Old way marker.

Nikon F4, Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AFD lens on Ilford FP4

Not sure if this is an old Drovers’ way marker or a ‘Standing Stone’ that has been bypassed by the track.

From Wikipedia:
A drovers’ road, drove [road] or droveway is a route for moving livestock on foot from one place to another, such as to market or between summer and winter pasture Many drovers’ roads were ancient routes of unknown age; others are known to date back to medieval times

Sun burst.

A flower from my daughter’s garden, probably gone now the cold weather has returned. Winter is on its way and the clocks go back this weekend in UK.

Changing the time twice a year was first established by the Summer Time Act of 1916, after a campaign by builder William Willett, so that  evenings have more daylight and mornings have fewer daylight hours. It’s been changed a couple of times since then, notably during WW II when ‘Double’ summer time was introduced, 1941 to 1945 when Britain was GMT+2. Between 1968 and 1971 the clocks stayed at GMT+1 but statistics showed an increase in traffic accidents during the morning hours but a substantial decrease in the evening so UK reverted back to GMT/BST changes each year. Beginning at one o’clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in March and ending at one o’clock, Greenwich mean time, in the morning of the last Sunday in October.

I hate it, it’s not natural, messes with my body clock, I’ve only just begun to get it into my head that in UK I can’t go shopping late evening, as most shops close after 17:00 hrs.

Pinhole image of a bridge in Bath – Somerset: I think.

A bridge in Bath – Somerset, I think.
Image scanned then adjusted for noise & contrast in P.S/CS6.

The problem with going through old files and negatives is finding forgotten and unidentifiable images. That is exactly what this is, all the negative page said was ‘Pinhole experiments’ with 35mm camera and body cap, it had several badly exposed and/or very blurred images but this one was the best.

I remember reading about the possibility of using a body cap drilled for a pinhole lens, but cannot find the modified cap since moving.

I do remember using the Nikon F4/Nikon F2Sb after making the lens from a drilled body cap which I then fitted with a disc made from very thin aluminium with a precisely centred hole. The ‘f’ stop was around f:200, calculated by using the following.

f-stop = focal length / aperture diameter

Figures estimated by using a ruler and dividers, was about 0.25 mm and the distance of the pinhole to film plane about 50 mm.

f-stop = 50 mm / 0.25 mm = 200.

For those who wondered what the symbol of a circle bisected by a line was on their SLR, it denotes the point of focus for images at infinity; the film plane.

The disc was sanded, cleaned in Isopropyl alcohol then glued onto the lens cap and all painted with matt black paint.

Why I have never carried on with these experiments I have no idea and the memory jog only came after looking at pinhole images posted on Kevin Allan’s excellent blog  filmphotography.blog/2019/09/25/ondu-pinholes-hexham-abbey/  Well worth visiting for his images and articles about cameras, materials & techniques.

Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas – Wales.

Llanthony Priory in the Vale of Ewyas, within the Black Mountains area of the Brecon Beacons National Park south east Wales.

An Augustinian Priory until the dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.

As can be seen from the J.M.W Turner picture below, between 1794 & 2019 the site has reduced in size considerably.

(From Tate Images & Google)
The artist J.M.W Turner’s 1794 painting of Llanthony Priory

In the early 1100s a Norman nobleman, Walter de Lacy, took shelter from a rainstorm in a ruined chapel. Inspired by its remoteness and serenity, he decided to build a church. Others were soon drawn there, finding it a place for solitary prayer, and by 1118 a group of monks from England converted it to Llanthony Priory.

Llanthony’s isolation placed the Priory in a vulnerable position, not helped by the local inhabitants resenting the English monks occupying Welsh land. They repeatedly attacked the building; it was also targeted by thieves, so by 1135 the monks were forced to retreat over the border to Gloucester where they founded Llanthony Secunda. Between 1186 and 1217, again probably around 1325 building work took place allowing the Priory to become fully functional again and on Palm Sunday, April 4, 1327, Edward II visited. Its regained status was not to last, in the early 15th century it was attacked yet again, this time by the Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr as part of his campaign to recapture Welsh land from the English. This started a period of decline and the Priory finally closed in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII.

St Michaels Church Clapton in Gordano Somerset.

