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 April, 2012

Apr 30, 12     Comments Off on Orangeclaw Hermit crab, Calcinus tibicen, Hermit Crabs

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine was very uneventful once again, I really didn’t do much as I still felt a bit sick this weekend, it’s like the cold that won’t go away!! Saturday morning Stijn met me and the dogs on the Calabash trail and we cleaned  for almost two and a half hours! I had a big push broom and Stijn did the cutting and by the time we left it was looking pretty darn good! After that adventure we were going to go diving but because of the big incoming waves driven by this high wind we are having that never happened. We then attempted to go sea-glass collecting but again conditions were poor and we gave it up! So in the end Stijn just went home because of nothing to do around the Brown household! Yesterday I loaded the bike onto the car and took the dogs for a long bike ride along the North coast. We got there at around 7:00 and by 9:00 it was HOT and time to go! I spent most of yesterday waging war on these small cockroaches that are currently invading our house! I had to pull out some of our driftwood furniture and power wash it outside to get them and their eggs off and then once dry I spayed the furniture with bug killer, it was super fun, NOT!! After hours of moving and cleaning driftwood i then cleaned the inside of the house, it was a great way to spent a Sunday! I am almost packed and ready to go, I leave for the States on Wednesday and will be back in a week but will continue to post the blog everyday while gone, so keep tuning in!

Today is one of the biggest holidays of the year for Holland and Curacao it’s called “Queens Day” and thanks to the Queen I have the day off! There will be non-stop celebrations here all day with all the folks from the Netherlands being dressed in orange or should i say covered in orange, they even paint their faces! I might go down to Punda later and check out the big swap-meet they are having I think we went a few years ago and it was pretty fun.

Here is a very cute little Orangeclaw Hermit crab, Calcinus tibicen for your viewing pleasure today. This crab is commonly confused with the Red Reef crab but the tiny white speckles on the large claws and the light yellow tips set him apart from his cousin. They guy here was in a very old discarded Queen Conch shell and once again proves that nothing goes to waste underwater.

I need to get these three dogs out for a walk then I will go do a dive with Alita the baby dolphin, have a wonderful day, see you tonight, Barry

Apr 27, 12     Comments Off on Mating Laughing Gulls, Larus articilla, Caribbean Sea Birds

Good morning from the Caribbean. I got to work yesterday just in time to see this little bird giving this bigger bird a piggy-back ride and they looked like they were having a great time, at least the bigger bird did!! Ok, I see I can’t fool you folks, yes these are two mating Laughing Gulls, Larus articilla and the only one laughing here is still the bird on top! They get their name from the cackling sound they make which is unlike any noise I have ever heard. Lately we have this very large school of small fish out in front of the Ocean Encounters dive shop in our small lagoon and it is attracting birds from everywhere lately! These are considered true seabirds and can be found just about anywhere on the island from the shores to the harbour. They feed mainly on fish but are known to eat just about anything including garbage. I read that these birds are known to breed in Bonaire but have never been documented breeding in Curacao, boy do I have a photo for them!!  

I did a morning dive yesterday on our Sea Aquarium House reef in search of the corals that were badly bleached a year ago. I have a whole set of laminated photos that I carry underwater so i can match the photo up exactly as it was a year ago, it’s amazing to see the before and afters. Many i could not find but did hit the jackpot with quite a few, I can see I won’t get that project done in one dive! Many of the corals that were badly bleached are now all dead while others fully recovered, the grooved brain corals took the biggest hit!

At 5:30 I finally got back on the o’l bike and went for a much needed and overdo ride. I have been sick with this stupid cold for close to two weeks and only have ridden twice, we normally ride three times a week with a long ride on the weekends!

