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Gone are the days when you had to buy a separate camera and a phone. Now, we all buy phones knowing that the built-in camera will be the only one we will ever need – or until the next smartphone, at least.

So, when I went snorkelling off The Great Barrier Reef a few weeks ago, I wasn’t going to fork out for an underwater camera. Instead, I used my Nokia Lumia 800, with a waterproof accessory from a local seaside shop.

When it comes to beautiful underwater environments, the Great Barrier Reef is renowned for being home to a large variety of marine life, including fish, mammals and most of all, spectacular coral.

I knew the experience would be memorable enough that I could remember the day fondly for years to come, but to capture it on camera myself would be a rewarding achievement.

To be honest, though, I hadn’t really planned it well. It wasn’t until the day before the excursion that I thought I’d better go equipped.

I jumped into a few local stores looking for something very specific, but something I’d only seen online. I was looking for this:



It’s called a dripouch (just one particular brand, there are others) and it’s basically a plastic pouch where I can put my Nokia Lumia 800 inside.

There were a few important factors that led me to purchase this item, and the description on the package explains some of them:

  • Ideal at the beach or pool, on your boat or anywhere wet! – Now, the sea is wet. I saw this an invitation to test how wet of an environment it could be.
  • Splash, sand and dust proof – I’m aware the difference between a splash and complete submergence but I decided to remain optimistic.
  • Clear front panel allows for touchscreen use – I hadn’t actually thought about using the touchscreen. Instead I was going to press and hold the camera button for activation, but using the touchscreen was an added bonus.
  • Clear back panel enables you to take photos – This was an absolute must! Without it, I may as well not bother.
  • Adjustable neck strap – Again, this was essential. A pouch is fine, but it needed to attach to my body somehow. With all the flapping, kicking, and drowning I’d be doing, I wouldn’t want to make matters worse by clutching onto a pouch or phone.

My wife and I took to the seas on an unfavourably overcast day. However, with the pouch around my neck – with my Nokia Lumia 800 inside – I was ready for some underwater photography.

While I wasn’t deep-sea diving, the phone remained around my neck for the best part of five hours and underwater for most of that time.

Here are some photos I took.


I also managed to capture a couple of videos – one at the top of the page, and one below.

During that time at sea, the pouch (and Lumia within) was quite a discussion point between me and some fellow snorkellers who were interested to see how (or if) it would work.

I’m pleased to say that my phone didn’t come into contact with any water, which came as a huge relief to me if I’m honest. I took a gamble and it paid off*.

It’s great to know that with a little thought and pre-planning, I can use my Nokia Lumia in all kinds of situations to capture some once in a lifetime moments – albeit sometimes risky ones.

Have you used your Nokia Lumia in an extreme environment and did it work? Share your experiences with us, below.

*But it might not have done. If you try anything similar, it’s at your own risk.