2019 Maldives liveaboard on M/V Emperor Voyager

December 20, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I was on a liveaboard scuba diving trip at Maldives from 6th to 15th December 2019 on M/V Emperor Voyager. I had self-organized this trip just for myself to get away from the cold and dark winter of Finland for a week. There were some unused vacation days to be spent - moreover I had not been diving in the warm tropical waters for quite some time, so now was the perfect time to do it. On a newsletter from Emperor Divers I got in October 2019, they were advertising discounted cruises, and the “Best of Maldives” cruise on M/V Emperor Voyager starting 7th December 2019 was going for only 1200 Euros. Normal price was 400€ more. Then I checked how much were the flights and found suitable Qatar Airlines flights from Helsinki to Male for 525 Euros. So, then I decided to go ahead with this.

I had been on two Maldives liveaboards before: central atolls 2009 and southern atolls 2016. I also had been on many Emperor Divers liveaboards before, so I knew what to expect.

Of course, I also planned to take a camera with me under water, but unfortunately, I had flooded my trusty Canon 7D DSLR camera earlier this year. I did have an Olympus TG-5 in PT-058 housing that I had used first time on my 2017/18 trip to Philippines. That camera was actually pretty good, but I missed the wide-angle that I could get using a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye on DSLR. Also more light was needed. After flooding the 7D, I started looking into improving the TG-5.  I first bought a wide-angle wet lens AOI UWL-04, that attaches directly to the 52 mm filter thread on the Olympus PT-058 housing. With this lens you get 160 degree field of view underwater, which is pretty good. Then, instead of big and bulky strobes, I decided to go with video lights instead. I bought a pair of NaNight 4000 lumen video lights, and this proved to be a very good decision. These lights produce almost as much light as strobes, but now you see what you get, and in the dark waters of Finland the lights are much better than strobes. And you can shoot pretty good video too.

I first tried to hack up a tray and arms system for the lights by adapting the parts from my Canon 7D system, but that was quite heavy. From googling I found out that you could get nice looking light-weight parts from China using the AliExpress web shop. So then I ended up ordering tray and arm parts form “BGNing” web store. Some parts arrived in good time before my trip, so I could test them in Finland. But then we had a long strike of the Finnish Postal Service, and some remaining parts, the floating arms, that I needed got stuck into transit, and in fact I did not get them before the trip to Maldives started. The only option was to build the floats myself. But I did manage to get a complete system together just before the trip, and practice with that in the pool.

As a final touch, I upgraded the camera from TG-5 to the brand-new TG-6, that had just become available. TG-6 fits into the PT-058 housing, so happy days. Things that had improved in the new model included: higher resolution display, many improvements in firmware which make underwater photography and especially video much better and easier.

I took 1600 pictures underwater, and this time quite a lot of video too.

All of the videos and photos from the trip will be uploaded here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives. While I am still working with the videos, all of the underwater diving photos are now available here: https://photos.leiman.fi/2019-maldives-all-dives

List of all dives:

- dive 1 ,2019-12-08 07:14, Lankan manta point
- dive 2 ,2019-12-08 12:37, Kuramathi kandu
- dive 3 ,2019-12-08 15:52, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 4 ,2019-12-09 06:17, Rashdoo Madivaru
- dive 5 ,2019-12-09 10:28, Bathala thila
- dive 6 ,2019-12-09 14:30, Maaya Thila
- dive 7 ,2019-12-09 18:47, Maaya Lagoon mantas
- dive 8 ,2019-12-10 07:13, Fish Head (Mushimasmingili)
- dive 9 ,2019-12-10 10:19, Moofushi Kandu
- dive 10 ,2019-12-10 14:39, Kuda Rah Thila
- dive 11 ,2019-12-11 06:48, Seventh Heaven
- dive 12 ,2019-12-11 10:33, Lux Beuru
- dive 13 ,2019-12-11 15:40, Kunavashi Kandu
- surface 2019-12-11 20:32 Whale shark
- dive 14 ,2019-12-12 06:58, Rakeedhoo
- dive 15 ,2019-12-12 11:56, Fotteyo, Hurahu kandu
- dive 16 ,2019-12-12 16:26, Alimathaa circus
- dive 17 ,2019-12-13 08:40, Vilivaru Giri

2016 Summer trip to Italy

August 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Me and my wife Minna did our summer trip of 2016 to Northern Italy.

