Staff Focus. This month: Michelle Keating “Chief Bean Counter” and Andy Keating “Chief Plate Spinner.”
Living so close to some of the most beautiful Jurassic coastline, it is no wonder that Andy and Michelle have a passion for the water. Most weekends in the summer, they can be found at West Bay with their haul of scallops, then home to cook them with some The Flavourworks garlic butter! The attraction in the UK is normally to dive on rusty metal shipwrecks, not only a wealth of history surrounds each one but an abundance of fish life and other marine animals.
As the weather gets colder, the further afield the diving adventure goes, this year Andy and Michelle travelled to North Sulawesi, an Indonesian island on the Lembeh Strait. The attraction here was to spot and capture on camera the illusive, very small Hippocampus Bargibanti – otherwise known as the Pygmy Seahorse. These creatures are less than 2cm long and very difficult to spot, they live on beautiful pink seafans and are camouflaged very well. Still, this did not deter Michelle from the challenge!
In a depth of 24m, against a strong current and struggling to hold the camera which is a mere 8.5Kg in weight and trying to focus the camera, the dive guide points to a tiny blob on the sea fan and there it was! Snap! Getting low on air, the excitement builds to view the screen above the water. “Oh, is that what they look like!” other divers exclaimed. The next trip planned is to Palau, Micronesia in the Pacific where the diving is to watch large sharks cruising the world famous Blue Corner and eyeballing you as they pass – the challenge here is not to get eaten!