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 August, 2011

Aug 31, 11     Comments Off on French Angelfish, Salt Pier Bonaire, Big Tropical Fish

Good morning from Curacao. I spent a good part of the day yesterday in the water and came home too tired to go biking, diving and riding do not mix! Our diving lately hasn’t been so great mostly due to the on and off rains we have been having for weeks now, I sure hope this isn’t a sign of an early, wet, rainy season! In just a few short weeks coral spawning starts here, we have had a few experts already show up and are getting ready for this big once a year event. I was told yesterday that on the 15th is when the first coral spawning dive will be and that starts later this year at around 10:00-10:30pm!!! Yes, those will be some long nights but super fun! We still have guests arriving in a few weeks, I already have sent them tons of stuff to bring down for us, I guess that’s the down-side to staying with us but we sure do appreciate it and will make it up to you! Aimee is off today and is still asleep, I told her I would take the dogs for her this morning so can have one nice restful morning this week and she was out all night with our friend Eveline doing the dinner thing.
 
We put two more Sub rides on E-Bay for those of you who missed it the first time, the first one sold for around $350, that’s half price so bid and get down here for some serious adventure! Here are the links;
 
 
Here is a big beautiful French Angelfish that we found under the Salt Pier in Bonaire a few months ago, that was still one of my favorite dives that I made there. That’s about it, my brain is fried this morning. Barry
Aug 30, 11     Comments Off on Diving with Dolphins, Open Ocean Dolphin Training

Good morning friends, I spent a good part of the day yesterday moving our new permanent video camera to a new underwater location. The spot it has been in was too low, it was great for watching the fish but we were not able to see the sub. So yesterday I cut all the cables and untied it from the rock we had it on and moved it to a new spot in around 25 feet of water, it’s now tied to the tip of a big boulder. If you have time tune in today as we will be out there on the reef with the sub at 11:15 and 1:15. Here is the link again, http://www.seesubmarine.com/ This new video camera is a work in progress, we will continue to make it better each day and I think we even ordered a new wide-angle lens for it as well yesterday, not sure what it on there now but it is not enough.
 
For my dolphin lovers, here is an old shot of Tela and Pasku I took months ago but like everything here seems like just yesterday. Now that I am over with the sub I don’t see the dolphins much anymore and Aimee is the one now doing all the dives with them. She is the lucky person who gets to go out on every dolphin dive and shoot video for the dolphin Academy Photoshop and she loves it. Most days after the dive she either calls me or rushes over to tell me about either something cool she just saw like a passing eagle ray or a turtle or tells me something cool the dolphins just did, for me it’s just like being there, without the camera of course!
 
I am running late, thanks for all driftwood comments from yesterdays photo, Barry
Aug 28, 11     Comments Off on Driftwood Furniture, Driftwood Creations, Driftwood

Good evening friends, what a day I had! I was up at 4:30 this morning sending out e-mails to check on friends in the New York area and getting ready for a mountain bike race I had at 7:30. I left the house at 6:00 and got to the race course at 6:30 which gave me plenty of time to get ready and go do a slow warm-up loop. At 7:30 the race started and I was off, I had to do five laps or loops and each loop takes around 15-20 minutes. The first lap was great, Stijn and I were together while other riders just went crazy sprinting out ahead forgetting they have five laps to do and the experts had to do seven! I mean come on folks, pace yourself! On the first lap alone Stijn and I reeled in many of those little jack rabbits that thought they had the race won the second they left, I was laughing to myself as we passed them, I mean really folks, what are you thinking?? Well, about the time we started on the second lap it started to rain, but at first it felt great and was just a light sprinkle but moments later it really started to come down and just like that the fun was over! We were all about a quarter of the way thru the second loop when we got hit with a torrential downpour filled with thunder and lightning and within seconds the beautiful single-track trail was transformed into a raging river!! We all tried our best to stay on our bikes but one by one soaked to the bone and covered in thick red mud we all gave up and it was now time to push the bikes!! Mine was SO heavy with mud I couldn’t even lift it anymore to carry it and it wasn’t just me, I looked ahead and everyone was having their own little muddy nightmare! I actually spent more time on the ground eating mud than riding, every time you tried to ride you would just crash, man that stuff was slippery! To make a long story short, we all ended up walked, pushing, carrying, pulling our bikes back and that was that, they called off the race, there would have been no way any one would have been able to do another loop! I went directly to a big mud puddle in the middle of the road and started washing my bike and myself, and moments later was joined by others as it was actually working pretty well. It took an hour to clean my bike at home and I am still trying to clean my gear, I think someone took a photo of me and I will try and get that to send to you, what a morning!!
 