The above image shows an example of Witch markings or hexfoils found on the entrance to St Michaels Church Clapton in Gordano Somerset.

People would scratch specific symbols as an act of devotion or to evoke good luck – these symbols would often take the form of a daisy wheel, or hexfoil, a pattern with endless lines. hopefully to confuse and entrap evil spirits.

Similar patterns can be found on doors in a lot of the abandoned villages I visited in Oman and used for exactly the same reason: they would invoke good luck and well-being for the family or ward off evil or malevolent spirits (Jinn).

Those found in Britain come from a time when a belief in witches and superstition was part of everyday life. People constantly sought protection from evil spirits that might entrap them or cause harm to family or livestock.
They are found in churches, Chapels, cottages along with agricultural buildings and were used from medieval times right upto the 18th century. The oldest so far found in UK (as far as I know) are mid 13th century examples on door frames at Donington le Heath Manor House in Leicestershire.

The Church of St Michael Clapton in Gordano, Somerset, England, dates from the 13th century, although the 12th-century tympanum (semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance, door or window)  is the oldest visible part of the church, the majority of the building is from the 13th century.

Unfortunately I was unable to visit the inside, I needed to request a key from the custodians as it is no longer a fully active church; a return visit is a must.

Whitby – Mid 1970’s No8.

Zenit B with Helios 44 58mm f/2, M42 screw mount lens: Ilford FP4.

All the images so far, came from negatives that I have not looked at for over 40 years. Made with a non-metered Russian made Zenit B using the ‘sunny 16 rule, on Ilford’s FP4 which they introduced in 1968 as a replacement for their FP3; produced from 1942 – 1968. As I did not process my own films in those days, they were taken to local camera shops for development & printing on postcard size paper.

As a matter of interest: The statue of Captain James Cook (1728-1779)  can just be seen on the upper right of the first image, his ships ‘Resolution’ and ‘Endeavour’ were built in Whitby.

Omani Dates.

Dates.From my Oman files.

Fossil records show the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years.
Dates have been found on a number of neolithic sites, which would suggest that they were being eaten as much as 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.
They provide a range of essential nutrients, and are a good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%; the rest consists of protein, fibre, and trace elements that include boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc.
Oman has more than 250 varieties of dates, and each region of the country will tell you theirs are the best. But I think of all, it has to be the ‘Khalas’, found in the Sharqiya and Dhahirah region, also Al Rostaq. The fruit is bright yellow, oval-shaped, and usually eaten fresh or half-dry.
Dates and qahwah arabiyya (coffee) is a fundamental part of Omani hospitality; even the poorest family will offer coffee & dates when one visits.

Another tree in fog.

My obsession with trees & fog continues – on this walk I managed to drop a lens cap. Could I find it? not a chance, rather annoying because it was the only thing keeping the front of the lens dry in all the fog.  At least it was a cheap item to replace (a free one from my daughter 🙂 ) not like the time I lost my  Nikon DK-17M magnifying eyepiece from the Nikon F4, that was rather costly.
If you have never tried one of these, I would recommend getting one, especially if using manual focus lenses; it gives a 1.2x magnification, making the viewfinder appear much larger, without causing problems for the dioptre adjustment.

Stanton Drew – Stone circles Somerset No2.

Before sunrise & in the opposite direction from the earlier post I made.

This from wikipedia & English Heritage.
Geophysical work by English Heritage in 1997 revealed a surrounding ditch and nine concentric rings of postholes within the stone circle. More than four hundred pits, 1 metre (3ft 3in) across and at 2.5 metres (8ft 2in) intervals, stood in rings at the site. The ditch is 135 metres (443ft) in diameter and about 7 metres (23ft) wide. A 40 metres (130ft) wide entrance was visible on the north-east side. No surrounding bank has been identified although the site awaits excavation.

The geophysical work transformed the traditional view of Stanton Drew as being a surface monument and the Great Circle is now seen as being one of the largest and most impressive Neolithic monuments to have been built. Analogous with the circles of postholes at sites at Woodhenge, Durrington Walls and The Sanctuary, it is thought that the pits would have held posts which would have either been freestanding or lintelled as they could not have supported a roof at that size. The postholes in nine concentric rings held posts up to 1 metre (3.3ft) in diameter indicating the use of ancient trees which were sacred to the druids.

