ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last ten years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

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Oct 31, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, the new stamps have arrived! Yesterday was the official “First Day of Issue” for the new “Curacao Deep Water Fish Stamps” which are actual photographs from yours truly! I love having my own set of stamps!  We are all going to an official presentation tonight (at the American Consulate) which will be hosted by the Consul General of the United States, Mr. James R. Moore. As many of you already know we have a submersible called the “Curasub” that can explore depths to 1000 feet! So for the past 4 years we have been working with the Smithsonian Institution and searching for new fish and invertebrates, many which I have posted on the blog over the years and you were the first to see them. When the fish and creatures get brought up “alive” I am the lucky one who gets to photograph them for the first time, and now a few of our finds have been transformed into stamps for all to enjoy. I have been using my Nikon D-800 inside an Ikelite housing with two Ikelite DS-160′s for all these photos, could not have done it without this type of superior equipment.

The release of these ten magnificent postage stamps depicting new species of fishes discovered in the waters of Curacao is a fitting tribute to the outstanding collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Substation Curacao. The results of the joint activity by Substation Curacao and the Smithsonian heighten awareness of our profound responsibility to protect the planet’s oceans and exemplify the benefits of the people-to-people ties that intertwine Curacao and the United States.

Here’s a small quote from Carole Baldwin of the Smithsonian explaining the “DROP Project”. Deep Reef Observation Project” (DROP) is a new ongoing project to investigate deep reefs off Curacao. This opportunity arose because of the availability of the Curasub, providing scientists the opportunity to observe, collect specimens and tissue samples, and monitor biodiversity on deep reefs. DROP, which currently involves nearly 30 Smithsonian marine scientists and staff and several external collaborators, is in its fourth year of exploring deep-reef biodiversity and is completing its second year of monitoring. The taxonomic results to date are remarkable: at least 30 new species of fishes and invertebrates have been discovered.

Here is the name of the stamps as they are so small you can’t read them, starting off with the upper left hand corner and going clockwise…..

#1  Blade-fin Bass, Jeboehlkia gladifer

#2  Yellowbar Basslet, Lipogramma robinsi

#3  Spanish Flag, Gonioplectrus hispanus

#4  Spottail Golden Bass, Liopropoma santi

#5  Anthias Bass, Anthias asperilinguis

#6  Banded Basslet, Lipogramma evides

#7  Deep Sea Toad, Chaunax pictus

#8  Longfin Scorpionfish, Scorpaena agassizii

#9  Saber Goby, Antilligobius nikkiae

#10 Dragonette, Foetorepus new species

The price of the stamps in in Guilders 1.77 naf, meaning they cost about $1 a stamp or roughly $10 a sheet.

For those fish/stamp collectors out there, you can send a note to the Curacao Philatelic office and arrange for your own stamps or they will be available through most top stamp agencies around the World in the upcoming weeks. Here is the e-mail…

Svanuytrecht@cpostint.com

I am off to the Post Office now to pick up my 20 first day covers and 40 sheets that we had saved for us.

Fun day ahead, have a wonderful weekend.

Barry

Oct 28, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning all, this a juvenile Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus that I found on the reef at around 50 feet a few days ago. This little golden treasure is only around an inch and a half in length and when older will loose this yellow color and turn completely dark blue and be much larger up to 15 inches. If you look close at his lower fin near the back you will see a “big bite” has been taken out of his fin most likely he came close to being eaten! When older these fish can change colors in the blink of an eye from power blue to deep purple, it’s one of those crazy things you have to see to believe! The dorsal and anal fins will always be edged in bright electric blue but as I said before the yellow color will disappear. People always ask how do you tell a Blue Tang from an Ocean Surgeonfish as they look so similar. The easiest way is to look at their shape, the Blue Tangs are much more circular as you see above and the Ocean Surgeonfish are more of an oval shape. Changes from juvenile to intermediate and adult color phase do not depend on size, and occasionally a yellow phase juvenile may be larger than a blue phase adult although this is very rare to ever see. These fish are abundant to common in Florida, Bahamas and the Caribbean, also Gulf of Mexico, north to new york, Bermuda and south to Brazil. Blue Tangs can be solitary but more often can be seen in large aggregations (schools) foraging about shallow reef tops grazing on algae. These large aggregations usually contain a mixture of the Blue Tangs and the Surgeonfish and any other fish that wants to join in the feeding frenzy!

