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 September, 2011
Sep 30, 11 Comments Off on Dolphin Tale Movie, Dolphin Trainers in Curacao
Good morning everyone and welcome to the Dolphin Academy, “dolphin training team”! Yes, here we are in all our wetsuit glory at the local movie theater for the premier of the new movie “Dolphin Tale”! This movie is about the true story of Winter, a young bottlenose dolphin that stranded in Florida, and was rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter needs to have her tale amputated due to the extent of her injury and this is the story of the people surrounding her, and her incredible will to survive.
Well, in combination with the Curacao Movies, the Southern Caribbean Cetacean Network (SCCN) and Dolphin Academy, we had a special educational promotion and movie premier in which the trainers came dressed in their “uniform”, our director and veterinarian were available for questions and also shown was the movie from our rescue of Sully the pilot whale, who stranded here in Curacao several years ago and was rescued, rehabilitated and eventually found a new permanent home at Sea World of San Diego. For fun and interesting videos of Sully you can just look up on You-Tube, Sully the pilot whale. There are great videos and even interviews by George and me. After having lived through that experience, many of us trainers and the volunteers could look at this wonderful movie with a different point of view. I definitely recommend taking your friends and family to see this movie, it is a great representation of the time, effort and love that we as trainers put into our animal friends each and every day. One of my colleagues even told me after the movie “wow, I look at this film and think about how lucky these people were to be involved with working with these wonderful animals every day, and this is just what we get to do”! Our job working with dolphins is something we all try to recognize and appreciate each and every day.
So, to answer a question most of you probably have, yes we did get to change before the movie started!
Have a wonderful Day!! Aimee (purple whistle)
Sep 29, 11 Comments Off on Sint Willibrordus Roman Catholic Church Curacao
Good morning friends, here is one of the hundreds of beautiful churches that can be found on Curacao but this one is my personal favorite. It’s in an area called Willibrordus and is completely surrounded by fun stuff to see and do. About a half mile down the road to the East is a big salt water pond that is usually filled with flamingo’s and every other kind of bird you can imagine, it’s a photographers and bird watchers paradise. To the West about two miles down a crazy-narrow, two-way road lies the beautiful beach of Porto Mari which is by far the most visited natural beach in Curacao. There is also a locals beach called Daaibooi which is located directly in front of the church about two miles “as the crow flies” and even a resort called Coral Estates very near that on top of a very high mesa. Sint Willibrordus Roman Catholic church was built between 1884 and 1888 in the Neo-Gothic architectural style common for churches built in that period. The design being an input of architect E.K.Margrij, it was constructed by the builder-priest V.Jansen. It was common for priests to be engaged in building activities in those days. The church was the second to be built on the site. The first one was erected in 1849 by the community. Under the inspiring leadership of Monsignor Niewindt, bishop and missionary, who worked from 1824 until 1860 on the island, small parishes were set up throughout the island with a small school and a church. These structures quite often were not more than shelters. Sint Willibrord village was among the first parishes to be founded by the Roman Catholic mission. The church was renovated with the support of the Curacao Monuments Foundation in 1999 and 2011. As you can see here they just finished renovations and it’s newly painted. We have driven by here many times over the course of the year and it’s been surrounded in scaffolding and construction. For any of you wanting photos of this beauty get out there now as this paint will fade very quickly and slowly turn to a shade of white.
Many of you wrote and said you saw us underwater yesterday, that is so cool!! I should be out there again at 12:15 today, that’s 9:15 for my mom in Tucson, Arizona!! Hint, hint!!