Nearby and to the north-east is a smaller ring of eight stones in the centre of which the geophysical work identified four further pits. A third ring of twelve stones, measuring 43 metres (141 t) wide, stands to the south-west.

The Cove.
A fluxgate gradiometer survey in July 2009 investigated standing stones in the garden of the Druids Arms public house known as The Cove, which showed that the stones date from nearly a thousand years before the stone circles. The conclusion from the study was that these upright stones are likely to have been the portals or façade of a chambered tomb.
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/siteassets/home/visit/places-to-visit/stanton-drew-circles-and-cove/stanton_drew_circles_and_cove_research_2.jpg?maxwidth=1080&mode=none&scale=downscale&quality=60&anchor=&WebsiteVersion=20190116

 

Lone tree – Black Down hills Somerset.

Black Down, the highest point in the Mendip Hills Somerset.

According to that well-known online Encyclopedia, which agrees with a book I have: the name Black Down comes from the Saxon word ‘Blac’ or ‘Bloec’ meaning bleak or dark and ‘Dun’ meaning down or fort. There are several Bronze Age round barrow earth covered burial tombs & a nearby Iron Age hill fort in the area.

Old used lens problems.

Lens fungus:

There is a lot of IMHO misleading information about this, especially cross contamination and in some cases ill-informed concern thinking you have a problem when in fact you don’t.

If people like Carl Zeiss Germany, refuse to take infected lenses, I don’t care what others say about it not being a problem. Not only can your lenses get this fungus but it can infect SLR prisms as well. If it is growing in one item, it will more than likely migrate. Living for a long time in Oman with its summers of high heat & humidity, I was very careful with my photography equipment.

Please note that fungus spores are present everywhere, it’s when they start to grow and multiply that you have a problem. To quote Zeiss “Lens surfaces are irreparably damaged by metabolic products of the fungus (e.g. acids). Its damage ranges from cloudiness to opacity caused by the film”.

Avoiding the issue in the first place is the best solution:-

Never buy used equipment from a non reputable seller.

Always check used equipment thoroughly before parting with hard-earned cash, or have a money back guarantee.

Never put lens or camera away if used in a damp environment (high humidity or rain) before making sure they are dry and then put away with a small sachet of silica gel (remember to make sure the silica gel is either new or reactivated) done by placing on a radiator or in a warm oven for a few hours. This will drive out absorbed moisture and the gel should be good for a couple of months, the process can then be repeated. How many people throw away that small sachet that comes with new optical or electronic equipment they buy – it’s silica gel and can be kept and reused for the same purpose the manufacturer placed it in the box originally.

Never use canned air, it drives dust and contaminants into areas of the lens that would need a full strip down for cleaning. Use a good quality ‘Rocket type hand blower’ and always use either lens tissue or micro-fibre cloths as anything else will eventually scratch or wear the coating away.

Make sure stored lenses and cameras are exposed to sunlight on a regular basis as dark warm moist camera bags are a perfect environment for the promotion of fungus; the spores hate sunlight and die.

I think most people will either not be aware of this fungus problem or lucky enough to live in an environment that does not cause a problem. But acquiring used equipment means some vigilance is needed.

How to check used equipment:-

Use a bright light or torch and open the lens aperture to its widest ‘f’ stop and look through the lens while pointing each end towards the light so that you can see through the lens at a slight angle – never point at the sun!. Don’t be worried if you see a small amount of dust inside, all lenses get it and unless very bad, does not degrade the image. Some lenses will have very small bubbles in the glass, this also is not a problem. What you are looking for is small fussy white patches or in bad cases, an overall cloudiness. Ken Rockwell has a very good article about lens problems (link) and I urge people to look at it because it takes a lot of experience to diagnose what is major from the mostly harmless.

While on the subject of used lenses, another worry is scratches or chips on the front or rear elements.

A chip or scratch on the front of a lens element, especially if light or near the edge, will not be a real problem unless you are taking very sharp and/or closely detailed images. But avoid buying any with them on the rear elements, as this in most cases will degrade the image; it’s better to wait for another lens to come along in your price bracket.
SLR prisms on older cameras can have their problems as well: either fungus or degraded silvering. This is harder to detect without a strip down of the camera, but a quick check by taking any lens off after cleaning the eyepiece, then opening the shutter on bulb and looking through the eyepiece will usually show any problems, it will either be hazy (not blurred, that’s the focusing screen without a lens) or show multiple dark spots. Avoid or if only slight get some TLC for your camera.

