With more than 5,000 participants, OPY is one of the largest photography contests dedicated to ocean imagery, both below and above the surface. The winning and finalist images are a treat for the eye, which can be enjoyed on the Oceanographic magazine website, and category winners were exhibited on London’s Tower Bridge until 7 November.

Conservation - Hope Category

Nicolas – a regular contributor to Scuba Diver magazine – commented: “Conservation images tend to depict the brutal reality of the threats faced by our oceans and their inhabitants. While we absolutely need these images to create awareness and calls to action, we also need to share the good news, to not lose sight that our oceans can recover, if we give them a chance (the sooner the better).

“This is what the ‘hope’ category is all about, and the good news with my photo is that it is about the critically endangered grey nurse sharks. Indeed, there are a few spots along Australia’s east coast where you can still dive with 20-plus grey nurse sharks, and Fish Rock (where I took this image) is perhaps the most famous of them.

“It is still a far cry from the 1960s, where aggregations of 30-plus grey nurse sharks were reliably spotted in 60 dive sites along Australia’s east coast, but it seems the population has been slowly growing since it became protected in 1984. I am writing it ‘seems’, because keeping track of this migratory species is a complex task.

“Also, their recovery is slow because it takes six to seven years for a grey nurse shark to reach sexual maturity, and they only breed every two years, giving birth to only two pups. 

“Consequently, grey nurse sharks are not out of the woods yet, but with continued research and mitigation of the threats they still face, (e.g. accidental injury by fishing hooks, deadly if swallowed), I have hope that our kids will be able to dive with wild grey nurse sharks, and their grand-kids too!”

The winning photograph

“This photo showcases the aggregation of critically endangered grey nurse sharks which can be seen around Fish Rock island (off South West Rocks, NSW, Australia),” explained Nicolas.

“The sharks are often scattered around the island, but on that summer day, the water temperature dropped overnight from 25 to 17 degrees Celsius, due to upwelling, caused by northerly winds. This drove the sharks to gather in the shallows, in search of extra warmth.

“Luckily my wife Lena and myself were in South West Rocks when it happened, and we dived every day for five days in a row, to make the best of these special conditions. Each morning, we would jump in the water for a single, three-hour-long rebreather dive. 

“This gave us the chance to experience times of profound, serene contemplation, while being surrounded by 20 to 30 unbaited sharks, fully relaxed in the silence of our rebreathers.

“Within these hours of contemplative diving, there have been a few moments where everything lined-up, from an atmosphere and composition perspective. This photo depicts one of these moments.”

About Nicolas Remy

Nicolas and his wife Lena Remy are two Sydney-based underwater photographers. Visit their website to see more of their work:



On Wednesday 28 September, it was announced that Chuuk State Quarantine protocols were being lifted and the borders were reopening – fantastic news for divers keen to explore the world-class wreck diving of Truk Lagoon.

The office of the Governor received a copy of the recently passed Joint Resolution CSL 16-22-SJR-18. This resolution extends the State COVID-19 declaration from date up to 30 April 2023. Under such declaration, the quarantine protocols and travel protocols are no longer applicable.

This means that all persons in quarantine facilities will be released immediately, and borders are open for international and domestic travels. However, travels between Chuuk Lagoon and Outer Islands is restricted to emergency purposes only.

All incoming travellers must comply with FSM’s declaration PL 22-134, which mandates a five day home quarantine period before they can be released to the public.
 However, on this final note, The Dirty Dozen Expeditions – which specialises in trips to Truk Lagoon – explained there were two ways to deal with this ‘quarantine’. One, on arrival, you are driven straight to the hotel, where you will have ‘restricted movement’ until the liveaboard picks you up, or you can arrive on the day the trip starts and be transported straight on to the boat, where you will do your ‘five-day quarantine’ on the vessel, go diving and enjoy your trip as scheduled.

It is envisaged that this quarantine period could well be abolished by 1 November, which was touted as the original date for the borders reopening.