Love to all, thanks for the support, Barry
Sep 28, 11 Comments Off on Caribbean Flamingo’s, Chogogo, Caribische Flamingo
Good morning Amigo’s, it’s time to wake up, get your coffee and get moving, daylight is burning! I have a Caribbean Flamingo shot for you all today that was taken last week with our friends Sal and Patty near Porto Mari. I had requested that Sal stop the car if there were flamingos present, which there were but turns out there were only a few. Patty and I quietly walked as close as we could towards them but it seemed like every step we took they took three away from us, so once again I am in need of a bigger lens! Every time I see these birds it really puts in perspective where we are living and how lucky we are to be able to see such sights on a daily basis. The local people of Curacao call these birds Chogogo and in Dutch it’s Caribische Flamingo. Our Curacao Flamingo’s are actually a deeper reddish orange version of the African Greater flamingo. Baby flamingo’s are born as grey chicks and have grey and brown plumage with only traces of pink. The beta-carotene in their diets which comes mostly from algae and shrimps gives their feathers that famous pink or orange color. They eat by dipping their beak upside down into mud and water and then filtering out the mud and water until just the food is left. Flamingos and pigeons feed their young a milk-like substance that is formed in their digestive tract. Flamingos have good hearing but basically no sense of smell and like other birds can’t taste things very well. When flying as a flock, flamingos will fly at up to 37 mph (60 km) and they’ve been witnessed traveling over 300 miles (500 km) a night. Flamingos may group together by the thousands. In Africa, more than a million lesser flamingos (a species of flamingo â€“ not a â€œlesserâ€ animal) will group together in one place! This is the biggest flock of birds anywhere. For centuries Bonaire has been the principal breeding site for the Flamingo population in this area which is currently estimated at around 20,000 birds, that’s pretty incredible!
Well friends, it’s off to the sea for me, I will be out in front of the underwater video camera with the sub at 12:15, so please tune in and watch, here is the link again. www.seesubmarine.com
Have a wonderful day!! Barry
Sep 27, 11 Comments Off on Fudeka, Carnival in Curacao, Curacao Events
Good morning, I keep getting requests for more Carnival photos so here is another. Like I said before, I took so many photos of this event that I could easily send one a day for the next two years! Most groups as you see here are sponsored by one big company or country that provides the necessary funds needed to make these elaborate costumes and or fly them all to Curacao, as you can imagine this can be very expensive! The group will start off in one part of town and dance and sing to loud music for the next six to eight hours in the blazing sun and do this for many days in a row in hopes of winning the grand prize. For me to even be able to get the photos I did, I had to go register with “Fudeka” http://www.curacaocarnival.info/eng/index.php parade committee at a cost of around $100. They take your photo and give you a press card to wear which in turn gives you access to the restricted areas like right in the middle of the parade! My method was to just weave right thru the middle of this mess and it worked great! A camera stops everything here, they all love to be photographed and only a few times was I stopped by security and asked for my pass, again the things we do for a photo.
Stijn and I did go to Saint Joris last night with the dogs and got in two hours of trail maintenance. I had found a new trail weeks ago that was un-rideable because of all the thorn bushes growing into the trail so last night we started cutting but only got a short ways, it’s going to take awhile. Also I am starting a savings fund for our friend DJ at Saint Joris who has been the person responsible for many years keeping that place as clean as possible. He recently started a foundation for kids that will have mountain bikes, kite surfing and sailing so we really want to that succeed and will be asking for donations over the next month.
I better get to work, hope all is well out there, Barry
Sep 26, 11 Comments Off on Trupial Painting at Boca Tabla in Curacao, Local Birds
Good morning readers, I for once had a fairly uneventful weekend and managed to get a tad bit more rest than usual. Saturday I went into work and dove with the sub at 11:00 and got home at 1:00. Then I took Sal and Patty for a two hour beach combing session and by the time we got home the day was almost gone. I did stick to my promise and took the dogs for a two hour walk to Saint Joris at 4:30, it was for once a bit overcast so we ended up getting a real long walk in on a new trail. On Sunday, yesterday I first guided our two wonderful house guests back to the airport as they had to be on a plane to Bonaire at 10:30. They will now stay there for a week of serious diving with friends and be back to Curacao on Friday. Once home my buddy Stijn came over and we both went for a dive in search of the new Pipefish that Patty found this week but it was no where to be found, or at least I didn’t see it!! The dive was very quiet, we really didn’t see much that needed to be photographed and on our way back Stijn’s mask broke. At one point he had it off underwater trying to fix the strap but in the end just put it back on his face and had to hold it in place, that’s hard to do! It rained here off and on the whole weekend, this is the first year I can remember our island being green all year! The rest of my day was filled with beach combing and working on the computer. That’s kind of my weekend, what did you guys do??
This is one of the many new freshly painted creatures that now lives on the side of the new “Welcome Snack” at Boca Tabla, the artist is amazing! This is by far the most popular bird on the island, the colorful Trupial but is so often confused with the Yellow Oriole that looks almost identical from a distance.
