By Alex Jones
THE WONDERS of the UK’s waters have been exposed in a stunning set of vibrant photos.
Incredible sub-aquatic images from an award-winning British photographer show the abundance of life and colour in the underrated British waters, including a zany orange and white John Dory, a beautiful coral display being inspected by a diver, and a seabird swimming through the green seas in search of lunch.
The captivating photos were shot by Robert Bailey (55), a recent winner at the Underwater Photographer Of The Year awards, who believes people should be proud of our spectacular and singular coastal environment.
“The UK’s waters are unique across the world, unlike every other spot on earth,” he explained.
“Although the waters often look murky and uninviting, my goal as a photographer is to show the average lay person something they didn’t expect to see.
“There’s sharks, big and small, amazing colour, a vast array of tiny life – the list is endless really.”
From the Scottish reefs in the icy-cold North Sea to flooded quarries filled with old airplane wrecks, to coral reefs off the coast of Cornwall, there are dozens of unique scuba diving sites with super clear visibility across the UK.
Although it’s often taken for granted, there is also a tremendous variety of exciting sealife on our own watery doorstep – from dolphins, whales, sharks and seals to puffins, seahorses, and rare pink sea fans.
Bailey believes there’s still plenty to see, explore and discover – and even has his own special spot.
“I love Lochcarron, Scotland,” he admitted.
“It’s uncrowded, beautiful above and below, and often not photographed as well as it could be.
“The narrows at Strom Ferry is a special place as the current caused by the narrowing of the lock bring currents, which in turn provide an abundant food source.
“As an underwater photographer you’re also protected from the ocean swell.
“Over the years photography there has been very productive.”
Diving in the UK is very different to diving in more tropical climes, and Baily has some top tips for aspiring underwater snappers.
“Make sure your kit is working properly, and that your weighted perfectly,” he said.
“Join specialised groups to learn how, when and where to find the best opportunities to make pictures underwater.
“Always dive with your camera, it helps to plan ahead about what you think you might see, and set your kit up in advance. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.
“Taking photographs underwater is important, it’s up to us to show the world that the seas are in jeopardy and we have to make amends as quickly as possible.”