Old Door – Wakan.

Wakan village is a very popular tourist attraction and this door must have been photographed hundreds of times: so thought I should add my two penneth.
I remember visiting this village long before it came onto the tourist route, probably 1987 if my memory serves me well. It sits about 2,000 meters above sea level in Wadi Mistal, tucked away in the Hajar Mountains. Famous for its apricot flowers which  are in full bloom between the middle of May & the end of August. It was and in some respects still is a drive that requires a 4×4 and some experience with off-road driving on tracks that can deter even the most determined tourist. A little like Jebel Shams / Jebel Akhdar; when visitors see the hotels marked on the map, they set off in the newly hired car and find the track is not what they expected. Many times I have seen people either lost, stuck in wadi streams or so frightened because the edge has a drop off on one side of 200 or 300 hundred meters. Resulting in me not being able to pass them when coming from the opposite direction and needing to guided them passed my vehicle. Unfortunately it is the lack of knowledge and information given by the hire companies and hotels.
One example was when camping high in the mountains and late one evening a  4×4 stops and my daughter and I get asked “how far is Muscat?” we both looked a little shocked because it was getting dark and the road that these people were about to travel was very dangerous even in daylight. We suggested that the map they had been given was not very good and Muscat was at least 3 hours away, the road needed great care in daylight and driving at night was not to be recommended. They had some discussions with each other and took our recommendation of turning back rather than going on and missing the edge of the road which would have been either a very long drop or crash into a rock face.
Despite the many tourist intrusions in recent years, the locals remain very welcoming, as happens in a lot of these traditional villages that have been added to the tourist map. Although I did despair sometimes, when I saw a total lack of awareness by some visitors of the cultural sensitivities of the occupants. It probably means that in a few years, the open & hospitable welcome that tradition dictates for visitors will be lost.

Looking at the above image – Wakan is the village left of centre and the track can just be seen snaking down the mountain on the right of the village.

Tawi Atayr: A sinkhole located in Al-Qarā Mountains Dhofar (more).

More from Tawi Atayr – unfortunately it was the wrong time of day, so shadows in the sinkhole were very dark. It was also before the monsoon hits, so everything is brown & tinder dry.
The metal rusted & broken frame seen on the last image, was for taking water from the bottom of the sinkhole during the summer months. During severe monsoon periods, this place can fill with water, then join the deluge that pours down Wadi Darbat towards the sea; such as when Cyclone Mekunu caused flash flooding earlier this year.

Getting there & seeing the place was great fun (even if rather precarious when venturing near the edge and away from the installed viewing area)  but needs must for photography, as long as one is sensible.

Tawi Atayr: A sinkhole located in Al-Qarā Mountains Dhofar.

 

Two images of a water run-off channel that drops into the Tawi Atayr sinkhole. The one on the right diffused, because I liked the look when printed. On the left I used a lens that has a slight softness around the edges: not everything needs to be ultra sharp.

Tawi Atayr: A sinkhole located in Al-Qarāʾ Mountains Dhofar.

The name roughly translated from Arabic means the “well of the birds” appropriate because it is populated by many birds whose song can be heard seemingly from all directions, when approaching the area of this sinkhole.
Its surface measurement is approximately 130m in a NE-SW direction and about 90m in NW-SE direction with a vertical depth of around 210m. Halfway down it narrows to an almost circular hole of about 60m in diameter.
Opinions differ as to its formation, either erosion exacerbated by fissures opened when the rock freezes or a collapsed cave system.
At the bottom there is a cave passage in a north-eastern direction, located at groundwater level and half-filled with water. To my knowledge, this passage has not yet been explored, it is possible that it leads to Wadi Darbat and the sea which is only 10km to the south.

Norman Undercroft No2.