Running behind already, have a wonderful day, Barry
Sep 23, 11 Comments Off on Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter, Big Lips
Good evening friends, meet Mr. Big Lips or Mr. Smooth Trunkfish if you will that we found today on our fun reef dive in front of the Sea Aquarium. This was a big adult Lactophrys triqueter that was as calm and friendly as they get!! When I first spotted him he was hunting for Christmas Tree worms to eat! Yes, they eat them but they have to be quick! This guy here would slowly sneak up on the worms while they were still open and then attack them without warning! Most of the times the Christmas Tree worm is faster but regardless he would then cover the opening of the worm hole with his mouth and proceed to suck that baby out of it’s hole with those big o’l lips! I do have a photo of him covering the Christmas Tree worm and sucking but not sure if he ever got anything out?? So for those of you out there ever wondering what eats Christmas Tree worms, here’s your answer! After I finished taking around a hundred photos, which he didn’t seem to mind, I motioned for Sal to come over with his camera and try his luck and in the end we both got some fun pictures. Our dear Patty, Sal’s wife ended up discovering the “find of the year”!! She found a Harlequin Pipefish hidden deep down inside the reef! There was no way to get a good photo but cool just the same and we all took turns watching in disbelief as it crawled around and hunted for food. I have never seen one of these before, the face looks just like a little Seahorse! You can bet I will be going back ASAP to try and find him again.
After work I did a very fast bike ride with Super Stijn but found myself still a bit tired from my ride Thursday morning, I usually need two days between rides to recoup!
Hope all is well out there, Patty just made us a dinner to die for, it was fantastic! Off to bed, Barry
Sep 22, 11 Comments Off on Boca Tabla, Curacao Attractions, Shete Boka
Good evening readers, we thought we would send you a photo of our “combined effort art work” that we all made the other day while at Boca Tabla. We arrived here at around noon and it was HOT to say the least, so HOT in fact that we each took turns gathering stones and then one by one we would dash over to a near by tidal pool and jump in to cool off! The letters are about eight feet tall just to give you an idea of the size and once finished it stood out like a sore thumb from high above for all to see and photograph! Ok, yes I agree it’s not perfect but it’s the best we could do considering the sweltering heat! Boca Tabla is a “MUST DO” if your visiting Curacao especially if your into photographing nature or just want to see the wild side of the island. The fee to enter the park is only three guilders or about $1.50 and really is worth every cent if not more! There is a little shack or snack as we call them at the entrance and it is currently being custom painted by a local artist and seeing that alone is worth the trip!! It’s being covered in brightly colored animals like iguanas and trupials, boats, Christoffel mountain, fish, horses, donkeys and so much more, I will be sending some of those to you real soon, they are so fun! After our short trip here we drove to find lunch and cool drinks at a place called Playa Porto Mari. Once we got there I first took off by myself up the mountain on a little dirt trail and found my Geocache that I have hidden there. Since I knew we were coming here I brought a new container and log book as it’s been close to a year or more since I was last here. After doing that I ran down the hill and met the gang who were already seated and within minutes, lunch was served!! We ended up getting home at around 4:00 and of course the dogs were waiting for their dinner! It was a fun day, I always love doing the West end trip as there is just so much to see and do especially if you have your camera!
I met my buddy this morning for a super fast, super fun bike ride thru the wilds of Curacao! Other than loosing control on a corner and hitting a big tree head-on, it was great!! And yes, I am covered in reminders of that tree but heck, it was worth it, we both had a blast!
Sep 21, 11 Comments Off on Spawning Starlet Corals, Stony Corals Spawning
Good evening friends, as promised here are two photos of the same colony of Massive Starlet Coral releasing sperm and tiny eggs into the water. The top photo was just seconds after it started and the bottom one is the cloud of sperm that covers the reef on this one special night!! This is called; Broadcast Spawning. It’s were one species of coral like these Starlets release their eggs and sperm at one time into the water column and with luck will cross-fertilize somewhere out in the liquid darkness. With this coral the eggs are super tiny, unlike the Star Coral I sent out yesterday, therefore they have less chance of being eaten and a better chance of becoming baby corals. On our swim back last night we saw these corals spawning almost everywhere we looked and soon the whole reef had this “cloudy look” to it and at times we couldn’t see where we were going!