That’s my note for the day, be safe out there, Barry

 

Apr 26, 12     Comments Off on Caribbean Flamingo’s, Flamingo Taking a Bath, Curacao

Hi guys, for the past week we have seen countless flocks of Caribbean Flamingo’s flying East either to Bonaire or to the Jan Thiel Salt-Ponds and unfortunately I never once had a camera with me. I think it was three days ago that a flock of about 150-200 passed out in front of the Sea Aquarium and flying at only about a meter above the waters surface! The group was so large and so loud that it made everyone stop what they were doing and gaze in awe at a sight that only a few will ever be lucky enough to see. I honestly had a hard time believing that these birds because of their size could fly very well but they proved me wrong. They fly in a formation just like wild geese, there is one leader and the rest follow creating a large “V” or in a straight line, it’s really unreal to see. I am guessing that the leader must trade off with others quite often as the others were all more or less drafting him, it would be very tiring at the front. We always see them flying directly into the wind as well, again it seems to tiring but maybe the wind keeps their large bodies afloat or hovering  in the air? For centuries Bonaire has been the principal breeding site for the flamingo population in the area which is currently estimated at around 20,000 birds. From what I understand the flamingos come from Venezuela and mainly pass Aruba and Curacao on their way to Bonaire but in the past few years a flock of 300 to 400 have started calling Curacao home and can be found here almost year around. This one here is enjoying some “me time” with a nice bath under the warm Caribbean sun without a care in the World!

I was again underwater with Alita the baby dolphin yesterday, that’s about as fun as it gets!! I started out the morning doing some photos above the water of her and her mother playing and will send those out to you as well.

Not much else going on, it’s really pretty quiet around her lately. I am off to the ocean, have a wonderful day, be back soon, Barry

Apr 25, 12     Comments Off on Green Iguana, Iguana iguana, Caribbean Reptiles

Good morning from a little place called Curacao. I am waking up fully beat after spending close to four hours underwater yesterday with Ritina and Alita, our new baby dolphin. On my first dive in the morning I was in with them for close to two hours just standing or sitting on the sand waiting for them to come to me, this works so much better than swimming around and trying to find them. The whole time I am down there Ritina is talking to the baby with these high pitched squeals and whistles and the baby is answering back with her own unique calls, it’s really unbelievable to listen to! I have the camera all ready to go with one flash as Ritina brings the baby over to check me out, they usually do a few circles around me and I get a few shots and then off they go and I wait for a few minutes before they return. While waiting I play with the giant Queen Conchs and find all kinds of new and exciting fish to photograph including a tiny little just born Lionfish. I ended up with some great photos yesterday but was forced to exit because my fingers were frozen solid so after warming up for a few hours i jumped in and did it again, talk about fun!

Here is a beautiful, cool looking Green Iguana for your viewing pleasure today that looks so much like a prehistoric dinosaur!! The Green Iguana can weigh up to 18 pounds (8 kg) and can reach a length of five to seven feet (1.5 to 2 m). This iguana has a long body covered with soft leathery scales, a long tail and short legs. Its hard, long tail is used as a weapon and for balance when climbing. It has a greenish-gray color and can change color slightly (but not nearly as well as some lizards, such as chameleons). Female and juvenile male iguanas are a much brighter green than an adult male. It has feet with five very long toes with sharp claws on the ends, used especially for climbing. The iguana has a row of spines that extend along its back from the base of its head all the way to the tip of its tail, descending in size from head to tail. It also has a dorsal crest at the base of its head and a dewlap underneath its chin. The iguana also has a row of sharp serrated teeth.

The Green Iguana is a social species; groups can be found basking and foraging together in trees. The male iguana is typically more aggressive and territorial than the female. They exhibit male-male aggression and a male may injure another iguana in attempts for the alpha position, the best basking perch, the biggest territory, or access to females. Young males who are not yet ready to challenge mature males for territories may hang out with dominant males but are always watchful for signs of aggression.

It’s back to the sea for me, my gills are drying out!! Bye, Barry

Apr 24, 12     Comments Off on Baby Dolphins, Dolphin Academy, Bottlenose Dolphins

Good morning everyone…dolphin day AGAIN! This is another one of our super cute little ones. Barry was in the water yesterday with our one year old’s and their mothers, this is little Kanoa, he is almost one and a half and the son of Renata. He also shares the pool with Bonnie and Nubia, who just turned one in April. This is the typical way we see these little ones, racing by and giving us a look backwards. Dolphins of course, have eyes on the side of their heads, and can almost see 360 degrees around them. You might recognize the name Kanoa. He got his name from a beach on the North coast that we often take the dogs to. And, Kanoa is typical of one year old baby dolphins. He is a bit scared, but very curious. So, he races by, but quickly comes back for another look at this man with the camera that he can see his reflection in. Barry and Kanoa had a blast during this photo shoot, and I am sure they will be doing more in the days to come. That’s great because we can see the fun photos afterwards! I believe he will be in the water once again today as it is quite clear these days and getting hot on land!