We had a great day off yesterday!! We left the house at 6:30 am and drove to a flamingo viewing area on the south side of the island called Willibrordus and hiked to the ocean along the edge of Jan Kok bay. This is part of the Extreme mtn bike race so I was able to get some much needed trail work done in an area I hardly ever drive to. While I cut tree limps and swept thorns off the trail the dogs swam and played while Aimee collected drift wood and took photos, it was a beautiful morning and we ended up staying for four hours! By the time we got back to the car the dogs were completely worn out and slept the whole way home which took around 30 minutes. After we washed the dogs and the car I took off out to Stijns house and loaded up my stash of driftwood and drove it out to Saint Joris and donated it all to the wind-surfing community to use in building a little surfers village of sorts. I had so much wood that it took two trip, not real fun! Then later in the day at around 4:00 I took off in the heat and got in my 25 mile ride back out to Saint Joris and then to top the day off met some friends for dinner in downtown Curacao, what a day!!

I am off to the sea………..

Have a great day…

Barry

Oct 28, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, I had another nice dive yesterday morning but failed in bringing back any new “fish face shots” which I am trying so hard to get at the moment. When I first went out I parked myself at another cleaning station but as hard as I tried could not get the shot I wanted and after 10 minutes gave up! I then moved on slowly down the reef staying at around 45 feet looking for anything new to post on the blog. I then came across this small Goldentail Moray eel, Gymnothorax miliaris that you see above poking his head out from behind a blade of fire coral and of course I had to stop. These beautiful eels are one of the most curious and easiest to photograph of all the morays in the Caribbean, it’s like they love the camera! This one here may have seen his reflection in my dome or just wanted to come out and say hi, he was so cool! 

These moray eels can be found in shades of brown covered with small yellow spots (size of spots can vary considerably between individuals and, on rare occasions, are reversed, with yellow under color and brown spots, or a net-like pattern). The Tip of the tail which you can’t see here is yellow to gold on most individuals and there is a beautiful yellow ring around pupils which you can see in this photo. These animals are common to occasional in the Caribbean, occasional Bahamas, uncommon in Florida, also northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and south to Brazil. They prefer shallow to mid-range reefs. They hide during the day in recesses; heads often extended from openings (like you see above). These eels are known to forage in the open during the day and like other eels constantly open and close their mouths, an action required for respiration, this is not a threat!

Well gang, hope all is well out there, I may jump in for another morning dive and need to do some bike work before my ride tonight.

Have a great day!!

Barry

Oct 27, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, I have a super cool shot for you today of an adult Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus stopped at a cleaning station being cleaned by eight juvenile Bluehead Wrasses, Thalassoma bifasciatum. So what’s going on is this beautiful Blue Tang is taking time out of his busy day for a little personal grooming or cleaning as we call it. Most fish generally swim around until they spot a “Certified Cleaning Station”, they then either just stop or point their heads upwards towards the surface and just wait for the cleaning fish or shrimps to come to them. Here you see the yellow juvenile Bluehead Wrasses racing all around our happy customer in search of any little tid-bit of food that might be hanging on the outside of his body or many times stuck or caught inside the mouth. These little fish are such a major part of the wellness of the reef as they act as cleaners, removing parasites and debris from larger fish. Without this free service many fish would become sick and die from infection or disease. Many fish like this Blue Tang tend to be so caught up in the moment that they can often be caught with their guard down giving a quiet diver the chance for closer approach.

