A diver from Portland is diving to the fathoms below to capture the vibrant marine life in local waters.

Colin Garrett, 52, works for a diving business in Portland called Underwater Explorers. In his free time, he enjoys recreational diving around Chesil Cove and taking photographs of his underwater finds.

Diving and photography have been his passion since childhood, and he hopes to show the local community the myriad of interesting creatures around in local waters.  

“I grew up in Portland in 70s and early 80s. In 2015 after years away, I moved back to do diving which is something I’ve done since I was a teenage boy.

“I just enjoy wildlife and taking underwater photos is my biggest passion. I like sharing things we find to other people. I like showing what’s out there in local waters as some people will see some of these finds as more of a tropical thing.”

Dorset Echo: Colin Garrett underwater diving with his camera

Growing up, Colin’s diving heroes were Ron and Valerie Taylor who rose to prominence after capturing the underwater shark footage that would be used in the 1975 film Jaws. He described how they paved the way for underwater photography as it is today.

“As the years have gone on, underwater photography has been made much easier with photo editing and Lightroom. However, people like my heroes, must have had a much more challenging time. Nowadays we can go on a dive and take 200 shots and pick out the best one, it’s so much easier.”

Colin’s dives typically last an hour, often venturing out at night-time in Portland Harbour or Chesil Cove. His diving highlights include winning Underwater Photographer of the Year in 2020 for a close-up picture of “Danny the Dolphin”, he snapped while diving in Portland Harbour in 2019.  

READ MORE: Amazing picture of Danny the Dolphin wins snapper Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 award

Dorset Echo: Danny the Dolphin by Colin Garrett

“For most of my dives I go at night, I’ve always loved to see the true colours of animals. I always dive at Chesil Cove at night seeing John Dory. Portland is famous for its Barrel jellyfish and that’s something I really enjoy seeing. We’ve not had those in large numbers in the last year.

“I’d like to revisit the Royal Adelaide shipwreck on the western side of Chesil Bank. That’s something close to my heart.”

He also boasts the mental health benefits of his joint passion for diving and wildlife and hopes his photography will encourage the local community to try diving for themselves.

“It brought me out of a dark place in life and through tough times. It’s a cliché nowadays but being out in nature and off your phones is so good for the mind.

“I get a lot of comments on social media from people who can’t do diving due to a physical reason or some people are too nervous about going in the ocean. I always say just give it a go. Being out in sea swimming can only be a good thing for that, it’s where I find peace of mind after a tough day of work."