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 October, 2011

Oct 30, 11     Comments Off on Wendy Beekhuizen the Evil Queen, Happy Halloween

Good evening friends, I have a cute Halloween “Evil Queen” for you all tonight. This is Wendy, our new Substation Intern who is here from Holland and this is her fun/sexy outfit she wore to lasts nights Halloween party at Mambo Beach. We met last night before she went out and took some pictures of her at the old 1700’s castle at Caracas Bay, it seemed to fit her costume perfectly. Wendy is 20 years old, single and is a fabulous artist! Back in Holland she draws peoples faces for some extra cash and let me tell you her drawings are great, here is her website www.wendybeekhuizen.nl  She is currently working in Adobe Illustrator designing all kinds of Substation flyers and banners and so far all her creative collages have been a big hit! One of my favorite things about Wendy is her dark hair and freckles, most of the Dutch girls around here are blond with blue eyes and all look the same so she is a nice change of scenery. So guys don’t ever say I never sent you any sexy photos!!
 
Have a safe and fun Halloween, later, Barry
Oct 29, 11     Comments Off on Orange Cup Coral, Tubastraea coccinea, Flower Corals

Good morning, I apologize for yesterday and those of you who tuned in to see me and the sub underwater, we were there but not at the correct given times. I ended up being underwater three times yesterday, first at 9:35, then at 11:30 and again at around 4:00, we will try again next week.
 
Here is a single polyp of Orange Cup Coral, one of the hands down most beautiful corals we have on the island. Orange Cup Corals are believed to be the only species of stony coral introduced to the Western Atlantic. The species was first recorded in 1943 from Puerto Rico and Curacao. Interestingly some specimens collected in the Netherlands Antilles between 1948-1950 came from a ships hull. Since that period the species abundance at these localities has been increasing. During the day this coral is very plain and just looks like an orange bumpy mass but at night the show the begins! The beautiful polyps open once the sun goes down and generally feed most of the night on passing planktons and seem to be more active on nights with current and murky water.
 
I was really hoping to get the dogs out on a nice long Saturday morning walk but it started pouring here at around 4:00 in the morning and I think it is still going. I have a model shoot today with our cute intern Wendy, she wanted photos of herself in her Halloween costume which she will be wearing tonight to some big island party, so of course I said yes!
 
That’s about it, have a wonderful weekend! Barry
Oct 28, 11     Comments Off on Carnival in the Caribbean, Curacao Carnival, Costumes

Good morning friends, it’s Friday!! I will be underwater at 9:15 and 11:15 today with the sub, so if your near a computer that means it will be live at 10:15 and 12:15, give or take 15 minutes each way. The link again is www.seesubmarine.com I had an e-mail yesterday saying that someone saw me down there yesterday cleaning the camera and yes that was me. If we don’t scrub that camera weekly it becomes covered in algae, moss and little spots of calcium carbonate and once they form they are very hard to remove. I also noticed yesterday it was now home to dozens of small hermit crabs, they were climbing all over it and didn’t appreciate me moving them.
 
Here is another fun photo from the ever colorful Curacao Carnival which happens here every year in February. If I am not mistaken this “Lion King” group was the winner of the 2009 Carnival with their incredibly elaborate costumes and fun dances. I was talking to a friend here last week who knew a friend who had been working on costumes for the 2012 Carnival for a solid year now. It’s easy to see why this is hands down the biggest event that happens here in the course of the year and folks come from all over to see it.
 
I did another fast paced hour and a half ride with Stijn last night and ended up getting home in the dark. We started out here at the Aquarium and took off to Koral Tabak and rode the trails at Saint Joris and then back home via the trails at Jan Theil, that was about a 20 mile loop. From the Aquarium to Koral Tabak we tried to ride alongside the road the whole way in the dirt, thus adding a bit more of a workout and it proved to be much safer with all the 5:00 traffic. There is a race on Saturday I am going to try and do it with Stijn but not sure if I have time to register for it as we are so busy at work today.
 
