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Parting Shot 1

Back in 2000,1 was new to underwater photography and I purchased an Epoque 35mm film camera at the dive show in Birmingham in preparation for a trip to the Maldives. One of my sons had found himself a job as a snorkel guide on Kuredu for a year so it was our onerous duty to visit him. The camera was very basic, fixed everything, but was simple to use and served as a good start point for me.

My son had been very enthusiastic about the dive sites and the wildlife that was around. He wasnit wrong. I enjoyed the diving, the water was clear, the coral was bleached in places but there was a profusion of all the usual ecommoni stuff. Turtles, sharks, eagle ray were in abundance around the island and in one hour we saw ten turtles whilst snorkelling.

As the holiday drew to a close, we went off for a two dive daytrip to a Fushivaru.

The first dive was in a channel and provided everything one could want. Visibility was wonderful and I clicked away happily on the basis that something would come out if I took enough shots. I had learned a lot from talking to other divers and had even been introduced to one of the first digital cameras in an underwater housing by one of the Seaplane pilots. To be able to see what you had taken immediately was a revelation back then.

The second dive was on a thila in the channel which came to about 10m of the surface. As I had been clicking away with abandon, I changed the film for the second dive. I was using Fuji colour film 200 ISO. There was a strong current and, hanging in the current at the leading edge of the thila were a couple of grey reef sharks. Moving on, we came across a pair of eagle rays and some green morays and a large shoal of oriental sweet lips.

My dive drew to a close and me & my buddy were first up onto the boat. After we had taken our kit off, we relaxed waiting for the rest of the divers to surface & be picked up. Some activity from the crew drew our attention to a large shape in the water approaching us. The words Whale Shark were heard and there was a mad

Epoqiie-ETl00,24 x 36mm 34mm, F3.5,11125, Fujicoloiir 200 ISO

scramble for kit. I grabbed my fins, mask, snorkel and camera and jumped ship. We were fortunate to be directly in the path of the approaching whale shark and spent some 10 minutes swimming with it. It was a truly wonderful experience and I was very fortunate to be in the right place. I clicked away until I finished the film however, it wasnit until I got home & had the film developed that I found out quite what I had captured.

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