So finally a photo of something I made from driftwood!! I have had so many requests over the past year of folks wanting to see some photos of what we use our driftwood for. Besides the tables, shelf units, paper towel holders and coat racks the jewelry holders are very popular. Below is one of the many fun driftwood jewelry hangers I have made, I named this one “Little Buck”. It’s fun to give each a name, I think it adds a little spice and character. I used tumbled glass bottle tops for the eyes and filled them with cuttings from an old pair of beached flip-flops. The base has round stones with natural holes and antique ceramic pieces we found at the glass beach all tied together with nylon rope also found along the waters edge. If you go to the link below, I posted more shots of other jewelry hangers I have made. Everything is of course for sale or I can make you something specific, just let me know.  http://www.coralreefphotos.com/driftwood-creations/
 
Off to bed, have a great Monday, Barry
Aug 27, 11     Comments Off on Decorator Crab Covered in Algae, Hidden Creatures

Good morning friends, we received a ton of replies yesterday concerning the hidden Decorator Crab. Many said; “they think they see it”, most said; “they don’t see it, and I am crazy for sending a photo of algae” and a few experts found him with no problem at all! Well here he is on the sand all by himself, now go back to yesterdays photo and look again. What we find so amazing other than his tiny size is that everything attached to his body is still alive!! He’s like a walking algae garden!
 
Yesterday the dogs and I left the house at 6:30 in the morning and headed to Saint Joris bay. We had a great two hour walk, it was low tide so the dogs ran around chasing each other thru the shallow water and I collected some more great wood! While there we ran into our friend Silvia who has one of our last puppies from the batch before Joy, the black dog. It’s so great to get to see a street puppy that we raised with a family that loves him so much, seeing that makes it all worth while! After returning home and washing dirty dogs I took off on a fast trip to the hardware store, the bike shop and grocery store. I registered for the bike race that is tomorrow, I see I have to do four big loops, remember I did three with Stijn the other night and that was tough, that will take around and hour and a half. After driving around I spent a good part of the day washing the driftwood I had just found and building yet another “unique jewelry holder” for Aimee or it will be for sale down the road like everything else. And yes, I will try and get some photos, maybe I can shoot those today and send them out, they are pretty fun and very popular with the ladies. At around 3:30 I took off to the glass beach and lucky me the tide was just starting to come in which means better collecting. I will have to show you the find of the day, it’s a three inch bright orange and red piece that is melted together, possibly one of the best pieces I have ever found! Once Aimee got home from work we both sat at the computer and watched and read about the hurricane, that does not look good!! Well that was my day, what did you guys do??
 
I better get moving, I have a busy day in the water ahead and a race tomorrow. Have a great weekend, Barry
Aug 26, 11     Comments Off on Decorator Crabs, Decapoda, True Crabs, Hidden Crabs

Good morning from the Caribbean! As mentioned yesterday, I had found and caught a tiny quarter inch Decorator Crab, and yesterday took him back out to the reef and let him go. I think it’s safe to say that this crab wins the “most hidden on the reef award”, it was just dumb luck that I ever found him in the first place! I sent you this photo first so you can “try” to see him in his natural habitat, I will send another of him out alone on the sand. A large number of crabs camouflage themselves by using a wide range of marine life and debris as seen here. The material is often attached to tiny hooks on their carapaces, snouts and legs. Often the covering conceals identifying physical characteristics so completely that the species and, at times, even the genus cannot be determined without collection and scientific examination. Some of the most commonly used “decorations” include sponges, hydroids, sea anemones, zoanthids, tunicates and both leafy and hairy algae as seen here. The stinging capsules of hydroids, sea anemones and zoanthids serve the additional role of defense against predators. These attached organisms often remain alive and occasionally even reproduce. This crab here has two pieces of perfectly cut live algae on top of his head, it’s the coolest hat I have ever seen! I did watch yesterday as he adjusted those pieces and added a few new ones to his arms, it’s unbelievable to say the least!! His whole body is covered in live hairy algae and pieces of sand, I swear if he doesn’t move nothing will ever find him! I also observed his movement yesterday during his private photo shoot. When he walks he moves in a way that really looks like he is just a piece of floating or moving algae, his arms gently sway back and forth and he lifts his head up and down making it appear that the surge from passing waves is just moving the algae in a natural way. Really one of the coolest creatures I have seen in Curacao!!
 
