Fis for Flight of Fancy, featuring three (highly) imaginative moodboards inspired by the underwater sinkholes of The Bahamas. Yes, you read me right. It came about during one of my conversations with an old friend as we were discussing about diving. After a little research about tiger sharks, one site led to another and I was instantly mesmerised by this image below. I am a firm believer that inspiration comes in many forms. The process of materialising the conception is one of the most gratifying feelings. That’s why I love my job so much!

The Cascade Room, some 80ft beneath the surface. Photograph by Wes C. Skiles of National Geographic

Of the more than one thousand blue holes believed to be in The Bahamas, less than 20% have been probed, and Brian Kakuk, one of world’s best cave divers, estimates that three quarters of those contain passages never seen before. Dean’s Blue Hole located in a bay, west of Clarence Town on Long Island is the deepest blue hole in the world measuring 663 ft (202m) deep and one of the seven Wonders of Nature. Only one person, Jim King, has ever reached the bottom (in 1992).

According to Andrew Todhunter of National Geographic, “inland blue holes are the scientific equivalent of Tut’s tomb. From a diver’s perspective, they’re on par with Everest, requiring highly specialized training, equipment, and experience. Even more than high-altitude mountaineers, cave divers work under tremendous time pressure.”

Here’s the first Flight of Fancy moodboard.

1. HONEYMOON IN THE BAHAMAS
The attractions of the Bahamas sun, sea and sand have been beckoning the rich and famous, divers, lovers and beachcombers for decades. Shakira has settled in Nassau and Johnny Depp has found his heaven on earth on a 45-acre cay in the island of Exumas. From the reclusive paradise for honeymooners to dancing in the moonlight with locals, there is definitely something to suit your whim and fancy. Do your research well, as honeymooning in the Bahamas is expensive in US dollars and everything you consume will cost double from stateside prices.

The picture above shows the unassuming Dean’s Hole at Long Island from a bird’s view. It is very safe to dive and snorkel but non-swimmers should stay away. The drop-off from the sandy beach into the hole is extremely sudden and eerily spooky (watch the VIDEO). If you are a scuba diver, the best way to explore Long Island is by getting friendly with the natives. There are a lot of very good divers there and they will be interested in what you are doing. The natives are fantastic people, but the culture takes some understanding. Bahamians don’t like to tell you ‘no’. Often, ‘yes’ really means ‘no’. For more travel tips and information, check out the Bahamas Tourism site and Lonely Planet.

2. FREE-DIVING IN DEAN’S HOLE, BAHAMAS
This picture is the backbone of our first moodboard. It features world champion free-diver, Guillaume Nery, in one breath, base-jumping from the underwater cliff and falling through space with a head-first decent in a breathtaking fashion until he reached a surface . He then sprung upwards and scaled the hole’s walls like a rock-climber in zero gravity. You must watch the VIDEO! The video took four days to film and was taken with just one camera by his girlfriend Julie Gautier (a French model, recordholder in free-diving and underwater performer) with the aim to shed light on the artistic potential of this extreme sport.  You may have seen Julie Gautier from the acclaimed Ashes and Snow Photography Exhibition which was widely circulated via e-mails as she was the underwater model for the project.

3. AGAPANTHUS
Agapanthus is also known as Lily of the Nile, but it is not a lily and all of the species are native to South Africa. They come in various shades of blue and white. Check with your local florist and floral designer for more details.

4. CUTTING EDGE FURNITURE
Designer Dror Benshetrit’s Cappellini Peacock chair features looping folds of felt with minimal metal frame to create a comfortable lounge chair. The Peacock chair is produced by Cappellini who is famous for cutting edge modern furniture and is available in most parts of Asia including Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok. Check out their site for more details.

5. PEACOCK WEDDING DRESS
A US$1.5 Million wedding dress made from 2,009 peacock feathers from a factory in Nanjing, China which took two months to make by eight craftsmen. The wedding dress also includes a bodice featuring brocade and Suzhou embroidery.

