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 September, 2012

Sep 28, 12     Comments Off on Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, Elopidae, Large Fish
Sep 27, 12     Comments Off on Juvenile Damselfish, Juvenile Longfin Damselfish
Sep 26, 12     Comments Off on Bonaire Iguana’s, Captain Dons, Reptiles from Bonaire

Good morning from overcast Curacao! We are in our second day of stormy weather and still loving it. It’s amazing how fast plants can bounce back after just one hard rain, it’s great!  Even our hundreds of little Agave plants that we planted out along the new trail finally got some needed water and should be able to go for awhile now on their own.

Here is my newest Iguana that I found at “Captain Dons Habitat” on Friday while in Bonaire. http://www.habitatbonaire.com  What I loved about this shot was that the wall he was sitting on is almost the exact same color as the ocean below him, it made for a great backdrop!! Most of the resorts in Bonaire allow the Iguana’s to roam freely around the property, it’s a crowd pleaser for sure and is great for business! This guy here was sitting on the wall with his buddies right in the outdoor feeding court. Here you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and have iguana’s walking at your feet, this alone would be reason to visit Bonaire! I was told that as it heats up in the afternoon many of the Iguana’s take off to find shelter so mornings are your best chance at getting a nice shot.

Well, lots to do as always, have a wonderful day!

See you tomorrow, Barry

Sep 25, 12     Comments Off on The Curasub, Substation Curacao, Mini Submarines

For all of you out there asking about our mini-sub which we call “The Curasub” I put together this chart just for you!! Actually, my co-worker Tico was a major part of making this photo happen as he pushed the sub all the way out to the edge of the property yesterday just for me so I could have a clean background to work with! My weekly questions usually are, “how deep will it go”, ” how long can you stay there”, “how many people will it hold”, “how fast can it go” and my personal favorite, “is there a restroom on board”?? No restroom folks, but we do have a nice pee-bag and a throw-up bag if nessasary and yes, both have already been used!! The Curasub can safely explore at depths of 1000 feet and can stay out on a single charge for over 8 hours! The sub holds 5 people including the pilot who sits in the middle and can reach speeds of up to 3 nautical miles per hour!! The sub also has many safety percausions built into it and contains enough food and water for 5 days! As of today we have done 730 dives, more than any other sub of it’s type, that alone is a remarkable fact!! The cost is $650 per person, the price includes an underwater photo shoot by yours truly, all photos on a Substation flash drive, T-shirt and an hour and a half underwater on the coolest ride you will ever take!! Here is the website for more info, www.substation-curacao.com

I just got out of the water from my first dive and I have to go again in 30 minutes!! Have a wonderful day!!

Barry

Sep 24, 12     Comments Off on Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, The Last Queen Conch

Good morning friends, what a crazy weekend!! I left for Bonaire at 7:00am Friday morning and spent the whole day with my buddies from Ikelite, it was GREAT!! We first went out to the North side of Lac Cai Bay and there we were quickly reminded why the Queen Conch is on the endangered list!! Here you will find mountains of old discarded Queen Conchs that have been harvested almost to the brink of extintion! In Bonaire and Curacao they are supposed to be protected but we saw evidence that they are still catching and selling them on a daily basis. In the top photo is a newly caught Queen Conch that was recently discarded and in the bottom photo if you look closely you will see dozens of fresh kills mixed in the old pile, look for the yellow shells. I found some interesting facts below from the US Fish and wildlife site, here is the link; http://www.fws.gov/international/dma_dsa/cites/animals/conch_facts.html

  • The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is a marine snail or gastropod (Latin for belly-foot).
  • The heavy shell, formed by the buildup of calcium carbonate, is glossy pink, orange, or yellow on its interior and reaches its full size at around 3 years of age. It then starts to form a “lip” that flares away from the shell.The shell continues to thicken throughout the conch’s life.
  • Queen conch are “right-handed.” Looking at the pointed crown, the spiral shell coils to the right.
  • They can grow to 12 inches and 5 pounds and reach sexual maturity in about 3 to 5 years.
  • Queen conch can live 40 years, but the normal life span is estimated at between 20 and 30 years.
  • Conch range throughout the Caribbean in warm waters varying in depths from 1 to 70 feet although they have been found at depths of 500 feet. They are common on sand flats in beds of turtle grass and manatee grass.
  • Conch may wander for miles foraging on algae, sea grasses, sand, and dead material. Tagging studies show that queen conch may travel up to 1 mile in a 2-month period and more than 700 yards in a week.
  • Queen conch blood contains hemocyanin, a copper containing molecule. When the hemocyanin interacts with oxygen during the process of respiration, it turns blue making queen conch “bluebloods.”
  • Queen conch mate in summer and early fall in shallow, sandy areas behind reefs. During mating, the male sits behind the female and deposits sperm into the female, who may retain the sperm for several weeks. Fertilization is internal. Females may spawn 6 to 8 times during each spawning season.
  • Egg cases are gelatinous tubes that can contain as many as 400,000 embryos. Tube strands of from 70 to 120 feet in length may be produced at a rate of five feet per hour.
  • Embryos emerge after 4to 6 days as larval veligers traveling great distances among sea currents for the first few weeks. They start their development after settling to the ocean floor. Few survive to adulthood, instead becoming food for many other ocean organisms.
  • Adult queen conch are eaten by loggerhead sea turtles, horse conch, and humans.