I better get moving, have a great day and thanks for all the support, Barry
Oct 27, 11     Comments Off on The Pelikaan, Dutch Navy Ship the Pelikaan, Curacao

Good morning friends, we had quite the adventure yesterday and I am sure the whole Substation crew feels like I do today, wiped out! The adventure started at 8:30 in the morning yesterday with a big flat bed truck arriving with a big crane attached to it. The plan was to load the sub on the truck and drive it to the “Pelikaan” (Navy cargo ship) but moments after the truck arrived he told us the port authorities forbid any vehicle over a certain weight from driving onto the pier where the ship was docked because of the age of the pier. So plan “B”. We then had the crane just pick up the sub and drop it in the water and from there we towed the sub on top of the water with our Boston Whaler all the way to Caracas Bay, this took about an hour. Once there we unhooked our sub and the Dutch Navy took over and picked the sub up and out of the water with their giant onboard crane as you see here. Once the sub was on deck we all boarded the Navy ship called the Pelikaan and got treated to a real live Navy experience! There was so much activity happening onboard that it was hard to stay out of the way but with camera in hand I managed to squirrel myself into all kinds of positions and spent the next hour photographing the sub on deck. During this hour I ran into and met some of the nicest Navy guys who were just as excited as we were and could hardly wait to see the sub in action. As per expected the crew and the ship was in tip-top shape!! The guys I saw looked like they could have wrestled a lion and won, they were all in unbelievable shape and are the kind of people we all need fighting for our countries. At 12:15 the sub was again lowered into the water and the first Navy Seal operation was underway. The sub went down to 90 feet and parked in front of some airplane wreckage that had been placed there to simulate a real crash. The Navy then sent down it’s team and the sub and the seals worked side by side and I believe they even simulated finding the “black box” and picking it up with sub. I did jump into the water and watched the first exercise but was warned by a certain Dutch diving magazine to stay out of the way as this was their shoot, so sorry no photos from me underwater folks. I then surfaced and spent the rest of the time in our boat taking photos topside joined by Aimee at 12:30. I took this photo you see here at around 2:00 after the first set of exercises were over, they went in again at around 2:30 and did a whole new underwater recovery scenario.
 
The Pelikaan was built and designed especially for the Caribbean seas, it functions as a support ship for the Royal Netherlands Navy in the area. The ship is permanently moored off the Rima-pier at the naval base Parera at Curacao. She came in service June 12, 2006. The vessel has a Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Classification 1A1 E0 NAUT-OC ICS CRANE. The basic tasks of the ship are assistance during calamities (hurricane), command center (landing operations of marines) and transport of troops and equipment. For these tasks the ship is equipped with;
  • Deck crane SWL 25t/11m or 7t/14m
  • 2 Cargo spaces with hatch cover suitable for dangerous goods
  • 6m Fast RIB with outboard engine
  • Ammunition store, small arms store, deck store & boatswain store
  • Engine room workshop & electronic workshop

On 18 January 2010, the ship arrived at Port-au-Prince with relief supplies for the 2010 Haiti earthquake relief. She was the first ship to use the Port international de Port-au-Prince after the quake.

I better get moving, I am doing a walk with Aimee and the dogs this morning, have a great day!! Barry

 
Oct 26, 11     Comments Off on Coelopleurus (Keraiophorus) maillardi, Sea Urchins