We flew to Milan, and for there traveled by train to Monterosso (Cinque Terre region), Florence, Venice and back to Milan, and then flew back home. We staye 2 nights at each place and traveled 10 days in total. I took 2000 pictures, and have placed them online into this gallery, organized into sub-galleries by each day:


From Milano we continued to Monterosso by train and stopped at Genova.  


At Monterosso we stayed 2 nights. On Sunday we hiked part on the blue trail over the mountains to the next village. Then we went by train to all the other 5 Terre villages.


Then on Monday we continued to Firenze, and stopped at La Spezia and Pisa.


On Tuesday we took two guided tours and saw all the most famous places of Firenze.


Then on Wednesday we took the fast train to Venezia.


On Thursday we toured the main island and also visited Murano.


On Friday we took the fast train back to Milano.


On Saturday we went to see the Milano cathedral, and museums.


On Sunday we flew back home.

Photos from Maldives scuba diving safari 2016

February 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I just returned from Maldives where I spent 2 weeks on  scuba diving safari. The trip started 8th Feb  2016 and ended Feb 21st.

We did it on Werner Lau company's MY Sheena as a live-aboard type of excursion. The cruise started from the Meemu Atoll at Medhufushi island, and from there we sailed south all the way to Gaafu atoll near equator though the Thaa and Laamu atolls. We did on average 3 dives per day and in total 35 dives. Most of these where channel or "kandu" dives in rough currents and the objective was to see sharks, rays and other big fish. On the trip I had a Canon 7D camera for stills photography and a Gopro Hero 4 Silver for shooting HD videos.

The "official" trip log by our dive guides Alec & Tore can be found from here: http://www.wernerlau.com/sheena/logbook.html,  by selecting our trip date 07.02.2016 - 27.02.2016

The pictures and videos will gradually appear into this gallery: 


The scuba dive technical logs can be found from here:


The gallery slide show below shows a first collection of pictures from the trip:

Photos from New Zealand

January 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Once we got to New Zealand, I discovered that the Internet connection to the "outside world" was quite thin. The bandwidth to Zenfolio servers and to basically anywhere outside NZ was so poor, that it made no sense to upload photos or anything from NZ. A couple of Facebook posts every now and then was occationally possible. On the way back home we stopped at Hong Kong for a few days.

So only when I got back home to Finland, I was able to sort out the photos and upload them to Zenfolio. In total there are about 5000 picture and videos.

Daily photos are now here in this group, sorted by Country and then by each day:


And a small selection of pictures from NZ:


2015-12-20 Tokyo, 2nd day

December 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

We slept like logs, being so tiered from two days without proper sleep and the jet lag of +7 hour time zone difference. Only the alarm clock at 9 AM woke me up. The curtain was closed, so when I tried to open it to see outside, Minna got really upset for me putting on such a bright light. But that bright light was the sun :-)

We quickly went to have the hotel breakfast, which wasn't included in price, but could be had for a discounted price if you buy tickets from the reception. 

First we went to see the Ueno district by subway. The park and the zoo, shrine north of the station. At the zoo we saw Panda and Polar bears.

Then the shopping streets south. Then we continued with the subway to Asakusa to see the Sensoji Kannon Temple. Then by subway to the Skytree building, the 2nd tallest in the world. Again we saw the city light from hih above, but this time it was from 250 meters, and you can see really far. The city is endless.

Then the last thing to see was the Harajuku fashion district, which required a 30 minute subway trip across the city. On the Harajuku main street and the Takeshita St. you can see all the latest fashions in clothing. Then it was time for a dinner and back to hotel. Next afternoon the journey continues...

Gallery from the entire 2nd day at Tokyo:

January February March April May June July (1) August (1) September October November December
January (2) February (1) March (1) April May June July August September October November December
January February (1) March April May June July August September October November December (4)
January (1) February (1) March April May June July August (1) September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December