Artist Dale Evers and his undersea sculpture, Oceanic Voyagers On Saturday, January 18, 2003, more than 100 Cayman Brac islanders gathered in front of the District Administration Building to witness the Statue Unveiling Ceremony of Cayman Brac's newest undersea attraction. The object of attention is a 7-foot tall, 800-pound bronze sculpture of two life-size dolphins and three stingrays around its base - entitled Oceanic Voyagers. It is the first of THE OCEANIC PROJECT - a series of underwater statues that will be created and placed in premiere diving locations around the world. The ceremony opened with a prayer by Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, Member of the Legislature, followed by welcoming remarks from Lania Rittenhouse, Director of Tourism. Additional speeches were given by Lyndon Martin, Member of the Legislature; Kenny Ryan, District Commissioner; Moses Kirkconnell, SITA President. The ceremony ended with an emotional speech by Dale Evers, the artist who created the sculpture. He explained that the artwork was created from underwater photographs that he has taken during dives in the Cayman Islands and Caribbean. The two dolphins are symbolic of the gentle nature of the Caymanian people, while the stingrays represent one of the Cayman Island's most treasured natural resources. Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Captain's Table located at the Brac Caribbean Beach Village. OCEANIC PROJECTThe Oceanic Project is a collaborative effort between the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Oceanic Worldwide, Sport Diver Magazine and marine sculptor Dale Evers. Oceanic Voyagers is a perfect fusion of Art and Ocean - the first in what is sure to become a series that will celebrate our world's many unique marine environments. ARTIST DALE EVERSMarine sculptor Dale Evers has been a student of the deep sea for most of his life, drawing inspiration from the beauty beneath the waves. For nearly 15 years, Evers has captured the imagination of art collectors around the globe with his graceful life-like creations. His sculpture style reflects his passion for nature. Ever's artwork has been featured at important exhibitions and select galleries throughout the world. Yet his first undersea exhibit is the statute at Cayman Brac. His sculptures range in scale from miniatures to grand proportions. Dale Evers commissions include work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and awards presented by The American Oceans Campaign. Evers claims that all previous successes have simply been a warm up for the Oceanic Project. When Evers met Bob Hollis, founder and CEO of Oceanic World-wide and a legendary pioneer in the dive industry, he was moved to call the momentous undertaking Oceanic Voyagers in recognition of Hollis' significant achievements and contributions to the exploration of the undersea world. For more information about Dale Evers artistic creations, click on http://www.DaleEvers.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. UNDERSEA ATTRACTIONFollowing in the footsteps of the Christ of the Abyss statue, sunk in 1965, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, this life-scale cast bronze sculpture is a compelling image of the ocean's most familiar creatures. Combining sea mammals and fish, Oceanic Voyagers represents the best of both species. The Oceanic Voyagers sculpture will be yet another reason for travelers to visit the Cayman Islands and best of all, it will help promote the sport keeping divers enthusiastic about diving and encourage them to return again and again to their favorite dive spots. The sculpture is permanently installed off Stake Bay, Cayman Brac for divers and snorkelers to enjoy for generations to come. Located at a shore diving site called Radar Reef, the sculpture sits at a depth of 47 feet. OCEANIC EXPERIENCE - CAYMAN BRAC - AUG 10 TO 17The Oceanic Experience is an event for divers, snorkelers and watersports enthusiasts of all levels. This fun-filled week will include Oceanic equipment demos, functions, parties, contests, give-aways and much, much more! Other co-hosts will be on hand like Sea & Sea U/W Photography and Sport Diver Magazine. Bring a group or just bring yourself! Dive the newly placed ''Oceanic Voyagers'', the life-size cast bronze sculpture by Dale Evers featuring the dolphins and stingrays of the Cayman Islands. This summer, let Oceanic by your host - it's the perfect opportunity to discover the famous diving and hospitality of the Cayman Islands, or it's the perfect reason to come back again! THE OCEANIC EXPERIENCE takes place this August 10 to 17th. For this week packed with fun, fabulous diving, cool gear and the hospitality of the beautiful Cayman Islands, book early - you won't want to miss it! Your choice of resort accommodations at: BRAC REEF RESORT - 1-800-594-0843The Oceanic Special includes: 7 nights accommodations, events, deluxe pool view room, 3 meals daily, 6 days of 3-tank dives, airport transfers and all government taxes & services charges... $1,345 per person, double occupancy. Ask for promotional code #DEMAOC. CARIB SANDS BEACH RESORT - 866-843-2722The Oceanic Special includes: 7 nights accommodations, events, 5 days of 2-tank dives, airport transfers and all government taxes & services charges... $699 per person, double occupancy. Price with 2 meals daily... $869. Ask for promotional code #OCE001. BRAC CARIBBEAN BEACH VILLAGE - 866-843-2722The Oceanic Special includes: 7 nights accommodations, events, 5 days of 2-tank dives, airport transfers and all government taxes & services charges... $699 per person, double occupancy. Price with 2 meals daily... $869. Ask for promotional code #OCE001. To book, contact your local Oceanic Dealer or call the resort direct. For further event information, contact:OCEANIC WORLDWIDEPhone: 510-562-0500Fax: 510-569-5404
THE GOAL: Document gray reef shark population of Rangiroa Atoll.
