My name is Eric Thorén and I live in Sweden.
How it all started…
My diving started out in the summer 2000 when I went for a week of vacation in Cyprus. I didn’t have anything to do, and was just laying by the pool when a guy turned up from a local dive center and asked if I would be interested in trying to dive…
Since I had no plans and were a bit bored, I said yes – and we agreed on that they would come and pick me up early the morning after. As planned they showed up and we went to the shore. A few instructions and then it was time go get “below”….
And I was hooked for life!!! That feeling, just hanging out there in the Blue, looking around and seeing fish, reefs and everything – well it was unprecedented and just awesome! Coming back to Sweden, I immediatly signed up for a diving course near my workplace and I was on the move!
Since then I have continued to educate myself with different skills. I am now a Master Scuba Diver and I have aquired specialties in Ice, Wreck, Deep, Cavern and Enriched Air. At some point I was thinking about going the “tech” road, but that has turned into rebreather diving. I have been diving with a CCR since 2014 and am certified as Advanced Rec Trimix on my machine. The reason I went this way is mostly to be able to get closer to fish – due to the fact that I don’t let bubbles out with a rebreather and therefore I don’t scare them so much. I also doesn’t get cold so fast in the Swedish cold water since I re-breathe the same and not so cold air! That’s really nice too!
The first three years of diving, I was just happy to dive, but since 2003 I have had the possibility to add a feature – underwater photographing!!! And wow, that has really given me yet another dimension in the diving. I started out in Hurghada, Egypt with a rented Motomarine UW-camera. My first rig was a Nikon CoolPix 4300 in a Fantasea housing and an Ikelite DS-50. I enjoyed that for a few years before I turned in on DSLR. My first DLSR camera was a Nikon D70s and I put it in a Fantasea housing. I also put a Nikon SB-800 flashlight into a housing and tried it out.
This was much more difficult than I could have imagined! Different lenses, different ports, manual settings… It took a while before I got the hang of it – and I’m still learning!!
My rig today is a Nikon D90 in an Ikelite housing. I use two Ikelite DS-51s and a focus light when needed. An 8″ Dome port for wide shots and a standard port for normal or macro shots. The lenses I use mostly is the Tokina 10-17 and the Nikkor 105 Macro VR.
Lately I have started to shoot some videos. I have a GoPro Hero3+ and find it amusing to shoot some videos from now and then. But my main interest is still with “stills”.
What is there to see and what are my main interests “down below”
Well, first of all, I have to emphasize that I still very much enjoy just being below surface!!! I never tire of just “hanging there” – I don’t even have to see anything…
That said, I have to say that my “shooting” below surface has driven me in two different directions!
One is NUDIBRANCHS – ahh, when I got my first beautiful nudibranch (a Nembrotha kubaryana in Malaysia) – I was truly amazed!! Since then I try to find new ones where ever I go and I even have a wall at home with several of them in frames.
The other directions is SHARKS – I have dived with – and of course not from any cages – the following species:
- nurse sharks (in Egypt)
- sandtiger sharks (in an aquarium)
- thresher sharks (in Egypt and in the Philippines)
- silky sharks (in Egypt)
- scalloped hammerhead sharks (in Sudan)
- grey reefsharks (in Egypt)
- white-finned reefsharks (in Egypt and in the Maldives)
- caribbean reefsharks (in Bahamas)
- lemon sharks (in Bahamas)
- tiger sharks (in Bahamas)
- whale sharks (in the Philippines)
- great hammerheads (in Bimini, Bahamas)
- great white sharks (Isla Guadalupe, Mexico)
Wow, these top predator creatures – these majestic creatures!!! These so misunderstood creatures… They are really awesome!!! I feel humble and fortunate to have had the opportunity to have them all very close to me. The thresher sharks in Egypt and hammerheads in Sudan were a bit far away, but all the others I have had at less than a meter away from me – most of them I have had on me!!!
In Sweden, living on the east side (with the Baltic Sea) you don’t see a big variation, it’s almost a dead sea nowadays. But, and that’s a very big but, we have wrecks – thousands of wrecks. They keep intact since there is no shipworms due to the condition of the water (not so salty). So it’s really a place to be if you’re interested in wrecks. I have dived on (and inside) wrecks from the 15th century all the way to modern wrecks here in Sweden.
Going from here
I have no precise plans for the future. I decided to do at least 500 dives before I quit diving, and as of today I have surpassed that goal by +150 dives. I keep trying to find spots where I can find my beauties, the nudibranchs and the sharks… I try to go on at least one week trip abroad every year and I dive as often as I can here in Sweden. I stay around 25-50 dives a year and I dive all year around – under the ice and everywhere I can.
I just love diving!!! It gives me a magnificent world and it gives me peace of mind – while being below surface, I’m just there – nothing else exists…