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A Walking Weirdity

A bizarre creature with a nose like Pinocchio's hovers over the sandy Caribbean seabed. With its warty skin, it looks more like a shorn sheep than a fish. This is the shortnose batfish, Ogcocephalus nasutus, a shy creature found in shallow waters easily accessible from Cuba's Isle of Youth.
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Strange, but true...

Jonathan Bird had a weird experience when diving in the Bahamas last year. He saw this sort of elongated fish thing, with two long antennae, terminating in sort of fishing-lure things, coloured bright yellow. The creature had a large plume on its head, and was propelled through the water in an upright position by an undulating fin that ran the length of its back. Coo-er!Sorry, it wasnt a sea serpent this time, but a distinctly rare sighting of a decidedly rare creature: the oarfish (and thats it, opposite)
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Is it a wrasse? Is it a bream? No,Its a boarfish!

A long-nosed, orange and white fish peered nervously from under a rock at diver Colin Gray. When he took a closer look, he discovered that the strange visitor was, quite literally, out of its depth
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Gem of a Dive

Monty Halls picks his way through the doggy doos of the Eastern Kings steps (right) to share a sound idea with a friend: a dive in the nutrient-rich waters around the corner from Plymouth ferryport. Not a glamorous entry point, we'll grant you, but once yo'ure in its a different world: a world of crabs, anemones, cuttlefish and bass. And afterwards there's the allure of a bacon sandwich. Read on and know the joys of being one of us. Marine life photographs by Mark Webster
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Memoirs of a Mako Hunter

When he first went looking for mako sharks off the coast of New Zealand, Tobias Bernhard just hung out from the side of his boat, face-down above the water, with a camera in his hand. The next time he knocked up a DIY shark cage: a body-sized cylinder of mild steel reinforcing mesh which he dunked from the stern of the boat. Then he baited the water, climbed into the cage and waited. But not for long; a mako soon homed in.
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There she blows!

The vaporous spout of a huge sperm whale jets into the air from the sea off the Azores. Its a majestic spectacle at any time; when you're in the water and close to the beast it's plain awesome, as Charles Hood discovered when he took his snorkelling gear on a whale watching holiday.
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Slippery when met

If a short-sighted, mucus-covered messy eater which grows up to 3 metres long doesn't sound like the ideal diving companion, think again. When you understand the moray eel you could well start to love it, says Gavin Anderson.
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Bed Fellows

Come on a dive with Paul Naylor as he takes a closer look at the vibrant and fascinating range of molluscs lurking on a typical British seabed
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Not So Fast!

Mark and Susanna Webster come across a hawksbill that not only refuses to turn turtle, but is positively pushy...
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Frill Seeker

What so fascinating about a feathery lump of coral? Not a lot, says John Bantin, unless on closer inspection it turns out to be a wonderfully ugly and rarely seen frogfish
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Return of the Zombies

Once they had grown used to his presence, Alex Wallace was able to dive among the living dead: a thousand salmon facing their final challenge in an Alaskan river.
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Playmates of the month

Tag, bubble bursting and kissing the fin are just some of the games that John Liddiard has witnessed these playful sea-animals enjoy. Diver and camera-friendly too, he recommends you go out to play
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The Friendly Killers

Killer whales, or orcas - from the Latin for lower world - were named to reflect their renowned predatory nature. So why in New Zealand do so many divers report close and seemingly safe encounters with these creatures Wade Doak investigates
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Frogfish Fever

A slide-show late one night sent fish experts reaching for their books: just what was that hairy fish? Fred Bavendam joined the hysteria of the ensuing search to find its name
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Stingers

We so often see photographs of divers surrounded by stingrays that it is easy to forget animals do in fact sting, and could inflict severe injury if handled wrongly. Lawson Wood points out some of the other sea creatures we should avoid touching for our own sakes as much as theirs.
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A Lot of Bull

...or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Bull Sharks; John Bantin enjoys a predatory encounter in the Bahamas, way beyond the routine of staged chumsicle feeds at Walkers Cay

Colour We got Colour!

Can such a rainbow coalition really be found in English waters Our marine-life man Paul Naylor has a new book out, and here he uses some of its images to prove that Brit critters aren't h...

No Batteries Required

After being treated to another wordly spectacle, Harvey Rutt sees night -diving in an entirely new light.

School Dinners

It can be disturbingly disorientating to find yourself in the middle of a dense shoal of fish, as Mark Webster knows. Why do fish go in for formation dancing, anyway?

Killer Application

Fancy a major encounter? Blue, humpback and sperm whales, dolphins, great white sharks - marine photographer Amos Nachoum specialises in leading charter expeditions to locate and capture ...

Where the Big Teeth Hang Out

Where the viz is like pea soup, there is always the suspicion that the more exciting marine life lurks somewhere beyond our field of vision. But as Mike Clark points out, there are plenty...

Basking Glory

You don't need to invest a fortune in time and money to encounter 6m-plus sea creatures - you can do it in Cornwall or the Isle of Man, like Mark Webster. All you need is a wetsuit, a sno...

Flower Power

They might look like blooms in a coral garden, but crinoids and the creatures they host have their own active secret life, and offer a colourful challenge to photographers such as Fred Ba...

Flat Mate

The common topknot lives a secretive upside-down life, while the rare Norwegian is even more common in shallow waters but brilliantly disguised. No wonder divers often miss them, but Jim ...

Wolf in Sheepskin

A merciless killer is on the loose - Tobias Bernhard provides an eye-witness account

Shellfish Hotel

Come and see all the marine life thats attracted by the oysters and mussels we cultivate in a Scottish sea loch, they said. John Bantin has a soft spot for bivalves, so he went along

Behind Closed Claws

Mobile homes - you love them or loathe them. But imagine having to fight off other potential home-seekers in a ruthless market to get one, then having to lug it round everywhere on your b...

You'll only encourage them...

Controlled feeding of marine animals, from groupers and turtles to sharks, can give divers unforgettable experiences. But some people have a problem with the idea, and a wave of shark att...

Rubble Trouble

The authorities in certain parts of the world turn a blind eye to reef damage, in case it scares off the divers. But how do you conceal the facts when, as Charles Sheppard points out, in ...

The Pussycat Factor

Every photographer knows instinctively what the pussycat factor is, says Mark Webster. It's the sort of subject that makes your audience, or better still a panel of competition judges, go...

The Heat is On

Global warming is a reality, and with it will come changes in the wildlife around UK shores. Dr Keith Hiscock of the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) looks ahead to what might hap...

Jim, but not as we know it

The Tritonia diving suit, which kept working divers dry and at atmospheric pressure, even at great depth, suffered the fate of many useful inventions when Joseph Peress demonstrated it in...

A wreck divers dream of heaven

You know the scene: you get down to the wreck to find the portholes nicely polished, the pieces of eight neatly labelled. Then you wake up. But it doesn't have to be that way if, like Dav...

Early snorkels

Peter Dick on the history of breathing tubes, from the elephants nose to the caged ping-pong ball (right).

Dusty Millers secret war

How did the British obtain such accurate intelligence on German WW1 U-boats As Kendall McDonald discovers, it wasn't down to a band of elite secret agents, but rather the skill and braver...