Sunday, 10 October 2010

Pulau Tioman - Tioman Island

Tioman Island is a small island located 32 km off the east coast of Malaysia. The densely forested island is sparsely inhabited, and is surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making it popular for scuba diving.  Unfortunatley the weather was quite turbulent when we were there and the water wasn't very clear.  We opted not to do any dives and just relax.  I hope to return.


















Monday, 4 October 2010

Petra tou Romiou - 'Birth place' of Aphrodite

Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty, love and procreation.  Her cult was very popular in ancient Greece with numerous shrines and temples throughout the land. Her main cult centres within Greece were the city of Korinthos (Corinth) on the Isthmus, and the island of Kythera off the coast of Lakedaimonia. Outside of Greece itself, the island of Kypros - now Cyprus - was famed for its Mystery cult dedicated to the goddess. Aphrodite was also worshipped with private rituals and prayers.

Rock of the Greek
The Saracen Rock
The most common version of the birth of Aphrodite describes her born in sea-foam from the castrated genitals of the sky-god Ouranos.

Hesiod, Theogony 176 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Ouranos (the Sky) came, bringing on night and longing for love, and he lay about Gaia (the Earth) spreading himself full upon her. Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him . . . and so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Kythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Kypros, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and Aphrogeneia (the foam-born) because she grew amid the foam, and well-crowned (eustephanos) Kythereia because she reached Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in billowy Kypros, and Philommedes (Genital-Loving) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros (Love), and comely Himeros (Desire) followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods,--the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness."

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bearded Fireworm - Hermodice carunculata


These photos were taken when diving in Paphos, Cyprus, where Bearded Fireworms are extremely common.


Name: Bearded Fireworm  (Hermodice carunculata)
Order: Ariculata
Family: Amphinomidae

Behaviour

When disturbed, the fireworms puff out their poisonous hairs to protect themselves.  The hairs are actually brittle, hollow spines that can pierce skin and become lodged there.  This produces a burning sensation and irritation.

Distribution

Bearded fireworms are found in the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean and Atlantic.

Pipefish (Syngnathinae)

Pipefish look a lot like straight-bodied seahorses.  The name is derived from their long thin straight snake-like body.  Like seahorses, pipefish leave the majority of parenting duties to the male who has a specially developed area to carry the eggs which the female deposits. 

Their shape makes them very difficult to spot, especially when swimming amongst sea grass.


Monday, 19 July 2010

Akamas

Akamas is a cape at the northwest extremity of Cyprus.  The dive centre where I worked offered day trips to the "protected" Marine Park in this area.  The first dive was normally at St George's Island - a interesting dive from 3 to 30m on a wall.  We would then go for lunch and a swim before continuing onto Fontana Amorosa for a second dive.