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September 2023    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 49, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is Wetpixel Breaking Bad?

the slippery slope toward fraud?

from the September, 2023 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The diving world is small, and it seems most everyone knows the personalities, some even thinking of them as trusted friends. So when that trust proves to be misplaced, people feel angry and betrayed. It appears Adam Hanlon of Wetpixel has betrayed that trust. It's a sorry tale. describes itself as "the premiere community website dedicated to underwater photography and videography. With up-to-date news, articles, gear reviews, photo contests, and dive expeditions, Wetpixel is a strong, focused community of over 35,000 underwater image makers."

Started more than two decades ago, Adam Hanlon of Heysham, in the north of England, bought the website.

Hanlon outright ignored innumerable emails, text messages, Skype, and WhatsApp calls.

It's hard to make money from a website alone, so Hanlon organizes group trips abroad for Wetpixel members, with a markup for himself, and collecting their money before they traveled. Though trading as a limited liability company, it was not a UK-registered tour operator.

A first inkling of a problem occurred when divers who had prepaid a hefty sum for a Wetpixel trip to Indonesia on the MY Damai in late 2022 arrived at the dock to board the craft, but while they had paid Hanlon for the trip, Hanlon had neither confirmed nor paid fully for it. The owner, Alberto Reija, an honorable caballero who felt quite sorry for them, ran the trip anyway, hoping to get paid eventually by Hanlon.

Reija told Undercurrent he never did get fully paid, despite sending several emails and even offering to accept Hanlon's payments over several months. Hanlon ignored Reija's emails. Even though Hanlon's customers had paid him upfront for crew tips, Reija ended up tipping his own crew.

Indonesian's Lembeh Resort was to host back-to-back photo workshops in October 2020 by Alex Mustard that had been marketed through Wetpixel. Most attendees had paid fully by then, but the workshops were postponed until 2022 because of COVID. Danny Charlton of Lembeh Resort told Undercurrent that to host the workshops, he needed to get from Hanlon the number attending, the rooms required, and to receive prepayment. Hanlon ignored his innumerable emails, text messages, and WhatsApp calls....

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