran with our new air compressor that will be coming to Greenland.

This is an amazing piece of kit that is critical for our expedition. Without this we will be unable to dive.

Scubadive West have been amazing....not only getting me to a skilled drysuit diver but they purchased this Bauer Jr compressor specially for the expedition. The guys are filling one of the cylinders here as a test. It takes about 20 minutes to fill a tank and we will have to do this for the 3 of us for every dive....fun times!!!


I received my all my carbon arms, clamps, video lights and..... my underwater quodpod (a tripod but with 4 legs).

Declan Burke (Diving Dec to those that know him) has a company called Anchor Dive Lights and he is an absolute pleasure to deal with. For the past 3 months we have been chatting and working out my requirements and he has supplied me with my entire rig for housing my lights to the camera.

He has also put together an underwater quodpod which I expect will be very useful in Greenland.

I had some great dives last weekend at Scubadive West. Some very talented underwater photographers were around to pass on their knowledge....Sarah Tallon, who has been an incredible support from the start and Maja Stankovski,who has an incredible range of macro and super macro images.


Here it is in all it's glory.


A selfie with Dec's quodpod!


This is an 8 sec exposure with a fair bit of surge around. Movement in the seaweed the camera is static as seen by the rocks!


Shorter exposure....1/4 sec at Rosheen Point. I am thinking ice in these type of shots will be fascinating!

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In the darkest winters of 2013/2014 our trusty vessel the 'Killary Flyer' had a wee spill on it's dry dock in Killary Harbour.

The storm swell filled the yacht and did substantial and expensive damage. Ever since that fateful day it has been a race against time to have the boat ready for our departure which should be the first week of June. At last she is back in the water and floating. There are a few snagging issues but it is a wonderful sight to see her launched.

There was a police escort from the boatyard through Westport last weekend to get her in the water.


Killary Flyer on route to Ocean


Launched but no mast


Mast going on.

The preparations are continuing and all efforts are on food at the moment and Maire and Mairead have secured

some wonderful food sponsors over the last wee while.

My local Supervalu also on board with a generous gift card.

You can see more on the North of Disko Blog page.

I have been dehydrating fruit to reduce the risk of scurvy!!!


I received this box of goodies this week from MMD Distribution. Waterproof smart phone and tablet covers, a pot that charges, extra battery power!

Many thanks to Sean and all at MMD.


I am back at Scubadive West this weekend trying to get my head around focusing underwater. There is this whole virtual image represented on the dome thing that I have not yet got a handle on.

Hopefully my next blog post will be about how much I now understand the whole concept.....

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I made a lovely visit to Shane Cowley at Canon Ireland last week. He had some lovely new kit waiting for me..... 1 x 5DMKIII, 16-35mm, 70-200mm, and 14mm prime L series lenses, battery grip, 1.4x & 2x teleconverter. Lots of awesomeness in a peli-case.

This meant I was able to get in the water at the weekend and try out the big 9.25" dome port for the Aquatica housing. Ikelite DS160 strobes also on the rig. It's amazing that 3 months ago I was effectively a novice diver, unable to control my buoyancy and now 3 months on I am taking some high end camera equipment underwater and attempting some photos. The drysuit diver course at Scubadive West essentially got my diving

to the level it's at now!

It's a particularly amzing sensation when shore diving....I compare divers to being like seals....so clumsy and gear heavy on land but lightweight and free in the water. Each step as you emerge from a dive, each pound is felt as you get shallower and shallower until you're back to clumsy heavy again! I am getting more used to the weight and consequently becoming more comfortable all the time with the gear.

On Saturday one of Ireland's top underwater photographers, Nigel Motyer, and I travelled out west to test out our camera gear. He had a new rig too and I was trying out my wider lenses and the 9.25" dome port.

I will probably be using the wider lenses in Greenland to capture those icebergs so really good to practice with them but I was seeing more macro images on these dives.

As you can see some pretty rubbish shots but it can only get better.....right?

Nigel is a super nice guy with a wealth of knowledge about all things underwater photography. Definitely check out his pics on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nigel.motyer/photos

We drove out west, had 2 dives and spoke about photography.....mostly!! And after trying out these lenses I know I have so much to learn!

Photography underwater is very different and lenses behave differently behind domes and there is an annoying thing called back scatter (Light reflecting of plankton and other particles in the water)......a long way still to go.

Killary Flyer is back in the water on tuesday May 5th and our departure date is now June 1st.


Nigel and me with our camera beasts


The eye of the dome 9.25"


Trying to light Nigel without too much back scatter


Lots of plankton in the water


First split level attempt. Droplets on the dome which I need to sort out!

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Friday was sooo exciting and basically another Christmas morning for me. Cameras Underwater sent me 2 giant pelican cases of underwater camera housing equipment. This consisted of an amazing Aquatica Housing for the Canon 5D MKIII, a 9.25" and a 8" dome port, a macro port and all extensions needed. This equipment is precision stuff and some incredible technology. They also sent me a couple of Ikelite strobes....everything packed to perfection with exact instuctions. Take a bow Jenny and Co, you have really looked after me so well.


