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 July, 2009
Jul 31, 09 Comments Off on Bottlenose Dolphin with Two Babies
Hello all, here’s another fun dolphin shot for my poor dolphin fan club out there who think I have forgotten about them. It’s just one of those things, when you live and breath dolphins day in and day out you tend to kind of forget just how cool they really are and how much the whole world loves them. This is momma Tela in the middle with her baby Pasku on the left and Tikal on the right. They were having so much fun when I snapped this. Momma had just brought the kids back after chasing them all over the lagoon, they love to be chased my momma, it seems to be their favorite game and they do it all day long!
Not much for you this evening, we both worked all day. I just got home from taking the dogs on a walk. As I passed the tree Brave Heart is resting at I noticed Aimee had brought flowers and laid them there, it was really beautiful and brought more tears to the eyes!
I’ll be back tomorrow, many thanks again and again for all the notes of kindness, you guys and gals are the greatest! See ya, Barry and Aimee
Jul 30, 09 Comments Off on Caribbean Reef Squid in Curacao
Hello friends, just want to say thanks again for all the Brave Heart letters that really meant a lot to us.
I had my typical crazy busy day starting at 7:00 carrying a big pick and other tools for two miles to do some much needed trail repair! I re-built my bad downhill section on the Calabash trail it had finally become almost un-rideable. I was able to dig up a 150 pound rock and move it inch by inch to be used as a step-up of sorts making the climb up and the descent much easier. The dogs raced up and down the trail and joined me in some digging but by 9:30 they were really starting to pant from the heat. So after cleaning everything up we took off back (another 2 miles) home first stopping at the ocean for a nice swim. We ended up walking and digging for around three hours and by the time I got to the car I was completely soaked, it was hot!
At noon I met my friend Bart who is visiting from Holland, he is the father of one of our dolphin trainers Paula. Bart and I went to a new area in front of the World Trade Center (our local convention center) got in the water at the locals beach and headed east. This was my first dive since the surgery and WOW is it ever great to see again. I still cannot use my right eye to focus with it just seems so strange, that’s going to take some training! We had a fun dive, saw lots of squids as you see here and this seems to be a great dive spot for Azure Vase sponges they were everywhere. We watched as this giant female squid laid her eggs under a rock with the male standing guard over her high above. I haven’t photographed squid for quite awhile I had forgotten how difficult it is to get close to them during the day it’s much easier at night! We saw lots of eels, shrimps, schools of fish and got to hang out at a cleaning station for a bit, it was a pretty fun dive!
After rinsing everything at home Emily and I took off to the new bakery and to the grocery store. The bakery is great, we bought something they make here called “chocolate bread”. It’s a warm flakey croissant filled with Dutch or Belgian chocolate, there are no words to describe how yummy these things are! Some of the deserts never made it home, we sat out in the car celebrating our new found treats before heading home.
Well that’s about it, our house is so quiet now without a puppy running around? We always complained about her stealing our shoes or chewing on the driftwood furniture but now it seems so minor. Have a great evening and wonderful Friday, Barry
Jul 29, 09 Comments Off on Feeding the Pilot Whale in Curacao
Good evening from Curacao! I just rolled in from a fast one hour bike ride to find our friend Michelle involved in a car accident very close to our house! Michelle is fine, she was a bit shaken up but nothing serious! She was driving home and a little white car pulled out in front of her and she plowed into it smashing the white car up pretty good and spinning it in a complete circle. I arrived on the scene moments after and called Aimee and she rushed down immediately. One of our co-workers Inez directed traffic while we all waited and waited and waited for help to arrive, it took forever. Aimee eventually took over directing traffic, I will get a photo from Rob or Michelle and send it to you it was pretty funny but very necessary.
I worked all day while Aimee and Emily had the day off. Emily’s parents left today, it was great getting to meet them and Emily is still staying for two more weeks, she’s great!!
This is George, he held a fish underwater as the whale swam over to him. The whale then took the fish in it’s mouth and in passing George reached out and gave him a nice relaxing rub. This was repeated over and over until all the fish were gone! So far things are going great, he’s getting bigger and healthier by the day.
I have to run, food is cooking on the BBQ. Bye now, Barry
Jul 28, 09 Comments Off on Local Resident of Boca Tabla in Curacao
Hello gang, I had a few requests for another Iguana photo so here you go. This is very similar to the one I sent a few days ago except this shot shows him with his head more up and you can see that cool flap under his chin better lit up by the sun. I have noticed over the years that just as many if not more people seem to like the Iguana pictures as much as the dolphin photos and I have to admit myself they are very cool!
