Nov 242015

Kelp Forest in Lima

About the location

Lima is closer to the equator than I imagined, but compensates with ocean temperatures that are quite similar to Melbourne. The cool Humboldt current passes up the coast on its way to the Galapagos Islands. Combined with a capital city of nearly 9 million inhabitants, this makes for less than stellar vis on the coast. Local diving includes trips out to swim and snorkel with the huge sea lion colony, and rumours of great kelp forests.

About the dive

Given I was in town for three weeks I was pretty determined to get wet at some point. Some friends at work were kind enough to point me in the directions of Naylamps School of Diving who were able to pick me up and provide tanks, weights and Nicolas as a lovely dive guide. The boat left from Pucusana which is about an hour’s drive from Lima. After a very short run out around the back of the nearby island, we jumped in for the first dive. The water is deep green but relatively clear. I spent some time playing around with camera settings to compensate for the lack of light, and checking out the rocks for critters.

Selfie in the Lima kelp forest

The second dive was in the shallows of the kelp forest with a maximum depth around 12m. The green water and the huge trunks of kelp twisting up to the surface made it feel exactly like flying through a forest. I had to concentrate to manoeuvre my long strobe arms through the strands.

About the photos

Having left my strobe diffusers in Melbourne, I struggled to find the right angle that would allow enough lighting without too much backscatter. I also spent some time sneaking up on Nicolas to get photos of him between the kelp.

I love the glowing green shade of the water, completely different to blue tropical seas and even the grey blue Melbourne water in winter. We had a bit of surge which co-ordinated the movement of the kelp as it swayed in the currents. I was hoping for an inquisitive sea lion or larger fish to come through but no such luck on this occasion. This was my first dive in kelp forests and I’m looking forward to trying it out again – the underwater forest is a fantastic experience.

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