Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 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.
Archive for June, 2009
Jun 30, 09 Comments Off on Orange Blooming Barrel Cactus in Curacao
Good evening friends of the blog how is everyone tonight?? I told you all recently that our cactus here are really starting to change colors due to the lack of rain and as you can see I wasn’t kidding! Have you ever seen an orange cactus before?? And it’s blooming, see the two tiny little pink flowers on top, cool huh? All the barrel cactus here have these tiny little flowers and they only seem to bloom in the late afternoon and into the evening, may have to check if they are still open at night? This was taken at Mangusa Point at Saint Joris, the wild sea’s of the North coast are straight ahead behind the cactus. See the tallest mountain in the back ground with the flat top to the left of the photo? Almost near the top is where I found that little kitten a few months back, how he got there we will never know but he sure has a great home now thanks to our dear friend Sorayda.
I had another uneventful day mostly because of two little puppies that seem to need constant attention? I took all the dogs for a walk this morning to the salt ponds trying my hardest to wear them out. It didn’t work?
I had a doctors appointment at 9:00. This was my final check-up before meeting next week with my eye doctor/surgeon and hopefully very soon get this cataract taken care of, it’s driving me crazy! I have a bunch of friends coming to visit in August, September and October so I need to be at my best and I may be going to the Dominican Republic this year with our best friend and mentor Tom but still haven’t found any reasonable flights from Curacao.
One of my Geocaches got robbed again because who ever last found it didn’t put it back the way they found it. I bought all new containers and log books for all my caches and will be checking on them all in the next few days, you can’t believe how many folks come here now to find them! For more info on this check out www.geocaching.com my Geo name is Didy Man if your searching for mine here in Curacao.
See you tomorrow, Barry
Jun 29, 09 Comments Off on Dolphin Training in Curacao
Hello folks, remember baby Kayena?? Well she’s still a baby and cute as ever!! This is Fahruni doing a cradle with her. The cradles are done by the dolphin letting the trainer put both arms under their bellies and supporting their mid sections. The dolphins then lift their tail and head up out the water, talk about trust on the dolphins part?? To see a young dolphin do this is quite amazing and would not be possible without the daily training from Fahruni, she has really done a great job with her.
After work today I rushed home and grabbed my bike and the big dogs and headed out to do some much needed trail maintenance. After that last race the Calabash trail got pretty beat up making the climbs and downhill very loose but after two hours of raking it’s ready to go again!
The wind is really blowing hard and I heard we have some real big waves headed our way over the next week, I am so glad I don’t have any divers visiting here right now!
The two puppies are doing great, I sure wish we could find homes as it has really changed our lives lately, no time to do much of anything.
That’s it, see you tomorrow, Barry
Jun 28, 09 Comments Off on Cactus Windmill in Curacao
Good afternoon, I was wondering if your Sunday was as quiet as mine has been? About the only I have done today was take the dogs and puppies on a walk/swim to our little private beach at Canoa. I parked about a quarter of a mile away from the beach this morning and let the puppies go crazy! They had an absolute blast chasing each other around in the sand and chewing on everything and anything they could fit in their mouths. I tried to gently put them in the water but they really didn’t seem to like that although you know that cool water had to feel good. I had parked my car along a dirt road and upon returning saw this exact photo you see here. One tall cactus was blocking the tower that the blades you see here are attached to, it looked like a cactus windmill, hey what a great idea?
I am getting ready to head out on a two hour bike ride. I will start here at the house, do all the locals trails around here and at the salt ponds and then head to Saint Joris where Aimee will hopefully remember to pick me up later tonight. It’s super hot and very windy and it looks like I will have a head wind the whole way there, good times.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, bye, Barry
Jun 27, 09 Comments Off on Our Dog Inca Digging in the Sand
Good evening all, just a short note to say all is well, I really don’t have much for you all this evening. We both worked all day, the puppies are doing great and we really need some rain, those are my top stories!