Good morning friends, here is another beautiful little sea urchin skeleton from the Philippines called Coelopleurus (Keraiophorus) maillardi. If you look at the one I sent you a few days ago and compare it with this one you will see they are very different, one of the many reasons I am so fascinated by them. Sea urchins are sea creatures that live in oceans all over the world.  Similar to sea stars, sea urchins have a water vascular system. Their spherical shape is typically small, ranging from about 3 cm to 10 cm in diameter, and their bodies are covered with a spiny shell. The skeleton of a sea urchin is also known as the test. The shells within the test of these creatures are made up of packed, fitted plates which protect them from being damaged.  As for the spines outlining their shell, these are movable and help the sea urchin to camouflage or protect itself from predators. Sea urchins can vary greatly in color.  Some of the most frequently seen colors are black, red, brown, purple and light pink.  On the bottom side of a sea urchin there are five teeth that these organisms use to ingest algae and break down other foods they consume to survive. These five teeth continually grow throughout the sea urchin’s life.  On the outside of their body, they also have hundreds of transparent tubes that emerge which allow them to stick to the bottom of the ocean or to move at a very slow pace.  These unusual tubes are called “tube feet.”  Their tube feet are much longer than the spines outlining their shells and they are also used by the sea urchin to trap food and in respiration.   

We have a fun day ahead planned for the sub. At around 8:00 it will be picked up by a big truck and taken to the pier at Caracas Bay where it will then be lifted by a giant crane and put onboard the Dutch Navy Ship the Pelikan. The plan is for the Navy Seals to practice with it out in the water all day and yes I will be there as well to hopefully get some cool photos underwater of the Seals and the sub together. I believe any locals are welcome to drive on out and watch from shore, we will be there all day. I am going to try and get photos from high above where the ship is docked this morning but not sure yet if I will have time to shoot land and underwater at the same time.
 
I did a fast hour and a half sprint again last night with Stijn who continues to get faster every day. He has been doing many long 50 mile rides this year that are helping him to become one of the islands fastest riders, I can see if I want to continue to race with him next year I will have to step my training up as well. The World famous Amstel Race is fast approaching, it’s less than two weeks away and I will be there with camera in hand.
 
The new November/December Sport Diver magazine should be out, I have at least 10 photos in there so please go find it and help show your support. Have a great day, I have a lot to do this morning, Barry
Oct 25, 11     Comments Off on Gulf War Veterans Diving with Dolphins, Dolphins

Good morning everyone, Aimee here. I always enjoy writing if it is some of our dolphins for the daily photo! This is one from about a week ago when Barry and I did the dolphin dive with the American veterans. It was a beautiful dive with clear water and our little fellow Pasku and his auntie Annie. I love going on dives, especially with Pasku who is becoming quite the hunter. Right now you can see us over the coral reef, but we move onto a sand-flat area surrounded by gorgonians and large coral heads. There are tons of fish around this area and Pasku is always looking for his next victim. Usually he gets a small fish out of a gorgonian, but on this dive he did one of his funniest things ever. There were two large French angelfish hanging out around a boulder coral and he snuck up behind the coral and was trying to catch one. The angelfish of course ran to the other side of the coral, and then he tried to sneak up on the other one. He kept hiding behind this coral, first on one side, then on the other with the Frenchies trying to dash and hide. I was laughing so hard! He never did catch one, it was mostly just a game of hide-and-seek.  Just a bit later, they disappeared from sight and then a grey racing blur came by us. Well, it was our little guy Pasku again, this time hot on the trail of a 10 inch silver Jack fish. Wow, they were flying! He was only inches behind this fish, and they were like two fighter jets, one trying to loose the other, right-left, up and down. What an amazing thing to see! That is one of the reasons the dive is so great. The dolphins are very used to having humans around watching them, but they also display natural behaviors such as hunting.  The veterans enjoyed this dive so much, with lots of thumbs up and fists in the air. It is so nice to be a part of giving just a little back to people who have given us all so much. Thanks again!
 