Barry here, good news on the puppy front, we found a home for our puppy Lola!! For those of that forgot we have had a puppy here at the house for quite a few months now well guess what, this lucky dog is going to America!! Yes, in just a few short weeks Aimee will take her all the way to Michigan and back, is that dedication or what?? Many of you remember our friend Emily who has been here over and over she will be her new Momma!! Cool huh!? I will keep you posted and send a new photo, she is now getting very well trained and is cute as can be!

Like Aimee mentioned I was in the water a lot yesterday, in fact close to four hours! I first did a sub dive and then off to the baby dolphin lagoons, what better way to spend the afternoon!

Here is something else fun for you all today, this is a short little video sent to me by a friend of a very rare Caribbean Two-Spot Octopus, Octopus filosus,  that was recently spotted in Bonaire, check it out!   http://www.youtube.com/user/lindascubastuff   I have never seen one of these in our waters but apparently they exist as we now have proof, talk about well camouflaged!!!

It’s off to swim with dolphins and play with the sub, have a wonderful day!!

Barry and Aimee

Apr 22, 12     Comments Off on Dolphin Academy, Baby Dolphin, Baby Bottlenose

So…who’s smiling now? You cannot see this photo and not smile and not fall in love with this amazing little creature. This photo is exactly Alita’s personality! She is so funny and curious and sassy, all rolled up into one beautiful little package. She is now 5 weeks old and is “her own little dolphin”. It is amazing how fast these little ones become coordinated and how they are always looking above, below and around momma, trying to catch a glimpse of their new world. I get in the water with them every day, to give Ritina some TLC and to make sure everyone looks good and healthy. It also gives Alita a chance to see me often and slowly get used to me. Actually, Alita is very curious about me, but Ritina is still a protective momma and keeps herself between the two of us. The bond between Ritina and I has definitely grown and I love her more everyday as I see her blossem into such a wonderful momma. And, every so often Alita gets very close to me, but I never over-reach my boundry, and that is what makes Ritina relax and let me spend more time up close with them. The idea is not to touch Alita, but to have her come and touch me. Day by day, it will happen. So, to get this photo, Barry set up the camera and in I went! I can’t tell you how much fun that was. The big dome is a bit reflextive and that really got the dolphins interested, so they kept passing by.  I did not even know this shot turned out so great, because she was right up in my face, but I was hopeful. So, either Barry has taught me well, or (as I sometimes think), even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while! Enjoy every! Fun times in Curacao.

We hope you all had a wonderful weekend, Aimee and Barry

Apr 20, 12     Comments Off on American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, Birds of Prey

Good morning from Curacao!! Yeah we know that’s a hard word to say, it sounds like, CUR-A-SOW and here on the island you hear it pronounced a hundred different ways.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to our friend Nancy Thompson today, we wish her a wonderful and fun filled day!!

Well, we got more rain again last night lucky us, it comes at a time when we needed it badly as everything was looking so dry. We are officially entering the dryer months now which is not my favorite time of the year here, I love all the blooming green stuff and it’s amazing just how fast it ALL disappears without moisture!

Yesterday I spent the day trying to get some new photos of baby Alita but it’s not as easy as it looks!! If the sun is not shining you can’t see the dolphins under the water at all so you really have no idea where they will surface. When the sun is out you can better follow them with your lens but guessing when and where they will surface for that one shot is still very difficult. I ended up standing out there for hours yesterday shooting around 6gb of film, thank goodness for it’s digital or I would never get a shot!

After work yesterday I met Stijn and a friend from Holland named Rolf in front of Lions Dive Hotel and off we went for an hour and a half of fast riding on my trails behind the Sea Aquarium. Rolf is a pro rider and has been here all week training and it was great to get to ride with him at least once.