Late yesterday afternoon we loaded up the dogs and took off to Saint Joris Bay which is a big lagoon or bay of salt water fed by the open ocean. This is where I get most of my driftwood and it’s a favorite place for the dogs because of all the little beaches and places to swim. While walking along an area thick with mangroves we found what we first thought was a dead giant porcupinefish (fully inflated) wrapped in a t-shirt washed ashore high on the beach. Aimee’s first response was “poor ballooonfish” and I just wanted to cry as this is one of my favorite of all the fish in the sea. She continued to walk past and I bent down just to uncover it a bit to see what it looked like and as I did it’s little fin moved! I screamed, it’s still alive!! I quickly picked up the animal still wrapped in a black t-shirt and ran into the water at top speed followed close by two now very excited dogs! This was a monster sized porcupinefish, he was around a foot and a half long and since he was puffed up he was the size of a basketball. I first removed the shirt which was difficult as all his spines were poking through it and with no gloves this was not an easy task! Once the shirt was gone I then did my best to hold him underwater but I could instantly tell he was over-inflated with air most likely from being onshore all day! I screamed to Aimee who was onshore to go find a big container because I think we will have to take him back to the aquarium and release the air in his belly with a needle. He was so full of air that he could not stay right side up and was really struggling to swim. I then started holding him underwater with both hands (remember his spines are out and he’s poking me) and every few minutes I would tilt his body straight up expelling bubbles of air out of his mouth, almost like burping him. This was starting to work and after 30 minutes he was finally able to stay underwater by himself, it was so exciting! Aimee returned with a great container but I told her I think he’s doing alright and just to wait. I continued to reach underwater and gently pick him up and tilt him up to keep releasing any air and finally no more came out. I was now holding the side of his body and pushing him forward to get water into the lungs and that really did the trick, all of a sudden he deflated all his spines and went back to being a normal fish and he slowly swam off!!! Talk about a great feeling, I yelled to Aimee. “he’s gone”, how cool is that!? I really believe the shirt that he was caught in and almost killed him also saved him by keeping him wet all day in the sun, it really kept him from drying out. So once again you never know what you will find along the shores of the Caribbean, so glad we were there to help!

I also pre-rode the 40 mile Extreme mountain bike race course again yesterday which we did in under three hours this time. I ended up having to take my new 27.5 Scott because my Epic was down with tire problems. For anyone wanting to join I will be doing the Extreme route every Sunday morning until the race in December, your welcome to join.

I’m off the sea, have a great day!

Barry

Oct 24, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, it’s FRIDAY!! Yesterday morning I came into work and quickly set up my underwater rig with the 105 macro and set out for a long hour and forty minute dive! I was immediately greeted by my cloud of hundreds of shimmering Boga’s which are always so curious and it’s like they feel safe with me out there knowing I will chase away any of their lurking predators like the crazy amber jacks. The water was pretty darn clear yesterday making the whole dive seem like you were in a giant fish bowl and there was a bit of current but that can be used to one’s advantage. I lucked out and found not one, not two but three beautiful Scrawled Filefish, Aluterus  scriptus (above) all out looking for breakfast and figured I would follow at a safe distance in hopes of some kind of photo opportunity. These fish are completely amazing!! They can change colors in the blink of an eye and have that cool spine at the top of their head that they can raise or lower depending on the level of danger present. As you can see from the top photo these are also very thin fish, they can swim through about any crevice which can make following them difficult at times. I ended up hanging out with this beautiful trio for almost an hour, it seems like the more time you hang out with them the more they seem to trust you which in the end allows for better photo opportunities. If you look closely at the top photo you will see how both eyes are looking in different directions, I mean is that cool or what?? Reminds me of a flounders eyes!

Aluterus scriptus is a medium size fish which can grow up to 3-feet in length. The body shape looks like an elongated oval, strongly compressed. Its background body coloration is olive-brown or grey depending on its surrounding environment, irregular blue lines and spots are distributed on the body mixed with some black spots mainly on the head. The mouth is small and at the end of its pointed snout. Like all the Tetraodontiformes, it has no pelvic fin but has two particular dorsal spines; the first anterior one is long, slender and erectile, located just over the eyes, the second is small and not easy to see but it locks the first one when it is erected. The rounded caudal fin is quite long and can be displayed as a fan. The juveniles have a yellow with black spots body coloration.

Aluterus scriptus is omnivorous and have a large choice for its meals like small crustaceans, algae, gorgonians, anemones, tunicates, fire coral…

Off to the sea again, have a wonderful day and a great weekend!!!