Today we first took the dogs to Saint Joris for an hour walk then went with Sal and Patty in their rental car for a fun afternoon tour of the West end of the island. I ended up taking a bunch of fun photos so be on the lookout for those later this week.
Sorry so short, I am very tired and I need to get my bike ready for ride with the fastest rider on the island tomorrow morning, I am giving him a tour of our trails! See ya, Barry
Sep 21, 11 Comments Off on Boulder Star Coral Spawning, Montastraea annularis
Good morning friends, I am back! Sorry about the “no blog” yesterday, I just didn’t have time! Aimee and I are about as tired as a human can be after two nights of very late diving and not getting home till the wee hours of the morning. Monday night was absolutely crazy! We arrived at the launch area at 9:15 just as two big dive boats showed up with no less than 20 people each all equipped with lights wanting to see the coral spawning. This immediately changed our plans! We quickly got ready and jumped into the ocean at around 9:20 and swam in the darkness on top of the water until we had passed the boats and everyone involved, we wanted to be left alone to our own area of reef. Our plan ended up working perfectly and at 10:09 we saw our first star corals spawning. After seeing that we continued the search for even better spawning and hit the jackpot and at 10:12 they went off along with everything else. This was by far the “weakest” spawning we have ever witnessed here in Curacao, and I am guessing it’s due to last years terrible coral bleaching episode! Here you can see Boulder Star Coral, Montastraea annularis releasing it’s “eggs” or bundles in hopes of re-populating the reef and keeping it’s species alive! Once the eggs are released as you see here it’s an automatic buffet of floating food for so many species of fish and creatures, it’s a wonder any of these eggs ever make it back to the reef to become new corals of their own! We did get a few shots of the ultra shy brittle stars grabbing eggs as they were being released but for the most part it was a lost cause. After this was over we quickly swam in search of other corals spawning and came across the Massive Starlet Corals, Siderastrea siderea starting to spawn at 10:45 as well. This turned out to be one of the best photos of the evening! These corals were shooting out large amounts of sperm and within moments the corals looked like they were “smoking” or on “fire”, it was so cool! We hovered in disbelief and watched these corals spawn literally until I couldn’t see them anymore, they became enveloped in a spermy fog!! I had such a hard time trying to focus on this event but with the help of Aimee shining a light on them it ended up helping a lot!! I will send you that photo out tonight, it’s to cool for words! There had to have been at least 60 people in the water with us but thanks to years of knowing this reef we never saw a one of them!! I also got a really cool photo of a very illusive Viper eel and some more fun octopus shots, those are on the way as well! Our plan once we got out was to go and shoot the bundles again but they just don’t stay together long enough! Look carefully at the photo below and you can see the bundles breaking apart just a split second after being released! I think this is the only photo I have ever taken that not only shows the bundles being released but also a bunch of the gametes as well, we didn’t realize they break apart so fast! We ended up exiting the water at 11:15 and the Starlet corals were still spawning when we left, it was such a great night!
Our company is doing great, they have been diving our “Sea Aquarium House Reef” every day and seem to be having a wonderful time!! The sub will not be diving today, it will be under Thursday, Friday and Saturday so we watching the www.seesubmarine.com link when you can! Aimee and I are taking our guests on an island tour today and yes, I am taking my camera gear so hopefully I can find something really fun for you all!
