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

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

 

Apr 26, 12     Comments Off on Caribbean Flamingo’s, Flamingo Taking a Bath, Curacao
Apr 25, 12     Comments Off on Green Iguana, Iguana iguana, Caribbean Reptiles
Apr 24, 12     Comments Off on Baby Dolphins, Dolphin Academy, Bottlenose Dolphins
Apr 22, 12     Comments Off on Dolphin Academy, Baby Dolphin, Baby Bottlenose
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
Apr 17, 12     Comments Off on Green Iguana, Iguana iguana, Caribbean Reptiles

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