I tried to keep myself busy today starting off with a bike ride with the dogs to our private little beach at Canoa. It rained hard on the way and I thought we were going to have a wet ride but by the time we got there it had stopped and the sun came out. I spent an hour collecting shells and fossil coral pieces while Inca dug a hole and laid in it and Indi chased her own shadow and tried to get Inca to play with her. After that I ran all over town doing my “Honey Do List” and trying to put the new Curacao plates on our car, and yes I will send a picture of the plates they are pretty cool. At 5:30 I took off on a fast one hour bike ride, I just wasn’t into it tonight and cut the ride short and headed home.
We sure miss our little dog, just a week ago she was as healthy as can be? Here is a link you pet owners need to reed about this deadly disease sent to me from a friend on the list, many thanks for the info Paul.
Aimee and I are just worn out, there was no whale watch tonight and she just went to bed. See you all tomorrow, Barry
Jul 27, 09 Comments Off on Beautiful Puerto Mari in Curacao
Good evening friends and family, thanks a million for the 100 plus e-mails concerning Brave Heart, we just couldn’t bear to read any of them yet so I put them all in a folder for the time being. As you can imagine last night was just a nightmare and today wasn’t much better although I went to work and Aimee stayed home. We are still in complete shock, it came out of nowhere, attacked and nothing we did seemed to work, parvo is just a terrible disease!!
We just got home from the Whale, he is doing great! Amazing that we can save a whale but we can’t save a little puppy?? The main priority for the whale this evening was to clean a wound on it’s tail and after he was fed, all went just as planned.
This is Puerto Mari one of the top beaches/dive spots on the island. I took this a few days ago while Emily and her parents went for a snorkel while I placed a new Geocache near the spot where this photo was taken. While up here walking around I ran into a beautiful Cara-Cara walking around and did get a few nice shots.
Sorry so short, I just don’t have the energy this evening. Thanks again for your kind thoughts, Barry and Aimee
Jul 26, 09 Comments Off on Brave Heart Passed Away!
Brave Heart Died just a few hours ago, we just got back from burying her in the desert under a big beautiful tree! We will miss her so much!! Keep her in your prayers, Barry and Aimee
Jul 26, 09 Comments Off on Baby Dolphin With Her Mother
Hello gang, what a day!! We have been fighting for Brave Hearts life all day and so far she is still with us. I raced home from walking the dogs at 11:30 from Saint Joris upon receiving a call from Aimee franticly telling me to get home quick! When I got home she was breathing so hard so we loaded her and drove like the wind to the vet. To our surprise the vet still thought she didn’t have parvo and just gave her another shot but said she didn’t have a temperature and she seemed hydrated so we took her back home. At home the breathing became worse and Aimee was now in tears thinking this was it and desperately looked for another solution. Well we got a call from Emily and the girls at work they suggested we get a second opinion. Within 15 minutes we had another vet number 3 now show up directly to our doorstep! He looked at her for 5 seconds and told us it was parvo and upon getting her to his clinic with a simple test proved it! So we kind of started all over. We laid poor Brave on the table and immediately gave her more fluids, checked her temperature and this time it was high!. This little dog is in so much pain, her stomach is just killing her and combine that with 6 days of getting shots, not much food and very little to drink she just has nothing left! We thought we lost her twice today but she is home again resting on our bedroom floor and seems to be a bit more calmed down. We tried to lift her and take her outside to pee but the pain was too much and she just screamed! So the fight continues, we will be up all night giving her fluids and a few more shots and hopefully back to the vet in the morning, keep those puppy prayers a coming!
For my poor neglected dolphin friends out there, this is a recent shot of baby Pasku and momma Tela! What a great pair these two make!! Little Pasku is by far the smartest and fastest learning dolphin I have seen to date, you can’t believe the stuff he’s doing!
Have to run, Barry
Jul 26, 09 Comments Off on Stranded Pilot Whale in Curacao
Good morning folks, tired is the word for this family, it’s a good thing I can’t go diving yet because I wouldn’t have any time any ways! Our whole daily routine has changed with the stranding of the Pilot Whale and Brave Heart being so sick. This was the scene last night from the whales 6:00 feeding. The whale spends the day in a large netted area out in deeper water but when they need to feed him they have to carefully coral the animal with a net and slowly swim it to a shallower area. Those inside with the whale have to really hold on while doctor George and Dolf do their work. The little green arrow is pointing to Aimee, she is holding the head and George is behind her giving the whale an injection in front of hundreds of curious visitors. One girl is holding up a sign, it says “no flash photography, it scares the whale”. The whale is eating really well and doing great, it has some cut marks on it’s tail that they are working on but all in all George “our local expert” says he’s doing great! You can’t believe how much work the volunteers and staff have been doing watching him around the clock, it’s such a wonderful thing. As you can see yours truly had the best seat in the house. I stood on the deck of the Dolphin Academy’s boat and was able so shoot the whale as it swam right along side me. After all this was over and the whale was released back into his pool and George fed him by hand. This means George held a big fish underwater from the side of boat and the whale swims over to him a takes the fish from his hands, talk about trust?? He was even able to give the whale a nice long rub every time he passed by and folks I really believe this whale knows he is being helped he seems so thankful!