Have a great day everyone. Aimee
Oct 23, 11     Comments Off on Deep Water Specimens, Deep Water Scorpionfish

Good evening friends, here is something super crazy for you tonight. This is another tiny, three quarters of an inch scorpionfish that was found at 400 feet with the new Substation mini-sub. As we were photographing him he attacked something in the sand and ate it or so we thought. Seconds after eating, he coughed up this tiny little crab and rather than running away the crab jumped onto the face of the scorpionfish and hooked it’s little claws under the lip of his mouth!! This is what we call, “your food fighting back”!!!! The little crab was like a cowboy riding a bull, talk about brave! The little scorpionfish tried and tried to get that thing off it’s face but nothing seemed to work so finally we had to help. We grabbed a little net and caught the scorpionfish and then used a pair of tweezers to gently pull the crab off, the scorpionfish then went back to his home and the crab was put in with others of his kind and both are now doing great!
 
We are having quite the stormy weekend!! It been off and on rain and the wind is still blowing from the wrong direction. The ocean is a complete stirred up mess as the waves are still coming in from the South West. Because of this backwards tidal movement all the beaches in Curacao are currently being washed away or re-arranged! The beach where we collect glass is almost unrecognizable, the big waves over the past 3 days have completely taken the sand away and either moved it down to a new area or pulled it out to sea. Storms like this are very hard on the corals in the shallows not to mention all the little things as well. Today on one beach I used a bucket to pick up live urchins and shells that had been tossed ashore last night but were still alive. I took them all to a safer area and dumped them back into the sea where they had a bit of protection from the waves.
 
During the break in the rain this morning, I took the dogs and we drove to Caracas Bay to place a new Geocache at the castle. I had just received a note saying the cache was broken and we needed to fix it. After placing the new container I took the dogs to the muddy desert for an hour walk which turned out to be a sweat-a-thon, man was it ever humid! After that walk I drove them back to the beach and we all went for a swim, that was pretty much my Sunday.
 
Have yourself a wonderful Monday, talk to you again soon, Barry
Oct 22, 11     Comments Off on Compsocidaris pyrsacantha, Sea Urchin Skeletons

Good morning friends, boy did we ever get a big storm yesterday and it’s still going! While at work yesterday the wind shifted or turned and created these big waves that were now coming in from the South West!! This only happens a few times a year and when it does it’s never good! Remember Omar, well that was the same thing! Because of the big swells, we had to quickly remove our giant floating sub dock with a large crane and get it out of the water immediately because the waves were so big in our little bay that it was breaking apart! Once the dock was lifted out of the water little fish and crabs starting falling off it onto the pavement and of course I was there to save them all! I ran around with a small bucket of sea water and picked up every living thing I could find and then took them all back to the ocean but in a calmer area without the waves. We ended up having heavy rains off and on all day and this morning the sky is black, there goes my day off!
 
Here is a new Sea Urchin skeleton I recently acquired called a Compsocidaris pyrsacantha. This photo took close to four hours to set up, I had forgotten how difficult they are to shoot but in the end it’s really worth it. This little beauty is less than an inch wide and all colors you see are natural. A big thanks to my aunt Shari who sent us a new piece of black velvet and some custom made velvet boxes, they were a big help and I have been waiting to use it just for this project. I still have 25 other urchins to shoot and they are all different so stay tuned for more.
 
I am going to try and get the dogs out for a walk before more rain comes, have a wonderful weekend! Barry
Oct 20, 11     Comments Off on Candy Basslet, Liopropoma carmabi, Sea Bass, Curacao

Good evening readers, here is one of the hands down most beautiful fish in the Caribbean and sadly no diver will ever get to see it!! This colorful beauty is called a Candy Basslet, Liopropoma carmabi and lives at around 225 feet!! This is considered a Sea Bass in the Serranidae family and only grows to be about two inches in length! As you can see, these mini sea bass are boldly marked with stripes generally in shades of light brown to red-brown or yellow-brown alternating with red to maroon but stripes may be occasionally yellow to lavender or even blue as you see here!! They typically inhabit deep coral reefs and rubble slopes and are very reclusive and will remain hidden inside recesses until danger passes.
 
