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 December, 2013

Dec 30, 13     Comments Off on Curacao Coral Reef Photo, Colorful Reef Scenes

Good morning friends, it’s almost 2014!!! Well, I must say it was another great year here in Curacao! We again had many friends visit from the States and Europe, I learned more about the island and took thousands of new photos, I wasn’t sick once this year and I was able to ride, build trails and walk the dogs every week, what more could you ask for??

Stijn and I took off to the West end of the island yesterday morning and rode the beautiful trails along the coast near Watamulla. These are by far some of the best hiking/mountain biking trails we have to offer here on the island, it’s pretty much non-stop fun from start to finish. Because of the rains this area is currently super green and the covered in small ground-cover type flowers. We also rode by a large group of wild mules with babies and saw countless ospreys gliding on the wind, it’s a photographers dream area this time of year!

I have a Curacao reef scene for your viewing pleasure today filled with pillar corals, (middle) star corals and a bunch gorgonians that look like underwater bushes.

I will be taking off on a needed vacation on the 6th of July so beware there may be no updates for a few weeks BUT if I can find the time I will load some photos.

Have a wonderful day, Barry

Dec 27, 13     Comments Off on School of Grunts, School of Fish, Fish Ball Bonaire

Good morning one and all, how was your Christmas??? We had a total blast from start to finish here in Curacao, the only thing missing was our friends and family!! Christmas morning we were up at 5:30 like little kids, first turning on all the Christmas lights, then whiping up a batch of Highlander Groog coffee, then feeding the dogs and finally onto shredding presents, what a blast!! Then since it was dead quiet on the island, not even a car to be seen, we loaded up the dogs and headed to the North coast for a crazy fun morning of driftwood collecting and exploring. We ended up hitting the driftwood jackpot finding an area hidden from others and it was completely full of new pieces of wood, I think we dug in that pile for over an hour. Once loaded up and on our way out we ran into our sub pilot Bruce who had just gotten out of the water from his morning surf session. As luck would have it, he said to toss the wood in the back of his truck and he would deliver it, I mean really what are the odds, that saved us from a ton of walking. Once home we made a Christmas breakfast to die for and then chilled out and watched a few movies. In the evening we went over to Stijn’s grandparents and had a Christmas dinner that few could have topped! It was served in courses and each new plate brought out was better then the last followed by a desert that could be served in any five star restaurant, what a great evening!

Sunday morning we left the house at 7:00am and took the dogs and our friend Mandy to Willibrordus and did a three hour walk around the whole salt lake, talk about a major adventure!!! On the hike we saw what we thought was dog poop everywhere and quickly discovered it was from wild pigs??? We have wild pigs here?? I never knew this and we even saw one running from a distance but it was too far away to get a photo. This turned out to be the longest hike we have done on the island and I think the dogs thought we were lost and never going back! I highly recommend this walk to all who love walking but bring plenty of food and water, this is about an 8 mile walk. Once back to the car the dogs collapsed in the back seat with a smile on their faces and were asleep in minutes, “a tired dog is a good dog”! We got back home at around 11:00 and after another great breakfast feast we went down into the air-co and watched a movie and worked on our new batch of photos that will soon be for sale. In the evening I went on a bike ride while Aimee worked on her desert wood horse project. She’s been building a horses head out of wood for the past few weeks and it’s really looking great, will take a photo for you when it’s finished. So that’s our weekend in a nutshell, what did you all do??

I had a request for a school of fish and found this one for you this morning. These are smallmouth Grunts that we found living under the Salt-Pier in Bonaire.

The smallmouth grunt (Haemulon chrysargyreum) is a member of the grunt family (Family Haemulidae) that live on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Grunts derive their name from the make grunting sound they make with their pharylgeal teeth.

Also known by the common name banana grunt, the smallmouth grunt may range from 17 to 23 centimeters in length. Individuals of this species have an elongated cylindrical body with a forked tail and have a series of five or six yellow stripes running horizontally down their body on a silver background. They have a yellow tails and dorsal fins. Smallmouth grunts claim their common name because their mouths are smaller than other grunts.

Smallmouth grunts are generalist carnivores that feed on plankton, copepods, mollusks, and shrimps. They hang around the reef during the daylight hours. After sunset, they travel to open water where they feed.

Smallmouth grunts feed at night and spend their days hiding under ledges of within the braches of elkhorn coral and staghorn coral. The ocassionally form large schools on coral reefs.

Studies at the Saba Reef, one of the richest fish assemblages in the Caribbean Basin, have indicated the chief threats to Haemulon chrysargyreum and other reef fishes are overfishing and the residual impacts of the particular chemical dispersant used by the USA in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; this chemical has high persistence and known toxicity to a gamut of marine fauna. Studies by Burke et al. suggest that concentrations of dispersant and other water pollutants are of particular concern in critical lagoon nurseries; these studies suggest that the toxicity of residual dispersant may be much more significant to reef fishes than the actual petroleum release of an underwater oil spill. The dispersant used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Corexit 9500, is known to be much more toxic than the petroleum chemicals it is meant to disperse; moreover, the combined toxicity of Corexit 9500 and petroleum is more toxic to juvenile fish than either chemical set by itself.