Enthusiasts of the deep blue ocean may consider an unconventional engagement photography session. The photo below features Guillaume Nery and Julie Gautier by Paris Match.

Here’s the second Flight of Fancy moodboard for beach bummers.

1. BELIZE, HOME TO GREAT BLUE HOLE & MORE
Belize is not located at The Bahamas but it is a part of the Caribbean zone. It is probably the least desirable getaway destination among Asians, perhaps due to limited flight connectivity and distance from Asia but it’s time we explore away from Bali, Phuket, Maldives, Mauritius, Guam or even Hawaii. For more information on Belize, check out Belize in Love.

To help you narrow down your search, The Condé Nast Johansens 2010 Awards for Excellence has awarded Mata Chica Beach Resort for the ‘Most Excellent Romantic Hideaway’, Victoria House for ‘Most Excellent Beach Resort’ and Chan Chich Lodge for the ‘Most Excellent Lodge’. According to Conde Nast Traveller, the Meso-American barrier reef that runs along the coast of Belize is second only to the one off Queensland in terms of size and marine life it supports. The best time to visit Belize is between September and May.

2 & 6. PRADA SPRING/SUMMER 2010 COLLECTION
The fashion may be last season but for weddings, it’s evergreen. For the modern bridal party with a cool sense of fashion and charisma, these styles are perfect for a beach wedding.

3 & 5. FLORAL DREAM
If you intend to host a destination wedding in a remote island, remember to include the Flora Guru, Razak of Flora Etc (Malaysia) as your must-have wedding companion. As a celebrity floral designer whose clientele include the whose who of society and royalties alike, Razak and his team will transform any given space into an amazing room full of artful floral creations.

4. COOL COASTERS
These cool coasters are designed by Parliament of Owl (New York).

7. STALAGMITE FOREST AT STARGATE
The Stalagmite Forest is a wonder of nature, a fragile thing of beauty and of danger, such that it necessitates precision diving. Our second moodboard is inspired by this picture, taken by the late Wes C. Skiles, a renowned underwater photojournalist, cinematographer and explorer who was killed during a marine life scientific research expedition off the east coast of Florida. In his 27 years career, Wes C Skiles “escaped from a collapsed ocean cave off the Australian coast and was among the first people to set foot on the largest iceberg in Antarctica. At one time, off the coast of South Africa, a shark jammed itself into his protective cage. The burly photographer beat the creature back with his heavy, waterproof camera, taking pictures throughout the episode, and had close-up photos of the great white’s jagged teeth as a token of his survival.” James Cameron’s new 3D action thriller movie Sanctum is dedicated to Wes C Skiles, of which the movie plot is based on one of Wes C Skiles’ expedition experience.

8. ‘GRAVITY DEFYING’ OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Preston Bailey’s  approach to every event is an inspiration for many planners and event designers. As a celebrated designer, he is renowned for his ability to translate his clients’ visions into awe-inspiring artistic installations.

If you haven’t noticed, our Flight of Fancy moodboards showcase amazing people whose work defy the impossible. Our third Flight of Fancy moodboard is inspired by Bacteria Colouring in the Blue Hole of Abaco Island, The Bahamas, yet another superb photo taken by Wes C Skiles.

Who would have thought that bacteria can be so fun to ‘play’ with! Bacteria colour the water at 30 – 36 ft in Sawmill Sink at Abaco Island and expedition divers descend into the bacterial layer of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas to gather data and to study life on the universe with the absence of oxygen. “If we can understand precisely how these microbes are making a living, we know what to look for on oxygen-free worlds,” says Jenn Macalady, an astrobiologist in an interview.

Not to sound shallow, I like the colours in the picture and used it to build a colour theme for this moodboard. If you want a dream wedding beyond imagination, do check out the work of Razak and his team at Flora Etc (Malaysia).

p/s: I was told that I am too long-winded in my posts, and at best, should try to keep it more wedding-friendly. So, should you be interested in some bed-time reading, visit these sources: Wikipedia; National Geographic

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