I did spend another two hours standing on a ladder today watching my little bird fly in and out of the stuffed fish and to my amazement she just had two new babies hatch yesterday or today!! All she did today was fly back and forth with food and really couldn’t even get herself in the nest. I did get one pretty cool shot of her hanging onto the outside of the nest and you can see one baby with it’s mouth open being fed, will send that to you as well.
We just got home from taking the puppies and big dogs to the salt ponds for an evening walk. This was the first official hike the puppies have done and they did great!! This is Inca digging a deep hole and sticking her head all the way in, we laughed so hard we almost cried, what a crazy girl!
I hope your weekend is going great, talk to you tomorrow, see ya, Barry
Jun 26, 09 Comments Off on Giant Sting Ray Laying Along Side Tugboats
Good evening from Curacao. Today brought another first my way. After doing around 1000 dives on our reef here I finally went down today with my friend Marco to our very own Tugboats! I know a few of you like Gordy and Arjan are reading this and saying “geez Barry it’s about time” but I thought or I was told they were deeper than what we did today. Yes these wrecks are deep around 53 meters or 160 feet but today I did what I have wanted to do for so long and finally got to see them in person! Marco signaled to me and asked if everything was OK and I signaled back he then pointed down at the base of one of the two tugboats and there laying on the sand was a giant sting-ray! He was so beautiful and I was so unprepared! I really didn’t plan on being able to go this deep so I brought the wrong lens, it wasn’t even close to being wide angle enough to get the whole scene in but next time I will do better. At this crazy depth you can only stay for around 3 minutes, that doesn’t give me much time to do much of anything so it’s going to have to be one photo well thought out per dive. The downside to these deep dives is that you go down as fast as you can, soak up the sights for just a few minutes and head back up, no messing around so they are very fast dives. Marco and I are going to go again next week and I should be much better prepared and hopefully we will get some nice crystal clear water as well unlike today.
Many of you have written saying that you could not find the June issue of Sport Diver as it has already been replaced by the July issue or was sold out. I think you can get back issues from www.sportdiver.com I will check into it and let you know, but thanks for looking.
The two puppies are doing great! Aimee just got home from walking around the neighborhood and putting flyers in all the mailboxes in hopes of finding these two good homes. The puppy that left is adjusting well to her new home and we are so happy for her and very thankful for the help we are getting thru CARF.
Have a great weekend, see you tomorrow, Barry
Jun 26, 09 Comments Off on Flock of Snowy Egrets at the Salt Ponds
Good morning all, we had too much going on yesterday and was unable to get this out. Aimee and I took the two puppies to the North side of the island to our little private beach at Canoa first thing in the morning along with Inca and Indi. We wanted to start getting them used to riding in cars and hearing all the sounds of Curacao, trying hard to get them to be good unafraid puppies for their next owners. The puppies had a such a great time at the beach! They chased each other in the sand and dug hole after hole and by the time we left were covered in sand and could hardly move from complete exhaustion. Normally they stay up for around two hours and play and then just fall down and sleep, well yesterday we had them up for five and a half hours on this trip so you can imagine just how tired they were the rest of the day, it was great!
Once we got home I sat around waiting for hours for a call from another possible adoptive parent for one of the pups. Well finally I called them and after a bunch of excuses they backed out without ever even seeing them, I think I was more upset about my wasted day than anything! So we still have two left, Raven and Brave Heart.
Here’s another shot of the Snowy Egrets standing in the shallow salt ponds. These ponds must be full of food right now? I walked along the edge trying to see what they were eating but it was just nothing but muddy looking water and I know it’s filled with brine shrimps and maybe little fish?? Whatever the food source is these egrets along with dozens of other species know about it and are eating like there’s no tomorrow.
We went to a friends school play last night, it was a rendition of Alice in Wonderland done in Curacao style, the costumes like those from Carnival were all hand made and out of this world!!