Here is a popular bird in Curacao and we see them almost everywhere we go usually in pairs. This is called an American Kestrel, Falco sparverius and they are amazing hunters! The local Curacao residents call them Kini-Kini and in Dutch they are called Amerikaanse Torenvalk. The males have grey wings while the larger female has a more striped appearance. They eat lizards and small birds and occasionally insects but really nothing is safe with these guys around. Some of you will remember the photo I sent out years ago of a Kestrel eating a small Bananaquit thus their other famous name “the Sparrow Hawk”. This bird is found in great numbers here and in Aruba but strangely enough not in Bonaire??? Anyone who can come up with an answer for that please let me know.

Also, one last thing, if I post something with a wrong name or miss-identify something please let me know, I try hard to keep these blogs up to date and accurate, you can even call me on my spelling, I don’t mind!!

Have a wonderful day, especially you Nancy, till tomorrow, Barry

Apr 19, 12     Comments Off on Willems Toren Lighthouse, Bonaire Lighthouse’s History

Good morning friends, here is something a bit different for you all today and I’m sending it because many ask me about lighthouses that are here on the islands. This is called the Willems Toren Lighthouse (also known as Lacre Punt Light) which is located at the Southern tip of the island of Bonaire. It is south of the three sets of slave huts and the salt production facilities on the Southern part of the island. The lighthouse was established in 1837 and is well maintained. The nearby remains of the stone walled keepers house are not in as good condition and so far there are no plans to restore it. This photo was taken about three years ago and if you go there today you find it has been freshly painted and looks quite different. It’s just been announced that the first of the five, and probably Bonaire’s most famous lighthouse, Willemstoren (seen here), is totally renovated and in good working order. In a joint venture between the Public Body of Bonaire, which actually owns the historic landmarks and monuments, and the Rijkswaterstaat, four additional lighthouses or light beacons will be renovated and equipped with the latest in electro-technology. Improvements have also been made to ensure the safety of the personnel tasked with maintenance of the towers. The current schedule of work allows for the remaining four lighthouses–Spelonk, Wecua, Seru Bentana, and Klein Bonaire to be completed by August, 2012.

We had a rain storm beyond description here last night and we needed it! It started at around 6:30 and lasted a whole hour flooding everything! We opened the back door and watched as dozens of little frogs came poring out of what we call the “frog hole” located on our back porch, it was so cool!

That’s about it, have a wonderful day, I am off to the sea!!

 

Apr 17, 12     Comments Off on Green Iguana, Iguana iguana, Caribbean Reptiles

Good evening friends, this was the scene today on the beach next to the Substation and in front of Royal Resorts Hotel. The workers had just finished doing hours of raking and getting the sand on the beach all ready for the arriving guests when this big boy strolled in out of nowhere without a care in the World and wasn’t about to share the beach with anyone else!! This is a big Green Iguana, Iguana Iguana and is the number one most photographed and popular reptiles we have on the island. A fully grown male can reach two meters in length, that’s over six feet long folks! I only had a 16mm lens today so in order for me to get any shot with that lens I had to get close! I slowly bent down and moved in closer and he immediately lifted his head and started moving it up and down warning me to keep my distance. They will bite but it’s their tails you have to watch, they use those like a cowboy uses a whip, it’s unreal to see! After a I finished my photos he slowly walked down the beach and onto the rocks where I am sure he had a cave, he most likely spent the rest of the day laying in the sun and hunting for food. 

Not much going on today, we had another film crew at the Substation most of the day doing their thing, I just kept out of the way!!

See you again soon, Barry

Apr 17, 12     Comments Off on Snorkeling in Curacao, Swedish Models, Bikini Models

Good morning all, meet our friend Emma who was last here about a month ago and I am finally getting around to posting her photo! This lovely 18 year old hails all the way from the country of Sweden. Sweden is roughly the shape and size of California, but has about  9 million people, just about a quarter of the Golden State’s population. It is a land rich in nature, with ten’s of thousands of lakes, stony highlands and rich plains. Well, Emma, her sister and father travel to this warm little island a few times a year to enjoy the diving, the sun and the sea. We asked Emma a few things about herself.

Favorite hobbies
I love to dance. I’ve been dancing since I was one and a half, so that is something I do as often as I can. I have dance class five days every week, but I would do it even more if I had the time! I also love to hang out with my friends and family and just do anything.