Have a great day, I have to get going!! Barry
Sep 19, 11 Comments Off on Coral Spawning, Star Coral Bundles/Gametes/Eggs
Good morning readers, I am waking up as tired as a person can be after one crazy, fast paced weekend, again!! Saturday night our friends Sal and Patty arrived safe and sound and once checking them into pick up their rental car and getting home it was Christmas in September!! Sal immediately started pulling out goodies he had bought for us and stuff I had ordered and had sent to him to bring, including more yummy Highlander Groog Coffee!! The next day Sal and Patty went with Aimee at 8:00 in the morning for a swim with the dolphins and I dressed up and took off on a fast two and a half hour bike ride around the North East tip of the island! I ended up getting home at a time when it was so hot and I was almost out of water, that will teach me to leave so late! My highlight of the ride was passing a large group of girls on their bikes, I went by them at Mach-10 and for all they know I was World Champion Bart Brentjens, hey it’s the little things in life that bring so much pleasure!! After that I took Sal and Patty to the Substation where they did a reef dive by them selves while I stayed inside preparing cameras for the busy night ahead. While Sal and Patty were diving I looked out and spotted Wild Dolphins in front of Royal Resorts and to my surprise a snorkeler was with them? Turns out Aimee had the best day of her whole life getting to swim and be with a pod of 50 Offshore Bottlenose for close to two hours! She said they were all around her and the closest one came within 6 feet!! When I saw this I bolted inside and grabbed a camera and rushed out to see them as well but by the time I got out and underwater they were gone or I scared them away with my scary camera?? Aimee exited the water with a permanent smile glued to her face and just ran up and gave me a big hug saying, “that was the coolest thing I ever experienced”!! I am so glad she got to do that!! I ended up doing two separate dives in search of the dolphins and I swam far offshore and far out to sea, I could hear them but never found them. After my dives I washed gear with Sal and Patty and we all went home for a nap, if I would not have taken an hour rest I never would have made it to coral spawning which started at 9:30.
So at 8:30 I met Aimee and our friend Eveline at Substation and we all worked hard at getting dive gear and cameras ready for the nights activities. We had to get all the gear from Substation to Sea Aquarium which required making a few trips with the cars and then pushing the rest of the stuff via carts to the entry exit area. We jumped in at 9:35 and off we went and almost immediately I found one colony of Star Coral that was already releasing it’s eggs but not worth shooting. At 10:12 we started seeing coral spawning almost everywhere and I mostly tried to get some close-ups of the eggs being pushed out but had a very hard time getting close enough because of the colonies being in such a hard area to get to. We looked and looked for brittle stars eating eggs but didn’t see a one and every fish I tried to shoot eating eggs just took off scared of the lights. I did get this fun shot of six bundles releasing gametes, The bundles are what everyone refers to as the “eggs”, they are the six big blobs in the photo. Inside each bundle are gametes, and as you can see there are lots of them and they are so tiny!! Each gamete contains a possible new coral colony, but most will never make it back to reef as they get eaten by just about everything but a few lucky ones will find a spot to settle on the reef and start growing.
I have to cut this short, I need to get to work! It is pouring outside right now most likely because I washed our car last night! Have a great week, more spawning photos tonight, Barry
Sep 16, 11 Comments Off on Curacao Carnival, Things to See in Curacao, Parades
I friends, by request, here is yet another photo from the Curacao carnival. This was one of the most beautiful woman I saw at carnival, in fact she is one of the most beautiful woman I have seen in Curacao as well! I said one, so calm down!!! This beauty and her group of folk dancers were all from Columbia and each lady had her own matching male partner. The whole way down the street the gentlemen spun their ladies around like tops and danced like there was no tomorrow! Can you imagine wearing this outfit in 80-90 degree weather and dancing for five hours?? Folks, these guys are in fantastic shape!! I bet I watched this group for close to an hour and never once did they miss a beat, I finally left wondering “how is that possible”?? If you look behind this woman at the third lady behind her (kind of hard to see) it looks like her mother, and for all I know it was? I took photos of both ladies and if you see them side by side you would see what I mean. Many countries come here to compete as there is a good amount of prize money given away each year to best costumes and most entertaining group, I voted for them!!
I did two 120 foot dives today in search of Lionfish and to help with a project involving the mini-sub. Tomorrow, we will be doing two sub dives for sure so please tune into www.seesubmarine.com and check it out, remember there is a one hour lapse. We plan on being out there at 9:15 and 11:15 with the sub so tune in at around 10:15 and 12:15 Eastern time.
We just got word tonight that our friends from Black Hills Scuba will be coming to Curacao on the 23rd of December and spend Christmas and New Years with us!! We are super excited about that! Also our friends Sal and Patty will be here in 24 short hours as well and will spend a few weeks with us.
Doctor Tom came to Inca’s rescue again today, one of the puncture wounds was swollen and needed to be drained, so far she is doing great, thank God for friends!!
