ABOUT

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.

General

Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 11     Comments Off on Cymothiod Isopods, Anilocra Species, Cymothiodae

Good morning readers, here is something that makes me cringe every time I see it. This is a poor little Creole fish with not one, but two big and nasty Cymothoid Isopods attached to his cute little face. Cymothoids, as family members are known, are not true parasites. Instead of dining on the tissue of the hosts, single individuals or mated pairs attach to the head region of reef fishes with several pairs of hook-like legs and benignly scavenge specks of floating food from the water. Look close at the Isopod on the right and you can see it’s claws dug into the fishes face. Isopods begin life as tiny, one-eighth-inch, free-swimming males. Once associated with a fish, they lose their ability to swim and remain where they settle FOR LIFE!! Oh man, gives me the creeps! To increase their odds of finding mates, males have the ability to transform into females. When a male settles on a host with a female already in place, it mates with the larger female. Later, after the female dies; the male changes sex and await the arrival of a young male. If a mate is not present at settlement, a male accelerates growth and changes into a female. The largest and darkest individuals are invariably brooding females, sometimes incubating more than 100 juveniles inside their bulky ventral pouches. To date, 12 species from two genera have been classified from the Caribbean. The nine members of genus Anilocra are broadly distributed, but the different species tend to inhabit specific regions.
 
Our guests are having a wonderful time so far, yesterday Aubrey started her Open Water Padi course while Ron went with me to work and joined in on a reef dive. Later in the day they met back at the house and took our bikes to go shopping and exploring.
 
Hope all is well out there, have a great day!! Barry
May 29, 11     Comments Off on Reef Mantis Shrimp, Lysiosquilla glabriuscula, Curacao

Good evening readers, how’s that weekend treating you?? I have been so busy since I last posted and finally found some time just now, while the coals on the grill are heating to write. First off, here’s something cool. I got really stung by a wasp the other day on my hand and for the first time ever I ran into our room, found a penny, licked one side and stuck it over the bite and held it on with two band-aids. I kid you not when I say it was instant relief and in the morning there was no swelling at all?? Yeah weird huh?? Someone had sent me a little link on all the cool things you can do with a penny and I had remembered reading that so I said, hey, why not try it! If you get stung try it and let me know, maybe I’m just crazy??
 
Our friends Aubrey and Ron Hoard arrived safe and sound last night and today we spent the whole day playing!! Well most of the day anyways, I first took the dogs to Saint Joris at 7:00 this morning by myself and spent two hours hiking and collecting driftwood. When I returned our guests had awakened and were ready to go, so after a yummy home cooked breakfast by Aimee we took off with our masks and fins and headed to the ocean. We parked the car at the Sea Aquarium and walked up the coast to a dive site called Saba and there entered the water and swam all the back to home, exiting near the aquarium. Even with pretty big waves rolling in we all had a great time, it wasn’t the greatest visibility but no one really seemed to care. After that I introduced them to a pure Dutch shopping experience with a stop at Albert Heijn, that’s a big grocery store chain from the Netherlands. Once inside we all tried our best to make out what was in either this jar or this package as everything is written in Dutch, I told them just look at the pictures on the label, it’s your only chance! At 5:00 we all headed out on a super fun hour and a half mountain bike ride. Being that these two are from Spearfish, South Dakota they know how to ride and managed to keep up to me on my own trails! I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it is to have folks from home that love to ride as much as I do and love to ride the technical stuff, we had a blast! We all arrived back home with blood on our arms and legs from all the sharp thorns, but none of us cared at all, it just means we had a great time! We just finished with a great BBQ and now it’s time to crash, a quick thank-you to all who sent us gifts via our two new guests, it was like Christmas in May!!
 