Favorite foods
The best food in the world, must be my mom’s. She makes the best food ever! But other than that, I love Italian food, cooked in all its different ways! I also love to eat sushi, which I eat several days a week after school.

What you love about Curacao
What I really love most about the island, is that it feels like home to me. Since we’ve been coming there for seven years now, it feels like coming home. I know everything about the island ( at least a lot) and I know what I like to do there. I can do what I love most, and skip all the things you usually do as a tourist. But I also love the climate, and the nature which is a lot different from Sweden. It is so beautiful there!

Favorite things to do in Curacao
I love to just lay on the beach and swim. It’s the best thing to lay there in the sun and relax, that is something I never do at home! I also love to walk over to the Dolphin Academy and be with the dolphins. My big dream ever since I was a small kid has been to become a dolphin trainer, and it almost feels like it comes true when I am there. The dolphins are amazing and everyone there is so nice to me and my sister. Another thing I like is to be underwater, either snorkeling or diving. I love to see all the nice fish and corals. And at last, I also like to go in to town, and walk among all the cute, colorful houses!

Favorite dolphin trainers in Curacao
I think I like most of the trainers, especially George and Aimee and Junior.  They have been so nice to us, helping us all these years We have taken dolpin trainer classes at DA, and have learned a lot about the dolphins, the shows and what trainers really do.

What you want to do in the future
I actually don’t really know what I want to do in the future. All I know is that I want to travel before I continue my upper education. I need a break! And like I said before, I’ve always wanted to work as a dolphin trainer during this break, but I don’t really know for the moment. The dream is still there, but I’ve started to realize that it might be a dream for a reason…. That it is harder than you think to just start working as one! But what I want to study after my break of school, is still undecided.

Who your role models are and why
My role models are my family. But because I am a girl, it is mostly my mom and sister. My mom because she and I are so similar to each other. She helps me with so much, and she knows everything about me. She always understands me. It’s hard to explain in words, but she is the best, and we are very close.  She and the rest of my family made me who I am. My sister is also a role model to me because she has always been there for me. She is not only my sister, but also my best friend. Whenever I am sad she cheers me up and whenever I am happy she is happy for me. She is the best sister you could ever wish for and I love her with all my heart.

Other places you have visited and what you like about that
Other than Curacao I have been to different cities in Europe, such as Rome, Paris, Nice, Barcelona etc. I’ve also been to Canada and USA – New York. My favorite places are New York and the French Riviera though. New York is a city that has everything, according to me, and it was so fun to be there. The French Riviera is a place that I love because, like Curacao, we have been then for many years – and for some reasons I seem to like those places the most. We always go to the same places and beaches when we are there, and for me that is real vacation. When you can really relax!

Your favorite place in Sweden
This question was a hard one, but I think I will say Gothenburg. I like it because it is the second biggest city in Sweden, but is still feels quite small. It is also close to the ocean, which is the best in the summer when you want to go out on an island a warm day!

How many languages you speak
I speak Swedish fluently but I also speak English quite good and a little French. I’ve read it for 6 years, but it is really hard to speak.  

I have had countless requests for a photo of a bathing beauty in a bikini in fact, it could be one of my most requested photos! When Emma returns for the next trip we will be doing more photographs with her and her sister and hopefully next time underwater with the dolphins. 

Running late, have a wonderful day, Barry 
 

 
Apr 16, 12     Comments Off on Driftwood Tree, Driftwood Creations, Driftwood Projects

New Driftwood Divi-Divi Tree

Close-up showing the Fossil Corals and Stones.

View of the base, other side is the same.

Hummingbird Nest.

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine was weird again due to the fact that i was still a little sick and semi wounded from my last bicycle crash!! On Saturday morning i loaded the bike on the car and drove to the North coast with the dogs, I figured it would be easier to ride than walk with this dumb cut-up knee I am currently sporting. I think we got out there at around 7:15 and by 9:00 it was so blasted hot we had to go!! This was a big reminder that good o’l HOT summer is on the way and future dog walks will have to be done much earlier in the morning, it’s just too much for them! The rest of my Saturday was spent working on my driftwood tree and doing a bit of shopping, I tried hard to just stay home and get over this week long cold. Yesterday, Sunday it was raining when we woke up so I only took the girls for a very short walk near the house and then spent the morning finishing my tree which you can read about in more detail below.