I have to work this weekend so I am taking off today instead. Last night I loaded my bike and drove to another part of the island for a fast one hour bike ride with Super Stijn. We pre-rode this weekends course and I must say it was a blast!! Have a wonderful day Amigos , I am out, Barry
Aug 24, 11     Comments Off on Baby Blue-Ring Sea Hare, Stylocheilus longicauda

Hi friends, I found two mega cool, super small new creatures today! I left on a deep dive at around 12:00 with my wide angle lens and took off down to 130 feet in search of a certain kind of sea whip, but once there found out that their polyps were closed, maybe due to the still water and poor visibility. So here I had this massive 10.5 mm lens and nothing to shoot?? Yeah really how is that even possible?? I guess I am finally just getting too picky about what I shoot, I think that’s a good thing. So as I called it a dive and was stopped at 30 feet playing with my favorite little damselfish and I see something tiny move out of the corner of my eye. I was stopped along a rock wall and was just inches from the rocks when I spot what I thought was a tiny little nudibranch but later found out it’s a just born, baby Blue Ring Sea Hare! I quickly opened my BC pocket and found my “little creature collecting jar” and gently set it down in front of him with the lid off and in he crawled! Since I had my wide angle lens I knew if I didn’t collect him now I would never find him again and that’s a fact! I placed him in my underwater holding area in his little white cup, exited the water and first called Aimee. I asked her if she could come help me photograph my new find as he is way to small for me to handle and try to photograph at the same time. How small are we talking? Look at your fingernail on your little “pinky” finger, he was smaller than that!! Yeah how I ever found him to begin with was a complete miracle! So Aimee showed up around an hour later and off we went! When Aimee first saw this tiny thing in the jar she just couldn’t believe her eyes at how small it was and kept looking at me with the “how did you ever find this look”?? We spent around an hour underwater following him with a camera and once finished released him back to the exact spot I found him! While we were letting him go I was playing with a patch of sargassum on a rock and it moved?? As I looked closer it was a tiny little decorator crab with sargassum attached to his body. I again pulled out my handy dandy collecting jar and he crawled right in, I still have him underwater in a safe place for the night and will take him back out to the reef in the morning and shoot him as well. It was so funny when I pointed to the crab, Aimee couldn’t even see it and when you see the photo yourself you will see why as well, he really blends in! If you look close at the photo below you can even see his two little black eyes, what a cool little tiny creature!
 
That’s about it, another very hot no wind day!! See ya, Barry
Aug 24, 11     Comments Off on Crazy Water Reflections, Wacky Water, Swirled Colors

Good morning all, not much news for you all today other than some rain, humidity and a whole lot of heat! We are now locked into the start of hurricane season and we are definitely feeling it here! Anytime there is a big storm somewhere around the Caribbean it sucks all the wind and life out of our area leaving it hot, calm and humid, not my favorite time of the year. Curacao is lucky in the fact that most storms start around here and then unfortunately move up towards the States, it’s kind of like we make’em and everyone else runs from them!! I did an hour and a half bike ride after work last night without much wind and it was hot! I came home completely soaked like I had gone for a swim in the ocean, nothing like stewing in your own filth!!
 
We have friends coming to visit next month from the States and will stay with us and I think we are getting friends from Rapid City, South Dakota for Christmas, we can hardly wait!! Many of you know Aimee and I are going to Fiji in February, we have both been getting ready for this trip already as there is so much to.
 
Here is another water reflection for you, the last one as many guessed was a chain-link fence but with a white metal pole and the green was all palm trees in the background.
 
