ABOUT

Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

General

Archive for October, 2012

Oct 31, 12     Comments Off on Deep Water Shells, Deep Water Hermit Crabs
Oct 30, 12     Comments Off on Sea Shells, Sea Shell Designs, Designs in Nature

Good morning from stormy Curacao. Like the rest of the World Aimee and I have been glued to the t.v. watching the storms hit the East coast and thankful that it’s not us. Most of the big storms and hurricanes start in our area but never really do much, I think it’s one of the more safer islands to be on in the Caribbean.

We are also still struggling with the recent news about Lance Armstrong who was stripped of his SEVEN Tour de France wins!!!?? It really just kills me but we still love the guy, he can come to Curacao anytime and hang with us.

Tonight we have a big mountain bike ride with a few of the top pro riders and of course little Dorian. I went out to the desert yesterday at 3:45 with the dogs and worked on getting the trails ready for the ride tonight, should be much more fun without all the loose rocks and thorn bushes!

The above photo is a close-up of the top of a deep-water sea shell we recently found and sorry but I don’t know the name yet. This shell was only 48mm in height which is very small but it’s so beautiful.

Well sorry so short, busy day ahead!

Have a wonderful day, Barry

Oct 29, 12     Comments Off on Superior Producer, Curacao Dive Sites, Wreck Dives

Good morning friends, how was your weekend?? Mine went by so fast it was incredible! Saturday morning I met Dorian at his house at 7:00 and off we went for a two hour training ride to the North coast and back, it was fun! The only down side was the lack of wind this weekend here on Curacao, it was as HOT as it gets here and by the time we got home at 9:00 we were both soaked to the bone! Once I got home I rushed into work and got my dive gear and camera ready for a dive with Mark at the Superior Producer. The dive was fantastic as usual, there seems to be no end to the fun one can have onboard this 109 foot sunken cargo ship! I mostly focused on Mark (no pun intended) as he explored the ship but with not so great visability trying to get a shot of the whole ship was impossible. On the way back up the reef at 35 feet we again stopped and watched a big beautiful sea horse hanging onto a gorgonian eating lunch, talk about cool! After the dive I went back to work and rinsed everything and then took off for an afternoon of shopping and working on my “honey-do list”, it’s a long list!

Sunday morning I left the house at 6:30 with the dogs and we took off to work on the new trail for two hours. Again, with the lack of wind it was just down right misserable, I so wet from sweat that I had to take my shirt off twice and rince it in fresh water, yucko!! I am so close to being done with this section of trail but it’s now the thickest bush I have ever been through, it takes about an hour to cut through 15 feet! At 12:00 I again met Mark for yet another Superior Producer wreck dive and this time the water was clear as you can see from the photo above. Mark is a great model as he has perfect bouyency and is able to swim in and out of the doors and windows like a human fish making my job much easier. We swam all over the ship taking photos, it’s always so much fun and there is always so much to see, it’s a must do for all visiting divers! Also don’t waste your $$ on doing a boat dive here, it’s a great shore dive and you have a wonderful reef filled with sea horses to decompress on. After the dive I again went back to work and rinsed everything, then took off to work on my “to do list” again. Fun weekend again here in Curacao.

The Pro cyclists are showing up today and tomorrow for the “Amstel Gold” race this weekend, I will of course be out there taking photos.

It rained so hard here last night!! I was up at 4:00am scooping water off the back deck (with a dust pan) trying to keep it from flooding our down stairs, it was a non-stop river!