PLAN: Fly to Rangiroa Atoll in the northeast part of Tahiti. Dive in Tiputa Pass to gain access to the 500 gray reef sharks that inhabit the pass.
SECRET WEAPONS: A Nikonos V camera with a 15-mm extreme wide-angle lens, plus twin SB-102 strobes for dual lighting.
MISSION TIMING: January, because Rangiroa is south of the equator and the seasons are reversed. This time of year provides the most benign weather.
MISSION LOCATION: Tiputa Pass, one of two major channels through which water flows into and out of the 48-mile-long Rangiroa Lagoon. The pass is barely 300 yards wide and about 100 feet deep. Tidal flows can peak at 6 knots. On an incoming tide, visibility can reach a spectacular 200 feet.
Certified Open Water diver who is comfortable around sharks.
Quality dive operator with experienced dive guide to lead the drift dive.
Lift bag with a 50-foot nylon line and spool for safety stop.
FIELD NOTES: This is a drift dive that runs at 1-2 knots, executed from rubber inflatables. On entering the water, the dive guide leads you to a cave on the side of the channel at a depth of 110 feet where you settle in to watch the show. Outside, the scene is surrealistic - more than 100 sharks lazily swimming in all directions but ignoring divers. It makes you feel invisible.
When the guide introduces a piece of baitfish, the once quiet scene becomes electric, as sharks rocket around in a feeding frenzy. One inexperienced shark came into the cave and snapped at my fin.
I was shooting photos as fast as I could thumb the film advance lever. I was shooting at close range, using a flash-fill technique with strobes on one-fourth power.
Suddenly the dive guide lost a grip on the empty bait bucket and it tumbled down the wall. The sharks charged the bucket, forming a living, rolling ball in search of dessert.
When the food was gone, the sharks immediately calmed down and resumed their languid pace. They made no attempt to follow us as we ascended to 15 feet, inflated the lift bag, and made our safety stop drifting toward the ocean.
It was a wild ride.
Rangiroa Lagoon is ringed by a number of small, flat coral islands. A local population of about 5,000 inhabits two of them. The islands are lush with foliage and hundreds of coconut palms. Life here is simple - mostly fishing and enjoying life.
The reefs inside the lagoon are ideal for snorkeling as well as underwater photography. More exciting adventures are to be found on the walls and drop-offs along the outside of the barrier reef.
Plate corals and table corals grow at a furious rate in formations of gigantic proportions. There are abundant, endemic reef fish, and at least five different species of sharks are common. Manta rays, dolphin, turtle and tuna are also common.
- Barracuda Point is a hard coral reef drop-off outside the lagoon loaded with silvertip and gray reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and dogtooth tuna.
- Whitetip Cave in the Pass is loaded with snoozing white-tip reef sharks.
- Red Fish Cave, at 50 feet on the inner wall of the Pass, is inhabited by a large school of bright red soldierfish.
- Avatoru Pass is the best place for seeing manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles and barracuda.
RANGIROA DIVE CENTERS: Members of GIE PLONGEE dive centers association.
RAI MANTA CLUB
Avatoru, Rangiroa, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Tel: (689) 96 84 80
Fax: (689) 96 85 60
Manager: Ives Lefevre
BLUE DOLPHINS DIVING CENTER
Hotel Kia Ora Rangiroa, RANGIROA
Tel. (689) 96. 03. 01 / 96. 03. 84 poste 392
Fax. (689) 96. 03. 01
E-mail : email@example.com
Managers: Junko Kida & Pascal Jogut
Pointe Ohutu c/o Pension Chez Glorine, RANGIROA
Tel. (689) 96. 05. 55 / 96 . 02. 69
Fax. (689) 96. 05. 50
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager: Bernard Blanc
THE SIX PASSENGERS
Baie d'Ohutu, RANGIROA
Tel. (689) 96. 02. 60 / 96. 03. 05
Fax. (689) 96. 02. 60
Manager: Nanou Chapuisat