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 June, 2011

Jun 30, 11     Comments Off on Yellowmouth Grouper, Mycteroperca interstitialis

Good morning friends, we found a new fish for the collection yesterday, this is a young intermediate, not juvenile Yellowmouth Grouper, Mycteroperca interstitialis. We have a scientist named Barret here right now from the Smithsonian studying seaweeds, algae’s and moss on the coral reef so yesterday morning Jonny and I took him for a deep dive at Directors Bay. For those of you who haven’t been to Directors Bay in awhile let me be the first to tell you, they now have a suspicious security guard in the parking lot. When we pulled up and parked he walked over and said, “give me your cell phones and wallets and I will watch them for you”?? Say what? Yeah your on crack buddy! This is a known place for car break-in’s and personal robbery but still there is no way we are giving some guy with a two dollar security hat all our valuables!! We told him, if the car is safe when we return we will pay you something, I think we ended up giving him 10 guilders or $5. I have told folks before that visit here, just leave your valuable at home or in your hotel, if your not taking it with you on the dive, don’t bring it, chances are it will be gone when you return. Also leave your car open, trust me it’s better than getting your windows broken, all they are looking for is $ anyways! So back to the dive. It was an absolutely beautiful morning for a dive and the water was crystal clear!! We first swam on our backs for close to five minutes until we got to the selected area I called “the wall”. I had dove thru here many times before but this would be the first time ever I did a deep dive here. Barret was the first under and off he went straight down like a pro to 151 feet! Jonny and I followed but we both leveled out at 130 feet and just watched as our scientist searched hard in every nook and cranny for new species of algae’s. When he found something of interest he would call me over and I would photograph what ever he found and then go back to what I was doing. We can all thank Jonny for today’s photo, he found this beautiful little yellowmouth grouper at around 85 feet. We ended up seeing around 4-5 groupers here but all deep, I think we saw three of these, one big tiger grouper and an adult yellowmouth, they are completely reddish brown when older. The yellowmouth grouper is a marine fish found in the western Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean Islands south to Brazil. It occurs mostly on rocky or coral bottoms from the shoreline to depths of about 80 feet. Smaller individuals inhabit lagoons lined with mangroves. This species of grouper can reach about 33 inches in length and weigh about 22 lbs. I also found out that many of these species of grouper are becoming endangered because of over-fishing especially in Bermuda. These beautiful fish can also live up to 41 years and grow to be two and a half feet in length!

My find of the day was this cluster of weird but beautiful Tunicate looking things growing on the side of a sponge at 130 feet! Once home and looking at the photo I need to go back for some close-ups as no one seems to know what they are and they are not in the book? So, if I can talk Aimee into it, we may go back there again today! Our scientist ended up bringing back a bunch of unique specimens, Jonny took care of three big lionfish and I got some more cool shots, it was another fun dive! I highly recommend my local divers to visit here for a deep dive as well, it’s like a whole new dive spot and you will never look at Directors Bay the same way ever again!

 
Off to work amigo’s, Barry
Jun 29, 11     Comments Off on Pederson Cleaner Shrimp, Periclimenes pedersoni

Good morning readers, I am off to a late start this morning as I went to bed early last night with an upset stomach. I made the mistake of eating Burger King for lunch, yes delicious but so bad for you and I paid for it the rest of the day. I went on a bike ride after work but struggled the whole way and could taste the food I had for lunch, that’s the last time I do that! I usually have fast food from a burger joint once a year and it seems like it just never goes well after, it’s like putting Diesel fuel into a gasoline engine!
 
Here is another variety of shrimp that I found around the Giant Anemone the other day, this is called a Pederson Cleaner Shrimp or Periclimenes pedersoni. These shrimps are easily identified with their transparent bodies and their legs, tail and backs covered in beautiful bright purple and black spots. They also have two of the longest white, hair-like antennae I have ever seen, so long in fact I can never get them in the photo. These cleaning shrimps are known for perching on the tentacles of anemones and swaying their bodies and waving their antennae to attract fish. Then once spotted a fish will either hover above the shrimp or rest on the sand and let the shrimp come to them and within seconds the cleaning begins! I have noticed from my years of watching this that if a fish is really in need of cleaning treatment it always lays on the sand with it’s mouth open but if it just needs a simple quick look-over then they always hover with the engine running, it’s so cool to watch. For you divers if you slowly lay your hand down in front of them or extend a finger and just wait a few seconds they will come over and start cleaning your hand, they love digging around your nails and it feels so strange. This one I found here is clinging to an Orange Lumpy Encrusting Sponge, Ulosa ruetzleri and made for a beautiful setting, usually these shrimps are found in areas without much color.
 
We had some rain again this morning but it’s passed now so Aimee is getting ready to take four dogs on a nice long walk along the coast this morning. We currently have a scientist here from the Cancer Institute who rented the submarine for a whole week. He is collecting deep-water sponges and is in high hopes that he will find a cure for cancer from these sponges, who would have thought?
 
Off to work, have a wonderful day, Barry
Jun 27, 11     Comments Off on Squat Anemone Shrimp, Thor amboinensis, Shrimps

Hi folks, today late in the afternoon I went on a semi deep dive down to 80 feet with my 105 macro lens and found the hands down largest Giant Anemone, Condylactis gigantea I have ever seen! The book I have says their maximum size is 12 inches in width but this one was much bigger and was filled with multiple varieties of shrimps and crabs. I have been trying for years to shoot this Squat Anemone Shrimp, Thor amboinensis without much luck as they tend to hide deep down inside at the bases of these anemone’s. But today the Anemone I found was so big that all the little creatures living on it, around it or under it were in plain view and easy to photograph. These beautiful little or should I say ultra tiny Squat Anemone shrimps live in symbiotic relationship with a variety of anemones, especially the Giant Anemone (seen here) Sun Anemone and the Elegant Anemone, Actinoporus elegans. The Squat Anemone shrimp is sometimes nicknamed “the sexy shrimp” due to its tendency to vibrate its abdomen while walking.
 
Aimee and I are again baby-sitting “Lucky” as many of you know her by, that’s our last little puppy we found down the street and we raised her until we found a home. Her name is now Joy and her owner had to fly to another island for 5 days so of course we said YES to watching her. I will take a photo this week and send it, you won’t believe it! I did a two hour hike with all the dogs after work and they are all knocked out now, just the way we like it! That’s all for now friends, Barry
Jun 26, 11     Comments Off on Fire Coral Treatment, Nematocysts, Stinging Anemones

Good evening friends, did you have a fun filled weekend?? I finally took a photo that friends have been asking me to send for years and that is, a close-up of the stinging hairs on Fire coral. Fire corals are colonial marine organisms that look like real coral however they are technically not corals; they are actually more closely related to jellyfish and other stinging anemones. They are members of the phylum Cnidaria, class Hydrozoa, order Capitata, family Milleporidae. Fire corals have a bright yellow-green and brown skeletal covering and are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. They appear in small brush-like growths on rocks and coral. Divers often mistake fire coral for seaweed, and accidental contact is common. Upon contact, an intense pain can be felt that can last from two days to two weeks. The very small nematocysts on fire corals contain tentacles that protrude from numerous surface pores (similar to jellyfish stings). In addition, fire corals have a sharp, calcified external skeleton that can scrape the skin. Fire coral has several common growth forms; these include branching, plate and encrusting. Branching adopts a calcareous structure which branches off, to rounded finger-like tips. Plate adopts a shape similar to that of the smaller non-sheet lettuce corals; therefore erect, thin sheets, which group together to form a colony. The latter; “encrusting”, is where the fire coral forms on the calcareous structure of other coral or gorgonian structures. If your stung by this nasty stuff 1st rinse with seawater and avoid using fresh water because it will increase pain. I tell everyone keep the wound in seawater for as long as you can, it will help in the long run. 2nd, you can try to remove the tentacles with tweezers, but be warned they are so small and see-thru that you most likely won’t get them all! 3rd, immobilize the extremity because movement may cause the venom to spread and last apply hydrocortisone cream 2-3 times daily as needed for itching. Discontinue immediately if any signs of infection appear. Also be warned that the use of vinegar can cause even more damage! If your bound and determined to go this route you must dilute the vinegar with water or dilute with sea-water, that’s even better, 25% vinegar to 75% water. After a few hours of burning pain has passed we have tried ice-packs and it does seem to work, I think it’s different for everyone, take my advice, just stay away from it!

I have been working on my Calabash trail all weekend, it’s just a plain mess! Saturday morning my buddy Stiyn helped for a few hours but today it was just me and the hound dogs. I was going to go riding tonight but a strong afternoon rainstorm came out of no where at the last minute and put an end to that, will have to go tomorrow now instead. Hope all is well out there, off to bed, Barry
 
Jun 24, 11     Comments Off on Dolphin Photo, Bottlenose Dolphins, Dolphins Underwater

Good evening everyone, dolphin girl here! I love doing the blog when it is a dolphin, because then I get to brag on my best friends! Best friends with fins, that is. So, this handsome young man is Romeo. He is a seven year old male dolphin. That makes him a teenager. My friend Michelle will love this photo because this is her “main man”! I am sure she will recognize him immediately. Barry is always surprised when I can name almost any of our dolphins from an old photo, but to those of us that look at them every day they all look quite different. For instance, Romeo is quite light grey, he has a sloping head and a distinctive scar on the left side of his body above the pectoral fin. He also has very recognizable eyes that are often kind of squinty. We laugh because those eyes are usually looking for some kind of trouble, most likely chasing and playing with the other teenage boys in the lagoon. His best friend is probably Caiyo, another teenage male. It is not surprising that they would form a strong bond because in bottlenose dolphins the male/male pair bond is the longest relationship.  Males will breed with females, and that is the end of any “male parental investment”, the female of course raises her calf for 2-3 years, basically until she has another baby. But, the males do form long bonds with each other, sometimes lasting for almost their entire lives. They usually begin hanging out as teenagers, like Romeo and Caiyo, then in adulthood it is beneficial to be together as well. Two dolphins together ensures better hunting, more eyes and ears for avoiding being hunted and gives a guy a better shot at breeding (two boys can fight off even a bigger, single male). Copan, our big male has never formed a long bond with another male, but he is one super big guy, and obviously has his pick of women at our place.  Romeo and Caiyo are too young to reproduce yet, but will get bigger as time goes by. I know of two dolphins from Rotan that were pair bonded for more than 15 years. Well, there is your dolphin lesson for the day, hope you enjoyed!
 
Have a great weekend folks, Aimee
Jun 24, 11     Comments Off on Royal Poinciana, Fabaceae, Delonix regia, Curacao Trees

Howdy gang, here’s a new one for my flower lovers out there, this is called Royal Poinciana, or Delonix regia and it’s by far the most beautiful tree on the island! When we lived in Cancun, Mexico years ago the locals told us this tree was called “the flame of the forest” or “flame tree” and in Spanish it’s Arbol de Fuefo. This tree is constantly voted among the top five most beautiful flowering tree in the World, you really have to see it to believe it! When you see one of these from a distance it looks like the whole thing is on fire, hence the name, “flame tree”. The Royal Poinciana is native to Madagascar and related to the Tamarind and Mimosa trees. The astonishing reddish orange flowers bloom in dense clusters which create a solid picture of color and the older the tree the more intensely it will bloom.
 
I just got home from a fast ride thru the wilds of Curacao with my buddy Stiyn who just keeps getting faster and faster with every ride! All this rain has made the trails very difficult and dangerous to ride, the plants are growing so fast and there are loose rocks everywhere! Not much else to report, all is quiet, hope you all are doing well. Sorry so short, be back tomorrow, Barry
Jun 23, 11     Comments Off on Caribbean Caves, Curacao Bat Caves, Curacao Tours

Good morning from Rainy Curacao!! We woke this morning to the sound of thunder and hard rain and within minutes our backyard was transformed into a little Amazon river! So much for taking the dogs anywhere today!
 
Here is a photo of our new friend Christina who is here from the Smithsonian Institution studying fish. I took her to our favorite bat caves over on the North coast and this is the view from the top. The caves here are in such pristine condition as the locals won’t go near them let alone inside because of their superstitious beliefs. You can see the road below that we drove in on, we then parked and hiked up this beautiful trail that leads to the mouth of the caves which you have to climb up a small rock pile in order to enter. The second you enter you see and hear bat’s everywhere! I always tell everyone to please keep your voice down and just enjoy, your in their house so be courteous. The bat’s hang upside down all day long and in the evening right at dusk head out to feed, just look at the area they have to hunt in! These caves are unique because once you enter you can follow a trail of sorts inside that winds you thru the cave and pop’s you out thru a super cool opening that takes you to the top of the limestone mountain they are located in. You can then follow a trail that will take you to this incredible lookout as you see here which overlooks the North coast and the entrance to Saint Joris bay. All the mail I send you that says, “I took the dogs to the North coast today” this is where I go. There are roads and trails everywhere to mountain bike on or just head straight to the waters edge and hunt for driftwood and other treasures brought in by the big waves. Christina is pointing East towards Canoa and our giant windmills, they are about 2-3 miles from here. If you look at the ground near Christina’s feet you will see little barrel cactus’s, those things grow everywhere in Curacao but especially love this rough, jagged limestone rock. Because this limestone is so pitted our little green and yellow parakeets also make their homes in the sides of these cliffs, there are perfect little caves that make great nests. So remember this photo the next time I say I was out walking the North coast, it will kind of give you a better visual to where I am at and what we are doing. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there is a new Geocache hidden here called Batman and Robin. 
 
It’s still raining, off to work, Barry
Jun 21, 11     Comments Off on Landhuis Zeelandia, Curacao Landhouse’s, Mansion’s

Hi friends, here is another one of the hundreds if not thousands of cool building in Curacao. This is called Landhuis Zeelandia and it was built around 1850. We see this colorful building every time we head out to the grocery or hardware store as it sits high above the busy area of Curacao called Zeelandia. The magnificent colonial mansion located in Zeelandia is not really a plantation house, although it does look like one, it was in fact a country house where rich people could spend the weekend. The architecture of the Caribbean is a synthesis of different influences and each island brings to it a unique personality. The architectural style developed at the same time as a life style that was specifically Caribbean. The architecture of the Caribbean is first and foremost an architecture for life out-of-doors. The architecture in the Netherlands Antilles developed into a quite characteristic style of building. This took place mainly on Curacao, partly because of the fact that the stress of Dutch colonization in the Caribbean was on this island. It was not without reason that the colony was called “Curacao and dependencies”. Large plantation houses, the most imposing residences in the Netherlands Antilles, are set on the islands highest grounds, from which they dominate the landscape visually and can profit from the winds. In the 18th century, the addition of galleries and verandas that were suitable to the climate gave the great European-inspired houses an essential Creole characteristic.

The last decade of the twentieth century was an important era for these and other monuments of the Dutch Caribbean. After many years of neglect and indifference, of late a significant number of people has come to realize that the cultural heritage of the islands is worthy of preservation and that the decay and degradation is to be called a halt. The word Caribbean immediately brings to mind specific colors, arranged in a specific way. Blue above, blue below, white for the beach, green for the coconut palms and dominating all, the gold of the sun. It’s a fact, the folks of Curacao love bright colors and they’re not afraid to show it, maybe there is a lesson for all of us here??

Hope all is well out there, thanks for all the kind notes, you know we love you all!! See you tomorrow, Barry

Jun 20, 11     Comments Off on Local Curacao Slave Huts, Traditional Curacao Dwelling

Good evening friends, here is a taste of Curacao for you all this evening, this is a Kas di pal’i maishi or kas di yerba, so called by locals because of the original roofing material of maize stalks and the name refers to the traditional Curacao dwelling, formerly the slave hut. Obviously this roof has been replaced by tin or sheet metal but the house itself is well over 100 years old! It features a main structure with a rectangular floor plan containing a small living space and a privacy room, a kitchen at a short distance at its rear side, and a connecting roof, a ramada, in between. The walls are constructed of wattle and daub mixed with cow dung. A count in 1903 revealed that there were 2850 traditional structures against 80 stone-built dwellings in the western part of the island. Nowadays, one century later, the kas di pal’i maishi has become a rare piece on the island. The Curacao Monuments Foundation therefore has reconstructed a traditional hut following traditional building methods at Dokterstuin close to Landhouse Ascension ( I sent you that photo a year or more ago) and has turned it into a small museum which displays the customs and the traditional way of living in the old days in rural Curacao. We found this local dwelling being completely restored alongside the road very near the little town of Soto and you know me I just had to go back and ask for a photo. These guys were doing a top rate restoration job to this old slave hut building, I loved the wooden doors and windows and that glowing yellow color just topped the whole thing off perfectly! We see these building everywhere, they are the main structure that really makes Curacao unique and they are all super old, some go back almost 200 years!! 

I did one dive today with the macro lens. I took a rare shell that was brought up last week from 700 feet and took it back out to the reef for a photo shoot and while out there found some other cool stuff your going to love. We had rain off and on today, no complaints from us!!

I hope all is well out there, be back tomorrow, Barry

Jun 20, 11     Comments Off on Breadnut Tree, Artocarpus camansi with fruit, Trees

Good morning friends, how was the weekend?? So finally, “will the real Breadnut Tree please stand up”!! Ever since I sent you the fake Breadnut tree I have been getting questions about what the real one looks like or did I just make that name up?? So, thanks to my buddy Thomas Wiewandt at www.wildhorizons.com I have for you a real Breadnut tree, Artocarpus camansi with fruit. It is mainly native to New Guinea and possibly the Moluccas and the Philippines. 
 
 The Breadnut (genus Brosimum), also called milk tree, castana or Ramón are prolific trees closely related to the breadfruit and found widely in second-growth Central American tropical rainforests, where its presence in deep forest is considered evidence of pre-Colombian Mayan silviculture. The tree has since been cultivated in many tropical countries. The trees grow to be 10-15 meters high, with a trunk 1 meters in diameter. When compared to Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) and Dugdug (Artocarpus mariannensis), breadnut has more open branching structure. The same tree has both male and female flowers and the male inflorescence appears first. A single breadnut tree can yield 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds) of nutritious seeds from masses of yellow, round, one-inch fruits. The alternate, short-stemmed, oval or oblong leaves measure about 18 cm (7 inches) long. The breadnut is an easy tree to cultivate, tolerating many soil types and growing rapidly. The light-colored, hard wood can be used in construction. The tree is a source of food for both humans and livestock. The smooth, leathery leaves offer forage for cows, sheep, and goats. The sweet, succulent fruits contain protein-rich seeds that are boiled and made into a paste or are roasted and used to make a coffee-like drink. The milk-white sap, giving the tree one of its popular names, is a nutritious drink.

Breadnut trees grow widely in areas formerly colonized by the Mayan civilization, especially in the Peten region of Guatemala. Breadnut is thought to be the wild ancestor of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) and they were planted extensively in the lost city of Tikal (200 bc–ad 900). Mayans are thought to have preserved the seeds in underground chambers called chultunob, probably as insurance against famine. Brosimum belongs to the family Moraceae.

My weekend shot by like a bullet! Saturday afternoon I went with our friend Christina from the Smithsonian Institute on a fun tour of the island in search of old historical land-houses. This proved to be harder than it sounds as either we just plain couldn’t find them, they were occupied and were now private property, they were closed or in some cases they were so old there wasn’t much left. The trip was fun and I did get a few nice shots so be looking for one of those tonight. Yesterday I went to Directors Bay in the morning with the dogs and ended up finding and bringing home two of the most beautiful pieces of driftwood we have found to date! One is square and will make a perfect top for a small table and the other weighs around 100 pounds and is seven feet tall, it is absolutely beautiful! After getting home and cleaning wood, I then went shopping and then to the glass beach followed by a super fast dash to the North coast and back on my bike, that’s around 17 miles, did that in under an hour. We are getting a lot of rain again and it is great!! To have a rain like this at the end of June will now guarantee we stay green throughout the remainder of the year, I hate seeing this place in a drought situation!
 
Off to work, take care, Barry
Jun 16, 11     Comments Off on Local Art in Curacao, Curacao Artist’s, Curacao Arts

Good evening readers, first off, “Houston we have a Problem”!!! And yes it’s a big problem! Two days ago I posted the photo of the Breadnut Tree with the cool looking seed pods, remember?? Well, are you sitting down? It’s NOT a Breadnut, it’s not even close, the real name is, “The Common Screwpine” or Pandanus utilis, an alternate spelling for the common name is “Madagascar Screw-pine”. This beautiful  tropical tree species is native to Madagascar and contrary to what it’s name implies it is NOT a pine tree! In fact it does not even remotely or resemble a pine tree, so why the name? And yes, we all make mistake so find it in your hearts to forgive me, I learn as I go just like you!
 
So meet Mariela Zimmerman. Mariela is one of many local artists who makes a living by selling hand-painted gifts to those visiting Curacao. Every day for eight years she has been setting up her display of Driftwood paintings along the waters edge in Fuik Otrabanda, that is very near the Riffort, the Mega Pier and right across from the famous floating bridge. Her Acrylic paintings are simple, very colorful and seem to just catch your eye as you pass by. She mostly paints on driftwood pieces that she collects herself but also loves to paint on coconuts, palm leaves and calabash gourds. As I sat and watched her from a distance she got more traffic than any other vender and even sold a few pieces while we were there, her pieces are a big hit and very affordable. I have asked Aimee for years why we don’t see more locals doing this sort of thing, I mean it’s a guaranteed hit and the folks from the cruise ships love this stuff! We wish our best to Mariela, it was great to meet you and keep up the great work!!
 
Stijn and I just got home from a fun, windy ride, we headed first to Punda and then crossed over to Otrabanda. The floating bridge was open when we got there letting a monster sized container ship out so we had to catch a water taxi both ways in order to cross the water. Once in Otrabanda, which means “the other side” we headed to the steepest hill climb in Curacao! I wish I knew the name of the hill, it’s kind of behind the Water desalination plant and it a big mountain with radio towers at the top. The climb up is one of the hardest climbs I have ever done on a bicycle anywhere, but we made it!! Our brakes were pretty much on fire coming down but boy was it ever fun!
 
Ok, off to bed, talk to you all tomorrow, Barry
Jun 15, 11     Comments Off on Sunfish Boat Parade in Punda Harbour, Sailing Parade

Hey Gang, Aimee and I just got home from watching all 75 Sunfish sailboats enter the Willemstad harbor at the same time! Crowds of people lined the waterfront on both sides in preparation for the arrival of these cool little sailboats and at around 4:00 they descended into the harbor like a swam of bees, it was so beautiful! It was kind of a game of follow the leader, I was more hoping they would be massed together for a more impressive shot but they came in and left in small groups as you see here. That’s our Bruce (sub pilot) in number 4117 and his dad was just behind him out of the photo. This was such a quick event, it only lasted around 10 minutes! All they did was sail in past the famous floating bridge, turn around and sailed right back out to sea! These Sunfish racers spend a good part of the day out in the middle of the ocean racing around a marked course and many days they are so far out that we can hardly see them. Twenty years ago in 1991 was the 1st time this race was held in Curacao, it was then called the Kodak Sunfish World Championships. This is the second time it has been held here and no one knows when or if it will be held here again so it’s a pretty special event.
 
Curacao was lucky enough to get a nice little rain shower today, it was short but sweet! Aimee took the dogs and her bike to the North coast this morning and had a great morning adventure while I went in and dove with the sub. Sorry so short but that’s what is going on with us! See you all again soon, Barry
Jun 15, 11     Comments Off on Madagascar/Common Screwpine, Pandanus utilis

Good morning Amigo’s, how is everyone today?? Here is something super cool that I have been waiting to send but had to wait until I found out more information. They call this, “The Common Screwpine” or Pandanus utilis, an alternate spelling for the common name is “Madagascar Screw-pine”. This beautiful  tropical tree species is native to Madagascar and contrary to what it´s name implies it is NOT a pine tree! In fact it does not even remotely or resemble a pine tree, so why the name?  At any rate it is an interesting tree species and one that is often grown as an ornamental tree in climates that permit. The younger trees in this species have very little branching but as they get older they develop long thin branches a sort of “Dr. Seus” look.  This tree also has a tendency to grow auxiliary “prop-roots” to help support the weight of the tree. The seeds (seen above) of this tree fruit are edible but not very tasty. There is a similar Pandanus tree in Papua New Guinea that grows fruits that are about 2 feet long and 4-5 inches wide. Its seeds are quite a bit smaller than these and the mature fruit can be red or yellow. It is a favorite meal for the locals who boil it in water and then suck the juice off the seeds and then spit the seeds out. The “bark” of this tree is somewhat abrasive although is wears smooth with time. The leaf margins have small thorn-like spines that can scrape and irritate the skin.

I found this tree in Bonaire at Harbour Village Resort next to Wannadive at Eden Beach, ask nicely and I bet they let you in for a look. www.harbourvillage.com For you bird lovers this hotel/resort is exactly what your looking for, you won’t believe how many cool birds, flowers and plants are hidden away behind these resort walls, that alone is worth the price of staying there, I completly loved it!

I did the fastest bike ride to date with Stijn last night, we left from the Sea Aquarium and rode to Saint Joris/Koral Tabak and returned via another route in 38 minutes! We had a head wind half the way and the rest of the trip was wind at our backs allowing us to push 40+mph the whole way, it was so fun! Off to work, going diving at 9:00 and then Aimee and I both are headed to the Punda to watch all the 75 sailboats come sailing into the harbor, should be fun!

See you again soon, Barry

  

 

Jun 13, 11     Comments Off on Sleeping Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus, Balloonfish

Good evening friends, today the Sunfish World Championships got underway with 75 plus little blue and yellow sailboats taking off out to sea at around 10:00, it was quite a site! Our own Sub pilot Bruce Brandt took off the whole week and entered the race as well along with his dad, how cool is that?? We all stood on the rocks this morning in front of the Substation and waved to them both as they headed out to sea and watched till they disappeared from site. I tell ya those folks are brave, sailing out in big waves with a strong wind out to the middle of the sea, no thanks! From where we were standing even with binoculars they looked like a tub full of toy boats out there, hey say that 10 times real fast, “toy boat”, bet you can’t do it!!
 
Our home is again way to quiet, we are sure missing our company. I haven’t yet heard if they made it home or not but am sure they did. Many thanks again to everyone for all the gifts you sent down, it was great! We got more Highlander Groog coffee, copies of the Sport Diver magazine, a carved wooden house decoration that says SUMMER in colorful letters, money was sent to be donated to CARF, food and bike parts, a new carbon fiber tripod, my new business cards, parts for my underwater camera, and on and on, that’s why we love getting guests, it’s Christmas all year long!!
 
Here is a cool photo, this is a sleeping Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus. We see this quite often and folks that are with me always ask afterwards, “what was the deal with the Balloonfish”?? Was he dead? Was he sick?? Nope, just resting. It takes a lot of effort for a bulky awkward fish like a Balloonfish to stay in one place for any length of time as their bodies are like a floating bag of air with spines! So what do they do, they wedge themselves in between two rocks where they can then just lay there and chill without having to fight to stay in one place. These fish are not the best of swimmers and rarely will be seen if there are rough conditions above. If the ocean is angry they will always find a cave to hide in or like this one here, find a place to ride out the storm, otherwise they would just get tossed about underwater. This one here has the right side of his face shoved under an old antique bottle and his tail wedged under the lip of a rock and if left undisturbed by nosey divers with cameras would most likely stay there for a long time.
 
It’s off to bed, be safe out there my friends, later, Barry
Jun 12, 11     Comments Off on Jumping Dolphins, Jumping Bottlenose Dolphins, Curacao

Hi Friends, how was your weekend?? Curacao is being hit with some serious wind at the moment and has turned super hot!! I heard today at the aquarium the waves were so big they were coming in over the breakwater and spilling into the dolphin lagoons and at times it was just solid sea foam. I had a serious exercise day. I left the house at 6:38 before the wind got any stronger and did a two hour, 25 plus mile ride to the North coast and back. The wind was so strong that when I got to the first windmill over by Canoa it took only six minutes to ride past them all, that’s traveling at around 35mph down a fun, little narrow dirt road with a serious tail-wind! I must say though I was beat when I got home, trying to pedal into that wind is nothing to laugh about! Once home, I immediately threw the bike in the door and loaded the dogs and took off for another two hour adventure back where I had just rode the bike thru an hour earlier. We walked the shores of Saint Joris collecting wood and treasures and ended up finding some more great stuff as this wind storm is really bringing in the beach goodies. The dogs had a blast and spent most of the time in the water chasing the kite surfers who would surf over just to tease the dogs. I think we got home at around 11:00 and after washing the dogs I took off to the glass beach for an hour and a half of treasure collecting. The rest of the day was spent hiding from the wind and the heat, it was really a pretty great Sunday.
 
This is for my dolphin friends, three beautiful Bottlenose dolphins doing what they love to do, jump!
 
Sorry so short, I have lots to do still this evening, have a great week!! Barry

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