Aimee and I are off on a hot morning walk with the dogs, see you again soon, Barry
Aug 23, 11     Comments Off on Bonaire Donkeys, Donkey Sanctuary in Bonaire

Good morning, for any of you who have been to Bonaire you know all about the wild donkeys, heck you can’t drive anywhere without seeing them! Donkeys have been living on Bonaire for hundreds of years. The animals were originally brought over by the Spaniards in the 17th century and used to perform hard labor. Once modern transport made these animals superfluous to requirements they were left to their lot. Unfortunately the donkeys did not fare well with their new found freedom. Since Bonaire is a dry and barren island, many donkeys die of hunger or from dehydration. Traffic presents the greatest danger as donkeys love to stand in the middle of the road or seem to cross very slowly thus being killed or left badly injured along the roadside. Foals that lose their mothers are left helpless and vulnerable and if not rescued are as good as dead. The worst part is; these donkeys are regularly the victims of abuse! The examples of which are distressing; a foal was found stoned to death, a donkey with his ears cut off, and even one that was burned alive!! Yeah who are these people!?? In 1993 Dutch Nationals, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman, established a donkey sanctuary on Bonaire for sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys: Donkey Sanctuary  Bonaire.. Today the primary objective of Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is to offer a sheltered, protected life to all the donkeys of Bonaire. Our information about the lives and experiences of donkeys is also raising awareness amongst the local community, schools and tourists.  At this moment there are more than 400 donkeys living in Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire. They are provided with food, drinking water and medical care and medical care and have plenty of room and freedom. Here is the link for any of you wanting to help, Aimee and I will be adopting a donkey for sure after learning about all this. http://www.donkeysanctuary.org/how-to-help-us.html
 
 
Well, my friends, off to work, have a great day, Barry
Aug 22, 11     Comments Off on New Tunicates, Small, Bright Colored Tunicates

Good morning friends, did you have a good weekend?? Mine is a blur as usual, I seem to do so much stuff in two days that when Monday comes around I can hardly recall it all. Saturday morning I took the dogs for a long hike in search of the flamingos, we saw a few but most of them were gone and I was unable to get any new photos. After that I built Aimee a new driftwood necklace holder and yes I will try and get a photo made and sent out, that ended up taking a few hours. Saturday night we went to a party, some friends of our that we walk the dogs with everyday are packing up and moving back to Holland, we sure will miss them! Sunday morning Aimee and I took the dogs to the North coast and collected more great driftwood, like I say, “get it while you can” once others discover it and it’s many uses, it will be gone! At 2:00 yesterday Stijn and his mom came by and picked me up and off we went to the bike race. The race started at 3:20 and like all so called mountain bike races here we all had to start by doing miles of road riding before even getting to a trail. Stijn and I were behind the experts (about 8 riders) by the time we finally did get to Boca Sami but soon after riding the fun trails above the water we all discovered it was high tide and the rest of the trails were now underwater!! I immediately hit my brakes, jumped off and was the only one carrying my bike thru the water and mud, I love my bike too much to be let it be killed with saltwater! As I watched the riders in front of us all struggling to get thru this mess I threw in the towel and said forget it! I told Stijn to go, he’s young and crazy and no matter what has to do the race because he needs the points for the series here and like the determined rider he is took off in hot pursuit! After watching rider after rider catch up to me and pass, I turned around and went back carrying my bike the whole way while walking thru yucky black water and mud. Most of you know what salt does to everything, well I just can’t imagine riding an expensive bike thru deep salt water, those guys are crazy and will now have to have their bikes completely torn apart and cleaned, bearing by bearing! The good news is Stijn won and did great, I kid you not when I say this kid is fast, he has such a great start and will be the man to watch out for in years to come!
 
Here is another new find for Aimee and I, these red and white spots of this yellow sponge are called tunicates but we have no idea what kind, I can’t find them in any book! I found these at 135 feet at Directors Bay and have been back to re-photograph them again with a macro lens but never could find it again! If any of you know the name to these please let us know, they are super cool!
 