We have an 11:00 dive, I need to get ready!!

Have a great day, Barry

Dec 24, 13     Comments Off on Blue-Light Scorpion, Curacao Scorpion, Arthropods

Good morning friends, I have a super cool, live scorpion, seen under blue-light for your viewing pleasure today. We found this little one inch scorpion while out building our new trail and since I kind of already knew it might be beautiful under blue-light we emptied a water bottle and took him home. We have two different scorpions here in Curacao, one is called the Yellow Scorpion, Centruroides hasethi and the other is called a Black Scorpion, Diplocentrus hasethi and for the life of me I can’t figure out which one this is?? The yellow one is the largest with elongated claws and apparently the one most often seen while the black one is smaller, dark colored (but not black) and the claws have a rounder form.

Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognised by the pair of grasping pedipalps and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. Scorpions range in size from 9 mm (Typhlochactas mitchelli) to 20 cm (Hadogenes troglodytes).

Scorpions are found widely distributed over all continents, except Antarctica, in a variety of terrestrial habitats except the high latitude tundra. Scorpions number about 1,752 described species, with 13 extant families recognised to date. The taxonomy has undergone changes and is likely to change further, as a number of genetic studies are bringing forth new information.

Scorpion venom has a fearsome reputation, but only about 25 out of almost 1500 species are known to have venom capable of killing a human being. The Curacao scorpions are harmless, the sting is about the same as a wasp or bee. If stung, putting a copper penny over a bite works pretty darn well, I do this all the time now for wasp stings.

Scorpions are found on all major land masses except Antarctica. Scorpions did not occur naturally in Great Britain, New Zealand and some of the islands in Oceania, but have now been accidentally introduced in some of these places by human trade and commerce. The greatest diversity of scorpions in the Northern Hemisphere is to be found in the subtropical areas lying between latitudes 23° N and 38° N. Above these latitudes, the diversity decreases, with the northernmost occurrence of scorpions being the northern scorpion Paruroctonus boreus at 50° N.

Today, scorpions are found in virtually every terrestrial habitat, including high-elevation mountains, caves and intertidal zones, with the exception of boreal ecosystems, such as the tundra, high-altitude taiga and the permanently snow-clad tops of some mountains. As regards microhabitats, scorpions may be ground-dwelling, tree-living, lithophilic (rock-loving) or psammophilic (sand-loving); some species, such as Vaejovis janssi, are versatile and found in every type of habitat in Baja California, while others occupy specialised niches such as Euscorpius carpathicus, which occupies the littoral zone of the shore.

Merry Christmas ALL, have a wonderful day tomorrow!!

Barry

P.S., We took the scorpion back out to the desert last night and let him go!!

Dec 23, 13     Comments Off on Branching Anemone, Lebrunia danae, Cnidarians

Good morning from Curacao. If there is a downside to living in the Caribbean other than not being able to find the goods and services one is used to in the States, it’s not having seasons! Honestly, it does not feel like it’s Christmas! Today is hot, the wind is gently blowing, iguana’s and birds are everywhere, the flowers are blooming, here a bikini, there a bikini and the sound of music is on the horizon from countless resorts along the beach! And yes, I know most of you would trade your snow and cold weather for a Christmas here but really the holiday season is just not the same without a little of the cold stuff. We are going over to Stijn’s grandparents Christmas eve for a big dinner and Christmas morning after a little present opening we will head out for an island adventure with the dogs.

I had a super busy weekend again with trail building, long bike rides and trail hiking with the dogs, it was fun from start to finish! While building our new trail we dug up a little scorpion and decided to take it home to see if it would glow under blue-light. When we got home we quickly put some dirt in an aquarium and made him a cool home. Then we took him into the dark and turned on the blue-light, I won’t spoil the surprise but wait till you see!! Super cool!!

Friday evening Aimee and I took off on yet another blue-light dive and although it was a bit short because of the cold water we had a great time! One of the many things we found was this beautiful Branching Anemone, Lebrunia danae and since I brought the macro lens I figured maybe I could get a “designs in nature” type photo and proceeded to snap away.

Lebrunia danae is an unusual sea anemone in that its tentacles are almost hidden by the ring of six much branching large frond-like pseudotentacles that grow up from the rim of the oral disc. These are some shade of pale or darker brown and have densely branched tips. Below these, on the side of the frond are small, whitish spherical vesicles containing nematocysts that are powerful enough to sting a human. After contact with a prey item, the pseudotentacles retract and the tentacles, which are also armed with nematocysts, grasp the prey and draw it into the mouth. The column of the anemone is usually invisible, being anchored in a crevice. This species can grow to a diameter of 20 centimeters (7.9 in).

