Deepest Sea Shoot for Avatar Sequel in the Marianas Trench

Artists impression: the bathyscaphe 'Trieste' in the Marianas Trench, the deepest ocean on earth (click to enlarge)

The author of Avatar, James Cameron, is assembling a team to dive to the bottom of the deepest sea. He is planning to shoot footage for a sequel to Avatar. The movie is set in the turbulent waters of Pandora, an alien moon, and it’s expected to hit the circuit in 2014. Cameron has commissioned Australian engineers to build a deep sea submersible to reach the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

“We are building a vehicle to do the dive. It’s about half-completed in Australia,” said Cameron.

Camerons destination is an area known as “Challenger Deep”. At 10 916 meters (35 813 feet) below sea level, this is the deepest surveyed point on earth. It lies in the hadopelagic or Hadal zone so named from the greek word ” Hades” for the “underworld.”

This deepest part of the ocean floor has been visited only once before, in January of 1960, and never since.   Continue reading “Deepest Sea Shoot for Avatar Sequel in the Marianas Trench”

The Beautiful Bot River Estuary

The Bot River Estuary (click to enlarge)

Last year I took this photo of the lovely Bot River estuary. We are privileged to live within walking distance of its shores. You may notice, if you look up at the top of this page, the banner-header of this website is cropped from the same photograph.

Time and time again I am drawn to try and capture the most astonishing variety of moods and vistas that are on display throughout the year as the seasons change.

This estuary is situated in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve on the southern coast of South Africa. It lies at the bottom of a broad and fertile valley and measures about six by two kilometres.  It is quite shallow with an average depth of 1 – 2 metres (3 – 6 feet).  The Bot and Afdaks rivers feed this estuary which seasonally opens to the sea. This ensures a rich variety of fauna, some 32 species of fish and over 50 kinds of birds including pelicans, flamingos and the other waders. Most are migratory and so are seen at different times of the year. Occasionally a herd of wild horses grazes on the grassy banks (12 images, click here for Flickr slide show). Continue reading “The Beautiful Bot River Estuary”