Our next stop was at a wonderful resort called SOROBON located on the South side of Lac Cai. http://www.sorobonbeachresort.com/en/ This is the hands down most beautiful place to stay in Bonaire and has some of the best food on the island second only to Cactus Blue in downtown Bonaire! Here we all sat on the beach and had a wonderful lunch and just watched the waves and listened to the birds, if you want relaxation this is where you need to be! After lunch I did a quick photo shoot with everyone in the group posing them on this long fantastic pier that takes you quite far out into the bay.

We then loaded up and took off back into town and went in search of caves that I had been to a few years back while on my assignment from Sport Diver. The first cave I found easily but we needed a rope to get in so off we went to find the next one. The next one is really cool and has a ladder that you climb down and once at the bottom you can explore till your hearts content. These caves are still very active and most of the Stalagtights are still dripping water and slowly forming new Stalagmights, it’s such a cool place to explore. The downside is how HOT it is inside so if you go bring extra clothes or carry a hand towel and please watch were you walk and remeber to never touch anything in a cave.

That was about it for my day in Bonaire, I was delivered back out the airport at 6:00 and by 7:00 I was back in the air for my 14 minute flight back to Curacao!

The rest of my weekend was filled with trail building and beach glass collecting.

Have a great day!!

Barry

 

Sep 20, 12     Comments Off on Pylopagurus discoidalis, Hermit Crabs in Tusk Shells

Hi all, what a crazy morning I have had already to say the least!! I was helping Aimee get the bikes ready this morning for a ride along the North coast with a friend and made a major mistake! Because I was in a hurry and not paying attention I accidently put two-part epoxy on one of the bike chains instead of the needed chain oil! The crazy thing is that both bottles are the same size, shape and the contents are both clear, talk about a mess!! I franticly tried to remove the glue from the chain with every solvent I could find around the house but nothing worked so I had to rush to work to get something stronger! Once back home I started the whole clean-up process all over again!! In the end I removed most of it but I am sure as I type that the bike is picking up dirt left and right, I will most likely have to clean it all over again once they are back!

Here are two more cute little crabs for my deep-water crab lovers, these are called Pylopagurus discoidalis, or as I call them, Hermit Crabs in Tusk Shells. The crab on the left is a baby living in a large tusk shell, you can see it’s way too big for him but he doesn’t seem to mind. The crab on the right is an adult version of the one on the left but you would never know this as he is completly hidden inside leaving just his large claw as his iron clad type door. Also the crab on the right, the older one, is a rich reddish-orange color where the younger one is still a light colored orange.

Just got up from one dive and am off to do another, sorry so short!!

Remember I will be in Bonaire all day tomorrow, not sure if I will get the blog out or not but will make it up to you!!

See you soon, Barry

Sep 19, 12     Comments Off on Deep Water Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Latirus infundibulum
Sep 18, 12     Comments Off on Baby Bottlenose Dolphin, Delphinidae, Baby Tursiops

Good morning friends, I have to be underwater in 30 minutes so I will get this started and be back later.

We are having crazy heat right now and no rain in sight, I actually had to get up early and start watering the plants in our yard it’s so dry! I have 5 water-baths for the birds and animals in the yard and those have to be filled twice a day! Last year about this time Bonaire had issued a notice to all residents to put out water and food for the animals, it’s such an easy thing to do and makes a big difference.

The photo today is for my poor neglected Dolphin friends who seem to wait patiently day after day for me to post their favorite animals in the World! This was taken a few months ago when our three newborns were still very tiny and stayed hidden behind their mothers. Now three months later the babies are out basicly doing whatever they want and swimming around together as a group, they are so much fun to be with underwater!!

