Underwater Photography in the North Sea

If your sailor friend tells you, "Hey buddy, I got a wetsuit for the northern waters and half a bottle of oxygen, do you want to take a dip?" What will you answer? Think well. I thought badly and immediately answered "hold my beer."

In fact, my answer exceeded the speed of sound, because I have long dreamed of trying underwater photography. And for quite a long time I had a sealed casing and a mirrorless camera Lumix GF3 on my shelf waiting in the wings.

As much as I would not like to take my old Canon 500 with me on this little adventure, unfortunately it is too fat for the casing. A sealed protection for mirrors is sold from $ 1,000 and more expensive.

The second slight inconvenience was the wetsuit itself... I'm a little big guy, but only in width. So it was quite difficult for me to squeeze into this erotic red outfit, while the length of the arms and legs was designed for a basketball player.

But I'll tell you a little secret about the Northerners. The fact that we live in the cold does not mean that we love it and freeze less. On the contrary, I hate the cold, and even my supply of fat muscles like a walrus does not make my existence here easier. We just know how to protect ourselves from the cold, that's the trick of the Northerners.

And when they tell you that the water in the sea today is no higher than +8 degrees, and in the bottom area about +5, then as a true northerner, you will not hesitate to put on the warmest wetsuit you can find. I would also wear a wool sweater and a scarf, but technology does not allow it.

What in the end I managed to see under the water... I have written more than once how surprised I'm that many wonderful creatures are hidden under this quiet, cold water. A rich marine world, absolutely impossible in the imagination when you look at the boundless North Sea.

And one of its main inhabitants off the coast are Kamchatka crabs. An invasive species in these seas, brought here in the 70s from Kamchatka, and today has captured almost the entire northern coast up to the British Isles (hello @slobberchops and @meesterboom, these guys are already on your shores).

If you remember, we visited the place where experiments on the adaptation of these eastern invaders to local waters began 50 years ago- The abandoned biological institute.


That was a really unexpected meeting...

I admit I was not very mobile in my outfit, and this suit does not allow me to deftly move my fingers. Therefore, I slowly moved around the 10-meter section and waited for someone special to swim past me. But no, it was the same fearless crabs and those who crawled even slower than me.

I think the poor starfish and a couple of sea urchins stopped reproducing after meeting me, deciding that this world is too scary for their future descendants. My bright red suit scared off all adequate animals. But I admit, even being in the underwater kingdom itself is fascinating.

Everything is different here, the light, the environment, the sounds, the feeling of one's own body, time and oneself.

The crabs scared me a little. They come out of all the cracks quite unexpectedly, and look like huge underwater spiders. Sometimes it seemed that they had come here for me, and were just waiting when I make a mistake.

But I repeat again that this world is beautiful. Just like up there on land, what seems deserted at first glance is actually a concentration of amazing and diverse life. And it is the fact that it is so difficult to see it here that gives it value and beauty.

It was magical, and my craving for visual cognition overcame my fears and discomfort from the cold, which chilled me to the very bones. But to be honest, I don't know if I will come back here again, if this is my element. I love water, I love to swim, and I'm not afraid of the depth (being on the surface), but I still felt like a bit of a stranger here, a temporary guest who managed to go only into the hallway and see a small piece of a huge palace…

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