Have a great day, Barry

Oct 26, 12     Comments Off on Chapman, Research Vessels, Substation Curacao

Hi friends, as promised yesterday here are a few photos to better explain what I was talking about when I said, “we are doing a test run and taking the sub to the Chapman”. We aqquired the Chapman (white ship) a few years ago from Puerto Rico where it was once used as a research vessel but was completly covered in rust and falling apart! Dutch discovered this vehicle just sitting there unused and going to waste so he and a crew flew there and somehow managed to drive this boat (top photo) all the way back to Curacao!! The ship has undergone a complete overhaul since, inside and out and is now months away from being put to sea. So yesterday for the first time ever we brought the sub over to the Chapman and lifted it up onto the deck with the brand new crane and did a test to see how well this whole operation will work! The plan is to travel the Caribbean with a team of researchers and search the depths for new and excitting finds, our first trip is already planned for Klein Curacao. The top photo shows the new crane lifting the sub into the floating dock, this is where the dock and sub will travel while in route to it’s destinations. Once on site the crane will first pick up the floating dock (photo 2) and set it into the water, then once it is securred to the back of the ship they will pick up the sub and set it into the floating dock (photo 3). The floating dock will be kept in the water during the days on location and the sub will be pulled out every night and rinsed off, it’s going to be super cool! For more information you can contact Laureen at laureen@substation-curacao.com or go to www.substation-curacao.com

I had a great ride last night with little Dorian, talk about one fast 12 year old! He passed me on a steep climp and it was too late to respond! Tomorrow morning him and I will take off on a long 2 hour training ride to the North coast and after I am going to go try to get my trail finished!

Have a wonderful day all, Barry

Oct 25, 12     Comments Off on Gecko, Curacao Reptiles, Caribbean Animals
Oct 24, 12     Comments Off on Caracara, Caribbean Birds, Birds of Curacao
Oct 23, 12     Comments Off on Superior Producer, Top Dive Sites in Curacao
Oct 22, 12     Comments Off on Goliath Grouper, Epinephelus itajara, Superior Producer

Saturday morning I took the dogs and my camera to Saint Joris bay in search of a new snail that lives exclusively on the arms of the Endangered Mangrove trees. It was so muddy when we got there but the dogs didn’t seem to mind so on we went walking to the farthest point called Mangusa Point. This is where the trail kind of ends and the real adventure starts as it becomes more of a hard to see goat trail and you just kind of wonder along the waters edge weaving in and out of the mangroves. To my delight I found the snails pretty easily and was shocked at all the different colors they come in, they are large and absolutely beautiful! To get to the snails one needs to walk in knee deep water/mud and then look on the underneath of the mangrove arms that reach into the water, they seem to love being just a short distance above the water. I took photos for around an hour while the dogs ran back and forth through the water chasing anything that made noise. I will send you a bunch of these photos from the snails later this week. Once back home after three hours of hiking I washed the dogs and put them to bed and then took off down to my sea glass beach for a quick look. No sooner had I got there and started walking I spotted the brightest piece of glowing yellow sea glass I had ever seen, it was a sight to behold! Yellow is by far the hardest color to find and this one is a true beauty, I will get it photographed soon and get it out to you, it made my day!

On Sunday we woke to a big rain storm which killed my planned mountain bike ride to the North coast, I don’t mind a bit of rain but I hate riding in mud! So then I got a call from Mark from the World famous Dive Bus Hut and he asked if I wanted to go the Superior Producer later and of course I said yes! We met on site at 1:15 and by 1:35 we were on the way down to the coolest dive site in Curacao! When I say “we” it was me and Mark and three other divers he brought with him, the more the merrier I say! Diving here is always an adventure, you honestly never know what you will see which brings us to your photos of the day! I was photographing Mark on the ship when he signaled to me to look at what was laying on the sand below us at 125 feet!! I stared in complete disbelief and then almost blew the regulator out of my mouth in excitement, could that really be what we think it is??? YES, it was our first ever sighting of a very large Goliath Grouper, Epinephelus itajara, what the heck is this fish doing in Curacao?? Mark and I first just stared in disbelief from above, this fish was huge! I then signaled to Mark to swim around to the other side of the giant fish and maybe if we are lucky I could get close enough for a photo? Well getting close proved to be no problem at all, he was completely unafraid and let me shoot away with Mark right behind him, this was about as good as Curacao diving gets and once again Mark proves that diving with the Dive Bus gang can’t be beat! Not only did Mark find this big beauty he also found a new crab that attaches sponges to it’s body for camouflage called a Redeye Sponge Crab. In all the years here I have never seen one of those as well but will have to return at night to get a shot of him, maybe this Thursday! After 20 minutes of Superior entertainment we slowly made our way back up the reef and at around 45 feet when one of the divers with Mark starts banging on his tank to signal us all that he just found something cool. Something cool indeed, he found a big, black seahorse hiding in a clump of gorgonians, it really blended in well with the reef, that was icing on the cake!