Here is a new Mantis Shrimp I just found out in front of the Substation and he is still there. This waiting to kill Reef Mantis shrimp or Lysiosquilla glabriuscula will just sit there in his custom made hole for hours and wait for it’s prey to come to him, no need to go search for it. These shrimps are fearsome predators and can be very aggressive if molested! Their claws can inflict deep painful gashes and are commonly know as “thumb-splitters” by anyone stupid enough to put their finger in front of them. Those antennae act as a trip wire of sorts, if anything passes in front of him, in the blink of an eye they will be his next meal. These animals are also the hands down masters of building homes or burrowing under ground. They usually spent the day building these very elaborate homes under the sand in a spectacular tube which is coated in mucus so it won’t cave in and then they wait at the top as you see here for dinner to come to them. These animals are fairly common in our area, I see them quite often and usually once they make a home they will live there for a long time.
 
Off to bed after a record busy day. PLEASE find yourself a copy of the JUNE issue of Sport Diver, I just read it and saw it as well today and it’s great, you will love the Bonaire article!! Thanks, Barry
 
May 28, 11     Comments Off on Bright Caribbean Colors, Lac Bay, Bonaire, Painted Fish

Good morning all, I have a simple, no thought involved photo for you all this morning, it’s just fun. For those of you who have traveled to any of the ABC islands you know how colorful everything is around here, these folks love bright paint!! I once said that all the miss-matched paint in the World must get sent to Curacao but later I found out they make it themselves right here on the island. On just our street alone we have a hot pink house, then a crazy blue one, lime green, ours is puke yellow and a red one a few doors down, it looks like the Easter Bunny lives here!
 
Not a whole lot to report today, I did two dives yesterday and Aimee was home again most of the day. We are both busy getting the house ready for our guests that arrive tonight at 7:30, we still have a lot to do. I am taking the dogs to Saint Joris this morning, I had left a few pieces of wood there that I now wish I had, so back we go. All is good and fairly quiet, hope you all make the most of your weekends!
 
See you soon, Barry
May 27, 11     Comments Off on Handicap Adventures in Curacao, Substation Curacao

Hello all, it was a busy day at Substation Curacao yesterday www.substation-curacao.com , I was in the water three times photographing the sub and it’s passengers. Yesterday again we had handicap people in wheel-chairs joining us for a day of adventure. With practice we are now able to put a body harness on just about anyone and lift them into the sub with our big crane, so those of you thinking you wish you could go but are wheelchair bound, we have an adventure for you!! Once our handicap passengers are lowered into the sub we have a doctor inside waiting who will gently slide, push or pull or guests into position. Some folks are not able to lay on their stomachs so we put them in the back, there they have a window on each side to look out of or they can just look straight ahead over the shoulder of the pilot out the big front window. For the others, you can lay up front, we have two full size benches with pads that are very comfortable to lay on. We are currently offering two trips and two different price packages. The first trip is called the “Beauty Run” which is my favorite. This trip takes you to two sunken tugs, past sunken relics, down to a place called Jeff’s Ledge and then deeper to a place called Arjan’s Rock. From there you enter the darkness and the exploring begins reaching depths of four to six hundred feet! The second trip we offer is the West run taking you to a 350 foot sunken ship called the Stella Maris. This is a spooky run, the ship lays in the sand at around 475 feet and the sub slowly takes you all around the metal beast searching for all kinds of new and strange creatures that call this place home. Prices for a normal East or West run cost around $650 per person. Price includes, me photographing you underwater, all your photos on a cool custom made Substation flash drive, t-shirt, and a certificate to prove you went down with us. The other price package costs $450 and takes you to either the East or West but is shorter in time and excludes the underwater photo shoot. So if your on the island or planning on visiting, drop us a note and tell them Barry sent you, I’ll see you underwater!
 