And last but not least, I have the link for the new underwater video camera at Substation, your gonna love this! Now you can tune in and watch yours truly and the sub underwater live or just watch the fish pass by. The lens we have on there now is not yet wide enough and we will be getting that replaced soon and we will most likely be mounting the camera a bit higher as well, so this will get better in time. I think what I will do is each night or morning let you all know what times we will be out there so you can tune in and watch the next day. This morning I don’t know what the plans are yet, usually we are out at 9:00, 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00, and normally it’s five to ten minutes later before we are actually out, so check it out at those hours today and you might just see us. Here is the link; http://www.seesubmarine.com
 

PRESS RELEASE

Live underwater camera

Underwater live view of the Curasub

Willemstad, 22 August 2011 – Approximately a year ago, Curacao reminded the entire world of the uniqueness of this small island in the Caribbean when Substation Curacao opened its doors to the public with the most unique attraction in the world; a 4-person submarine that takes you to depths beyond Scuba diving limits. Today we added a new piece of technology to our operation; an underwater camera mounted permanently on the Sea Aquarium reef. Everybody can now be part of this adventure when the submersible descents to the unknown depths. Our passengers will have the unique opportunity to send a live personal message to their family & friends around the world! And for those that have not have not been able to afford a trip with the submarine, we are auctioning one of our special trips, which goes to 1,0000feet deep, on Ebay. With our auction we want to give everybody the opportunity to be able to experience one of our deep sea expeditions. On the 1,000feet dive you will go beyond the average tourist dives and be part of our scientific hunts for new species.

Have a great day, need to walk the dogs!! Barry

Aug 20, 11     Comments Off on Abstractions, Crazy Water, Water Reflections

Good morning all, it’s early Saturday morning and I am on my way soon to see the wild flamingos that live near the house. We have a visiting friend at work that has never seen them in the wild so I am taking her and the dogs out for an early morning adventure.
 
I wanted to quickly let you all know that we have posted a trip to 1000 feet with the Curasub and it’s on E-Bay! This is a $650 trip so please throw a bid in there, you may be the winner, here is the link;
I believe this ticket can be used at any time as well, so don’t worry about an expiration date. We also have our underwater video camera almost ready and you will soon be able to watch the sub and myself underwater everyday live, I will get you that link as soon as I can.
 
Here is a new Crazy Water for your viewing pleasure today, it’s been a long time since I sent one of these out. Any guesses to what it is??
 
Off to find the beautiful flamingo’s, have a great weekend. Barry
Aug 19, 11     Comments Off on Caribbean Reef Octopus on Elkhorn Coral, Curacao

Good morning friends, Aimee and I had friends show up from New Mexico yesterday but they could only stay for half of the day. They arrived the night before and mainly came to Curacao to do a swim with our wonderful dolphins and to deliver some goodies from home. I finally got my new part I needed for my mountain bike and some new elbow pads and Aimee got some new clothes and some stuff for the dogs. After their fun dolphin swim I took them all on a fun snorkel around the Sea Aquarium and other than a little current I think we all had a great time! At 2:00 we had to say goodbye, they were in route to Bonaire where they will now be staying for the next five days. As most of you know we LOVE having guests and try to do our best at entertaining even if it’s only for a few hours. It’s also our only way to get needed items to Curacao as shipping is out of the question so please don’t ever try to send us anything!
 
Here’s a cool octopus shot, I found this one at night doing acrobatics under a big piece of Endangered Elkhorn coral. This is a Caribbean Reef Octopus, it’s the most seen and active octopus we have here but you usually just see them at night only. Octopus are crazy agile creatures, they can squeeze their bodies into super tight places or inflate themselves to cover a large area when in hunting mode. I remember telling this one to “get off the coral”, I mean talk about no respect! I remember we followed this guy for a long time and watched as he or she investigated every nook and cranny of this big outcrop of coral in search of dinner and I think he finally found a small crab to eat. Yesterday while on our fun snorkel we found a similar octopus trying to eat a big Queen Conch but upon seeing us he let go with a cloud of ink and went and hid in the coral.
 
Sorry so short, I am a bit behind this morning, came home from a fast hour and a half ride with Super Stijn last night and didn’t feel like sitting at the computer.
 