This is my newest driftwood creation called the “Divi-Divi tree”. I have been working on this piece now for around two weeks and realized yesterday that I could just keep doing more so I finally told myself to just stop and call it good! I found all the wood on the shores of Saint Joris Bay ( in the background) or floating in the water and no, it was not found in one trip, this took months of walking to find all the right pieces. It measures close to a meter or three feet in length and two feet tall and weighs about 10 pounds. I designed it around the ever popular Divi-Divi trees which are found here on the ABC Islands. These popular trees are know for their wind-blown look and because the wind is always blowing so hard and always from the same direction the trees take on a unique look of their own. Although it’s hard to see in the photo there is an old hummingbird nest in the tree, we took the nest after the babies grew up and flew away and hummingbirds never use the same nest twice. Around the base I used smooth rocks, sea fans, pieces of polished fossil coral, sea-glass and rope to make the bushes, not to mention countless tiny pieces of driftwood to cover and hide the needed screw-holes. What am I going to do with it now?? That’s a good question! Aimee of course has claimed it but then said yesterday it should be on display somewhere so who knows, every-things for sale!

Well, it’s coffee time and then off to work, I won’t be able to dive still because of my dumb knee so another weird week at work ahead! Take care, I will see you soon, Barry

Apr 14, 12     Comments Off on Baby Dolphins, Dolphin Academy, Newborn Bottlenose

Good morning everyone. This is one photo that should bring a smile to your face! This is the newest member of Dolphin Academy, Curacao Sea Aquarium. Her name is Alita, and she is the new, one month old baby of Ritina and Copan. She just received her name last week, by voting of the DA staff and trainers. We were looking for an island or Spanish name and her name means “noble”. It fits her because her momma thinks she is a princess. This is a particular miracle for all of us because this is a first time mother. There is usually a very tough learning curve for a new mother with knowing how to guide and nurse a new baby but Ritina knocked this one out of the park! She immediately was a very good guide, helping her swim and turn, and within a few hours was turning and trying to incourage the little one to nurse. We have really never seen anything like it! We are all still pretty much astounded at the natural mothering ability of Ritina. Of course I am particularly proud because Ritina is my primary dolphin, which means I work with her about 80 percent of the time and I am responsible for teaching her new behaviors. Well, that pretty much means I am a grandma! Yea. This photo is from when the baby was 2 weeks old. She is pretty chubby, which means nursing is obviously going well, she has already sluffed her baby skin and has this wonderful color, and she is strong and active, as you can see, jumping and playing. Ritina and Alita have two other dolphins in their same area, Annie and Tela, and Alita can sometimes be seen swimming with Annie, tucked up under her “Auntie” all safe and sound if Ritina needs to take a moment to herself. Mother dolphins are very protective and alert and seldom ever let their calves leave their sides, and Ritina is the same, always ready to keep her precious treasure safe. So, welcome Alita and we hope to have new and fun stories to share with you in the future.

Have a great weekend! Aimee and Barry

Apr 13, 12     Comments Off on Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys trigueter, Boxfish

Good morning friends, what a weird week I am having!! Not only am I sick with this stupid cold but I fell on my bike in the Sea Aquarium parking lot on my way home and cut the heck out of my leg, again! I already had some nasty, healing road rash from my big ride last weekend and when i wrecked in the parking lot I landed directly on the same wounds and made them even worse! How does one crash in a parking lot on a mountain bike you ask?? Well, like everywhere on the planet when they pour sidewalks they leave a small lip that rises above the asphalt. In our case here that lip is only about two and a half inches tall and if your sick and dizzy and not paying attention you can get stuck in that groove and there’s nothing that can be done about it, you don’t even have time to say your prayers! Not only is this embarrassing beyond belief but landing or falling on cement is about as bad as it gets, there is no cushion factor at all! So now my leg is worse than when I started which will be keeping me out of the water for the weekend. Yesterday i again went into work to get my camera set up but then went back home and went to bed for the rest of the day. I am feeling a bit better today, so far the nose is not running which alone is great news!