Well, that’s about it, I am sitting here because of the puppies waking us up at 5:00, I told Aimee to go back to bed. Talk to you tonight, Barry
Jun 24, 09 Comments Off on Yawning Cara-Cara in Curacao
Hello readers, if you haven’t guessed yet, this is bird week! I always try to send out photos from the day I take them or at least within the week of. This has really been a bird crazy week will have to make a note that for my birding friends this is the time to visit. This was the completely unafraid Cara-Cara I told you about. This bird nests along one of our busiest hiking/biking trails and sees people and pets all day long and apparently has become quite used to us. I had Inca with me and we both stood almost right under him and it never seemed to bother him a bit. My title says “screaming Cara-Cara but I think he was actually yawning, at least that’s what it looked like?
Some fun news, I have another photo in this months issue of Sport Diver (June 2009). It’s on the last page and is a photo of a giant coral head at Watamula with our best friend Michele as my model diver. PLEASE show some support for this great magazine and of course yours truly and buy a copy. This company along with our friend Tom has really been great about helping me get some exposure, you can also check out their site at www.sportdiver.com, thanks guys.
Ok now for the puppy update. Good news, a guy stopped by last night and picked up one of our puppies!! Which one, the one we have been calling Blackie. I called him this morning and he said it was a rough night. The puppy was really scared being that it was the first time away from her sisters. The man stayed up till 1:00am trying to comfort her and I think she finally fell asleep. I am going to call him again in a little bit and see how the day went, we will be going to visit her soon. The other two are here at my feet playing and having a great time. I just got home from an hour and a half bike ride and during I went to look for the mother and other two babies again but never found them, it just breaks my heart!! Aimee went to dog class tonight leaving me here to baby-sit the kids.
Well, that’s my day in a nutshell, I trust you all are well? Many thanks for all the wonderful notes, I love the words of encouragement! See you tomorrow, Barry
Jun 23, 09 Comments Off on Red Ibis Spotted in Curacao
Good afternoon all, look what I found this morning at the salt ponds, a Red Ibis!! This is another first for me, I have never seen one of these before not even in a zoo. I spotted this bright red bird from a long ways away and at first thought it must be a red macaw that got away from it’s owner but as I got closer I could see it was something else? Of all the birds I have ever tried to get close to this one now gets the award for being the “most afraid of humans”! I had to greatly crop this photo, the second I got within 100 feet he was gone. For my local photographers I would grab a pair of binoculars and the longest lens you have and get down there and try your luck, he probably won’t be here for long. Along with finding this red beauty I saw all the flamingos again but was unable to approach them as close as I did on Sunday, that was truly a lucky morning. I did however find a very unafraid Cara-Cara and took some really great shots of him, will send you one tomorrow. I will probably head back here for another try on Thursday morning so any of you locals wanting to join just let me know.
I may be going diving soon, kind of waiting to hear if there are any jellyfish still in our waters, they were spotted all over yesterday.
I just put the puppies to bed for their afternoon nap. At 5:30 we are taking them all back to the vet for their second appointment and at 7:00 we have our first person coming to the house for adoption, we are very excited! Well, I have to run to the store and get my dive gear ready, I will be back tomorrow, have a great day, Barry
Jun 22, 09 Comments Off on Snowy Egrets in Curacao
Good evening friends, I was wondering how many of you come home at night and say “Where did the day go”?? Time passes so fast here! I think for us one difficult thing is the sun rises and sets about the same time all year as we are so close to the equator, it’s dark here at 7:00 making the days seem even shorter.
Here’s another fun shot from my Sunday morning photo shoot with the flamingos. These are Snowy Egrets feeding in very shallow and very salty water! To my complete disbelief they were catching little fish! Look at my name on the photo and find the “r” in Brown, that egret down by the water has a tiny fish in his mouth, I didn’t even know there were fish in there? The place where they are feeding is surrounded by walls the slaves built hundreds of years ago and will be dry as a bone in just a few months so any fish in there have no where to go? This salt pond once dried up will turn to solid salt crystals and only when the rains come again in the winter will they again fill back up. The flamingos were eating brine shrimps, I will send another photo for you of all of their heads underwater eating. This was the first time I have ever seen these egrets in numbers like this before, they were everywhere!! Each one seemed to take it’s turn flying out over the water (never landing) and while flying grab a little fish and fly back, it was really cool!