More soon, Barry
 
Aug 17, 11     Comments Off on Mountain Biking in Curacao, Curacao Tours/trips

Good evening from way down South! For those of you who have been asking me forever for a new photo of Aimee, I finally got one! Today we left the house at 7:00am with bikes loaded and two dogs hanging their heads out the side windows with tongues flapping in the wind and off we went to the wild North coast. When riding the bikes with the dogs in this area we always drive to a spot near the bat caves, park the car, unload the bikes and take off towards a place called Canoa. The dogs love to run this stretch as the ground is super soft and sandy and it’s great fun on the mountain bikes and perfect for any age rider. Our destination was this hidden little cove that is located at the end of the giant windmills and it’s a place we have been going to for years. The trip there is super scenic and one should always bring a camera! There are countless birds of prey and wild parakeets sitting atop tall candle cactus, lizards and iguanas everywhere and the view of the ocean along your side kind of just ties it all together. By the time we got there the dogs were of course hot and ready for a swim and rushed ahead of us and were in the water before we arrived! This is one of the many spots on the island I have a Geocache hidden, it’s named “Inca’s Place” and while I was there went and made sure it was still safe and sound in it’s hiding spot. After that I walked around collecting fossil coral pieces and cool rocks with natural holes thru them while Aimee collected little shells and took photos. Being that this is Curacao, one has to keep in mind to get to where you want to be early and leave no later than 9:00am because once 10:00 rolls around our little island turns into a Caribbean frying pan! This is our cute little local dog Indi who like I have said before in words and photos loves to climb up onto everything and wasn’t going to miss her chance to be photographed! Inca on the other hand was behind me in the water yawning and was pretty much just wanting to go back! It was a fun morning, we all arrived back home full of sand and dirt and all needing showers, the dogs slept the rest of the day!
 
I signed up for a mountain bike race this Sunday but will probably just end up riding with Stijn and pushing him the whole way. More tomorrow, Barry
Aug 17, 11     Comments Off on Carribean Reef Squid Facts, Squid Photos, Squids

Good morning from Curacao, I have been going thru old squid photos this week and found another for your viewing pleasure. It seems like every time we send out squid or octopus photos we get the most replies from our readers and really they are my hands down favorite creature to see on any given dive. Caribbean Reef Squid are largely piscovorous (means feeds of fish) and wait for their prey to approach them during the day. At night, they are more active hunters. Captured prey are generally a few centimeters long, depending upon the size of the squid. In feeding, fish are transported to the mouth by the arms where they are bitten behind the head and secured until eaten. These arms are lined with sharp hooks, corresponding to adapted sucker-rings. The tip of the arms have a cluster of smoother suckers, while the clubs at the ends of the longer tentacles have both connective tubercles and smooth suckers. The squid will feed on the flesh and internal organs of the fish but discard the head, tail, vertebrate column, and ribs. When out hunting, these squid will employ a number of very clever techniques. Individuals may raise their central upper arms to lure potential curious predators. Another method, presently exclusive to Caribbean Reef Squid, involves hiding their tentacles from the vision of their prey until the time to attack. At this time, tentacles are rapidly extended past the limit of the longest arms. Also, squid can bend their tentacles in a hooking v-pattern to aid in capturing smaller prey. In addition, upon approaching food a squid may twist and spiral its tentacles in hopes of confusing its prey.

During the day, they live in large and organized groups but are never close together and usually equally spaced apart. This species does not cooperatively drive its prey but may compete with one another for food at times. They remain closely bunched and will strike at prey generally one at a time then fall back into line with the group. However, they are known to exhibit cannibalistic activity. When ready to feed, they have been observed anchoring themselves, and remain very still, by the arm tips on the seafloor bottom and wait for the appearance of its prey. The fish captured are primarily sardines, dwarf herring, false prichard, red, and hardhead silversides. Other prey include shrimp, mysids, and mollies. Food selection is of greatest important to the survival of young squid. In isolated studies, newly hatched squid were very selective in choosing prey but flourished upon large amounts of mysid crustaceans. Juveniles and adults also capture small planktonic animals (copepods) and small arthropods, something I have never seen yet as a photographer.