Another from Burton Agnes: this was made with the wrong aperture so had lots of motion blur and I nearly threw it out. The place is very old, cold and damp, so with a little added diffusion along with printing it on Ilford multigrade FB art 300 paper, it should give more of a feel for the place. Well that’s my excuse anyway  😉

Info about Ilford MG Art 300 paper, from their site:-

Black & white, silver gelatin coated, 100% Cotton Rag based darkroom paper. This premium quality, variable contrast paper delivers a slightly warm image tone on a neutral to cool white acid-free base. This unique paper has a textured matt surface with an ‘eggshell’ sheen finish making it a traditional fine art darkroom paper unlike any other. It is the perfect complement to showcase stunning black & white fine art images and is ideal for toning, hand colouring and retouching.

Burton Agnes Elizabethan Manor House.

Burton Agnes Hall, an Elizabethan manor house on the edge of the village of Burton Agnes, near Driffield. Built by Sir Henry Griffith in 1601–10 to designs attributed to Robert Smythson. Although the configuration of the house as it stands, does not follow his original plans, it is probably due to changes being made as the building was constructed.

The estate has been in the hands of the same family since Roger de Stuteville built the Norman manor house on the site; the Undercroft of which is shown in my earlier post.

In 1457 Sir Walter Griffith came to live there. The Griffiths were a Welsh family who had moved to Staffordshire in the thirteenth century and inherited the Burton Agnes estate.

The present Elizabethan house as seen here in this post, was built next to the original Norman manor house when Sir Henry Griffith, 1st Baronet, was appointed to the Council of the North.

Printing No2.

This one from 2010 – Nikon F4 on T-Max 400 and probably developed in D76 if my memory serves me well.

I have a darkroom log book somewhere in all my stuff, just haven’t come across it yet, I know I packed it because it has a lot of information about film, paper, developers etc; so rather useful and should have this image info in it.

Another for the printer, although I will probably make a conventional darkroom print as well and then make a decision which gets on the wall.

I am still working my way through computer files, but have about 3500 negatives/E6 slides which need cataloguing and either scanning or printing in the darkroom – or both.

Also reading this book, it was one I should have got when it was available from the bookshops in 2010, a copy from Amazon would now cost me £118. new and £80. used: that will teach me !
Our library in Driffield (yes we still have one) has found a copy through the Bibliographic department, so have got it on extended loan for a small administrative fee. They are so helpful and nothing seems too much trouble for them.

An Arabian Utopia: The Western Discovery of Oman: by Alastair Hamilton. (Click book for Amazon link)

From Amazon:
Even though Oman had always been familiar to travellers sailing between Europe and India or Persia, it was its coast alone that was known. Greeks and Romans had charted it, medieval merchants traded on it, and in the early sixteenth century the Portuguese conquered its main towns, yet the interior of Oman was all but entirely unknown and would remain so until the early nineteenth century. Only after the ejection of the Portuguese in 1650 and an independent Oman had built an empire of its own, stretching round the Indian Ocean from India to Zanzibar, did Muscat, the capital, start to be visited by western powers eager to obtain commercial concessions and political influence. In the nineteenth century, for the first time, a very few, mainly English, explorers ventured inland and embarked on the true discovery of Oman. But even that was sporadic. As long as there was a powerful ruler, the travellers were protected, but by the late nineteenth century the rulers in Muscat had lost control over the interior and it was not until well into the twentieth century that explorers such as Wilfred Thesiger could investigate the south and that the oil companies could begin to chart the centre and the west. Oman was the last Arab country to be fully explored by western travellers and this book examines and discusses the ways in which the emergent knowledge of Oman was propagated in the West, from the earliest times to 1970, by explorers, missionaries, diplomats, artists, geologists and naturalists, and by those scholars who gradually uncovered the manuscripts and antiquities that allowed them to piece together the history of the area.

Unicorn Myth.

A Jpeg file that I have of the The Arabian Oryx or white Oryx (unfortunately I have not found the original negatives yet: I have about 20 in a folder that I have yet to scan and catalogue) this is from my files of  November 2010 when I was down in the Huquf.

The Unicorn myth: From that well know online encyclopædia.

The myth of the one-horned unicorn may be based on oryxes that have lost one horn. Aristotle and Pliny the Elder held that the oryx was the unicorn’s “prototype”. From certain angles, the oryx may seem to have one horn rather than two, and given that its horns are made from hollow bone that cannot be regrown, if an oryx were to lose one of its horns, for the rest of its life, it would have only one.