I spent a few hours today standing on a ladder trying again to shoot that little Bananaquit that has built her nest in the mouth of that big stuffed fish, not an easy task!
Hope all is well out there, I guess no news is good news! See ya, Barry
Jun 21, 09 Comments Off on Flamingo Paradise in Curacao
Good evening, I had such a wonderful flamingo encounter this morning at the Salt Ponds! I had the dogs with me so I had thought in advance that if I saw them I wouldn’t be able to get very close but I was wrong! All the flamingos had flown into one small area this morning creating a totally orange moving mass, it was out of this world! I guessed there must have been around 300 of them in every size and color and I even saw a few gray youngsters. I moved in very slowly with the dogs stopping every few yards and having them lay down along side me when I stopped. We did this for over two hours slowly creeping closer and closer until finally I was in perfect position. The shot you see here is part of a 6 or 7 pane panoramic, when stitched together it should be breathtaking!! Along with the flamingos there were the black winged stilts, great blue herons, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, common terns, royal terns and many many more, by far the most birds I have ever seen in one spot. I was shocked at how fast I used up my 8.0GB card this morning and stupid me I left the others at home, when will I ever learn?
Once home I washed the dogs and took the puppies out for their morning walks, they are keeping us very busy. We got home late last night so they didn’t have much exercise and we ended up paying for it at 4:30 this morning, once they are up they are up and so are we!
At 5:00 I took off with a friend on a super fast one lap of last weeks race course, if we could have done 3 laps that fast last Sunday we would have won the race! I see I need to go do some much needed trail cleaning after that race, lots and lots of loose rock! After the bike ride I grabbed the dogs and again took them out on a fun evening adventure to Saint Joris, these really are some of the luckiest dogs in Curacao, play, play, play!!
That’s about it I am very tired, I am sure I will be dreaming of flamingos all night! Barry
Jun 20, 09 Comments Off on Nesting Bananaquit at the Sea Aquarium-Curacao
Hello friends, how was your Saturday?? Mine was fairly busy In-between taking pictures of our guests swimming with the dolphins I did two underwater photo dives with the dolphins Aimee is training. Our goal was to try and get some promotional photos but the water visibility just wasn’t that great, but fear not we will keep trying.
This is our resident Bananaquit who has made herself a beautiful home for her babies in the mouth of a big stuffed fish! For those of you wanting to see this in person it’s up high to the left of the snack bar at the Sea Aquarium. The ladies at the snack told me they sometimes put sugar in the palm of their hands and she flies over and eats it right out of their hands? These birds are so tiny, I had to stand on a ladder and wait for quite awhile before she stuck her head out! It’s just such a great home!!
We just got an e-mail from Sheila at CARF saying she may have just found a home for one of our puppies, we are so happy we can hardly stand it!
Sorry so short we are off to a wedding party, talk to you all tomorrow, Barry
Jun 19, 09 Comments Off on Curacao Sunset Over the Salt Ponds
Good evening all, look at this sunset we just had an hour ago!! Beautiful huh?? Aimee and I were down at the salt ponds walking the dogs and watching the flamingo’s when this “parade of color” stopped us dead in our tracks! All the spots you see out on the water are all flamingos wading in about a foot or two of water eating brine shrimps!! I guess they spend the whole night out there just standing in the water but not really sure. The bird population was insane tonight at the salt ponds and the sound at times was deafening like from the flocks and flocks of Black necked Stilts. I strongly urge any and all of my local friends to get down there for an evening walk while there is such a large flamingo population here right now, it’s really quite the sight!
I took my camera and all my dive gear to work today thinking I would go for a dive in the afternoon but the high winds and big waves quickly changed my mind!
