The local resort won’t take the dive boat out with less than two divers on board. Tourist numbers are down at this time of the year, meaning that us divers are often outnumbered by dive boat crew (three) and scuba guides (one or two).
One of the regular divers over the last week has been a German resort guest called Klaus. He resembles a German folk singer I have seen on a CD cover, but I am afraid to ask his family name in case it in fact turns out to be him.
Klaus is here with his wife- a keen diver, but with a dive-stopping arm injury. I feel sorry for his wife- it must be murder being in this dive-paradise and being land locked- but I am happy to have a dive buddy. I don’t speak any German (beyond being able to buy a three day ski pass, or order up to three beers), and Klaus has patchy English. In fact, I find it easier to understand him underwater by sign language.
Klaus has an underwater camera, although he has developed a reputation for forgetting it (on the dive when twelve eagle rays passed us in formation) or his battery dying (just as we spot an octopus or something interesting). I have got into the habit of carrying my large dive torch- great for looking into crevices, corals, and just for seeing the natural colours of objects that seawater strips off the sunlight as it passes through it. Using a standard flash on an underwater camera simply lights up the particles suspended in the water between the lens and the object, so if we see an especially interesting subject, I’ll light it from the side and Klaus snaps it.
Klaus gave me a thumb drive full of his photos- some of them enhanced by my lighting input. I’d given up underwater photography after my first underwater camera died, but some of Klaus’ photos turned out brilliantly.
Helen has shown signs of interest at getting into underwater photography, and I think a few days ago I accidentally committed myself to buying a camera for her for a future birthday / Christmas. Until Helen’s efforts come out, I’ll let Klaus’ (with my lighting expertise) “speak a thousand words”.