Barry

Oct 23, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning all, I had a few people asking this week about our resident school of Boga’s, Inermia vittata and how they are doing so yesterday while out with the submersible I snapped a few photos just for you. The group or school has tripled in size over the past few months and everyday now I spend swimming amongst them and taking their photos before the submersible arrives. These beautiful fish are so calm with divers, you can slowly enter the school and they will then completely surround you and be just inches from you showing no alarm at all. These fish are around 5-9 inches in length and can be found in depths of 30-150 feet. I would love for some of my friends back home to join me swimming thru this large school, it’s so cool to be surrounded by so many fish, I will try and shoot some video for you. Most of my diving buddies will tell you how rare it is to see big schools of fish in Curacao and when you do come across such a site one usually tends to follow in hopes of being totally engulfed in fish! These Bonnetmouths/Boga’s are also one of the few fish that can be closely observed with a slow, non-threatening approach.

Not sure I told any of you or not but on the 31st of this month I have a pane of deep-water fish being issued as Curacao stamps, cool huh?? I will send a photo of them on the release date so be on the lookout for those, your going to love it! 

Got in a fast 25 mile mountain bike ride last night, rode from the Sea Aquarium to Vaersenbaai and back, not a ton of fun but did get some miles in.

Have a great day…

Barry

Oct 22, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning from wet Curacao! So these new rains are a good example of “be careful what you wish for” we went from bone dry to soaking wet almost overnight, gotta love the monsoon season! With these live giving rains brings mosquitos, our single most hated creature on the island and we are busy swinging our electric zappers non-stop at home!!! These constant torrential downpours will change our daily hiking and biking routines quite a bit now, as all our trails are flooded and we can’t drive to many areas to walk the dogs but don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, the rains are great!

I have a Common Octopus, Octopus vulgaris for your viewing pleasure that we found out climbing around the reef during the day. 

The common octopus would be unique for its appearance alone, with its massive bulbous head, large eyes, and eight distinctive arms. But by far the most striking characteristic of the octopus is the wide array of techniques it uses to avoid or thwart attackers.

It’s first—and most amazing—line of defense is its ability to hide in plain sight. Using a network of pigment cells and specialized muscles in its skin, the common octopus can almost instantaneously match the colors, patterns, and even textures of its surroundings. Predators such as sharks, eels, and dolphins swim by without even noticing it.

When discovered, an octopus will release a cloud of black ink to obscure its attacker’s view, giving it time to swim away. The ink even contains a substance that dulls a predator’s sense of smell, making the fleeing octopus harder to track. Fast swimmers, they can jet forward by expelling water through their mantles. And their soft bodies can squeeze into impossibly small cracks and crevices where predators can’t follow.

If all else fails, an octopus can lose an arm to escape a predator’s grasp and regrow it later with no permanent damage. They also have beaklike jaws that can deliver a nasty bite, and venomous saliva, used mainly for subduing prey.

Considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, the common octopus is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the world’s oceans. They can grow to about 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) in length and weigh up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms), although averages are much smaller. They prey on crabs, crayfish, and mollusks, and will sometimes use their ink to disorient their victims before attacking. Thanks to National Geographic for that nice bit of information….

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/common-octopus/

Have a great day all!!

Barry

Oct 20, 14     Comments (0)

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Good morning friends, we started our Caribbean morning out with a massive tropical downpour and we are loving it!! These next few months are typically our wet months and it’s looking like we are off to good start which is great for the island, bad for mountain biking!

This morning when I got to work I took off directly into the water for an early morning dive, what better way to start out a monday right? I immediately found a full size 12-inch long Glasseye Snapper “Blotched Bigeye”, Heteropriacanthus cruentatus motionless alongside a coral wall and moved in very slowly for just a shot of his big beautiful eye that looks like glass, thus the name. These bigeye fish often hide in dark recesses of the reef by day and are active at night. During the day when out diving I see these fish quite often just chilling under rocky ledge’s displaying their striped daytime colors and for the most part could care less about a passing diver.

The Glasseye Snapper inhabits shallow reefs and spends its days hiding in or at the entrance to caves. They are nocturnal and feed at night on zooplankton such as shrimp, larval fishes, and small squids and octopuses.

This snapper can be recognized by its reddish coloration, large eye, relatively symmetrical body shape, and by the small elliptical spots on the soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins. It has a scaleless preopercular margin that is covered with small ridges.

