Splash-In competition celebrates undersea world

The amazing array of undersea locations and life in our UNESCO Biosphere was shown off in the annual Splash-In photography and video-making competition run by dive school Discover Diving.

This year’s competition had the theme ‘Best of Manx’ and there were photography sections for macro, shipwrecks, novelty and scenic images, as well as a challenge to videographers to film ‘My Dive in One Minute’.

Entry was open to local and visiting divers. Photos and video entered had to be shot in June in Manx waters.

Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, of Discover Diving, said: ‘Isle of Man waters are home to an amazing variety of marine life. The relatively large tides ensure that static animals such as anemones get a regular flow of food washing over them. 

‘Body shapes are different for marine creatures as the water supports them and many of them do not have a skeleton or anything that resembles one, it can look like an alien world. Large animals like seals are easy to spot but hard to photograph if they move quickly. 

‘Smaller animals such as nudibranchs can be very brightly coloured but sometimes are only a few millimetres long and very hard to spot.

‘Guillemots nest around the Sugarloaf and the Chasms and dive down from the surface to feed. They swim as well underwater as they fly in the air, turning very quickly in search of food.’

Dr Haywood said: ‘Digital cameras have changed the nature of underwater photography, allowing photographers to experiment with lighting and position to capture the best image. 

‘Of course some images are much harder than others. Guillemots swimming underwater move very fast, anemones are more static. 

‘Photographing divers requires you to watch their breathing pattern so exhaled bubbles don’t ruin the picture. And while capturing these amazing images, divers have to keep themselves safe and manage being underwater.’

The competition was judged by visiting Consular-General of Portugal in Manchester, Duarte Bue Alves, who has a strong interest in marine life;  former BBC journalist and Government communications officer Mark Edwards and Jo Overty, Project Manager with UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man.

Prizes in each category were provided by Discover Diving, which is based in Port St Mary.

And the overall winner took home a beautiful hand-made Biosphere trophy, depicting ocean life.

Macro  

Winner: Tim Nicholson (Candy striped flatworm)

Highly Commended: Alex Aitchison (Scorpion fish)

Wreck 

Winner: Tim Nicholson (diver on the wreck of the Citrine – remarkably it was a selfie taken by setting the timer on his camera and then swimming into position)

Novelty 

Winner: Kathryn Fowler (Guillemot underwater)  

Highly commended: Leigh Morris (Curious seal)

Scenic

Winner: Tim Nicholson (diver outside Sugarloaf caves with diving Guillemots)    

Highly commended: David Ellingham (anemones and sponges)

Highly commended: Leigh Morris (moon jellyfish)

Video 

Winner: Kathryn Fowler (dive through the Sugarloaf caves with feeding guillemots)

Highly commended: Mike Wilson (Eel grass translocation dive)

Overall winner of the Biosphere trophy 

Tim Nicholson (diver outside Sugarloaf caves with diving Guillemots).

GET INVOLVED

If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

Please help us spread the word about Biosphere Isle of Man!