Coastline and waterways reveal deepest secrets for exhibition

Fri, Mar 1, 2013, 00:00

You don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to see an underwater world teeming with colourful flora and fauna, according to the organisers of Dive Ireland 2013.

The event is a conference and exhibition to be held in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone this weekend.

Central to the conference will be an exhibition of some 100 photographs depicting the exotic, beautiful and occasionally frightening flora and fauna to be found in our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

Taken by amateur photographers, the images show creatures such as nudibranches, marine molluscs of which there are more than 3,000 varieties. Although they can look threatening, they are harmless and will wrap themselves around your finger, should you stray that close.

Devilish appearance

Some of the pictures of jellyfish look less benign. A particularly devilish-looking tompot blenny, an insolent red-faced fish that seems to have horns, is apparently quite harmless.

Event organiser Jim Campbell of Athlone Sub Aqua Club said most people recognised the work divers did in underwater searches. But the exhibition and conference show “you don’t have to go to the Caribbean” to see the beauty and diversity of underwater life.

A range of speakers will give talks on submarine biodiversity. These include the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans.

Wrecks explored

Leading wreck diver Barry McGill will deliver a talk on exploration and recording of wrecks. McGill was a member of several noted expeditions and was involved in the discovery of HMS Curacao in 125m of water, about 110km off the Donegal coast. The cruiser was zig-zagging ahead of the Queen Mary as protection from U-boats when it was rammed by the bigger ship. It sank with the loss of 338 naval personnel.

McGill is also expected to relate details of the dive to locate the White Star liner Carinthia, torpedoed west of Galway Bay in 1940, and the Lusitania.

Full details at, athlone.ieor the Dive Ireland 2013 Facebook page.