As for baby Brave Heart, well she is still with us mostly thanks to Aimee who has been with her 24-7! Aimee took her back to the hospital yesterday and they gave her an IV for liquids and more shots for vitamins and a shot to stop her from throwing up. Aimee has her hooked to an IV here at the house and is in there with her now, the good news, she did not throw up all day yesterday and did good last night. She is eating a tiny bit but is unable to stand on her own she is so weak and so sore from all the shots! You just wouldn’t even recognize her right now, she just has no puppy spirit left at all and looking into her little eyes just brings tears to you! If it wasn’t for Aimee this one wouldn’t have a chance, a big thanks to our friend Christie in the States for teaching her all this stuff she’s using now!!
I have to run into work this morning I have some friends coming to do a dolphin swim and want to take their photos. After if all goes well I will pick up Emily’s parents and the dogs and we will head out for a fun morning at Canoa.
Talk to you tonight, Barry
Jul 24, 09 Comments Off on Rock Art at Boca Tabla in Curacao
Good evening folks, as an on going kind of tradition we always send a photo of our guests and their creations from Boca Tabla. This is Emily (right) with her giraffe and her parents Sally and Stanley with their rendition of a lighthouse circa 1700’s! No matter who we bring here it’s always a great time, it’s just the coolest little remote beach and you can only get to it via some home-made steps.
On a sad note our baby Brave Heart has become so sick! She is just skin and bones now and has no energy to even stand, the look on her face would just bring tears to your eyes! It is not Parvo but we think some kind of viral infection? She has been taken to the hospital everyday for fluids and vitamins and is unable to drink or eat anything without throwing it up. If you have any puppy prayers your not using send them our way, these next few days will be very hard!
Aimee and Emily just got home from feeding the whale, I think all is going well in that department thanks to countless volunteers and Sea Aquarium/Dolphin Academy employees.
Sorry so short, am going to go lay with Brave heart and give her some love, see you tomorrow, Barry
Jul 24, 09 Comments Off on Iguana at Boca Tabla in Curacao
Good morning all, long day of sight-seeing yesterday leaving me no time to do the daily. I picked Emily and her parents up at 9:00 and off we went to Christofell Park. We drove up to the main parking lot below the base of the mountain, grabbed some water and all my camera gear and went hiking up the trail. We only went part ways as it was already way too hot and too late in the day to start an epic climb so instead we chased dragonflies around at the base and just enjoyed the wildlife. The park is still fairy green for the lack of water we have had. There were no waterfalls but there was still quite a bit of water still in the streams and lots of birds. On the way out we stopped at a little copper mine but got chased out by what we thought was going to be a hard rain but ended up only sprinkling.
Our next stop was one of my favorite places, Boca Tabla. Upon entering the park we were told the road to Boca Pistil was only accessible by four wheel drive so going to see the water volcano was out of the question! Instead we drove to the beach were you can build stuff from rocks which many of you now on my list have been to. Emily built a big giraffe and her parents built a lighthouse which when finished didn’t look like a lighthouse but did look like some kind of really cool temple? After they built their fun rock creations I went up above and photographed them and then we all just sat and watched these monster waves rolling in and smashing into the coast, it was great! Our next stop at Boca Tabla was to see the cave where the ocean flows into and another ocean outlook. This brings us to your photo of the day. As we were driving out thru the main gate we noticed a guy with a camera walk into the bush and immediately saw what he had found, this big beautiful iguana! I pulled the car to the side and quietly walked over myself and started to shoot away, he could have cared less! I stayed with him for around five minutes, got some nice front view shots as well until he finally said enough and off he went into the bush.