Here is a much needed dolphin shot for my poor neglected fans out there, and yes I will try harder to send more dolphin pictures! This was taken a few years back and please don’t ask me their names. I am the worst at being able to identify our dolphins and like Aimee says; I should be the best because of how much time I have spent photographing them over the years! Some one asked me recently, “do dolphins jump in the wild’? They do if they are Spinner Dolphins! Bottlenose dolphins typically stay beneath the waters surface when traveling along the coast or hunting, just their dorsal fins breach the waters surface. If chased by a shark or something big, maybe even a female being chased by a male then they may leap out of the water but normally they don’t jump. I have seen young bottlenose in the wild jumping out of the water but then almost always it’s mom to the rescue and slows the youngster down and puts an end to all that showing off.
 
I have to get to work, Aimee is still home but feeling much better, a few more days of rest and she should be good to go. Our new guests from the States arrive Saturday night, I will be spending tomorrow getting everything clean and ready. Have a wonderful day folks, Barry
May 25, 11     Comments Off on Acropora cervicornis, Endangered Staghorn Corals

Good evening friends, Here is a coral that is fighting for it’s very life each and every day and very well may be extinct in the next 10-20 years! This is called Acropora cervicornis or better known as Staghorn Coral. This coral was once abundant in many locations throughout the region, but has suffered mass mortality since the early 1990’s in many areas due to White Band Disease. Other, more localized losses have been caused by hurricanes, increased predation, bleaching, algae overgrowth, human impacts, and other factors. This species is also particularly susceptible to damage from sedimentation and is sensitive to temperature (global warming)and salinity variation. The dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn coral is asexual fragmentation; this life history trait allows rapid population recovery from physical disturbances such as storms. However, this mode of reproduction makes recovery from disease or bleaching episodes (in which entire colonies or even entire stands are killed) very difficult. The large role of asexual reproduction for this species also increases the likelihood that genetic diversity in the remnant populations is very low. Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned for this species based on its demographic parameters; specifically, how species recruitment and genetic diversity affect recovery potential. We are seeing less and less of this coral here in Curacao each year and with every passing major storm recovery of the survivors becomes harder and harder.
 
I just got home from riding, we had a fun, fast paced hour and a half ride thru the Curacao wilderness! Stijn won his big race this weekend, I was going to ride with him but I hate riding in mud and there was a lot of it!!
 
Busy day on tap at the substation tomorrow, I will be in the water most of the day! Take care out there, Barry
May 24, 11     Comments Off on Lionfish Facts, Caribbean Lionfish, Scorpion Volitans

Good evening fellow Earth creatures! Here’s an animal we all think is from outer space and is currently invading most of the Caribbean! Meet Mr. Lionfish or Scorpion Volitans if you will, even its name reveals the fiery character of the Indo-Pacific red lionfish, scientifically know as Pterois volitans/miles. With bold maroon and white zebra stripes, and a plume of feathery spines, the lionfish is a stunning, elegant and graceful specimen and so deadly to its prey. The lionfish, also known as the turkeyfish, tigerfish, dragonfish, and butterfly cod is a poisonous spiky fish found in the warmer waters of the Western and central Pacific Ocean. The lionfish is a predatory fish hunting small fish but it’s venom is capable of being fatal to larger creatures. Indo-Pacific lionfish are rapidly invading the waters of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic. Due to their population explosion and aggressive behavior, lionfish have the potential to become the most disastrous marine invasion in history by drastically reducing the abundance of coral reef fishes and leaving behind a devastated ecosystem. The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, have infiltrated their way into the Caribbean. Their introduction is believed to be a result of hurricanes and tank releases during the early 1990’s. They have been spotted along the eastern seaboard spanning as far north as Rhode Island to as far south as Columbia. Protected by venomous spines, lionfish are voracious and effective predators. When hunting, they herd and corner their prey using their pectoral fins, then quickly strike and swallow their prey whole. With few known natural predators, the lionfish poses a major threat to coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean region by decreasing survival of a wide range of native reef animals via both predation and competition. While native grouper may prey on lionfish, they have been over-fished and therefore unlikely to significantly reduce the effects of invasive lionfish on coral reef communities.
 