H. cruentatus is the only species in the genus Heteropriacanthus.

So how was your weekend out there??? Mine was fairly busy and a lot of fun. Saturday morning I took both dogs for a long overdue walk to the North coast in search of driftwood and we hit the jackpot! I was shocked at how much new wood had floated in over the past few months and it was a blast looking through it all. I actually found so many nice pieces that I had to leave a big pile hidden out in the desert, not sure when I will be able to get back out there now to pick it after these crazy hard rains. While I collected driftwood the dogs ran around chasing each other on the beach and explored every nook and cranny, tired dogs are good dogs! On Sunday I pre-rode the 40 mile extreme mountain bike race course and pretty much hated every minute of it! Not only was it 75% uphill and blowing wind it’s mostly on dirt and paved roads, not much of a mountain bike race! After the ride I spent the rest of the day working on my “honey do list” and hiding from the heat, I never would have guessed rain like this was coming! That’s the island news in short, have a great week friends!

Cheers,

Barry

Oct 17, 14     Comments Off

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Good morning friends, I have a beautiful colony of some kind of Brain Coral for you all today photographed at night under blue-light. For me Brain Corals are very hard to identify, there is Symmetrical Brain Coral, Knobby Brain Coral, Grooved Brain Coral, Rose Coral (which looks like Brain Coral) and Boulder Brain Coral, you have to a coral expert to figure this stuff out! This half dome colony was around a foot across and was screaming to be photographed! When we do blue light dives Aimee usually does the searching and I do the shooting, that way you are constantly busy and not wasting time, it’s so much fun!

Brain corals get their common name from the grooves and channels on their surfaces that look like the folds of the human brain. While delicate staghorn corals grow rapidly to gain new territory, slow-growing brain corals rely on brawn, meaning they hold their ground by being solid and strong enough to withstand the storms that pound more delicate corals to rubble.

Took off with Aimee yesterday morning to finish the new trail cut-off at Vaersenbaai and I must say it’s beginning to take shape. Yesterday I moved rocks from the desert above (one at a time) with a wheelbarrow and set them in a line all along the trail, it’s looks nice and will keep riders from caving in the sides with their feet and tires. This Sunday I am going to go pre-ride the Extreme route (that Dorian and I won last year) and see how long it takes, I think we did it in 2 hours 50 minutes last year. 

Well, we have a submersible run at 11:00 so like always I have lots to do before that.

Take care all…

Barry

Oct 15, 14     Comments Off

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Good morning folks, This is another extreme close-up I shot yesterday with the ever faithful 105/2.8 macro shot at 160/F22 and 2-strobes on half power. Geez talk about a fish with a mouthful of teeth!! I had some questions about parrotfish teeth and found a little more information for you.  

Parrotfish are so-called because their fused teeth give their mouths a beak-like appearance. These teeth are situated outside the jaw bones, so the beak protrudes beyond the mouth. This is perfect for scraping algae from the surface of rocky substrates, but can also get past one of the algae’s defenses — growing within the matrix of the coral itself. In some species, such as the hump-headed parrotfish, the beak can take a chunk out of the reef itself. Interestingly, although the parrotfish eat the polyps themselves, these herbivorous fishes are probably primarily Interested in the zooxanthellae contained within the coral’s tissues, rather than the coral itself.

To counteract their tough diet, parrotfishes teeth grow continuously. But those that form the beak are not the only teeth that these remarkable fish have; the plate-like pharyngeal teeth towards the back of the mouth can bring considerable crushing force to bear, pulverizing even the tough limestone. After this, the coral’s resistance is at an end. In the fish’s gut, living tissue is separated from the limestone rubble and powder. This ground material is ejected by the parrotfish as fine, white grains, which makes up a considerable proportion of the highly prized white sand found in coral reef lagoons and beaches!

Great information from….

http://infolific.com/pets/coral-reef-life/eating-the-coral-reef/

Aimee and I took the dogs to Vaersenbaai early this morning before work and finished the new trail, it’s now rideable but still needs to be cleaned up.

We have a late submersible dive today and I will most likely head out now to hunt for more photos for you all.

Have a great day..