This morning we woke to pouring rain and went outside and watched as a river quickly formed alongside the house. I watched as a little frog tried to jump from our back porch over the river but ended up landing right in the middle of it and got swept away but seconds later I saw him hop out to safety! After work I did a fast hour and a half road ride on the mountain bike as everything was still muddy, it was mostly boring but at least I got a ride in.
 
Not much else going on, be back tomorrow, Barry
Oct 19, 11     Comments Off on Queen Parrotfish, Scarus vetula, Parrotfish Teeth

Hey guys, here is another funny fish face for you all this evening. A friend saw this photo today and asked if I had discovered a new species of fish and I responded yes, it’s the rare “Bucktoothed Beaverfish”! But of course I’m just kidding, this is a large Queen Parrotfish, Scarus vetula but boy does it ever look like it belongs in the Beaver family! The parrotfish feeds on algae and coral from coral reefs, and is one of the main causes of sand production from coral reefs. Its teeth are fused together to form a beak-like edge to the jaws for scraping at the coral, and it also has large flat-topped grinding teeth at the back of its throat for crushing the coral and algal mixture. The indigestible sand is then excreted. When younger in their “initial phase” these fish are almost completely brown with a big fat white stripe down their side, only with age do they start turning these beautiful colors!
 
I spent the day photographing new fish species from the deep and as soon as I get some kind of a name to go with the fish I will send them out to you. Not much else going on, I hope all is well out there!
 
Off to bed, be back tomorrow, Barry
Oct 18, 11     Comments Off on Mating, Spawning, Creole Wrasse, Clepticus parrae

Good evening friends, here is a super cool photo I got just a few hours ago. This is a male and female Creole Wrasse, Clepticus parrae doing a beautiful courting ritual that was followed by actual spawning. I had gone out this evening at 5:00 to check on some possible brittle-stars mating but instead came upon this event and stayed for the whole show. Spawning occurs year-round in mid to late afternoon but, although frequent, does not happen every day. There seems to be no territory defense or streaking, but larger males regularly and aggressively displace smaller males attempting to solicit a mate. A population’s courtship, often lasting for hours, tends to occur in waves of ten to twenty fish that pair off at random locations within customary spawning areas. The show begins with males shadowing the smaller females from above, while the females cut and dive erratically in an attempt to lose their single-minded suitors. During these prolonged chases (as you see here) that can last for 15 minutes, the males intensify colors, extend their white mouth membranes into pronounced puckers and spread their dorsal and anal fins. These pairs are so preoccupied that they regularly rocket past divers without notice. Once in the throes of passion, males become so determined to spawn that they may attempt to mate with juveniles or even with other species as I saw tonight! (I watched in disbelief as one male tried hard to mate with a parrotfish, and I have the photos to prove it!) When finally ready to comply, the females swim to the bottom and slow their pace, allowing the males to position beneath them. With the backs of their heads, the males begin to push their partners towards the surface. At this point the females often have a change of heart and attempt to flee forcing the males to scramble wildly to maintain position. When errant females are pacified, the males press their snouts against the listing females, flared gill covers and, with rapidly beating tails, slowly push their mates upward for several feet before the females release their eggs. The males immediately move thru the cloud, releasing sperm before setting out to court new partners.
 
Coral spawning last night was a total bust for Aimee and I, we didn’t see anything! We did end up putting our cameras down on the sand last night at 10:30 and cleaned up hundreds of yards of thick fishing line and lures that was wrapped around all the coral, it was such a mess! The good news is after we got out one of the coral researchers saw a colony of grooved brain coral spawning and was nice enough to bring me some bundles to photograph. These bundles were much larger and easier to shoot then the smaller star coral ones we did last month, I will send you a new photo soon.
 