Very tired after a long day of diving and taking the dogs to Saint Joris after work for three hours, it’s game over! Aimee finally got in to see a doctor, she is doing better and is back to laying on ice! I hope all is well out there, would love to hear from some of you, hint. hint, hint!! Barry
May 24, 11     Comments Off on Scattered Pore Rope Sponge, Aplysina fulva, Curacao

Good morning friends, here is a cool looking sponge I found Bonaire at a famous dive site called 1000 Steps. This is called Scattered Pore Rope Sponge or better known as Aplysina fulva. This sponge is long, branching and rope-like, up to 200 cm. Generally hanging downward with the tips of the branches curling upward. The branches rise from a solid, massively encrusting base. Excurrent openings irregularly scattered over the branches and are 2-4 mm in diameter. The oscules have thin, protruding lips, often of a lighter color. The surface is finely conulose. No marked grooves, folds or depressions and the consistency is toughly compressible. Aimee and I are still working on finding the coolest sponges in the Caribbean and wanting to put together a better sponge database then what is already out there. We have hundreds of new sponge photos that are on the way to the Wild Horizons site and you will be able to see those in the upcoming months, just tune into www.wildhorizons.com
 
Aimee is still laying on her back in pain, I took her to the doctor yesterday but that turned out to be a big waste of time and we both came home frustrated. I did one dive yesterday on our reef in front of the Substation and at 5:00 went for a real quick bike ride. Our two guests will arrive this weekend from Spearfish, South Dakota and will be here for around 10 days, should be lots of fun!!
 
Better go, still have to walk the dogs. Barry
May 23, 11     Comments Off on Caribbean Sea Grapes, Sea Grape Tree, Coccoloba uvifera

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine was fairly relaxed with no diving or biking, just a bit of trail work and going to a new bigger and better sea glass location that we just found. I spent most of the day yesterday cleaning up photos on the computer and taking care of Aimee who came home early from work with a real sore back and am taking her to the doctor this morning.

Here is another Curacao vegetation photo for my green thumbs out there this morning. This is a giant tree of Sea Grapes that we have next to the Sub Station and it is currently filled with edible fruit. The Sea Grape plant yields grapes, but it is certainly not a vine like many of you have in the States. This plant can grow to the surprising height of 30 to 50 feet tall, but ordinarily most are found to be in the 12 to 13 foot tall range. Originally the Sea Grape, Coccoloba uvifera was a native of the Caribbean, but now can even be found in Argentina, and much of Central and Southern Florida even on the Gulf side! It has been known to grow wild on some sandy beaches, but has been often used on the ocean side of Florida as a windbreak or to add a tropical setting by landscapers for large condominiums or hotels on beach side. The sea grape itself is extremely hardy, and since it is a tropical plant, it grows wild in beach strands, coastal grasslands, coastal scrubs, and coastal hammocks. The plant somehow acclimates itself to its locations. For instance if found growing on the beach on a sand dune, it will remain basically a shrub, whose thick foliage will rarely show a distinct trunk to hold it up, as it must resist sand and salt spray that is almost constantly found on a beach. This one here is a giant tree with a nice thick trunk but because of the weight of all those grapes a few of the arms broke the other day including this one. After fertilization the grapes appear, at first green but then ripen to a beautiful bluish-purple color and are wonderful to eat, although they do have a slightly acidic taste. I often see the locals here picking them, they call this plant the; Dreifi di laman, or Mata di Druif, yeah say that 10 times real fast!

I have to run, need to walk the dogs and get Aimee some relief on her back. See you soon, Barry
May 21, 11     Comments Off on Magnificent Feather Duster, Sabellastarte magnifica

Good morning from still raining Curacao!! Pretty incredible that we have had almost a week of on and off rain and our island is again back to being nice and green!! And yes, I am to blame, I prayed and wished for this rain as everything was getting way to dry and was in need of water, so be careful what you wish for! Yesterday morning I met a lady who was staying at Royal Resorts who wanted a private photo shoot so I took her to Directors Bay and granted her wish. The whole shoot only took around two hours and then after returning her back to her hotel I raced into work to do a dive with sub. We ended up doing two dives with the sub, one at 1:00 and one at 3:00, we have been pretty busy this month. At 5:30 the owner of Joy, our little black puppy stopped by to pick her up, she has been with us all week and it has been great! I then spent the evening working on my photos from the mornings shoot and then went back to the hotel at 8:30 and dropped them off and didn’t get back home till after 10:00, what a day!!
 