So I spent a few hours figuring it all out before heading west for diving on Sunday. After judging the annual Dublin Camera Club photo competition I picked Matthew Boyd up, who is coming to Greenland to document 'Into the Blue'.  We got ourselves to Scubadive West with the promise of snow and high winds. On route we visited the poor auld Killary Flyer which is still currently up on the dry dock with just over 3 weeks to go.....!!!!

The weather turned out to be not so bad and Ciaran Lennon(my dive buddy) and I got 3 dives in with the new camera housing. Amazing piece of kit but difficult to shoot as macro is way more challenging underwater than above. I have such respect for underwater photographers who put so much time and effort into perfecting their craft.....it really is difficult to get right....so many variables.....like surging swells, particles in the water, buoyancy control, length of dive, understanding the gear....... My learning curve needs to continue on it's steep run!


Wide angle lenses and 9.25" ports are next up.
Here are a few images I got on the few dives with the macro lens and port. A long way to go but hopefully I'm starting to get the idea......



Plumose Anemone


Perewinkle with afro on some kelp


he dark holdfast of a piece of kelp

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O'Three - Come in from the Cold

Oh joy, oh warmth, oh comfort.......I arrived down to Scubadive West dive centre on Monday morning to be greeted by 3 boxes of wonderful O'Three products. The amazing guys over at O'Three are supplying Ciaran and I with all our drysuits, thermals, gloves, hoods and an incredible piece of technology in HUV systems (Heated undervests). Where we're going we need some quality gear and these 3 boxes contained the best gear available on the market. The suits themselves are the Ri 2-100 flex...extremely durable, superb quality and very comfortable. They also gave us a couple of pairs each of toasty Extreme PBB thermals. They thought of everything as we had many different hood and gloves options to try out....and a battery operated heat undervest. We'll be just feeling the chill up in Greenland and with the flick of a switch on goes the HUV and instantly a bit of extra core warming! Check out their website and see all their lovely warming goodies.


Ciaran & I extremely toasty in our new O'Three kit


Heated Undervest.....nice!

We spent the last 2 days at Scubadive West trying out the new gear. As amazing as all this new gear getting used to it made me feel like I was a beginner again. New glove system, extra weights needed for all the extra thermals underneath.

Seeing as I'm so new to this my buoyancy was thrown and I needed to figure it out quickly. Luckily with the expert guidance of Ciaran, Breffni & Cillian I am back on track again.

Zero leaks, neck and wrist seals were fantastic and I was actually too hot in all the gear. We stayed in for over an hour on one of the dives. Good news as it will be a fair bit colder up north!

Another amazing feature that O'Three had fitted are P Valves. Any guesses?!!! Tech divers and cold water divers often have a need to relieve themselves when stuck in a drysuit for some time. It is not unusual for a tech diver to go to a pharmacy and ask for adult nappies, KY Jelly (For wrist seals) and baby powder. If interested you can read more on Matt Jevons page.These are situations that I would prefer not to be in so we opted for the p-valve...a clever little valve with a tube on the inside. One has to basically apply a rubber condom with a hole on the end. This condom has glue on it so make sure a bit of trimming is done or god help you. To help with the condom sizing, there is a chart to help measure up. This is something you want to make sure you don't exagerate or there may be trouble ahead!!! See below.


P vlave apparatus

Remarkably it all works like a dream.  In fact it all works like a dream so many, many thanks to O'Three for supplying us with all of this incredible gear. Thanks to you we will hardly feel the cold in Greenland and can concentrate on capturing some quality images. Next stage.....the underwater housing!


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I am very happy to report that my latest book 'Out of Thin Air' has won the FEP European photobook of the year award in the 'landscape' category.

Even though I am deep in the middle of training for my upcoming project 'Into the Blue' I took time off to head to Montpellier in the South of France. A lovely jaunt to the South of France some might say. Well, direct flights from Dublin to Montpellier were hard to come by and the closest airport I could get in and out of was Barcelona. A 4am rise on a Tuesday morning, arrive Barcelona at 10am, pick up rented car, drive 3 1/2 hours to Montpellier, attend ceremony, pick up award, meet lots of extremely talented photographers, dinner and beers in Montpellier, 11:30pm bed, up at 4:30am, 3 1/2 hour drive back to Barcelona, ditch car, barely make flight, arrive Dublin and back to office!!!! Was it a dream? Still here I am after being presented with the award. I saw many of the books that won the other categories and books which got a special mention. I am extremely proud and honoured to be included with such wonderful productions.

A big shout out to Read That Image, the designers on 'Out of Thin Air'. Their attention to detail with wonderful design ideas were instrumental in winning this award.

Right, back to diving.....!

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