Have a wonderful day, Barry

 

Sep 17, 12     Comments Off on Southern Stingray, Dasyatis americana, Stingray’s
Sep 14, 12     Comments Off on Malthopsis gnoma, Grotesque Seabat, Batfish
Sep 13, 12     Comments Off on Common or Green Iguana, Iguana iguana, Curacao

 

Sep 12, 12     Comments Off on Substation Curacao, Rinsing the Mini-Sub, Curasub
Sep 11, 12     Comments Off on Sleeping Spanish Hogfish, Bodianus rufus
Sep 10, 12     Comments Off on Lemon Sharks, Negaprion Brevirostris, Lemon Shark

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine was about the same as it has been since I have returned from the States. I did trail-work with the dogs both days, had to work on Saturday, started sanding our car and grinding out rust spots, did some yard work and the coolest thing, went to pick up two baby land turtles!! Stijn has three large adult tortoses in his yard and they had a lot of babies that need homes so Aimee and I said sure, lets give it a try!! I took one of my dive boxes made out of thick plastic and made them a super cool temporary home with a pool, cave and a feeding area, it’s really fun! Right now they are about the size of an OREO cookie so it’s a perfect size to start with not sure what we will do as they get bigger?? There are still more babies so if any of you locals know of a good family with a great place to keep them drop me a line.

Friday night I went coral spawning with our friend Eveline but the only spawning we saw was from a few gorgonians, no corals?? This was again a pretty weak coral spawning year which really has us worried around here as coral reefs are really on the decline!!

I had a few mails recently asking if we have sharks around here and the answer is yes, BUT I have never seen them!! Many of my friends have seen giant hammerheads out on the reef and many other species but the only shark I have ever seen is the quiet nurse sharks which hide in caves all over the island. The Lemon sharks here are from the Sea Aquarium at Animal Encounters. Here you can snorkle or dive underwater and feed the sharks through a hole in an acrilic window and get an up close and personal look at these wild looking toothed monsters! For the photo I crawled down to the edge of the lagoon (with help) and ever so carefully put my arms and the camera in the water and let them come to me with no fence or windows, it was a bit scary but we needed a good shark photo for their new website. And yes, I am sure my momma would not have approved of this but it was pretty cool!

The Lemon Shark, also known as the Negaprion Brevirostris, is the best known and most researched of all sharks. Unlike most sharks, the Lemon is able to handle captivity for extended periods of time. Therefore, scientists have had the opportunity to observe their behavior like no other shark. An adult Lemon is usually about 3.5 meters (11 feet) in length and about 190 kilograms (about 420 pounds) in weight. It is named for its unusual and bright yellow or brown pigmentation and color. This shark loves the tropical and subtropical waters in coastal areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They stay in moderately shallow water, normally going no deeper than 80 meters (roughly 260 feet). They are often found in shallow waters near coasts and islands, by coral reefs, mangroves, bays, and sometimes even river mouths. Like all other shark species, they have electro receptors which allow them to track prey by the electric impulses that all living things emit. In addition to using electro receptors, they also have an astounding olfactory sense through magnetic sensors in their nose. This helps make up for their very poor vision. Because this shark is a bottom dweller, they often track their prey by churning up the ground for bony fish, rays, crustaceans, and sometimes even seabirds.

Well, lots to do on this Monday!!

Barry

Sep 7, 12     Comments Off on Scrawled Filefish. Aluterus scriptus, Filefishes

Hi all, Aimee and I are both walking zombies this morning after another late night of excitement out on the coral reef. We again hit the water at 9:30 and off we went in search of coral spawning. The first thing we found was this weird red crab hiding in a big colony of fire coral. He was so hidden that it was very hard to get a shot off but did end up with something and it’s a crab that neither one of us reconized, I will send the photo. When your on these coral spawning dives you really have to watch the clock and not get distracted by things like crabs and cool fish but for those of you that know me, that’s impossible! We found corals starting to release eggs at 10:05 and it continued till almost 10:20, it was fantastic! Our goal for the evening was to again TRY to find some brittle stars feeding on these released coral eggs but they are so afraid of the light that almost every attempt ends in failure! So as Aimee was searching for brittle stars I found this beautiful Scrawled Filefish. Aluterus scriptus along with a Honeycomb Cowfish hiding or sleeping in a big cavity in the reef. This sexy fish was about two and a half feet long and was so easy to photograph and such a joy to watch. These fish are known for changing their colors and patterns in the blink of an eye to adapt to their surroundings. The top photo is when I first found him, fairly calm, the bottom photo is after the strobes went off and he was possibly feeling a bit threatened, you can see he turned much darker. These are some of the hands down most gentle and beautiful creatures on the reef and are fairly uncommon to see. Night dives are about the only time I have ever been able to get close to one as they always find a spot to sleep for the night and stay-put regardless of anoying photographers. The evening ended with us playing with a small octopus in around 35 feet of water. This octopus could have cared less that we were there, he just kept hunting for food often passing inches from my camera. We again got home late last night and are both in need of more coffee right now. Tonight we go again and will be joined by our friend Eveline who hasn’t dove with us since the last coral spawning, we can hardly wait!!

Have a wonderful day all!!

Barry

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