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 March, 2012
Mar 30, 12 Comments Off on Tire Coral, Trash on the Reef, Tires on the Coral Reef
Good morning, here is a site so common on the reefs in Curacao that it has it’s own name, it’s called “Tire Coral”! I was trying hard to think of a dive site that I have been to here that DID NOT have at least one outcrop of “Tire Coral” but couldn’t think of any, crazy huh?? The wild thing is like the photo here, how did they get so far out into the sea and onto the reefs?? Our guess is that they must have been dumped by boats because tires do no float. This one here was found a long ways off shore at 85 feet on the North coast, and on this dive site they were all over. The good side is they now provide a surface for corals, encrusting sponges and real sponges not to mention a great hiding spot for so many different animals that’s why when we see them we just leave them. It is pretty sad though that trash and pollution are such a big part of our lives and it’s just overlooked and ignored and really for us it’s so common that they really don’t even seem out of place any more. The other good side is that all the “Tire Coral” in Curacao is old, I haven’t seen a new tire dumped since I have been here and if I did I would remove it, so at least this practice seems to be coming to an end. Other items we see often are bottles but again they are now homes for dozens of little fish and crabs and I so hate to remove them unless they are brand new. This tire here will eventually be completely covered by the reef but it will take a long time as sponges and corals grow at such a slow rate every year.
Yesterday was a quiet day at the Substation but today we are filled up. I went with Racer-X last night on a very fast hour and a half ride thru the wilds of Curacao, we both came home very tired! Since we only have about an hour to train on week days in the evenings are rides are more like races and we end up going as hard and as fast as one can go for an hour, tough but so fun!
That’s about it, have a wonderful day and find something nice to do for your fellow earthlings, we are all in this race together!
Mar 28, 12 Comments Off on Lionfish, Harmful Reef Fish, Poisonous Reef Fish
Hi friends, here’s a fun photo I took today at 82 feet! This is a big Lionfish with his mouth open wide either yawning or threatening me to get out of his face! I left for a dive at around 11:00 equipped with my trusty 28-70 lens and already knew that these Lionfish were down there, the question was, will they be in a position for me to photograph them?? Usually when you find Lionfish they turn their backs to you as a kind of defense and their heads are always in the wrong position. This one here was no exception as he was clinging to the side of a big coral head pointing his head straight down! So I first set the camera to the needed settings, 160/F14 and then ever so slowly moved in trying so hard to not scare him. As I laid there staring up at him all focused and ready to go he opened his big mouth as you see here as if to say, “take your dumb photo and get outta here”!! You honestly would never catch this yawn in time if you weren’t ready and focused, experience has taught me that every fish yawns if you have the patience to wait! For me today it wasn’t a case of cold water or having enough patience it was the depth, I was only able to stay down here for around 20 minutes max and then picture or no picture I had to go!! There are so may Lionfish now at the 100 foot level, in fact there were four in this group, all the others were under him on the sand. Many divers in Curacao are now hunting these and selling them to restaurants, you can find them now on all the menus. I believe there is a Lionfish competition at Santa Cruz next weekend, I may go just to get photos of how many they bring up.
My dive was short today because of the depth but I did find the cutest little baby octopus sticking his head and part of his body out of a hole in the sand, may send that tomorrow.
Have a wonderful evening or a great day!! See you all soon, Barry
Mar 28, 12 Comments Off on Scrawled Filefish, Colorful Reef Fish, Odd Shaped Fish
Good morning Amigo’s, how are you all this morning?? All is well down here, our little island of Curacao is finally starting to dry out after months of rain. The other morning while standing along side the coast Aimee and I noticed that the island is really getting dry, the beautiful lush-green jungle colors have now disappeared and many of the flowers are gone, this could be a sign of a hot summer ahead. Many areas like our salt ponds are still flooded and in most places you still can not get around them, we used to have trails everywhere but we haven’t been on those for a year and a half now.
We have had a lot of break-ins in our gated community lately, our car alone has been robbed 4 times now in three months and that’s in our own driveway! So to combat this they started cementing broken beer bottles to the top of our 8 feet tall perimeter walls, I will for sure get some photos as it’s something you have to see! Some poor fool is in for a big surprise when he comes to jump the wall again in the middle of the night to rob this place, just follow the trail of blood! Putting glass shards or in this case broken beer bottles on top of walls is very common here, it’s a very cheap way to keep the riff-raff out.