Our third stop of the day was to the beautiful beach of Puerto Mari. When we arrived the place was completely packed! Eating was our first priority but every table was taken so we just sat and waited for just a few moments until eagle eye Emily spotted one opening up in the back and like vultures we jumped on it! Lunch was served in record time, it was the fastest service I have ever seen on Curacao, these guys should get some kind of award!! Lunch was great and after the family rented snorkel gear and took off into the aqua blue while I took off on a one hour hike. My goal was to place a new Geocache container on the top of a nearby hill which I successfully did do, the old container had been sitting here now for over a year. This cache gets found more than any other so I wanted to make sure it was still well hidden and stays in good shape. While up there I followed a Cara-Cara around who was hunting on the trail and also found two golden yellow finches that seemed to have no fear of people at all and allowed me to get very close. I watch from high above as Emily and her family explored the reef and then finally at 5:00 made my way down off the mountain, met the group again and off we went back into town.
We drove straight to Jan Thiel to the Whale because Emily had to be there at 6:00 to help with the feeding. When we got there the place was full of visitors and tourists all wanting to watch the feeding, it has turned into quite the tourist attraction! Hundreds upon hundreds of people watched as the trainers and volunteers slowly netted the animal then put those foam floaties around it, slowly swam the animal into shallow water and proceed to give it an injection and give him water and fish. I tried my best to take some photos but there wasn’t much light left but did get a few to send to you. After the feeding they swam it back into it’s large netted pool and with a big round of applause from the watchers it was over.
I met the girls and the parents back at the house after dropping a friend off at home. Our little puppy is very sick, Aimee took her to the hospital yesterday for fluids and vitamins and has gotten very skinny we are very worried about her, she must have eaten something bad at the beach? That’s about it, I have to get moving it’s going to be a very busy day at work.
Curacao regards, Barry
Jul 22, 09 Comments Off on Stranded Pilot Whale in Curacao
Hello everyone, Aimee here. This is one of the few times I have even sat down at the computer for the last week. This is what Emily and I have been up to! Last Tuesday (during Barry’s operation) the aquarium received a call that there was a stranded pilot whale in the Jan Thiel/Zanzibar area. So, George (the only man in the photo) drove the boat over to check out the situation. We did not know if it was dead or alive, injured or sick, young or old. The Curacao Sea Aquarium/Dolphin Academy recently established the Southern Caribbean Cetacean Network (SCCN) and George is the head of it. It has been made for just this type of situation. So, we got our first opportunity to set the wheel in motion. Wow, what a start! George was able to tell pretty quick that it was a juvenile and that it did not have any big injuries and was very, very thin. It was nightfall so we decided to get there bright and early in the morning with an entire emergency team. The next morning we were able to catch him and get a real close look to see what we were up against. The number one problem was that he was extremely dehydrated and emaciated. He was just too weak and tired to swim on his own. This species is one that runs in groups of 5-20 normally, so a lone animal would not be able to survive for long. We have no idea where his group is. That is just a missing piece of our puzzle. So, our plan was to give him fluids (fresh water: whales and dolphins don’t drink salt water, they get fresh water from the fish that they eat), take some blood and get him some antibiotics. We had to support him (we found out days later it was a him), by standing in the water for hour after hour. It only took a short time for us to realize that he was too large for us do hold on our own and then Bam, we saw a momma on the beach with her little one playing with a noodle! Yea! We asked if we could use it and she gladly let us have it. So, now our most useful tool for whale rescue seems to be noodles! Who knew? Well you can see it takes quite a few of us to hold him and in this photo we are actually swimming with him, that’s why you see some faces working hard. Our co-worker Marcus took this great photo. This guy has been everywhere and I think the first days spent as much time in waist deep water as we did! Emily is on the left behind George, and I am on the right up front (just where my momma would want me: NOT), and the others are the girls on my team and several from CDTC also. You cannot believe the hard work and dedication that has been shown by so many over the last week. After about 2 solid days of continuously holding him and giving him fluids, meds and food, he has gotten stronger and is doing just great! He is responding well to all our treatments and is now putting on weight. He no longer just lays there and George is able to sit on a surfboard and feed him from the water with the whale swimming around. We have a huge pen we made so he is in a type of netted pool. For anyone more interested you should check out http://www.sccnetwork.org/page/38/VolunteersSay this is an article I wrote for the network giving a bit more details plus there are some more photos. We have received huge support from the island of Curacao and appreciate all those working so hard. Well, this girl is tired and Emily and I have night watch tonight from 3-6 am, so I am off to bed! Just another day in paradise!
