*This is a guest post by Chris Kroll
For the full experience, make sure you watch this video in full screen with HD switched ON.
What an amazing year of diving! After more than 300 dives this year and in excess of 6 hours of raw GoPro footage, Renee Bradshaw and I were able to cut our footage down to a 12 minute video of the absolute best and most spectacular moments.
2012 was one of the best years of diving that most can remember at our home island of Koh Tao, Thailand – with 3 straight months of regular Bull Shark sightings and almost daily Whale Shark encounters during the months of April, October and November, plus substantial coral regrowth around the dive sites. And of course Koh Tao’s usual suspects – huge schools of Chevron Barracuda, Yellowtail Barracuda and Yellowtail Scad, Giant Groupers, Queenfish, Batfish, Octopus, Porcupine Pufferfish, Jellyfish, Devil Scorpionfish and Hawksbill Turtles were all captured on camera.
We had some amazingly big encounters in Nusa Penida, Indonesia with lots of Manta Rays, Mola Mola and some of the healthiest reefs we had ever witnessed (just make sure you wear a wetsuit, it is cold and the currents are strong!) We were also lucky enough to see a free-swimming male Ribbon Eel for the first time too – something our Dive Master of 10 years had only ever witnessed once before.
And the always consistent and spectacular Sipadan, Malaysia was impressive as usual! With its 700 meter drop off and magnificent schools of Bumphead Parrotfish, plus thousands of Barracuda and Jacks. Not to mention guaranteed (for us anyway) sightings of White Tip Reef Sharks (5-10 every dive) and Green Turtles (one dive we encountered more than 30!!!).
Leopard Sharks were a first for us at Bida Nok, just off the coast of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand – we saw a male and a female resting together on the sand.
Although the fish-eye lens of the GoPro video camera is much more ideal for wide angle shots of much bigger subjects rather than than macro and smaller subjects, we were able to get great footage of a large Seahorse and a Juvenile Harlequin Sweetlips in Mabul, Malaysia as well as a Mantis Shrimp and Blue Spotted Stingrays at Koh Phi Phi, Thailand and a city of White Eyed Moray Eels and Lionfish inside an artificial reef in Seraya, Bali.
As you can see 2012 was an amazing year of diving for us, 2013 has big shoes to fill to say the least!
Just make sure you do some research before booking trips to any of these places – certain big fish are only around at certain times of the year – plan it right and you won’t regret it!
For those interested, the video was editing using Sony Vegas Pro 11.0 – the editing, footage selection and trimming took around 60 hours. All footage was taken using the GoPro HD Hero 2 in full HD, 1080p at 25 frames per second.