I finally finished the turtle box and got them put into their new home, they seemed a bit confused but in a week should be feeling right at home!

Off to the sea, have a wonderful day, Barry

Oct 19, 12     Comments Off on Perotrochus Quoyanus, Slit Shells, Rare Sea Shells

Good morning from rainy Curacao!! Aimee just called and said she is stuck out on the trails in the pouring rain!! The sad thing is besides not having an umbrella is that she is a long ways away from the car, there is no where to hide!! She did go on to say that the dogs are loving it and racing around at top speed, Inca loves the water and mud but not sure Indi does??

Here is yet another first for you lucky followers of the blog. This is a very rare slit-shell called Perotrochus Quoyanus (Fischer & Bernardi, 1856 that we found at around 300 feet, compare the one I sent you yesterday with this one, this one is much smaller and much different. As you can see, the slit-shell mullusk is gone and a new deep water hermit crab has claimed it as his new home, pretty cool huh?? This is a new crab that we have never found before, he is so beautiful and really matches the shell. I wonder if he knows he is walking around with a $650 shell?? Also if you look closely you will see two live anemones stuck to the bottom of his shell, it’s just too cool for words! The antenna on this crab were so long that I could not get them in the photo although I did get a shot of him cleaning one of his antenni by holding it with both claws, it’s pretty cute. If we deciede we want to sell the shell we will put a few other empty shells in with him and he should switch shells on his own, hermits are known for moving from one house to another quite often.

The superfamily of Pleurotomariacae Swainson, 1840, are among the oldest surviving mollusca on Earth, having first appeared in the late upper Cambrian period over 500 million years ago. The Pleurotomariidae family includes all recent slit-shell species, first appeared in the Triassic period, some 200 million years ago. Since the discovery of the first living plearotomariid species, all have been commonly referred to as “living fossils” having previously thought to be extinct since the Tertiary. The slit-shell was first illustrated by a Japanese naturalist named Kimura Kenkado in 1755. The slit-shell family consists of top shaped shells characterized by a slit in the edge of the outer whorl. When threatened as you see here, the animal is capable of discharging a very toxic white solution! These mollusks like others do have a cool little circular operculum but it is not visible in this photo. The operculum is like a shield and uses it as a last defense to block entry into it’s delicate mantle area. Sixteen species are known to exist and all are found deep. Most extant species are in the genus Perotrochus and Entemnotrochus. The slit-shell is evolutionarily primitive and lives as a grazer. Sponges form the staple diet, although other food residues have been found in the esophagus and rectum of preserved animals. It is found in tropical and subtropical waters, typically at 300-3000 foot depths. Few people have actually observed a living slit-shell in it’s natural habitat, which can be easily explained by the nature of the habitat it is found in. The uniqueness and sheer beauty of these magnificent shells make them one of the classic rarities of the shell world.

I had a fast and furious ride last night after work, it’s now getting dark at 6:20 making it hard to get miles in after work.

Off to the sea, Barry

Oct 18, 12     Comments Off on Spanish Flags, Slit-Shell, Entemnotrochus adansonianus

Good morning friends, a big thanks to our friend Ray for helping out with giving names to the little shells we found in the bottle a few days ago. Look below at the older blog from Monday and you will see it is now updated with new information.