Here is another beautiful Scrawled Filefish I found at dusk heading for a place to hide for the night. These fish like so many others will do some kind of evening mating ritual at dusk and then head for safety, like hide in a gorgonian or in a cave for the evening. Usually after mating the pairs will split up but not always, I see many of the Butterflyfish species together during the night, maybe they feel there is safety in numbers??
Off to the sea, have a wonderful day all, Barry
Mar 27, 12 Comments Off on Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao, Tropical Birds
Good morning readers, I have a Rufo photo for you all today and this was by multiple request. Our beautiful Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao named Rufo has been a big part of our lives for the past 8 years! He is owned by George Kieffer who is the acting manager/head dolphin trainer of the Dolphin Academy. Rufo spends his days in the big trees out behind the Dolphin Academy right where we have all the guests sit and put on their fins before they do a dolphin swim so everyone gets to see him. He is by far the most photographed animal on the premises and will gladly say “HELLO” if you ask otherwise he will pretty much just sit there and watch as the excitement unfolds around him. Aimee and a few other trainers bring food from home almost everyday to feed him, he loves banana’s, papaya’s, rice, noodles, eggs, cheese, bread and on and on, I must say he gets fed very well! When he is not eating our food he hunts for food and loves eating all the different seed pods on all the surrounding trees especially the dates on the date palms. During big rainstorms he loves to just sit out in the wide open on some branch and jumps up and down doing the rain dance with his wings open, it’s one of the funniest things we have seen here!! So the next time you visit the Sea Aquarium ask if Rufo is around and go say Hello to him, you may be surprised what comes out of his mouth!
I spent all day yesterday photographing the dolphins as a request from some of the trainers and my dear wife, will send you one of those photos when I can.
It’s off to work we go, see you soon, Barry
Mar 26, 12 Comments Off on Dolphin Training, Dolphin Trainers, Dolphin Photos
Good morning all, it’s 5:30 in the morning and I’m wiped out after a fast and fun weekend! Yesterday I left the house with my bike on the car and drove to a place called Vaersenbaai and started my ride there. My plan was to replace a Geocache called “Ocean View” that had been reported broken at Porto Marie and I had all the needed materials with me to replace it and get the job done. I thought the ride would take at least an hour but to my surprise I was at the church at Porto Marie in 18 minutes! The reason for the insane time was because of a very hard blowing tail wind and it was all down hill, I stayed in my big ring the whole way. I rode down to the gates at Porto Marie and of course they were locked, they didn’t open till 9:30 so I found an easy way around and kindly let myself in. Once at Porto Marie (the beach area) I rode my bike as far as I could up the Western trail and then had to stop, the trail is just made for hiking and even has a set of stairs that would scare most walkers. So since I thought ahead, I set the bike next to a tree and removed my cycling shoes which I tied to my handlebars then put on some flip-flops that I brought and then started pushing the bike up the trail towards the Geocache which is of course hidden at the top. The hardest part was getting my bike up and down those crazy steps that go straight up the side of the cliff, my momma would not have approved. “Why not just leave the bike on the trail you ask” good question, I had thought about it but it was too big of a risk, there are thieves everywhere waiting to steal from you here in Curacao and many live in the bush. Once above the steps I was able to ride the bike for much of the way so it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I found the Gouache and removed it’s contents putting all the travel-bugs and logs into the new container I had brought and then spent at least 20 minutes re-hiding it. The ride back was much more difficult, now I had a direct head wind and found myself working to keep any kind of a pace in my middle ring. This is a nice ride as you pass right by all the flamingos which live in the salt ponds below the Porto Marie church, so that alone was worth the ride. About half way thru the journey once you get near the town of Daniel there is a rough dirt rode that takes you all the way back to Vaersenbaai via the Bullenbaai route, it’s a fairly rough rode in spots but anything is better than being out on the rode in the wind, at least there was a bit of protection on this trail. It ended up being a wonderful ride which only took two hours. Later in the afternoon Stijn came over and we took the hound dogs for a two hour walk at the beach, yes, more exercise! Him and I both were feeling very tired as he had also had a race that morning and of course won, so needless to say we both went to bed early last night!
Here is an old photo of beautiful Zenzi doing a “Lay Back” or “Belly Up” behavior with two of our dolphins. This is one of my personal favorites to watch because those dolphins will just gently pull her along without a care in the World! This is a pretty easy behavior to train. The dolphin is first taught to roll over belly up with a hand signal, then they go in the water and ask for the same signal, pairing it with the trainers physically laying back on their bellies as well. Very quickly the dolphins can recognize the body signal as the cue for them to mimic. Fun and easy!