 
Aimee and I are off on a North coast adventure this morning with the dogs and bikes so I need to get going, have yourselves a wonderful day! See you tomorrow, Barry
Aug 16, 11     Comments Off on Common Sea Fan, Gorgonia ventalina, Diving Curacao

Good morning readers, here is a beautiful Common Sea Fan, Gorgonia ventalina that we found along the walls of the East coast a few months back during the Padi Submersion event. Sea fans grow attached to the seabed and look like exotic plants. Unlike soft corals, they have a supporting skeleton that provides a framework and allows them to grow quite large. It is made mainly of a flexible, horny material and consists of a rod that extends down the inside of all except the smallest branches. In the common sea fan, the branches are mostly in one plane and form a mesh that is aligned at right angles to the prevailing current. This increases the amount of planktonic food brought within reach of the polyps, which are arranged all around the branches. Here is Curacao if you want to see sea fans you need to get to our North coast where they grow like weeds! In Bonaire it’s the East Coast that is filled with forests of sea fans and is a favorite spot for sea turtles and schools of fish. These beautiful underwater corals really need strong current and seem to love the surge from passing waves. There really are not a lot of sea fans on the South side of Curacao but we do have a beauty in front of the Sea Aquarium that has been there since we came and has managed to survive thru countless big storms.
 
Not much else this morning, I need to go walk the dogs and get to work! See you soon, Barry
Aug 14, 11     Comments Off on Baby Bottlenose Dolphin, Baby Dolphins, Dolphins

Good evening or good morning, how was the weekend?? Mine was semi-uneventful as I really haven’t felt so great these past few days and after my crazy dive on Friday I really felt bad. When I got to work Friday morning the ocean was going crazy! Big swells were rolling in and mostly from the wrong direction which meant there was no way we could launch the sub in these choppy waters. A decision was made immediately to use the big crane and pick up and remove our custom made “sub dock” from the water as it was going to get damaged if the waves got any bigger or kept up at this pace. Upon hearing this I begged them to please give me an hour first so I could jump in with scuba gear and remove all the animals that call this floating platform/dock home, mostly big red-banded cleaner shrimps. If the platform were to be picked up all these animals would go with it and die, they don’t know better than to abandon ship! So I quickly grabbed a friend to help and after finding 50 little plastic jars with lids (made to hold small fish) we jumped in! The water in the basin was like a washing machine, you could hardly see the hand in front of your face let alone your dive buddy, it was really insane and now that I look back very dangerous. I had my friend hold the two mesh bags (one filled with cups and the other empty) and stay under the bouncing platform on the sand, I told her before getting in that I will bring the creatures to you, just keep giving me new cups and put the live specimens in the empty bag. Luckily for me I knew where every animal lived under this massive floating dock and one by one I captured and cupped them and soon after 45 minutes we had them all, almost 50 creatures! Then with a final “OK” signal underwater we both took off out to the reef to find homes for each and every creature and within minutes we had them moved into their new homes. As we got back to the surface the dock or platform was gone and we ended up having to exit the rough water on the rocks, an adventure in itself! After this adventure I felt very sea-sick the rest of the day after being under that dock for an hour being tossed around like a piece of driftwood, it really wore me out. That evening I felt worse and Saturday wasn’t much better but I did take the dogs to Saint Joris just the same. Today we (me and the dogs) went back again to the North coast as the driftwood just continues to float in which is great for my inventory! Aimee left the house at 5:00am this morning to go to her triathlon race which started at 7:00, and yes she did great! I went and picked her up from the race at 2:00pm as she had no way to get back home and was trying to call me for the past few hours, I really hate cell phones sometimes! So that’s our weekend in a nutshell, we just got back from the movies and saw “Bad Teacher” it’s not bad, guessing it won’t win any awards!
 
Here’s a priceless newborn baby dolphin calf that I photographed years ago, so many years in fact that I can’t even remember what mother this was, so many baby dolphins so little time!!
 
Off to bed after a long day, have a great Monday, Barry

SEARCH

Archives

Search Categories

Copyright © 2009 Barry B. Brown in partnership with Wild Horizons Publishing, Inc.

Coral Reef Photos is proudly powered by WordPress and designed by oneredkey
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

This website will keep you posted on Barry and Aimee’s daily adventures through on-going and
archived blogs with samples of Barry's work.
 
To license Barry's images, please visit the Wild Horizons' picture library. There you can browse through our stock image library, quickly determine licensing fees for on-line downloads, and order inexpensive photo art prints on-line.