Here is a new Magnificent Feather Duster, Sabellastarte magnifica that I found the other day while out playing on the reef. These animals have to be one of the coolest creatures on the reef and can be found almost everywhere. Feather duster worms open their feathery plumage to filter plankton and other microscopic nourishment from the ocean and sway back and fourth with each passing wave. Feather duster worms are found sprouting from holes in coral heads like bouquets of flowers. These worms are extremely sensitive to movement and will pull their plumage back into their protective tube in a split second if approached by a fish or diver. This one here has found a home right in the middle of a field of Finger Coral and is protected by a head of Star Coral on the right.
Well, it’s raining but I need to get the dogs out, have a great weekend, Barry
May 19, 11     Comments Off on Sharknose Goby, Goby on a Sponge, Cleaner Fish

Good evening friends, how was your day?? Many thanks for all who wrote in with information on yesterdays new find, turns out it’s called a Bubble Shell or a Bubble Snail. Look at yesterdays post to see and read some cool new facts about this strange new creature. This afternoon on my way to photograph the sub I first stopped to check out the new Bubble Snail but to my disbelief he was gone!? Don’t ask me how folks, I had him in a giant black rubber tub filled with sand and rocks but somehow he got out, I was so hoping to do another shoot with him but first we have to find him again.
 
Below is another super fun shot I got yesterday while out walking the Bubble Snail on the reef. As I laid on the sand watching and shooting the snail I noticed from a long ways away this little piece of Erect Rope Sponge sticking straight up surrounded by yellow Finger Coral. From where I was laying I could see something moving around on top of the sponge but really didn’t know what it was? So finally curiously got the best of me and I abandoned the snail and went to check it out. As I lifted off the sand and began to move closer I could now see there was a cute little Sharknose Goby, Gobiosoma evelynae perched high on top of his little sponge pillar. My first thought was, “I’m never gonna get that shot, the second I move in he will be gone” but boy was I ever wrong!! I ended up slowly bringing my camera within 8 inches of him and his sponge and he never backed down, he was guarding that sponge for all it was worth! I had my 28-70 lens but I was wishing for the macro, I am betting if I go back he will still be there so I am going to be trying again soon. These little gobies like many other fish advertise their presence so bigger fish will come to them to be cleaned. Normally there are a few of these gobies together but this guy is running his business by himself, this cut’s the cost down by half as those sponges are not cheap to rent folks!
 
I just got home from my third fast mountain bike ride of the week, it was a bit muddy from this mornings rain but still fun. A few have said I need to use my Go-Pro video camera and film the ride and put it on YouTube, great idea, will get right on it! See you soon, Barry
May 19, 11     Comments Off on Hydatina physis, Bubble Snail, Bubble Shell, Aplustridae

Good morning readers, look what we found yesterday, a beautiful Bubble Shell, Hydatina physis, and it was found in just 15 feet of water!  This shell goes by many common names such as; striped paper bubble shell, green-lined paper bubble shell, brown-lined paper bubble shell, bubble snail, bubble shell or rose petal bubble shell, I will let you pick the one you like the most. This species lives in shallow water, crawling and burrowing into the sand. It feeds on polychaete worms of the family Cirratulidae, mussels and slugs. Its color can vary from very dark to a pale pinkish white. The shell is thin, globose and fragile. The last whorl covers the rest of the whorls. There is no operculum. The large foot has lateral parapodia (fleshy winglike flaps). The large body cannot be fully retracted into its shell. The sensory mechanisms are well-developed. The egg mass is gathered on the mantle before being attached to the sand by a mucous thread. The shell coloration is translucent white with transverse brown lines. The shell height is up to 57 mm, and the width is up to 46 mm.
 