Jul 21, 09 Comments Off on The Queen Juliana Bridge in Curacao
Good evening friends, here is another fun panoramic for you, this is our giant Queen Juliana bridge! This bridge was named after Queen Juliana who was queen in Holland from 1948 to 1980. This bridge is one of the highest bridges in the world. It is 185 feet above the sea level of St. Anna Bay, weighs 3,400 tons and has 4 traffic lanes. It took almost a decade to build this bridge which was officially opened in 1974. No matter how often you cross the Queen Juliana Bridge, you will always be delighted with the breathtaking view. Depending from which side you come from, you can see the entire panorama of Punda, Otrobanda and the Schottegat. On the Otrobanda side you can pull over to make photos or videos. I had to do a little Sunday afternoon trespassing in order to get this shot. I found a construction site with a tall building currently being built and climbed up a ladder made of wooden pallets which placed me about 20 feet higher, it was the only way to get above the thorny green stuff. If you look all the way out to the entrance of the harbor you can see a massive oil tanker just arriving. I waited here about 30 minutes while the tanker came all the way in and went under the bridge, that was so cool to get to see!
This morning I left the house at 7:30 for a bike ride. I rode to Saint Joris then to Canoa and just kept going, actually I got lost! Well to make a really long two and a half hour bike ride story shorter, I have to learn the names of all these little towns! It’s so depressing when you think you know where you are but then you pull into an area and nothing is familiar, so I did a lot of back tracking today!!
Everything is going well, my eye seems to be doing great, our puppy has been sick all day and I am sitting here sweating to death waiting for the air-co repair guy to show up. Emily’s parents arrived to the island this morning and are coming over for dinner tonight so I need to get a moving!
Have a wonderful evening, Barry
Jul 20, 09 Comments Off on Two Local Dogs From Curacao
Good evening once again from Curacao! I always tell you all that we find all kinds of things washed ashore each morning but never imagined we would find a boat?? This had just recently found it’s way to shore overnight and of course Indi had to be the first to check it out!! On the other side of the boat there was a nice little entry way which I didn’t see at first. I was taking photos of the boat when up pops Indi and then to my surprise Brave Heart climbs up, I’m not sure Indi is setting a very good example?? Well once aboard I had a hard time getting them out as the whole thing must have smelled like “fresh catch of the day”, all three of them were busy licking the inside floor boards.
Aimee and I both got off work early today and took the dogs to the “dog beach” for an afternoon of fun in the hot sun! Little Brave is such a great swimmer! I think having those big ears helps as they act like small sails, really we couldn’t get her out of the water. Indi as well swam and swam but Inca well she just stood next to me on shore and watched, if I don’t get in she won’t get in, such a daddy’s girl!!
Aimee and Emily just left to help feed the whale, I have heard it is getting stronger and swimming on it’s own now. The plan is to get her well, find a passing pod of pilot whales and release her into it?? That’s the plan.
Till tomorrow, Barry
Jul 19, 09 Comments Off on Punda Panoramic
Good evening friends, I just got home from a fun few hours of driving around town shooting panoramas! I wanted to try this new program I got yesterday called AutopanoPro and it rocks!! For those of you interested check it out at www.autopano.net it’s a company from France. This is Punda, it’s our very colorful and historical downtown area. You can see the famous floating bridge over to the right and on the left in front of the big sail boat is our other favorite attraction the floating market. Here you can find fruits and vegetables along with the catch of the day all brought in daily on boats from Venezuela. Finding a safe place to take this photo was the challenge today, there is just not much room to pull over. At the base of our scary bridge I pulled the car over as far as I could, parked and climbed out of the passenger side window as there was too much traffic on the drivers side. I stood on a steel railing with my body up against the car and put the tripod over the rail, it worked pretty good.
My eye is doing great. I took our collection of canines to Saint Joris this morning for a long hike in hopes of wearing them out but as I type this they are already wanting to go out again?
That’s it, not much else for you today but hey it’s Sunday and most of you won’t even get this till tomorrow anyways! Off to go for a little bike ride,Barry
Jul 18, 09 Comments Off on
Good evening all, I thought this was a perfect photo for you tonight as it kind of goes with yesterdays shot. This is what a Slit-Pore Sea Rod looks like, the photo yesterday was just a close-up of the top of one of the branches, pretty cool huh? This was taken East of the Aquarium the morning we got dropped off a ways up the coast and did that fun dive all the way back. You can see gorgonians do look a lot like bushes and many are as big as a small trees that’s why we some times refer to a big area of these as an underwater forest.
It was a very busy day at work today and next week is crazy busy, I thought this was our slow time?? Aimee and Emily were again with the whale all day. I will get a photo that someone else took and have her write you and tell you everything that has been going on, it’s quite the story. With our car down and the eye surgery I haven’t even been over there to see it yet, yeah I know crazy huh?
The girls are out walking dogs but will be home soon so I better wrap this up. Hope your having a great weekend, Barry