Here is another photo from the deep and something you will never see anywhere else but right here!! This is a rare Slit Shell called a Entemnotrochus adansonianus with two baby or juvenile Spanish Flags using it as a home or a fun place to hide in. The shell is hevally damaged but suits these two little buieties just fine, “home is where the Slit-Shell is right”?? These were found at around 400 feet in the Curasub and have a range of around 300-400 feet. The shells when found in perfect shape command high prices to the shell collectors selling from $1000 to $4000!!! We did find a perfect three and a half inch Adansonianus the other day and yesterday I photographed it alive, will send those to you next week. The Spanish Flags are also amung one of the top most sought after fish in the world for aquariests, only a handful have ever been brought up alive.

I am off to the water for a dive at 11:00 with the sub!!

See you to tomorrow, Barry

Oct 17, 12     Comments Off on Exploring the Reef at Night in the New Curasub
Oct 16, 12     Comments Off on Baby Dolphins Underwater, Baby Dolphin Photos

Bon Dia Amigos!! We are still locked into the weirdest weather ever, it’s completly calm, the sea is flat and it’s darn right HOT! Last night we had thunderstorms all over the island and every few seconds a big flash of lightning lit up our rooms but it was all show and no rain!! I must say I am not looking forward to the bike ride tonight, it will be a “sweat fest” without any wind and I am guessing an hour of that punishment will be all I can take.

Here is a new dolphin photo for my dolphin fans out there. This is how newborns spend their days, just sticking close to momma and drinking milk, a photo I am still trying to get. The mothers are pretty protective of their babies for the first five months and not really letting them out of their site. At around six months she will let them start to wonder off on their own and start exploring but always seems to know exactly where they are and what they are doing.

Well sorry so short, I have to get to work!

Be back soon, Barry

 

Oct 15, 12     Comments Off on Deep Water Sea Shells, Tiny Sea Shells, Rare Shells
Thanks to our new friend Ray he sent us the names of the shells above, just another reason to love our fans!!
From left clockwise around the big shell:
Big Shell: probably Antillophos (need to see underside)
Glyphostoma sp (Turridae)
Terebra sp. (white log narrow one)
Latirus sp. (ribs with bands)
Muricidae sp.  (could be a Babelomurex or one of the small murex shells)
Babelomurex/Latiaxis sp. (top left corner)
Pterynotus sp. (spiny one at the left apex of big shell)
Nassarius sp. (right of big shells apex)
Babelomurex sp (under the Nassarius, spiny)
Cochlespira sp. (tall one at top right)
Prunum/Volvarina sp. (smooth oval white one, Marginellidae)
Mitridae, maybe Nodocostellaria (one on middle far right)
Coralliophila sp. (maybe squamosus)
Another Babelomurex sp. (dalli, basilium, sentix?)
Ray says, “there may be some undescribed species of mollusk down there”!
Thanks Ray for the info!!!

I need to get to work, have a wonderful day all!!

Hot, Curacao regards, Barry

Oct 13, 12     Comments Off on Top BMX Racers, BMX London, Fastest BMX Racers
Oct 12, 12     Comments Off on Split-Crown Feather Duster, Anamobaea orstedii

Hey guys, I am having a hard time as of late finding time to get these blogs posted, the mornings are just so busy!! We have three sub dives today starting at 9:00. Our 1:00 dive will be really fun as we will have three top BMX Word Champions joining us! The names are as follows, Robin van der Kolk (Word Champion), Raymon van der Biezen (4th in London) and Malyk Byndloss, the American Champion, should be a lot of fun!

Here is a before and after of a beautiful Split-Crown Feather Duster, Anamobaea orstedii. The top photo shows how these cool animals look when open and the bottom photo is what happens when they are disturbed, they retreat deep down inside their tubes for safety!

I just got out of the water from my first dive, that’s one down two to go!! The ocean is dead calm still morning and there is zero wind, you want to talk about HOT!! I was told we had some isolated storms in the area so at least there is a chance for some good rain.

Tomorrow morning I am leaving real early for a much needed long bike ride to the North coast, I need to get at least three hours in to make up for all my days of trail work which I will continue Saturday evening and on Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend, Barry


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