Running late already and I even got up early, I am not a fast typer! Have a great day all, Barry
Mar 24, 12 Comments Off on Dragonet, Callionymidae, Draconettidae, New Fish
Hi friends, it’s the weekend!!! I’m picking my buddy Stijn up at 7:30 and we are heading to Saint Joris to walk the dogs and do some trail cleaning. A few weeks ago I had a crazy crash on a trail we have over there because it’s so loose and filled with sand and gravel, so this morning we are finally going to do some needed trail maintenance.
We are still having weird weather here in Curacao, cloudy skies, scattered rain storms and now no wind! The diving has been terrible to say the least because of no current and rain, this seems to always be a bad time of the year for me doing photography underwater. Yesterday at 3:00 I could hardly see the sub at 30 feet. It was like a cloud of looming silt all around but thankfully for the passengers once they get below 100 feet it is very clear.
Here is a fun face shot of the super rare, deep-water Dragonet that was found a few months back with the new mini-sub. The below link is an older blog that talks about this fish so please if you have time go to the below post to read more, this really is an incredible find!!
Have a wonderful weekend, Barry
Mar 23, 12 Comments Off on Cara-Cara, Caribbean Birds of Prey, Wara-Wara’s
Good morning readers, I have a big, angry, “chicken looking bird” for you all this morning called a Cara-Cara that we see just about everywhere in Curacao. These birds are magnificent hunters feeding mostly on lizards, iguanas and rabbits but are known to eat just about anything especially fresh road kill. Although this bird is sitting on top of a telephone pole we normally see them more walking alongside the road, I think they prefer “on foot hunting” compared to diving from the air. These birds have migrated here from South America which is only about 35 nautical miles as “the bird flies”, no pun intended and now call this island of Curacao their home. The locals call them Wara-Wara’s and they think I have completely lost my mind when I point to one and say “hey look, a Cara Cara”!! They make the strangest noise I have ever heard from a bird and is very difficult to put into words, almost like a clicking noise. Aimee and I have learned to recognize all the different bird calls on the island which makes finding these guys and others a lot easier. These birds are about the size of a Red-Tailed Hawk in America and like them have massive sharp claws and a razor sharp beak.
I spent all day yesterday rebuilding an underwater camera housing from Dolphin Academy, not an easy task when it’s covered in salt. I use a solution of vinegar and water (half and half) and place the corroded parts in that for a few hours, that usually does the trick. This also works great for any of your regulator parts as well, it will shine them up like new, just make sure to fully rinse the vinegar off after it’s bath.
Stijn and I took Aimee on a fun bike ride on the road last night, we rode to Punda first, then across the floating bridge and ending up at the World Trade Center, she had a great time and now wants to do this every week!
Off to the sea for both of us!! See you again soon, Barry
Mar 22, 12 Comments Off on Knobby Sea Rod, Eunicea spp, Gorgonians, Octocorals
Good morning all, it’s time to wake up and get this party started. We had a very busy day at Substation yesterday and for once I didn’t get home till 6:00. We had two passengers yesterday both in wheel-chairs, one blind and the other handicapped and we got them both in the sub! For the blind man it was all about the “experience in sounds” and afterwards he said it was one of the greatest things he has ever done. Joining the two handicapped guys was my friend Bart who described everything in detail that they were seeing to his friend that was blind, combine that with the pilot talking to support hundreds of feet above their heads and the sound of the motors it makes for a pretty cool experience. We have taken quite a few handicapped folks down in the sub over the course of a year, if we can’t lift them in with pure muscle we have a harness that we attach and lower them in with a crane, if you want to go, we can get you inside! For me taking pictures underwater of them proved to be the biggest challenge but it was mission accomplished in the end and the photos proved to be a big hit. Our second dive we had one lady that rushed here from a cruise ship that docked at 2:00 in the afternoon. She was from America and was joined by another lady who works for one of our local magazines, they were both a lot of fun and again had the time of their lives. Substation is now rated the #1 Best Attraction in Curacao all thanks to our customers leaving great comments on Trip Advisor, it may be a tad expensive at $650 a ride but really how many folks can say they have been in a sub that went to 1000 feet?? Here is the website again if your wanting to join the fun, www.substation-curacao.com
Here is a beautiful “open for business” Knobby Sea Rod, Eunicea spp with the polyps extended. These are beautiful Gorgonians or Octocorals that cover the reef and look like swaying underwater trees!! They can be found growing between 30-160 feet and in some spots in Curacao there are areas that look like underwater forests and with every passing wave they sway back and forth!! If disturbed these single little flowers you see called polyps will quickly retract inside the branches and it will then look like a yellow stick. Each single little polyp you see is capable of grabbing food that passes by and acts as a water filter of sorts which in turn feeds the whole animal, so cool!!
