Monday, May 14, 2007

Fiona and the Wolf dive the Tigers in Aliwal Shoal

Fiona Ayerst, one of South Africa's foremost photographers (not just underwater), honored me with a one-day visit to Umkomaas. We had known each other from exchanging e-mails, and planned to dive together during my recent three-week stay in South Africa.

The Aliwal Shoal tigers were not unknown to Fiona, she had been here before a few times, and while the primary reason to come down from Jo'burg was to meet me, to revisit the friendly striped sharks definitely made her short trip worthwhile.

Fiona brought all her equipment with her. I was quite impressed seeing all the photographic stuff she had to carry along, and I said to myself that I would never switch to digital photography, even though I do toy once in a while with the idea of going digital...

As I had done with other guest divers of Blue Wilderness, I talked Fiona into freediving with the tigers, which she did - for a while, only to get back to the boat and have good ol' Markus help her put on the tank. Fiona is a very sporty girl; all she needs is some expert guidance in freediving. Once adequately trained, she will capture the "big" stuff on one breath of air as effortlessly as other freediving photographers.

Fiona thoroughly enjoyed the added bonus to the tiger shark dive - being surrounded by some 40-50 black tip sharks, some close to 2 meters. These sharks are as friendly as the tigers, just a bit (well, actually a LOT) more hectic. Other than that, they are as harmless as a bunch of nice doggies.

As photographers always do, Fiona and I photographed each other. When you see the photographs I took of her (the black and white ones) you will certainly agree with me that she looks much cooler as a freediver than with a tank on her back. What do YOU say, Fiona? :-)

See ya next year in Mozambique with your 'Zambies' (= bull sharks).....

No comments: