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, 2011

Jul 29, 11     Comments Off on Blue Button Jellyfish, Porpita porpita, Hydrozoa

Good evening readers, today a beautiful little blue visitor came to the Sea Aquarium via the sea, and brought thousands of his closest friends with him!! Around 1:00 today a strange ocean current from the South brought in truck loads of tiny Blue Button Jellyfish, Porpita porpita and countless other cool sargassum related creatures. As the blue buttons floated in along the beaches swimmers immediately started running out of the water not knowing if they were poisonous or not, which they are not! These little creatures pretty much shut down the beach for a few hours as they floated thru and many ended up dying along the beach where the waves washed them ashore. I overheard one man telling everyone that they are very poisonous and to not go in the water? Upon hearing this I spoke up and said , “this is not true”, they are not dangerous and you can go back in the water if you wish and to prove my point I picked one up and held it. The same thing happened with Aimee over at the Dolphin Academy, she had to convince the tourists that it was safe to be in the water with them and she also did countless demonstrations. I took my shoes off and went into the water to get my photos and I had them all over my legs, this ended up convincing many on my beach and soon everyone was back in enjoying the day. The “Blue Button”, is a marine organism consisting of a colony of hydroids found in tropical waters from California to the tropical Pacific. It is often mistaken to be a jellyfish, but although jellyfish and the blue button are part of the same phylum (Cnidaria), the blue button is part of the class Hydrozoa.

The blue button lives on the surface of the sea and consists of two main parts: the float and the hydroid colony. The hard golden-brown float is round, almost flat, and is about one inch wide. The hydroid colony, which can range from bright blue turquoise to yellow, resembles tentacles like those of the jellyfish. Each strand has numerous branchlets, each of which ends in knobs of stinging cells called nematocysts. The blue button sting is not powerful but may cause irritation if it comes in contact with human skin.

It plays a role in the food web, as its size makes it easy prey for several organisms. The blue button itself is a passive drifter, meaning that it feeds on both living and dead organisms that come in contact with it. It competes with other drifters for food and mainly feeds off of small fish, eggs, and zooplankton. The blue button has a single mouth located beneath the float which is used for both the intake of nutrients as well as the expulsion of wastes

Have a wonderful weekend all, Barry
Jul 29, 11     Comments Off on Ripe Sea Grapes, Sea Grape Tree, Coccoloba uvifera

Good morning all, running late this morning all ready as we had to go to a dog training event last night and didn’t get home till late. 

A while back, like a month ago or so I sent you a photo of our big beautiful Sea Grape tree that we have out in front of the Substation, you can refresh your memory by going back to this older blog and seeing the photo I am referring to; http://www.coralreefphotos.com/caribbean-sea-grapes-sea-grape-tree-coccoloba-uvifera  As you can see from the older photo all the grapes were green and un-edible but now they are ripe and ready for eating! The darker the purple color the more ripe they are and once ripe they literally fall off the tree so you have to pick them immediately! I haven’t seen a lot of animals eating them but every person that walks by sure is, especially the locals who have been filling up bags and containers and running off with them. Locally this tree or plant is called; Dreifi di laman, or Mata di Druif, I’m just sticking with saying Sea Grape myself. The Sea Grape plant 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.  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.

For some reason yesterdays blog didn’t get sent out to everyone, well it did on my end but many didn’t receive it, just go to www.coralreefphotos.com and get caught up or let me know and I will send it again.

Have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!! Barry

Jul 28, 11     Comments Off on Devil’s Sea Whip Close-up, Macro, Polyps, Pinnules

                                                Open Polyps

                                                 Closed Polyps

Good morning friends, today you get two photos for the price of one!! As promised, here is a close-up of a Devil’s Sea Whip, Ellisella barbadensis. Yesterday, equipped with a trusty 105-2.8 Nikor macro lens I again took off down to 130 feet to help explain better what  Octocorallian Polyps looks like. The top photo shows the eight tentacle octocorallian polyps out feeding and the bottom photo shows what happens when the polyps are disturbed or feel they are in danger, they disappear and hide! So as I mentioned two days ago, Octocorallian polyps have eight tentacles that bear tiny pinnate (feather like) projections called pinnules. Remember I also mentioned that these are gorgonians. The stems and branches of all gorgonians have a central skeleton or axis. The core is surrounded by gelatinous material called the rind. Polyps are embedded in the rind and extent their tentacles and bodies from surface openings (apertures). The arrangement of the polyps (in rows, alternating bands, randomly scattered, etc.) is often helpful in the identification process. The shape of polyp apertures and the rims around them, called calyces (calyx, singular), are often used to determine the genus and, occasionally the species. The beautiful red/orange color comes from one or the combination of three sources; pigments in the polyps tissues, intracellular symbiotic algae in the polyps tissues called zooxanthellae (zo-zan-THEL-ee), and or coloring minerals in the calcareous spicules of the colonial structure. Colors often vary between colonies of the same species and are rarely useful in the identification process. Occasionally, members of the subclass are inaccurately referred to as “horny corals” because their supporting skeletal material superficially resembles the horn-like protein of turtle shells, and the hoofs, horns, and antlers of mammals.

That’s your undersea lesson for the day, I need to get to work, have a wonderful day!! Barry
Jul 27, 11     Comments Off on Diving with Dolphins in the Open Ocean in Curacao

Good morning one and all, Aimee here along with a wonderful photo of Pasku. Most of you know that Pasku is the son of one of the most amazing dolphins ever; Tela. I worked with Tela for years over at the therapy area.  Pasku was born on Christmas day (when my family was visiting) in 2008.  In the local language Bon Pasku means “Merry Christmas”, so that is how he got his name! He is an amazing little guy; his mother loves people and is so fun and interactive and he definitely inherited her personality. You may recall from some past photos of our trainer “Junior” holding him or hugging him. He is kind of like a big puppy dog letting us just love all over him. Pasku does open water dives, where he follows a boat (or the boat follows him) and dives out on the reef with guests that are scuba diving. I am now doing quite a bit of underwater video of these dives for Dolphin Academy and see tons of fun behaviors on almost every dive. On one of our last dives the dive master got my attention and showed me a small eel that was hanging vertical in the water about 12 feet above the reef. That is very unusual because the eels never leave the safety of the reef. Well, shortly after I spotted it Pasku also came over to see what we were looking at. He echolocated on it, made a few funny vocal sounds at it and then “snap!”, he grabbed that eel and took off with it at full speed! He swam around with the eel half in and half out of his mouth, letting it go and then grabbing it up again. He played around for several minutes, then seemed to have enough and “Glump”, down it went, yes poor eel but food is food. It was awesome! So fun to see. Pasku has learned through watching his momma how to be a great hunter. Well, that can all come underneath the label of another day at work for us down here. Not too bad.
Have a great day yourself. Aimee
Jul 25, 11     Comments Off on Sea Whip, Gorgonians, Octocorals, Soft Coral, Calyx

Hi guys, I was sitting inside today thinking, “and yes it hurt”, about what common creature’s we have on the reef that I have never sent out to you and like a bolt of lightning it came to me, Sea Whips! This is a beautiful Sea Whip I found today for your viewing pleasure at 130 feet! These corals are by far the least visited and photographed out there possibly because of where they like to live, DEEP! These are corals, or more commonly know as soft corals and are in the Gorgonian family. Each single calyx or polyp works hard at catching and filtering plankton particles that pass by which in turn feeds the sea whip. The books say these grow to around eight feet in length but here on our reef they can grow much longer. I have been searching for months for a good one of these and finally found this one, the others I found (via the sub) are way to deep, they are growing at 175 feet and deeper and can be found to around 1600 feet, yikes! Today while at 130 feet, I looked down below me into the darkness and saw fields and fields of these Sea Whips, it’s one gorgonian that seems to be doing very well.
Not much else for you all today, it’s getting hot again here in Curacao, we sure could use a little rain about now. Take care, more tomorrow, Barry
Jul 25, 11     Comments Off on Flat Needlefish, Ablennes hians, Silver Caribbean Fish

Good morning all, I hope you had as great a weekend as I did!! On Saturday I took the dogs to Jan Theil and worked on my trails for two hours and then took the hounds to the dog beach for fun in sun and lots of swimming. Actually I did this yesterday as well as there was so much trail work to do. I did a great dive Saturday with our friends from New Mexico on the Sea aquarium house reef and it was beautiful. We then had lunch followed by an afternoon of picking up beach glass for the growing collection. Yesterday after walking the dogs and collecting glass I took my bike to a resort over by Daniel and met friends there for a two and a half hour ride and it was great! Daniel is an old Landhouse located on the North side of the island which has been fully renovated and is now a fancy restaurant. We took a dirt road thru the brush all the way to Bullenbaai and on to Boca Sami using roads and trails the whole way, it was so fun. We rode around the salt ponds at Boca Sami and saw so many beautiful flamingos and even a giant nest filled with Cara-Cara’s, I have to take my camera back. I ended up getting back home late last night but was as wound up with excitement as one can be, I really have to start riding more areas of the island.
Here is a big Flat Needlefish, Ablennes hians that a friend requested weeks and weeks ago but I didn’t have a photo to send at the time. These things are very hard to photograph as one, they live at the surface, two they have silver bodies and three they are shy and very fast!! Most needlefish are considered oceanic, but occasionally may come near shore in clear water, especially near islands. I see these fish quite often on most dives as we are getting in or getting out because they generally drift and feed just below the surface. I always get a sea-sick feeling trying to shoot these at the surface because you are just a few feet below the water and every wave the passes tosses you around like a toy! I chased this one for what seemed like forever and as you can see he was laughing at me the whole time!!
Off to work, have a wonderful Monday, congrats to our Tour de France winners!! Barry
Jul 23, 11     Comments Off on Eric Michael, Sport Diver Magazine, Sport Diver Editor

Good morning Earthlings, I come in peace!! Ever so often I have the chance to dive with VIP’s and a few weeks back was just the case. This is my new friend and dive buddy Eric Michael and no he’s not a rock star or professional athlete but that was a good guess! Eric is the man in charge of one of the most circulated and published dive magazines on the planet, “Sport Diver” which is the official publication of the ever so famous Padi Diving society. Eric made points with me almost immediately by saying “how much he missed his family” and showing me a photo of his dog, that’s my kind of guy! This lucky man gets to travel the planet and see for himself just how good a spot is for diving and or check out those that are offering these services to the rest of us, so tour operators if Eric visits, be on your best behavior. After ever trip Eric writes about these experiences and for most of us those words are like gold and we base our upcoming trips around his recently visited experiences. I personally had a great time diving with him every day for a week but I admit did make fun of him wearing his cold-water neoprene hat every day! I kept telling him, aren’t we supposed to be making the pictures look warm and tropical?? And yes, finally he did leave it in the boat on a few dives just for me and turns out he was one of my best models throughout the whole trip. The photo below is from Snake Bay, this dive spot can be accessed either from shore or from Boat and in general is a pretty great site. This is a large school of Boga’s, Inermia vittata that swam by on us during the dive and put on quite a show. These are schooling open-water fish but occasionally swim over reefs and along edges of walls, most often between 50 and 90 feet. These are also one of the few silvery fish species that can be observed closely with a slow, non-threatening approach. Eric has a cool little column in the magazine each month called, “Ask Eric”. Do you have a question about dive gear, the magazine itself, dive spots, live aboard etc…, then go to www.sportdiver.com/askeric and fire away! So unlike other mega Superstars that won’t give you the time of day, Eric is there for you my diving friends! Him and his team work hard at bringing you a colorful and fun magazine each month, please check it out at www.sportdiver.com and get your subscription today!
Well, I have to let the dogs out. I am taking them on my weekly trip to the North coast for a morning of fun and excitement that way they sleep the rest of the day. I have made plans to take my bike to a different part of the island tomorrow evening for a ride with friends, so stay tuned.
Have a wonderful weekend, Barry
Jul 22, 11     Comments Off on Sleeping Spotted Scorpionfish, Scorpaena plumieri

Good morning friends, I am waking up pretty tired after a long day of diving and biking and I know, poor me right? We really enjoyed our friends from New Mexico yesterday who did a sub dive with us, I will try hard and get together with them this weekend as well for a shore dive. This will Aimee’s first day back to work today, she was smart in planning two days off after her trip to the States. We are back in Highlander Groog coffee again, one of the many great things Aimee brought back from the States, each cup is our direct connection with home and brings back such great South Dakota memories!
Here a super hidden Scorpionfish that I found on the last night dive we did a week ago out in front of the Substation. Honestly I don’t see how little fish have a chance with this guy around, it’s just plain cheating! This fish will lay there all day completely motionless just waiting for a fish to pass in front of him and then in a blink of an eye it’s over. They have three very poisonous spines on top of their head and they love to lay in very shallow water which creates a problems for unaware swimmers here each year.
Well, sorry so short, I have so much to do this morning. Have a wonderful day, Barry
Jul 20, 11     Comments Off on Blue Room Curacao, Blue Cave, Curacao Activities

Hi friends, here is a new shot of the one and only “Blue Room” which is located along the cliffs next to the dive site called the “Mushroom Forest. I shot this a few weeks back now during the Padi event and had our two beautiful dive masters from Ocean Encounters do the free-diving. We had stopped the boat here after a dive and all guests on board were told they could jump in and snorkel over to the Blue Room if they wanted to, I think about half went. I was the only one who went on scuba as I wanted to get some kind of silhouette and with the help of the girls we were able to bring something back home. This cave is located along the cliffs at Mushroom Forest and it goes in under the rock cliffs quite a ways. The back of the cave is always filled with schools and schools of Glassy Sweepers but they are so hard to photograph as they have very shiny silvery bodies. I highly recommend this activity to anyone, it’s really fun and you don’t need to free-dive to enjoy it. There is a water taxi at Playa Santa Cruz or there are numerous boats that can get you there. If your the super adventurous kind there is a trail from Santa Cruz along the cliff side but you will have to jump off the 20 foot plus cliff to get there and not sure how you get back out? I guess you swim back? It’s only about a 1/2 mile or so.
Aimee is back safe and sound and worn out!! This morning was like Christmas in July! I got all kinds of great b-day presents and goodies I had ordered months ago, it was so much fun! We both took the dogs to Saint Joris this morning and hunted for more driftwood. We again found some really nice pieces so now I have no excuse not to be making furniture and you can bet Aimee will be cracking the whip!
Long fun day, off to bed, Barry
Jul 19, 11     Comments Off on Substation Curacao Group Photo, Caribbean Mini-Sub

Hey guys, you asked for it, you got, a group photo from Substation Curacao! From left to right, it’s Barbara, Jonny (Lionfish Hunter-orange shirt), Bruce, Me, Michiel, Rob and our faithful leader, Dutch. For most of you wondering where I work, this is my World Monday thru Friday. Barbara is one of the pilots, a computer genius, our secretary, fill in photographer, Padi dive instructor, and speaks about 10 languages! Jonny is Dutch’s oldest son who will someday be running this company and seems to following well in his fathers footsteps. Jonny is one of our boat captain, our man behind the stick inside the sub operating the robotic arms and our deep diver in charge of getting our deep water fish safely to the surface. Bruce used to be the manager for Miami Divers and is really one of the most talented guys I have ever met. This man can fix anything and is a wizard at rebuilding any part on the sub and is the man responsible for keeping this machine running smoothly on a daily basis. He is also one of the pilots and crane operators and loves deep diving and wake boarding. Michiel is not only one of the pilots, crane operator and boat captain but also a medical doctor who specialized in decompression chambers in Holland and is currently the only doctor on the island specializing in this treatment. He receives calls weekly from the hospital and then rushes to save someone in need who got in trouble on a dive by putting them in our local decompression chamber and sitting with them for hours, sometimes till after midnight. And since he is a doctor he handles everyone’s problems at work as well but I think he likes it! Rob is the lucky boyfriend of our beautiful Michelle that Aimee works with, does that ring any bells? Rob is also a pilot but is still in training, he is also a “Jack-of-all-trades”! He runs the crane, drives the boat, helps with all kinds of sub jobs inside and out and is the man responsible for helping me collect driftwood this weekend. Last but not least the man, the myth, the legend, Dutch. This guy pretty much built the whole Sea Aquarium, surrounding resorts, lagoons, Substation, beaches, on and on and on, he’s a one man band for sure! It would take weeks to tell you his story and everything he has done, I am thinking a book might be in order?? I had some friends show up today from New Mexico and they are going in the sub on Thursday, I love when people just pop in and say hi!!
I need to get to the airport and pick up Aimee, see you all soon, Barry
Jul 18, 11     Comments Off on Sleeping Redtail Parrotfish, Sparisoma chrysopterum

Hi friends and family, how did the Monday go?? I did two fast and fun dives alongside the coolest little mini-sub in town. My main job at the Substation is to make sure our guests take home a collection of fun photos of them looking out at me with smiles glued to their faces! To accomplish this task I usually meet the sub out on the reef at around 30 feet and shoot away while the sub remains motionless in the water. After an “OK” signal from me, they then turn and slowly descend down the reef and I sometimes follow them shooting as I go down to 100 feet. That’s it, I then get the camera out of the water ASAP and have the photos ready for them to take home when they return and so far there have been no complaints!
Here is one of the coolest sleeping parrotfish I have ever seen! This is a big Redtail Parrotfish, Sparisoma chrysopterum laying out in the open, on the middle of the reef, without a care in the World! He was perched up high on the side of a rock and looked like a glowing neon sign from yards away!! Redfish Parrotfish are easily recognized by that black spot at the base of the pectoral fin and the reddish crescent on the margin of the tail. During the day this parrotfish is very difficult to approach but as you can at night things are much, much different! See all the colored blotches all over the body, those are not there during the day. It uses them exclusively at night to help camouflage itself to it’s surroundings but as you can see, it’s not really working. I really started laughing underwater just looking at how this fish was laying there, I mean really, you can’t find a better hiding spot than this?? I guess when your 18 inches long there isn’t a whole lot to worry about because we don’t really have many sharks around and he’s too big for an eel to eat. Many species of parrotfish secrete a mucus sack from their mouth that covers their whole body masking it’s scent from night time predators like eels. Since I have been here though, I have never seen this species in a mucus sack but I have seen the Princess Parrotfish do this more than once.
Just want to say thanks again to everyone for your continued support, I get the nicest e-mails on a daily basis from friends, family and folks that just plain found us on the net, you guys are great!
Off to bed, Aimee is back tomorrow night, Barry
Jul 17, 11     Comments Off on Sculptured Slipper Lobster, Parribacus antarcticus

Howdy Partners, how was your weekend? Mine has been absolutely crazy with collecting driftwood. Here’s what is going on. Somewhere around the Caribbean like Surinam or Haiti there was some big river or rivers that over flowed from recent rains months ago and sent tons and tons of driftwood and junk into the sea. I heard that weeks ago the Navy had alerted boats and islands of this mass of moving/floating wood that was headed towards all islands in it’s path. Well apparently it hit Curacao around Thursday or Friday but Saturday morning is when I discovered it at Saint Joris. The massive pile of wood and bamboo floated in from the North but even made it’s way to the Sea Aquarium which is on the other side of the island. From the second I parked the car and let the dogs out I knew something was wrong because the area where we park there is usually no wood at all, but Saturday the shoreline was full! For me it’s fantastic!! I found some of the greatest wood ever on Saturday and just started making big piles, then I drove as far as I could with the car and loaded it to the gills leaving just enough room for the dogs to sit! So this morning I went to a new spot on the North coast with the dogs and there was even more wood there, so much in fact I made a phone call to my buddy Rob and asked if I could borrow his truck for an hour. I woke Rob up when I called but he said no problem, just stay there and I will be there in an hour, which gave me more time to collect. The dogs were kind of intimidated by this massive wood pile and actually stayed close to me the whole time. I pulled piece after piece out of the pile and carried them to a spot where the truck could easily load it up! Locals, if you ever wanted wood, go now because I am betting the government will burn these piles quickly like they did years ago. So I am back in driftwood furniture business, I was out of so many pieces but after this we are good to go. Robs girlfriend took a photo of the truck loaded with wood, I will try and get that and send it. The dogs are still sleeping from our four and a half hour adventure this morning, that makes up for my one week of doing nothing!
Here is a spectacular Sculptured Slipper Lobster, Parribacus antarcticus that I found on my last night dive. Being that he was kind of perched up on a rock I was able to finally get a nice shot of his cool little legs and his two wacky antennae. There are several species of slipper lobsters and they all belong to the scientific family Scyllaridae and live in various parts of the world like the Western Atlantic, from Florida to northeast Brazil and in the Pacific Ocean near east Africa, Hawaii and Polynesia. There are four main types of lobsters, there are the most famous clawed lobsters, the spiny or rock lobsters, the slipper lobsters and the squat lobsters. Sculptured slipper lobster females grow to be about seven inches in length and males can reach close to eight inches. Similar to the California spiny lobster, the sculptured slipper lobster spends its days hiding out in crevices in small groups and then roams the ocean floor at night. If disturbed, they can swim backwards very fast by using their tails. And yes, you can eat these (Charlie), but one has to be on scuba to find them and even doing that you would be lucky to get one a night.
Time to go for a quick bike ride and then do another dog walk. Have a great Monday, Barry
Jul 15, 11     Comments Off on Sleeping Fish, Creole Wrasse Sleeping, Clepticus parrae