Here is one of the coolest Caribbean residents and voted “most fun to watch” by divers around the World. We call these Boxfish but their real names are Trunkfish, this one here is a Smooth Trunkfish, Lactophrys trigueter. They claim these fish can get to be a foot in length, I have never seen one that big but am still looking. This one here was about as relaxed and calm as a fish can be and fully entertained me for over 30 minutes! I just hovered a few feet above the reef and watched as he tried and tried to eat a Christmas Tree Worm but the worm was too fast. After several attempts he then put his mouth over the hole where the worm went down into and I presume started trying to suck it out with those big lips, not sure if he ever succeeded but I think he may have because of the time he spent there. I always tell divers, when you go out find a trunkfisk and just allow yourself five minutes to observe what they are doing, they are very entertaining and cute as cute can be!

Have a wonderful day, I am off to the doctor, bye now, Barry

Apr 12, 12     Comments Off on Goldspotted Eel, Myrichthys ocellatus, Caribbean Eels

Good morning from sickville. Still fighting this stupid cold but did go into work twice yesterday to help with the photos. I have been teaching our new colleague Tico to take underwater photos for the past few months and yesterday he jumped in and did my job of taking pictures underwater of the sub. I waited for him at the surface as he went and did his thing and once back i took the camera, rinsed it and took it inside to download the pictures and get them ready for the clients, he did a pretty good job. I was thinking yesterday, and yes it hurt, that we are all teaching Tico our jobs which will make him our most valuable employee down the road!!

Here is an animal we really don’t see that much here in Curacao and I think I have only ever seen two. This is called a Goldspotted Eel, Myrichthys ocellatus and are commonly confused as underwater snakes. We have NO snakes in the waters of the Caribbean which is a comforting relief as most species are very poisonous. These beautiful eels have bright yellow-gold spots with diffuse black borders on the body and head and a thin body plus, get this, they are able to crawl or move beneath the sand, maybe that’s why I never see them?? They usually hide during the day in sand or on shallow patch reefs, but occasionally out in the open. Generally these eels come out to forage at night but as you can see here this one is out during the day with no fear at all. The maximum size for this species is around 3 and a half feet in length, that’s pretty long and can be found in the 5-40 foot zone on the reef.

That’s it for today, I am going back to bed!! Have a wonderful day, Barry

Apr 11, 12     Comments Off on Coral Bleaching Before and After Photos, Brain Coral

November 18th 2010 Worst Coral Bleaching Ever!

February 12th 2011, Coral Fighting to Recover.

March 2012

Good morning from sickville! I have the worst cold ever and am sitting here wondering who is to blame for this?? I have been around sick people for the past week so i guess trying to put the blame on one specific person is never going to happen although it sure would make me feel better. I came home from work at noon yesterday and spent the rest of the day in bed and for sure won’t be going in today!
 
Here is a long overdo photo that I have been meaning to send. If you remember way back in November of 2010 during the worst Coral Bleaching event ever I sent you a photo of a big colony of Grooved Brain Coral that was completely bleached and dying. The middle photo was taken in February of 2011 and as you can see the corals were really fighting to come back but the water temperatures just were not changing fast enough. The bottom photo is the same colony taken a few weeks ago, talk about a major difference?? The Grooved Brain Corals took the biggest hit of all the corals and proved to be the most sensitive to coral bleaching and most did not recover! As I swim around the reefs here I still see dead colonies of Grooved Brain Coral everywhere that is now just a reminder of what can and will happen again if the seas become too warm or if we get another big season of rainfall. As you can see in the bottom picture not all the coral survived the severe coral bleaching and the spots where coral used to be is now patch’s of algae. The algae is also due to these little Damselfish that kill parts of the live coral so algae will form creating a kind of  “algae garden” known as “destructive Damselfish Gardens”. The top photo really looks lke a face, you can see the eye, big nose and the mouth but as the coral grew back the face kind of dissapeared. You can also see a Lionfish in the photo on the right side of the coral head, these fish are really everywhere now so many in fact that over 1000 were caught this Sunday at a local Lionfish derby held here in Curacao at Santa Cruz bay. So far the waters in Curacao are still cold meaning no coral bleaching to this date, the reefs are still trying to recover from the last round in 2010.

Hope all is well out there, back to bed for me, Barry

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