Dinner is ready, she you soon, Barry
Sep 16, 11 Comments Off on Caribbean Reef Octopus, Octopus Suction Cups, Curacao
Good morning friends, here is my pet octopus of sorts that I have living right under our sub dock. This is a nocturnal Caribbean Reef Octopus and he spends each and every day just watching me and all the other creatures swim or crawl by from the protection of his ultra cool hiding spot in the rocks. He uses his suction cups on the bottom of his arms to hold rocks, shells and even a chunk of beach glass! He uses those attached items to protect his face and body from predators. If anything approaches he will quickly lower his head and body down into his hole while still holding onto the items with his arms creating a solid rock barrier against unwanted company, it’s really very cool. Almost every morning I can see what he had for dinner the night before. He usually eats crabs, conchs and all different kinds of mollusks that live in shells, he eats them, I in turn collect the shells! The only way this guy will come out of that hole during the day is if he spots food, like a conch passing by, they will risk their own safety for food. Before each sub dive I usually just lay on the bottom inches in front of him and slowly put my finger out for him to feel and each time he grabs it with his suction cups. You can’t even imagine how powerful just one of those suction cups are, sometimes I have to pull pretty hard to get my finger back.
I was off most of the day yesterday but had to go into work to take photos of a sub-dive. While out there I went to check on the baby seahorse but he was gone. I will keep looking but as small as he is he will be hard to find. I did take the dogs and my camera gear to Saint Joris yesterday morning but because of the heat we came back home within an hour. Aimee had spotted seven Cara-Cara’s the day before and said I should take my camera, I never saw one yesterday I guess that’s how it goes!! We spent the day cleaning our messy house and getting it ready for our guests that arrive this Saturday at 6:30pm. I have coral spawning Saturday, Sunday and Monday, so I will be very tired those days as I won’t get home till the wee hours of the morning!
We have a sub dive today at either 9:15 or 11:15, that means it will be live at 10:15 or 12:15 Eastern Time. Off to work, hope all is well out there, Barry
Sep 15, 11 Comments Off on Carnival in Curacao, Kids Carnival, Childrens Carnival
Good morning friends, since we received so many replies from yesterdays photos I am sending you another. If the truth were told I could send you a photo a day for the next two years at least from just this event, that’s how many pictures I took and most are completely different. Just to give you an idea of how many participants there are, I stood in the same spot for four to five hours and never did see the end of the parade!!? Yeah, you folks need to come and see this yourself! What I didn’t know and found out this week is that Aimee has never once been to Carnival here in Curacao! It usually consumes the whole month of February, we call it “the none stop party” as they even have parades that go into the night, something I have never been to. Aimee is usually really busy with the dolphins in February or it’s so busy at work because of all the tourists coming to Curacao to see Carnival that she has never got to go, yet!
We have two more sub rides on E-Bay right now for those of you that missed the others. If your wanting to take this trip these online tickets will for sure save you a great deal of money!! Also, I moved the underwater camera to a new home and found out yesterday that there is a one hour delay in seeing the live image. So, if I say I will be out there at 11:15, it will be aired at 12:15 and look like it is live at that moment instead. I got tons of mails yesterday from friends watching me photograph the sub at noon (or 11:00), that was a lot of fun! I won’t be under there today but you can still tune in and see the reef. here are the E-Bay links;
Last week I built this custom made “chum bucket” to hold food for the live fish. Each morning I usually take a bag of frozen food out of the freezer and take it out to the ocean before the sub dives, the fish and the sub passengers absolutely love it! Well yesterday I pulled my “chum bucket” up out of the water and just set it there while I went to get my frozen bag of chum, I was gone around 2-3 minutes. When I returned there was a baby, black seahorse laying on the dock next to the chum bucket, he must have been attached to it and I never even saw him!! I quickly picked him up and put him back in the water and for many minutes I thought he was a gonner and was really starting to panic! Then like magic his little tail moved and he was upright, I had him swimming in my cupped hands. I grabbed a big bucket that was next to me, filled it with water and put him in and went to find something he could hold onto with his tail. I then put a lid on the bucket and lowered it back into the water and ran to get my diving gear. My goal was to take him back out to the reef and find a new home for him, a task that proved to be harder than originally thought. He is so small that it had to just the right area with lots of protection from the current and a spot over the sand as they love eating tiny mice shrimps that live there. So after around 15 minutes of searching and carrying him around in a little see-thru cup with holes in it, I finally found a good spot at 60 feet. I opened the lid and out he swam just as cute as can be and went immediately to a dead stick where he spent the whole day, I know because I went back three times to check on him! I even caught a bunch of little microscopic shrimps in the shallows and took them down there and released them alive around him, so far so good, I will keep you posted and try to get a photo.