Barry

Oct 14, 14     Comments Off
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Good afternoon readers, better late than never right?? You want to talk about HOT, Curacao is baking today!! There are no clouds to be seen, very light wind and like always…. melting humidity, oh what fun! Because of the sweltering heat I did what everyone else is doing and took off to the water and got in a nice cool relaxing dive on our Substation reef armed with my trusty 105 macro lens, you can’t go wrong with that! I immediately swam down to around 50 feet and just took in the view and tried to figure out which way to go? As I quietly hovered I heard the all to familiar sound of “crunch”, crunch”, “crunch” and knew without even looking there had to be a large parrotfish near by scarping his teeth on the rocks looking for lunch. Sure enough within seconds a giant Stoplight Parrotfish, Sparisoma viride pops his head up from his algae dinner plate and looks me straight in the face, “SNAP”, that was the photo! I have found through trial and error if you want any kind of fish face shot you have to not only be prepared to spend the whole dive with a single fish but you have to catch them off guard as I did here. Parrotfish have some of the most comical faces and there are so many different species of parrotfish meaning there are countless fun face shots waiting for you down there. I also saw my school of Bonnetmouths out there today (that have been there for years) and was shocked at how many there are now?? I estimated the school at around 350-400 and if the water would have been more clear I would have gone back out for some wide angle shots, talk about a beautiful little fish!

I will have to force myself to get on the bike today in this heat, this is the downside to Curacao in October!

Not much else going on, it’s very quiet at the moment, next month and December will be crazy around here!

Have a great day!!

Barry

Oct 13, 14     Comments Off

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Good morning one and all, how are we doing today?? I have a photo from Aimee that she took with her GoPro for you all today of her new baby bottlenose dolphin that was born about two months ago. Is this little thing cute or what??

The 2015 NANPA results are finally in…What is NANPA? NANPA is “North American Nature Photographers Association” and this year I was one of the top 10 prize winners with a blue-light photo, here is the link to that photo. Underwater Blue Light Photos, Blue Light Photography  For the 2015 photo contest I sent in a bunch of bird photos and one blue-light photo. My one blue-light photo made it into the top 120 and one bird photo made it into the top 250, very happy with those results as this is a tough competition. Here is the NANPA link, www.nanpa.org

We are finally getting rain and the island is really starting to green up again, it’s such a welcome sight. We had friday off because of “Curacao Independence Day”, there were parades during the day and a big one that went by our house at night and WOW was it ever loud! I spent a good part of the weekend building a new trail at Vaersenbaai but am still far from getting it done, talk about a lot of work. Saturday afternoon at 3:00 I took off into the wilds of Curacao in 100 degree heat and crazy humidity and got in a 30 mile mountain bike ride and was soaked to the bone when I got back home at night.  Not much else going on, we continue to run our little animal shelter at home with 4-turtles, and 2-birds and everyone so far is doing well.

I am off to the sea, have a great day.

Barry

Oct 9, 14     Comments Off

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Good morning friends, sorry about not getting around to the blog yesterday but I just couldn’t find the time! Did any of you get to see the eclipse??? We got up at at 5:30 and raced down to the Sea Aquarium and got to see half of it but then it fell behind the clouds and that was it, we didn’t get to see it!! This was supposed to be a beautiful orange moon eclipse so now we have to wait till April 2015 for the next one.

So Aimee and I are now the proud owners of bluelightphotos.com. We were contacted by a .com auction company saying it was for sale and we jumped on it, so in the near future we will get a site built and have all our blue light photos there for your viewing pleasure.

