Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ice diving & The Jesus Effect

(For some reason, the short video "Cecil swims by' has evaporated into thin air - if you'd like to watch it, it should be posted on YouTube at hhtp:// )

Apologies for leaving this elusive title to drift up there in the subject line without giving you anything to substantiate it. I had trouble uploading this video clip (Henry Kaiser filming Cecil Shin diving) and by the time I got it working, it was late at night and I was just too tired to write an accompanying note. The following morning, camp activity took over. 

'The Jesus Effect' is a term divers have adopted to describe the dramatic shaft of light that streams down towards them from the hole on the surface of the ice. The atmosphere and environment below the ice (dives here are to an average depth of 80 feet or 23 metres) is often ascribed cathedral-like characteristics - the ice above, a vaulted ceiling; the light, diffuse; the strange weightlessness and slow-motion movement of the swimmers almost other-worldly. 

Dramatic light beams are not a common underwater occurrence. Everything depends on the angle of the sun in relation to the dive hole - it needs to be pretty much directly above it in order for light to penetrate through a 12 - 20 feet-thick shaft of ice. 

Our divers experienced this effect a week ago in one of our close-to-camp dive holes, at around 6.00PM. We're hoping to capture Katherine and Christina's porcelain - and my small, silver-hulled boats - in this spectacular light next week when we do our underwater  ArtScience installations and filming.   

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