Scuba Diver Australasia + Ocean Planet - - Contents - By Sarah Womald

It’s been two years since Lembeh Re­sort and Gulen Dive Re­sort went head to head in the most talked about un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy shootout in 2016 – and the 2018 re­match was just as ex­cit­ing!

The two teams, based in Lembeh Re­sort in In­done­sia and Gulen Dive Re­sort in Nor­way, pit­ted their un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy skills against each other in three rounds over six days. This year’s cat­e­gories in­cluded Nudi­branchs, Fish & In­ver­te­brates and Wide An­gle.

The Lembeh Strait is world fa­mous for its abun­dance of rare and un­usual ma­rine life, hence the ti­tle “Crit­ter Cap­i­tal of the World”, whereas Nor­way is known for its wrecks, in­cred­i­ble vis­i­bil­ity and stag­ger­ing seascapes. The shootout truly is a clash of the ti­tans: cold wa­ter ver­sus trop­i­cal, north ver­sus south of the equa­tor, and dry­suits ver­sus wet­suits – could there be any more of a chal­leng­ing event? Team lead­ers were world-class photo pros

Alex Mus­tard and Keri Wilk, with Alex head­ing up Team Lembeh and Keri at the helm of Team Gulen. Both pros have ex­pert knowl­edge and experience in their re­spec­tive lo­ca­tions and the teams couldn’t have been in safer hands.

The shootout truly is a clash of the ti­tans: cold wa­ter ver­sus trop­i­cal, north ver­sus south of the equa­tor and dry­suits ver­sus wet­suits

Team Lembeh took an early lead in the first round – Nudi­branchs – un­like in 2016 when Team Gulen took the round with a con­vinc­ing lead. Lembeh then went on to win the Fish & In­ver­te­brates round, but due to higher vot­ing num­bers, Team Gulen man­aged to close the over­all gap, mak­ing for an in­tense fi­nal round –

Wide An­gle.

As it hap­pened, Lembeh’s crit­ters and man­groves couldn’t hold up against Gulen’s stun­ning col­lec­tion of split images and dra­matic green seascapes, which saw the lat­ter take the last round by storm. In fact, as Gulen re­ceived such a large num­ber of votes in the Wide An­gle

round, the fi­nal count to de­ter­mine the over­all win­ner was a nail-bit­ing af­fair. This was the clos­est shootout to date and the fi­nal over­all scores were an­nounced at 56.2 to Gulen and 58.2 to Lembeh. It couldn’t have been a closer fin­ish but with a nar­row mar­gin, Team Lembeh was de­clared the over­all 2018 win­ner.

The stun­ning im­agery that was cap­tured over the six days is a huge tes­ta­ment to the in­cred­i­ble ma­rine life and dive sites of th­ese two unique div­ing des­ti­na­tions and the phe­nom­e­nal un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy op­por­tu­ni­ties that each has to of­fer.

So what does this mean for the fu­ture of the Lembeh vs Gulen Shootout? Will it re­turn in 2020? With heavy­weight, world-class pros at the helm on each side of the world, we’d love to see a se­quel, and don’t the best things al­ways come in threes?

OP­PO­SITE PAGE BOT­TOM OP­PO­SITE PAGE TOPRIGHT A wide-an­gle shot of a diver un­der the for­est canopy in Lembeh A wide-an­gle shot of a jel­ly­fish in Gulen A sil­hou­ette of a seahorse in Lembeh

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