The morning started out with me following the sub down to 50 feet to take some photos of the guests inside but half way down to meet them the whole reef turned completely dark as a major tropical storm began to unleash it’s fury on the land above. At 30 feet I could hear the rain pounding the oceans surface and for the first time ever had to turn on both lights that are built inside my strobes to even see the mini-sub, it was that dark!! The passengers inside noticed I was having a hard time and we all began to laugh about how dark it was all because of this huge downpour above!! So while I was trying to photograph the sub Jonny was feeding some of his little fish above me that had been brought up from the deep days ago and on his way back into our protected lagoon he found this new creature! Like a good boy Jonny gentle collected it and set it inside my underwater holding area so I could then come back later and do a better photo shoot. When we exited the water it was raining so hard that I left my mask on the whole way back to the building, it was crazy!! It poured for around 30 minutes leaving Curacao soaked to the bone and I heard even did some flooding in low lying areas.
 
Later in the afternoon the skies turned blue and it was so hot outside, there was almost zero wind!! Curacao has been locked in this no-wind, calm sea, humid, overcast weather system for the past week, almost like the calm before the storm! I did my last dive of the day yesterday at around 2:30 taking this new find back out to the reef and letting it do it’s thing and taking all kinds of photos. While out there I found another cool shot that I will send out tonight.
 
Later in the evening Aimee and I went back to the Substation for a BBQ which was in honor of the school from Willington that has been here all week playing in the sub, diving and in general learning marine biology all around the island, “do great things kids”, the World is in your hands!!
 
Ok, off to do a walk with the dogs in the rain!! See you soon, Barry
May 18, 11     Comments Off on Secretary Blenny, Acanthemblemaria maria, Blennies

Good morning friends, yesterday was so busy for me, I did three dives with the sub and then raced to get to a bike ride at 5:30. Weeks ago a professional mountain biker from Holland contacted me and was interested in doing some extreme riding on all our fun technical single-track and last night we finally got together. So at 5:30 Stiyn and I took our new friend on a 90 minute thrill a second ride thru the beautiful wilds of Curacao, it was great! Our new rider was everything we hoped he would be and at the end of the ride we returned him safe and sound to his hotel with a smile on his face. I was so tired after the ride and diving that I went straight home to bed, it was game over for me!!
 
Here is a new little cutie face I found the other day living in a beautiful grooved brain coral home. This is a tiny 3/4th of an inch Secretary Blenny, Acanthemblemaria maria with a room with a view like no other! His little hole faces straight out onto the whole reef almost like a penthouse suite at the top of a skyscraper and he seems as happy as can be. These blennies are among the easiest macro creatures to photograph on the reef and I always show these to my newbie photographers. These fish spend all day with their heads sticking out of little abandoned worm holes waiting for food to come to them. They constantly dart out of their holes to grab suspended particles of food and then re-enter their tiny holes tail first and it all happens in a blink of an eye, they are so fast!!
 
I hope all is well out there, have a wonderful day, I have to get back to the water!! Barry
May 16, 11     Comments Off on Spotted Moray Eel Out Hunting, Gymnothorax moringa

Good evening friends, I hope you all made it thru your Monday safe and sound! I did one dive with the mini-sub at 11:00 and while photographing the passengers from the outside a giant Manta Ray swam over my head! And yes, by the time I realized what was going on it was too late! I dropped everything and took off in hot pursuit but this massive ray just kept on gliding thru the water, I never got one shot! It’s incidents like this that keep an underwater photographer up at night wondering how I could have done better and when will this opportunity arise again?? I got out of the water filled with excitement and told everyone I ran into about my encounter but everyone wanted to see a photo and you know how that made me feel?
 