And speaking of blue light photos that’s what we did last night. We took off under the sea (Aimee and I) at around 7:00 last night and had a fantastic dive! For the first time ever I took a 28-70 lens with a screw on yellow filter for the blue-light photos, we have been using just the 105 macro for most dives. Our goal last night was to photograph some larger reef creatures for once like this beautiful glowing green Giant Anemone, Condylactis gigantea you see above. This anemone was about a foot across and for the first time (because of the larger lens) I was able to photograph the whole animal. We also found and photographed a giant lizardfish and a flounder not to mention countless beautiful corals but we never found the scorpionfish we were looking for. Our total surprise of the evening was mating/spawning brittle stars and they were everywhere! Once we saw the brittle stars out we called it quits on the blue-light dive and quickly got out! I then rinsed the camera and carefully opened it and took off the yellow filter and changed some settings and was back underwater within 5 minutes! I was in such a rush I left the wetsuit and rash-guard and jumped in with only a pair of shorts, Aimee thought I was crazy! Since I was using the same tank as the first dive I only had half a tank but it was enough to get the job done. Strange that the brittle-stars out out spawning maybe because of the eclipse?? We have never seen this event this time of year before! I raced around from rock to rock to coral to coral and shot as many as I could, most were together in pairs and a few were out on their own maybe looking for a mate? Brittle-stars are never out like this, they are one of the hands down most reclusive creatures on the reef so when you see one out you know something is going on! In the second photo you can see two of them entangled in a brittle-star love mass on top of a black spiny sea urchin, that was just plain crazy to even watch and they could have cared less about me being there. The third photo shows two of them holding arms, ahhhh true echinoderm love! The fourth photo is a giant Ruby Brittle Star, Ophioderma rubicundum in a vase sponge while the last photo is a giant Banded Arm Brittle Star, Ophioderma appressum clinging to the side of a mound of star coral. So once again you never know what you will see diving in the Caribbean on any given night, we never get tired of it!

Tomorrow is Curacao Flag Day and I am off, going back to Vaersenbaai for the day to finish that new trail!

Take care all, thanks for tuning in……

Barry

Oct 7, 14     Comments Off

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Good morning from the Dutch Caribbean. I have a crazy beautiful clam for you all today called a Flame Scallop or Rough Fileclam, “Lima scabra”. This is hands down one of the most spectacular mollusks in the sea, and you really have to see it to believe it!

This alien looking clam is a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Limidae. Although their name would suggest otherwise, flame scallops have no relation to scallops, besides their exterior. The flame scallop is found in the Caribbean Sea. It is similar in appearance to the Indo-Pacific electric flame scallop (Ctenoides ales).

Flame scallops have a rough outer shell with a red mantle. Surrounding the mantle are red and white tentacles. The flame scallop’s vibrant red color is due to the large amount of carotenoids found within their body. Flame scallops can reach 3 in long. The gills are used for respiration and filtration.

Flame scallops rest in their own nests made of small coral and rocks. Because flame scallops have no photosynthetic properties, the herbivorous flame scallops eat only phytoplankton. During the consumption process, flame scallops sift and sort through the phytoplankton with their gills to determine what is appropriate for ingestion.

To escape predators or harm, like crabs and shrimps the flame scallop’s valves are used. Flame scallops push their valves together to propel themselves away from dangerous situations. YES folks they can swim!!!

We have a submersible dive at 11:00 and I was told our live underwater camera is working again, try it and let me know, www.seesubmarine.com

Have a wonderful day all!!

Barry

Oct 6, 14     Comments Off

BAR-

Good morning friends, how was the weekend?? I’ve had some reports that summer and fall are long gone and that winter is on the way, now is your time to come to Curacao! Our good news here is that rain has started falling and the island is starting to slowly green up again, it’s such a welcome sight!

I spent the weekend with the dogs, building a new trail at Vaersenbaai and cleaning out my driftwood stash over at Stijn’s house and for the first weekend this year I didn’t touch my bike! For those of you asking, Inca (our dalmatian) is doing better, she is finally able to walk after months of being inside. Our little parakeet is adjusting to his new cage I recently built and learned a valuable lesson on why he is in there. The other morning while feeding him he jumped out and took a 12 foot “beak dive” onto our driveway and just laid there in shock, I guess he forgot his wing is broken? I raced downstairs at top speed and gently picked him up and said, “I’m sorry but you can’t fly!” For us the hardest thing is listening to him call his friends over to the trees in our yard and knowing he cannot join them, will never own another bird! The turtles still need a new home, we are trying to find someone with a nice home and nice yard but so far no luck. We also have another little bird that had lost it’s mother and is still not old enough to fly, Aimee is hand feediing it 3-4 times a day by hand!

I have a simple, pure Caribbean water shot for you all today that I snapped while waiting for the submersible to arrive last friday. The fish you see at the bottom left are still my school of bonnetmouths (Boga’s), they are still here and I love them!

Here’s a killer video for you all toady!

Have a wonderful monday…..

Barry

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