I am off today with Aimee, we will spend the whole day getting the house ready for our company that arrives Saturday night. Be back soon, Barry
Sep 13, 11 Comments Off on Curacao Children’s Carnival, Karnival, Kids Carnival
Good evening readers, I was going thru past Carnival photos today and found this “cute group of kids photo” from the “Children’s Carnival” last year and thought you all might enjoy reading a bit about this Curacao tradition. Everywhere in the world that carnivals have taken root, they have become unique events unto themselves, and the premier cultural and party festival within a given region. At first the wealthy plantation owners, traders and business people of the Caribbean region held fancy balls, following the example of the high society in their motherlands. They would dress up stately, wearing wigs and put on masks and their slaves and their descendants would hold their own little carnivals in their backyards using their own rituals, costumes and folklore. At times the slaves would imitate their master’s behavior with masks and wigs but always discreetly and behind closed doors as making fun of one’s master was not permitted. As they got more freedom of self expression the working class took their celebration to the streets. With the years their form of celebrating carnival became more elaborate and soon more popular than the balls held in closed societies. In Curacao, a very unique development of Carnival began to arise from the Dutch colonists, they had their own characteristic way of celebrating carnival. Besides the Dutch, the immigrants of Asiatic lands had their unique customs, the Creole middle class in the city held private balls within their social societies and the people from the Eastern Caribbean islands, which had immigrated to the island to work in the oil refinery, brought with them their form of Carnival parties and street parades. So after the mid 20th century all these influences started to merge together and melt down into one huge national cultural expression on the island that now features people from almost fifty different nationalities. With the insertion of “Tumba” (the island’s typical music form) as the official music form to be promoted and played and the media coverage of almost every important event, Carnival without a doubt became the biggest and most important cultural manifestation of Curacao.
Today, Curacao’s Carnival is a celebration in a class of its own. It more or less takes full possession of the whole community through competitions (Tumba music and Calypso festivals), beauty pageants, private and public parties and street parades during the first weeks of the year climaxing on the weekend and Tuesday preceding the Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). Here on Curacao there is an adult carnival and a children’s carnival, both involve great costumes and loud music so bring ear plugs if you go!! From what I was told it takes one full year to get these costumes ready and they never wear the same thing twice?? Many costumes are taken apart after the carnival and parts are used for a new design. Most large companies in town will sponsor a group as the cost of the costumes is so high but volunteers are still used to sew them all together, can you imagine the work??
Off to bed, be back tomorrow, Barry
Sep 13, 11 Comments Off on Things to do in Curacao, Curacao Caves, Hiking
Good morning friends, here is another shot I took of our friend Christina when she was here on the rough, North coast of Curacao. Many of you know this spot or have been here with me, it’s the overlook on the top of the hidden bat caves. And I call them hidden because most folks drive right past them and you can’t see the entrance to the cave from the road. This is a place that is fairly easy to get to and once you walk up a winding trail and enter the cave you can then follow another trail that takes you thru the cave and pops you out onto the top of a flat mesa. Once up here you can only go to the edge of the cliff as there is only one little trail, the rest is all thorns, rock and cactus. The view from up here is really amazing!! Here can look straight out to the rough North coast and watch as the big waves smash into the rocks or sit and just listen to all the different birds around you especially the wild parakeets which are very abundant here. This is one of the areas we ride our bikes a lot even though there really is no single-track trails other than the course I built way off to the right of this photo. There is a trail/rough road all along the edge of the coast that is super fun to walk or bike and puts you very close to the incoming waves. When you walk there it’s hard to hear the person next to you and you must constantly clean your glasses from the non-stop spray of salt, it would be a great place to do a sound clip.
Off to the water, yesterday the sea was rough and the visibility was terrible, lets hope it’s better today! Have a great day, Barry