Another source for the concept may have originated from the translation of the Hebrew word re’em into Greek as μονόκερως, monokeros, in the Septuagint. In Psalm 22:21, the word karen, meaning horn, is written in singular. The Roman Catholic Vulgata and the Douay-Rheims Bible translated re’em as rhinoceros; other translations are names for a wild bull, wild oxen, buffalo, or gaur, but in some languages a word for unicorn is maintained. The Arabic translation alrim is the most correct choice etymologically, meaning ‘white oryx’.

Farming – Wadi Al Hoqain.

Farming – Wadi Al Hoqain.

Date palms, sugar cane, the henna plant, along with animal fodder; all grown in this wadi, renowned for its abundance of water all year round.
There has been some form of settlement here from as early as the bronze age, maybe even earlier.
I have not been able to find any history about the fort, although commanding such a prominent place, it does surprises me that it doesn’t get mentioned – I’ve probably not looked hard enough.  🙂

Working my way through the book shown below, so with luck.

The countries and tribes of the Persian Gulf
By: Samuel Barrett Miles Pub. 1919.

Martini-Henry Rifle.

Martini-Henry Rifle. (I think it’s a MkII version – there were 4 types produced in its lifetime 1871-1889)
This type of rifle can still be seen all over Oman, either in use or as a dress item.

A breech loading single shot rifle using a falling block action and chambered for a .45 caliber round-nosed bullet, notorious for its heavy recoil. Having used a Lee-Enfield .303 and feeling the recoil from that if not held correctly, I would hate to think how much this gun hurt the shoulder if not tucked in and the thumb in the right place.
I remember around 1987, watching a man from the Jebel Akhdar trying to sell one at the old open-air Friday market in Nizwa. He was also carrying a bandoleer filled with various bullets, mainly .303 Lee-Enfield but he did have at least 3 of the type his rifle actually used.
That was when the enclosed Souk was still open and these rifles could be purchased without much difficulty.

On the left, a standard .22 Caliber LR cartridge. On the right, a rolled brass Short Chamber, Boxer-Henry .45 Caliber cartridge. Big !!!
Image from – martinihenry.com

Tin bowl – Jebel Harim: Musandam.

Nikon F4 with Non-Ai 135mm f/2.8 Nikkor on Kodak T-max 400.
From my negative files.

Made at an abandoned (?) village on Jebel Harim Musandam: I question the abandoned because the owners would leave their Jebel accommodation and move to the coast for a couple of months each year, for fishing and general trade, so I was never sure.
The people of this area of Oman are very interesting in many ways, according to recent research the ‘Shihuh’ who occupy most of the mountainous area are a mystery.
Paolo Costa, former head of Oman’s Department of Antiquities say  “Ethnically, we don’t know who they are, there is speculation that they are the original inhabitants of Arabia, pushed back into the mountains by successive Muslim and Portuguese invasionsThe Shihuh are semi-nomadic – farming their hillside terraces in the winter and living by the coast in summer to fish and harvest dates – their summer homes palm frond huts, their winter ones low stone houses that blend almost invisibly into the mountainsides. Another of the Shihuh’s peculiarities is that the men carry a long-handled axe (called a jerz) rather than the traditional curved Arab dagger, or khanjar. “The remains of some prehistoric weapon?”  (From Aramco World. Vol:34)
I have one of these axes from my time in the Musandam.

Other than arriving by sea, getting into the Musandam was very difficult and in some ways dangerous for outsiders; not only because of the lack of access (mountainous with precipitous cliffs) but also because the locals had a fearsome reputation. Whether justified or not, it did dissuade outsiders which achieved the result they wanted.
They speak a dialect of Arabic (A mixture of Arabic, Farsi and Urdu) which has probably evolved through several hundred years of isolation. Another area on the coast called Kumzar has a language very similar; a mix of Farsi, Arabic, Baluchi, Portuguese and English.
Since the mid – 1970’s there has been a development programme that is modernising the Musandam but still maintaining its culture and traditions. It welcomes tourists with modern hotels, 4×4 adventure camping, Dhow cruises and I have enjoyed some of the best diving in the Gulf. (Large Sharks, whale sharks & tropical reef fish)