I am super tired, it’s off to bed, Barry
Oct 17, 11     Comments Off on Old Tree, Reflections, Curacao Backroads, Salt Pond

Good evening friends, it’s 8:00pm and we are just sitting here waiting to go diving tonight starting at 9:30. Tonight and tomorrow night is coral spawning and Aimee and I will be out there underwater until late. At approximately 10:15 tonight many of the mountainous and boulder star coral colonies will release eggs into the darkness but one never knows what else we will find on a night like this. I got two camera ready for this evening, a 105 macro and my trusty 28-70, Aimee will carry one and be next to me to trade back and forth throughout the evening. The ocean was dead calm today and very clear so I wonder if the corals will sense there is no movement and not spawn?? When the bundles are released they float to the surface where they are broken apart by waves and then mixed and fertilized by other eggs but if it’s calm, I think they will just be fish food? We will see, wish us luck!
 
Tonight’s photo was taken by Aimee down at the salt ponds which as you can see are still completely flooded! This is the first year I can remember that we didn’t get to ride the trails around the ponds as they are all still underwater. Way in the background of this photo are some tiny pink specks, those are the flamingos and there must be over 200 out there right now, they are loving this water!! The mud around this pond is so nasty, it stinks like bird poop and if you step in the wrong spot you will sink up to your knees in black disgusting mud!! I was thinking the other day, if I had an old pair of snow shoes, I could wear them to walk out thru the mud to get closer to the birds, it just might work? Any ways, nice photo from Aimee of the old dead tree and the reflection, that’s my girl!
 
Off to the sea, talk to you all tomorrow, Barry
Oct 16, 11     Comments Off on Diving with Royalty and Handicapped Veterans, Curacao

Good evening readers, what a weekend I had! When I got to work on Friday we were told that for the 11:00 sub dive we would have two VIP’s joining us. Over the years we have learned that if it’s hush-hush and the words VIP are used it could be anyone from the Queen herself to Tom Cruise. At 10:30 two cars pulled up and out walks Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, the Queens Sister and brother in law! How cool is that?? To make a really long story short, they had a fantastic sub-dive and I got some really fun shots of them underwater in the sub and they both left surrounded by security with smiles on their faces. The next day I met them both again for a private dolphin swim and was asked to take their photos, heck you don’t have to ask me twice! Again they had a great time and after getting their photos they again took off under a curtain of security and I thought that was that! Not so. I got a call Saturday evening saying that Pieter would like to join us for the dolphin dive we had planned for Sunday morning and of course I said great! This morning Pieter showed up right on time at 8:15 with his security detail and off we all went to the entry/exit area and got our gear ready for the dolphin dive with Tela and Pasku. Now this was no ordinary “open ocean dolphin dive”, today we were joined by ten handicapped veterans from the gulf war! They are here doing a week of diving and you will be seeing this footage soon on CBS, in fact Aimee shot the video today that you will see on television soon. So at around 9:00 Pieter and I along with his security and joined by Dutch and Aimee took off out to the reef to meet the veteran divers that arrived by boat and were already underwater. The photo below is of the veteran divers and Tela and Pasku swimming around trying hard to introduce themselves to all the divers. While this was going on our little group was over to the left of this photo just kind of observing from a distance, we really didn’t want to intrude on this very special dive. We stayed for around 10 minutes and then took off, I think Pieter did get to touch Pasku as he passed by but we were more there just to observe and then get out. We ended up swimming or diving all the way back to the substation underwater. It was a great dive and I was really impressed by how well Pieter did underwater, he was like a Master diver! I will have to ask permission to use one of his photos, I did get a really nice one of him as he posed above a sea fan for me. So in the end we all made it back to Substation and exited with “air to spare”, that’s always a good thing! Once out Pieter quickly rinsed his gear and with a big hug and a hand shake we said our final goodbyes! Honestly, what a nice guy, truly one of the finest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, a real ambassador to Holland!! I sure hope he comes back to Curacao soon, I think it’s safe to say that he left a very positive mark on everyone he met and he will be missed! At 2:00 I delivered all the photos I shot underwater and at 3:30 left on the bike for a long two and half hour bike ride, I was beat when I got home!
 