It’s off to work, have a wonderful day, Barry
Mar 21, 12 Comments Off on Night Sea Fluorescence, Blue Light Photos, Black Light
Blue Light and PhotoShop
Blue Light and White Light-15 second exposure
Good morning friends, how are you all doing today?? I am once again half awake and sitting in an upright position at 5:00 in the morning trying hard to produce something that makes sense.
So yesterday we did something new, we photographed a deep water Scorpionfish with a Blue Light which caused parts of the fish to fluoresce, like the eye and the background. We recently were introduced to this new found way of seeing things literally as they say “in a different light” by a man named Charlie Mazel who owns a company called “Night Sea”, here is the link; www.nightsea.com We used a tripod for this photo and did a 15 second exposure in the dark with only the blue-light and a small white light to help bring out some of the fishes normal body color and the purple color was thanks to a trick in photo shop. Fluorescence is the name for the absorption of light at one wavelength and its re-emission at another wavelength. What that boils down to is that some things will glow when you shine the right light on them. The ‘right light’ can be different for different targets. We are most used to seeing fluorescence produced by ultraviolet light, often called ‘black light’ because we humans can’t see it. At Night Sea they mostly deal with specially filtered blue lights, because the blue has proved to be better at making most things underwater fluoresce.
Just about everyone who has dove at night has seen little flashing lights in the water. Usually this comes from single-celled organisms, called dinoflagellates, but there are a number of marine critters that can make their own glow. They produce light by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, the same way that fireflies light up. Most emit light when physically disturbed, and the motion of your body through the water can set them off. Bioluminescence and fluorescence are both forms of luminescence. A big difference between them is that for fluorescence you have to stimulate the glow by shining a light on the subject, while for bioluminescence everything needed to glow is already contained in the organism.
This New Scorpionfish was recently found at around 600 feet with the new Curasub, the Sea Aquariums latest two million dollar attraction.
Stijn and I did a very fast paced bike ride last night and I am still yawning from that one! Will be underwater a lot today, be well and I will see you back here tomorrow, Barry
Mar 20, 12 Comments Off on Sea Slugs, Apricot Sidegill Slug, Berthellina engeli
Good morning from Curacao. The wind has finally stopped! Sunday was the first day in a long time that we had calm seas and no wind, it was great! The weekend was busy as usual, Saturday I first took the dogs for an hour and a half walk then took off on a 42 mile, four hour mountain bike ride along our windy North coast! I finally found the time to catch up on some needed training and had a great time in the process minus the crazy blowing wind. On Sunday I did a dive helping to move some endangered Elkhorn corals at a site where a big hotel is soon to be built, talk about a big, crazy project. After that I got the dogs and camera equipment ready and waited for Aimee to get off work, we then all went to Saint Joris Bay for a fun evening walk and finally got some photos of the new puppy. The downside to our evening was finding a rare endangered Hawksbill turtle that the locals caught and killed, it’s like we say here; “if it moves they will eat it”!!
Here is a cool Caribbean creature, it’s called an Apricot Sidegill Slug, Berthellina engeli. Aimee found this while moving rocks out of one of the dolphin pools and like a good girl brought it directly to yours truly so it could be photographed. What we do is just put them in a container in a cool dark area while I run a get my gear ready. I then get a smaller cup with holes in it and carefully place our new found creatures in there and then it’s off we go out onto the reef for a photo shoot. After every photo session I then find a nice new area for them to call home somewhere on the reef and let them go and I never leave till I know they are safe. This slug here was around two inches in length and usually spend their days hiding under reef rubble, especially flat slabs of coral. When disturbed they may secrete sulphuric acid in defense.