Curacao was mostly overcast all day which was nice, we all thought for sure there was to be some rain but in the end we didn’t see a drop. After work I did a quick hour and a half bike ride and at 8:00 the new owner of “Lucky” or “JOY” as she is now called stopped by and dropped Joy off for us to watch for the next 4 days! As I speak Indi and Joy are in locked in puppy combat on the floor having the greatest reunion ever! These two love each other so much and in another hour will be so tired either will be able to walk, I will take a photo and send it out in the next few days.
 
I had a request for an eel out hunting or a photo of the whole eel’s body and found this one for you tonight. This is a Spotted Moray eel, Gymnothorax moringa and was taken at night. These eel’s typically live at depth’s of 6-40 feet and can grow up to four feet in length! A common myth is that if you find a moray eel on the reef and he has his mouth open, he may attack, NOT!! Only if you put your hands in front of his face! Morays constantly open and close their mouths, which is often perceived as a threat, but in reality is a behavior necessary to move water thru their gills for respiration. Shots like these are difficult to get as you either never see an eel out hunting or it’s impossible to get in front of him to get a photo because they tend to go away from a diver, not towards.
 
Off to bed, real tired from the bike ride, it was HOT!! Barry
May 16, 11     Comments Off on Purple Stove Pipe Sponges, Aplysina Archeri, Sponges

Good morning, as of this weekend I have decided to stop sending my Saturday/Sunday blog out as there is just no one out there reading it. During the week we usually get a pretty good and constant response but weekends we rarely hear from anyone, I’m not complaining, I am glad your all away from your computers. Yesterday I left the house real early with the dogs and drove them over to the North Coast. We ended up walking for three hours straight along the coast looking for driftwood and treasures! The morning was overcast with the promise of rain in the air and could not have been more perfect for a morning adventure. The dogs ran and played and swam in every little pool of water they could get into and once home slept the rest of the day.
 
Here is a little Caribbean reef scene for you all today, just something nice and quiet and very colorful. These are called Purple Stove-Pipe Sponges, Aplysina archeri and are my personal favorites, they just add such a nice touch of color to the reef. Sponges come in many sizes, colors and shapes but these stove-pipes are the easiest to recognize. Although sponges come in many forms, they can usually be recognized as a group by their excurrent openings that are generally large and distinct. Sponges are one of the few creatures in the World that lack any evidence of movement. What I mean is, nearly all animals react with an obvious protective movement when approached or touched, but sponges show no reaction when disturbed, interesting huh??
 
I better get to work, see you tonight, Barry
May 13, 11     Comments Off on New Mollusk From the Deep, Snail Facts, Snail Parts

Hi all, here is a new Mollusk from the deep found by the mini-sub www.substation-curacao.com last week at around 600 feet. It’s currently residing in my underwater “mollusk and crab housing development” in around 15 feet of water and seems to be doing great. I took this snail out for a little walk a few days on the sand and got to watch and learn how they move around and hunt for food. I first gently placed him or her on the sand as you see here and then backed off and just laid on the sand and waited. Moments later the foot started to unfold from inside the shell and ever so slowly two beautiful little black eyes (at the base of his tentacles) and a big proboscis popped out. The snail then started using it’s foot and mantle to dig itself under the sand, this whole process took around five minutes and then like magic he was gone! Snails like this never will be seen during the day above the sand or out in the open so they bury themselves as quickly as possible and then move or drag themselves under the sand. What was cool was that after he had buried himself the only thing still showing was the tip of his or her proboscis, I guess they need it to breath air with or something like that, it was cool. If anyone out there knows the name of this shell and creature please let me know.
 
I took half the day off today as tomorrow we are super busy with the sub. I finished my new driftwood project, re-caulked the bathroom shower, fixed Aimee’s flat tire on her bike, went shopping and met Stijn for a mountain bike ride at 5:00, it was a fast paced day!!
 
Sorry so short, still have tons of work to do on the computer. Be back tomorrow, Barry

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