That’s my weekend, what is new in your World?? Off to bed, Barry
Oct 14, 11     Comments Off on French Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru, Colorful Fish

Good morning earthlings, it’s Friday!! Remember yesterday morning I wrote how beautiful the morning was and I thought I smelled rain, well at around 9:00 it poured!! Let me tell you that even shocked me because the sky was clear when I went to work, this storm came out of nowhere and we ended up getting a whole lot of rain in a very short amount of time! I did one dive with the sub at 11:15 yesterday and the water was super clear and the sea was very calm. Many times here during a hard rain the ocean becomes very still and afterwards looks like a giant lake, last night it was as calm as calm gets!
 
Stijn showed up at 5:00 last night for a bike ride and as we headed out to the trails we ran into a dog eating something in the grass in front of our house. When the dog looked up and saw us it took off in fear like most wild dogs do here and ran right out into traffic without looking! To our horror he was immediately run over by a little blue mini-van but somehow managed to quickly get up and run off??? Stijn and I just stared at each other asking if that really just happened?? The dog was completely run over and seemed to be unaffected after? We couldn’t find it anywhere, we are thinking it went into our little housing community but there was no sign of him anywhere. We told a group of local girls to help look as well but our knowledge it wasn’t found. Talk about weird, I sure hope he is alright or if he had a home I pray the owners look at him? I will keep looking.
 
Here is a big beautiful French Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru that lives out in front of the Substation, I see him and his or her mate almost every day. These fish can grow to be around 18 inches in length and can be found anywhere on the reef in 15-80 feet of water. Unlike the Queen Angelfish who are afraid of their own shadows these French Angels are as curious as they come! Most times if I am photographing something they will usually come over in a pair and slowly swim around me in circles, they are so beautiful!
 
I have two sub dives today one again at 12:15 and one at 4:15, have a great day, Barry
Oct 13, 11     Comments Off on Giant Anemone, Condylactis gigantea, Reef Scenes

Hi friends, we have a beautiful Caribbean Thursday morning brewing out the window right now! It’s early so the sun is still not up but the sky is clear and you can hear the wild parakeets squawking all over the neighborhood and for some reason there is the fresh smell of rain in the air? During the day yesterday we watched as the West part of the island received shower after shower but on this end or at least at the Aquarium we didn’t get anything!
 
At 11:00 yesterday Aimee’s calls and says she just got a call from a friend in Blue Bay that reported wild dolphins heading our way. And as expected they did pass in front of the Substation and Aquarium at around 12:30. I had thought ahead for once and got my dive gear and the camera ready and swam out and under to try and photograph them as they passed by. This turned out to be a complete failure although at one point I did hear them somewhere around me but I am sure they were saying, “I don’t know what that is but go around it”, yeah just my luck! I did hear after I got out that others were able to jump in off a following boat and swim with them? This is the fourth sighting of the same pod in just a week so it’s safe to say they will be back again today. I will be under with the sub at 12:15 today if any of you are near the computer. The address again is; www.seesubmarine.com
 
Here is a Giant Anemone, Condylactis gigantea that I found out on our reef and for once it was living in a spot that had a nice background. So many of these giant anemones live deep down in the reef and trying to shoot them can be very difficult but not the case with this one!! These anemones are home to so many different species of crabs and shrimps, it’s like a safe-haven out on the reef. These anemones have the unique ability to “retract” their arms if disturbed and can then hide their whole bodies inside the recesses of the reef until danger passes. If and when this happens the tiny shrimps that are inside the body will just swim out and wait in safety alongside the closed anemone and wait for it to re-open. We have also noticed over the years that these anemones will change colors depending on water temperature. In warm “coral bleaching” months they turn almost completely white and really look awful but when all is good they have this more yellowish color.
 
I have to get moving, Aimee is off and is taking the dogs for a fun walk, I need to get the camera ready for a sub-dive! Have a wonderful day, Barry

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