It’s time to make the coffee, hope all is well out there, be back soon. Barry
Mar 19, 12 Comments Off on Street Dogs, Island Dogs, Foster Dog, Puppies
Good morning everyone! If this face doesn’t make you smile, nothing will, meet our new puppy Lola. She is our current foster dog. We all went for a nice long sunset walk along the water on the North coast yesterday evening and Barry got this shot of what we call “Happy Dog”. This is her story. At a local work-dock area where boats are hauled in and worked on, this little one showed up months ago. The worker guys were kind of taking care of her, feeding and such. But, she was kind of everyone’s dog, yet no one’s dog. Barry and I met her several months ago. She immediately ran up to us and into our laps and Barry had a hard time pulling me away from her. I could not believe she was a street dog. No street dog is ever this friendly to people or this healthy. It was the most unusual thing. And, we are pretty experienced street dog people. I asked the guys if anyone owned, her and they said no, and then asked if she was vaccinated or sterilized and they said no. I also noticed some skin problems, and if you remember our last foster dog “Joy”, the dogs here often get a type of skin disease called Mites, or Scabies. If taken care of early it is not tough to treat, but if left to do it’s own thing it can be miserable and detrimental to the health of the dog.
So, I told the guys I would like to take her to the vet for vaccinations and a skin check-up. Well, I did that on my next day off and she did have mites and thus began a schedule of 3x a week I would drive over there and give her a bath to kill the mites. I would also play with her and began teaching her some simple manners/commands. Remember I am a trainer, and just cannot help myself. I did those baths for several weeks, then also took her in for vaccinations, but also returned her to the boat port. Boy, it was hard to leave her. Then I got her sterilization appointment set up. Well, I went there a couple of times and since she was getting older, I guess she was getting bolder. I could not find her! She was wandering farther and farther away. I was pretty sure she was going to get hit by one of the work trucks, get pregnant, or get picked up by someone else. So, after this happened several times, me not being able to find her, I decided I had better take her home myself. I also wanted her to get used to our dogs and our house before I had her there for her re-coup time from surgery. Well, you can guess the end of this story. After all this, there was not way I could take her back and drop her on the street. She was after all, really no one’s dog. And, if she got pregnant really no one would want her and we would me in a heap of more trouble. Most likely if she had a litter the guys would just put them in a bag and dump them in the sea. I was not going to let that happen to this super sweet dog.
So, home she went and stayed. Indi immediately fell in love, she is our “super-nanny” and loves to play with our foster puppies. Inca is, well, Inca. Inca would rather there be no one else in this world than her and Barry. She is now vaccinated, sterilized, micro-chipped and free of skin problems. I am training manners and she is great on a leash and for basic commands. She loves people and gets along well with other dogs. She runs like the wind and loves our time on the trails and is a super-duper swimmer. She is a true lover and would like you to just relax and pet her. She needs an owner that will exercise her a lot, but then she is great to come home and sleep on the cool floor for several hours. She is house trained and I have never had a problem with that, not even from the beginning. She is approximately 6 months old, and about 13 kilo. We did have a few people interested, but that fell through, so we are looking once again! She is truly awesome, can’t say enough about her. If you are interested, let us know. I think anyone not letting her be a part of the family is truly missing out on a great opportunity. She will bring a ton of laughter and joy to anyone life.
Off to work, see you soon, Aimee
Mar 17, 12 Comments Off on Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Big Birds
Good morning friends, I have a Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis for your viewing please today. This adult pelican is displaying his annual breeding plumage, outside the breeding season the neck is completely white. Young pelicans are brown all over with only a white belly making them very easy to identify. There are more than half a dozen species of pelicans, but all of them have the famous throat pouch for which the birds are best known. These large birds use their elastic pouches to catch fishâ€”though different species use it in different ways.
Many pelicans fish by swimming in cooperative groups. They may form a line or a “U” shape and drive fish into shallow water by beating their wings on the surface. When fish congregate in the shallows, the pelicans simply scoop them up. The brown pelican, on the other hand, dives on fish (usually a type of herring called menhaden) from above and snares them in its bill. Pelicans do not store fish in their pouch, but simply use it to catch them and then tip it back to drain out water and swallow the fish immediately. The American white pelican can hold some 3 gallons (11 1/2 liters) of water in its bill. Young pelicans feed by sticking their bills into their parents’ throats to retrieve food.
Did you know that Pelicans have been around for about 40 million years, the earliest form of a pelican was found fossilized in France. Also, Male pelicans are know to pitch in to help incubate the eggs, much like a penguin does. There are various legends in various cultures that would have the pelican either nourishing or resurrecting her young with her own blood. The pelican is the state bird of Louisiana. Pelicans may have been worshipped in ancient Peru; they are depicted in a lot of Peruvian art.