Good evening friends, here is the photo I mentioned the other day of a sleeping Creole Wrasse, Clepticus parrae. This is how fish sleep folks, they find a nice safe spot, usually out of site and wedge their bodies in good and tight. On night dives you see these fish everywhere (many times upside down) stuck in crevasses, caves and under rock ledges hiding from big night time predators like tarpon, sharks or big eels. These fish will usually not move an inch either even with a divers light shining directly on them or an annoying photographer with flashes, I think they figure they are well hidden and you must be looking at something else, so they just remain motionless. The other nice thing about this situation is, they get a chance to rest! Fish need rest to! Think about how much swimming around they do in the course of a day and how much area they must cover? About the only thing that will bother these fish at night are eels. With that in mind, they always seem to pick a spot that they can easily un-wedge themselves and take off to safety. As I see it, (no pun intended) Creole Wrasse are smarter than many other fish in that they pick these really cool hiding spots. Parrotfish on the other hand just lay anywhere out in plain site, which reminds me of another photo I will send next week.  
Did one nice short dive with the sub this morning and the reef was beautiful. The rest of my day was spent sitting at the computer and making preparations for Substation group photo which yes, I will send out in a few days!
Thanks for all the wonderful comments and mail, you all are wonderful!! Barry
Jul 14, 11     Comments Off on Yellow Sea Whip, Pterogorgia citrina, Soft Corals

Hi friends, here is something different that I have never sent before, this is called a Yellow Sea Whip, Pterogorgia citrina and they are very common in the Caribbean. I guess maybe that’s why I have never sent it out before?? These are classified as soft corals but are in the family Gorgoniidae/Gorgonians. They are fairly easy to ID on the reef, just look for small, bushy highly branched colonies. Branches are quite flat and narrow with polyps extending from swollen, slit-like apertures along the thin edges. Beware, there is a similar species called; Grooved Blade Sea Whip which is distinguished by polyps extending from a common grove along thin edges. The Yellow Sea Whip has branches that are bright yellow to green to olive with purple edges, occasionally all purple with polyps white to cream colored. My name for these are Sea Bushes and they are a great spot to find little Slender Filefish, crabs and shrimps and most baby fish call these home as well.
Not a whole lot to report tonight, it was a pretty quiet day. I did pick up a 29-inch 2011 Specialized Epic (bike) for a test ride this evening. To say it felt strange was an understatement and will take more than one ride to get used to it. I must say though, it was great on the straight rocky sections but not so hot on the corners, I will let you know more after I do a few more rides, I have it all weekend.
Off to bed, see you tomorrow, Barry
Jul 14, 11     Comments Off on Spotted Moray EEL in a Netted Barrel Sponge, Curacao

Good morning readers, I had a super fun night dive last night and kept asking myself “why am I not doing this more often”?? Most of you remember when I was doing night dives twice a week and after last nights dive, I will start going again at least once a week. Last night I was joined by two friends that I have not seen for a long time, Marco and Rob, one now has a family to take care of and the other lives in Holland, so it’s not always easy to get together. Our dive started at 7:30, right after our farewell BBQ we had for Christina who is at the airport as I type, we are all really going to miss her! The first thing we found last night was a beautiful little Slipper Lobster right out in front of the Substation and we both photographed him for quite awhile. Next we found schools of Creole Wrasse stuck everywhere in the rocks sleeping, it’s one of the strangest things I have ever seen. These fish just wedge themselves into the rocks and hide/sleep there for the whole night, I will send you a photo so you can see what I mean. The reef was covered in sleeping Parrotfish of every kind as well, that may have been the most I have ever seen on one dive. I was then photographing a tiny new crab I had never seen before when Marco starts shining his lights at me to come and see what he had found! I rushed to his side and he pointed down with his light to this giant Netted Barrel Sponge, Verongula gigantea and laying inside with a major attitude was a big Spotted Moray, Gymnothorax funebris. This was a big sponge and this was a big eel folks, so big in fact I couldn’t get the whole sponge in the photo. This eel was not at all happy with us intruding and was ready to strike, and let me tell you, these spotted eels are the most aggressive of them all, they are the only ones currently eating the Lionfish. We kept our distance and shot away, he was not leaving his sponge for anything! Look behind him on the lip of the sponge, there is a nice little Brittle Star hanging there as well. It was such a cool sight to see, and this is the first time I have ever seen an eel in sponge, so yet another cool photo for the growing collection. None of us wanted to leave last night, I think we all sucked our tanks dry by playing with a couple little Lionfish and Scorpionfish at the exit area, and then with our final breaths of air we surfaced and vowed we all had to start doing that more often!!
It just started raining here this morning, great timing as usual!! I hope you all are doing well, would love to hear from some of my folks on the list that we never hear from!! Off to the water, Barry



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