Not much else for you this evening. We still have all three puppies, no takers yet but I did make a nice flyer that we will hand out in the next few days with their photos attached. Talk to you tomorrow, Barry
Jun 18, 09 Comments Off on Macro View of Endangered Staghorn Coral
Good evening from puppyville! I had a request a few weeks back for a close-up view of the endangered staghorn coral. Look closely and you can see a Polyp (which is a live animal) sticking out of each little calcium carbonate cup. These polyps feed on whatever passes by like tiny pieces of plankton, they don’t reach out and grab it, instead food sticks to the arms, kind of like a fly trap. So cool huh??
Aimee and I took off on a fun adventure this morning to the ocean collecting driftwood and letting the dogs go wild! It is so windy and so dry here right now, we really need rain! I have noticed that all the barrel cactus have lost their beautiful red color and are now just a bland greenish-brown, the rainy season is definitely the time to photograph them. We really didn’t do a whole lot today, I was going to go biking but the insane blowing wind quickly changed my mind! We just got home from a walk at the salt pans where we saw all the flamingos right up close, it was beautiful! After our hour walk we drove to Caracasbaai and looked for the mother and baby pups but never found them again, we feel really awful about losing them!
Not much else to report from banana-land all is well. Hot Curacao regards, Barry
Jun 17, 09 Comments Off on Cactus on a Roof in Curacao
Good evening all, I am wondering how many of you remember the house with the cactus on the roof? Four and a half years ago I sent out a photo of this same house with cactus on the roof (but from a different angle), and back then I think we only had around 25 people on the list. Every time I drive by I’m shocked they are still up there? I would think someone would want to cut them down or a high wind or rain would kill them but they seem to be part of the house now. The only way you can get close to them is thru a very old cemetery in a not so great part of town. I did have a friend here years ago that told us he knew the owners and they kept them up there for security reasons so no one would jump from the roof onto the balcony?
Today was our big cruise ship day, it was fairly busy but nothing like the winter months! I went with Dutch, owner of the Sea Aquarium to see his new boat “the Chapman” which is currently in a dry dock being worked on. At times these big ships need to be taken out of water and maintained, and by maintained I mean having to cut away big chunks of steel and putting new pieces in it’s place because of how corrosive salt water can be! For those of you wondering what a dry dock is, it’s a big concrete box that a ship floats into then they slowly pump the water out until your ship is high and dry! How big is the concrete box you ask?? Well there was a full size oil tanker being serviced next to the Chapman, that’s big!
The three puppies are doing great, we may have a home for Raven but still not for sure yet?? I went last night to find mamma and her two other babies and Aimee went today with no luck at all I feel like we have lost them forever! I am off tomorrow and will make yet another attempt.
That’s about it for my day, hope all is well in your world! Barry
Jun 16, 09 Comments Off on Red Hind on the Superior Producer in Curacao
Good afternoon, just sitting at home today puppy-sitting and they just fell asleep so it’s time to do the daily. I had to go to the local hospital at 7:00 this morning for an ECG or a EGK something like that and also for some x-rays of the o’l heart, all Post-Op stuff that has to be done as I am getting ready for my eye surgery in the next few weeks. This was my first time to the hospital and I hope the last, not my favorite place to hang out. After the nurse put all these black stickers all over me and then connected wires to each one I said to her “geez I should have brought my camera” She said “yeah you look like the Bionic Man”!! It was pretty funny!
This is a shot from yesterdays dive to the sunken ship the Superior Producer. This is a Red Hind very similar to the Rock Hind but this one has his tail and rear fin lined or edged in white, it’s very hard to see in this shot but it’s there. These little sea bass are so afraid of divers, they always swim off and hide the second they see you, I think this one thought he was blending in. If you look behind his tail at the sponge those white lines are all sponge worms and long ones at that! It’s really great to see the sponges doing so well on the ship, it seems like every time I go there they have grown.
The three puppies are doing great, I still need to go check on the other one this evening, will keep you posted! See you tomorrow, Barry