I am off to walk the dogs, go riding, diving and beach combing, have a wonderful weekend! Happy saint Patrick’s Day! Barry
Mar 16, 12 Comments Off on Peacock Flounder, Bothus lunatus, Masters of Disguise
Good morning friends, how are you all this fine Friday morning?? I am up early again, yawning and half asleep wondering where my week has gone! I was in the water twice yesterday with the sub, first group was a nice family of four from the States and the second was two guys each from different countries. On the second dive we were joined by Bart, “the Ring Blowing Master” and he put on a show for all of us underwater including the sub that was parked right in front of us at 40 feet. I did get a few photos and will send you one soon so you can see what I mean, it really was pretty cool.
Here is a very hidden Peacock Flounder, Bothus lunatus that I found laying on the sand under the Substation platform the other day. These flounders are masters of disguise and won’t move unless they know for sure they have been spotted. Like other fish and creatures they rely on camouflage and have the unique ability to change their own colors to match almost any surrounding, it’s truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! The two black arrows are pointing to the two eyes that protrude from his head on top of his sleek, flat body and he again has the unique ability to turn those eyes in almost any position!
It’s looking like rain, need to go close all the windows, have a wonderful day all! Barry
Mar 15, 12 Comments Off on Scrawled Filefish, Aluterus scriptus, Monacanthidae
Good morning friends, here is one super cool fish that resides right on the Substation reef and I get to see him and his lovely mate each and every day. These are called Scrawled Filefish, Aluterus scriptus and can grow to be one meter or three feet in length! Most people confuse these fish for triggerfish but they are indeed filefish. Triggerfishes, Balistidae, can lock their stout front dorsal fins erect with a ridged second spine, which with it’s interconnected web of tissue, resembles a “trigger”. Filefishes, Monacanthidae on the other hand cannot lock their elongate spine into place. When raised the spine resembles a woodworker’s rattail file. These fish are fairly uncommon and very special, you are lucky if you see one on any given dive that’s why I feel so lucky to have a mated pair living right on our house reef. And speaking of our “house reef” a few were asking me the other day about the big school of Bogas and if they are still around and the answer is YES! I love my Bogas, I need to get a t-shirt made that says that, they are just so much fun to swim with and I know after all this time they are getting to know me as the whole school comes to greet me each time I swim out on the reef now, you can call me “Dances with Fish”!
That’s about it, did a photo shoot yesterday for Scuba Diving magazine for their May issue of “Ask an Expert”, be watching for it because Aimee will be one of the divers in the photo.
Have a wonderful day all, Barry
Mar 14, 12 Comments Off on Pederson Cleaner Shrimp or Periclimenes pedersoni
Here is a beautiful Pederson Cleaner Shrimp or Periclimenes pedersoni I found the other day sitting on top of a Corkscrew Anemone, Bartholomea annulata. These shrimps are easily identified with their transparent bodies and their legs, tail and backs covered in beautiful bright purple and black spots. They also have two of the longest white, hair-like antennae I have ever seen, so long in fact I can never get them in the photo. These cleaning shrimps are known for perching on the tentacles of anemones and swaying their bodies and waving their antennae to attract fish. Then once spotted a fish will either hover above the shrimp or rest on the sand and let the shrimp come to them and within seconds the cleaning begins! I have noticed from my years of watching this that if a fish is really in need of cleaning treatment it always lays on the sand with it’s mouth open but if it just needs a simple quick look-over then they always hover with the engine running, it’s so cool to watch. For you divers if you slowly lay your hand down in front of them or extend a finger and just wait a few seconds they will come over and start cleaning your hand, they love digging around your nails and it feels so strange.
I had a busy day yesterday, two dives followed by a super fast mountain bike with Stijn. I was actually not going to go riding as I did not hear from Stijn all day but then he showed up ready to go so 15 minutes later we were out getting crazy in the wilds of Curacao. About ten minutes into the ride we had to stop and seek shelter under a big rock as a little rain storm passed over which ended up making the rocks very slippery. We continued on at a slower pace until the rocks dried out and then turned on the gas a bit more.
That’s about it, I am doing a photo shoot for one of the dive magazines this afternoon with Aimee and Jonny as my models, will let you know how that goes.
A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of our best buds in South Dakota, Dan Schneider!!!! Have a great day, Barry