The tissues of Lebrunia danae contain the symbiotic unicellular alga Symbiodinium. This is photosynthetic and provides the anemone with energy. The pseudotentacles of Lebrunia danae resemble the fronds of brown seaweeds in the family Dictyotaceae in appearance and it is possible that the anemone is mimicking the harmless alga in order to lure potential prey closer. The pseudotentacles are retracted at dusk.

A number of different invertebrates live in close association with Lebrunia danae. These include Pederson’s cleaning shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni), the spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus), the shrimp Periclimenes rathbunae, the shrimp Thor amboinensis, the arrow crab Stenorhynchus seticornis, the anemone crab Mithraculus cinctimanus and a brittle star. These animals enjoy the protection provided by the anemone’s nematocysts and are found either among the pseudotentacles or in their own characteristic stations close to the anemone.

Have a wonderful day all,

Barry

Dec 20, 13     Comments Off on 1000 Steps Bonaire, Bonaire’s TOP Dive Sites

Good morning friends, it’s finally Friday!! For many of you this is the start of nice, long overdo holiday and time to get out and do some shopping! We have Wednesday and Thursday off next week and we are trying to plan some epic adventure that would include the dogs, like leaving early one morning and heading to the West end of the island for once.

I received a bunch of questions about diving in Bonaire from some friends this week and as usual the main question is; what is the most popular dive site in Bonaire?? Well, I will have to say as far as being the most popular dive site and the most visited it would have to be 1000 Steps!! It’s not the best dive site by any means but because of it’s location and what it takes to get there, it’s become a must do for divers! 1000 Steps is one of the most renowned beaches in Bonaire, and it’s also one of the island’s top dive sites. A Thousand Steps dive is something that the most seasoned of divers won’t forget, and even if you don’t engage in underwater exploration, a visit is bound to prove memorable. The hike down to the beach is part of the reason why a 1000 Steps visit is hard to forget. From the main road, visitors will have to negotiate the 67 steps that lead down to the beach. There might only be 67 steps that lead down to this beautiful beach and dive site, but it can feel like 1000 on the way up. This is how 1000 Steps got its name. If you want to go diving at 1000 Steps, there is no way to avoid the fact that you’ll have to get your gear both up and down the 67 limestone steps. Some divers make multiple trips to try to lighten the load, while others load everything up and try to make it in one trip. Once it comes time to enter the water, the entry from the shore should be relatively easy. The swim to the drop off is a short one, and there is an excellent reef to explore. The Bonaire marine Park goes to great lengths to protect its reefs and area waters, and this reef is teeming with life. In addition to an array of colorful fish, anyone on a Thousand Steps dive can also admire colorful coral and sponges. In addition to scuba diving at 1000 Steps Bonaire, visitors can also go snorkeling. The waters are usually relatively calm, not to mention relatively shallow until the drop off. Thanks to the clarity of the water, it’s not necessary to dive deep to admire the marine life. As for the beach at 1000 Steps, it’s a small strip of sand that is backed by dry cliffs and shrubs. Cacti, which are abundant on the island of Bonaire, are scattered about, and the overall atmosphere is very inviting. The view from the top of the limestone steps is particularly impressive. 1000 Steps is located on the west coast of Bonaire about five miles north of Kralendijk. Even though this beach and dive site is renowned, it manages to stay relatively deserted, so it can be an excellent place to simply kick back and take a break from it all.

As for some of the other top rated Bonaire dive sites that you might consider, they include Karpata, Tolo, Salt Pier, Invisibles and Hilma Hooker just to name a few.

Lots to do, have a wonderful weekend, Barry

Dec 19, 13     Comments Off on Curacao Christmas Tree in Outrabanda, Punda

Good morning gang, for those of you who have been with us for all these years  you know how much we love driving around and photographing Christmas lights! This is the new giant 30 foot aluminum Christmas Tree that was built this year in Outrabanda, which is considered part of the downtown Curacao area. Each year the downtown decorating seems to get better and better and around every corner there seems to be another surprise. The coolest thing is the tunnel of lights on the World famous “floating bridge” which is not only lit up, they change colors every few seconds! Also, all the waterfront buildings are lit up in different colors and the reflections casts from these seen from the Outrabanda side (other side) is super beautiful. I also noticed most of the palm trees are decorated as well and we even have giant lit-up dolphins hanging from many of the light poles. 

Hope all is well out there, I just did a dive and am getting the photos ready for the customers inside.

See you soon, Barry

Dec 18, 13     Comments Off on Chapman Research Vessel Parked in Punda, Curacao

Good evening all, so sorry about the no blog today, I had two dives with our little submersible and had to go pick up glass for my new photo aquariums.

Yesterday was spent preparing for the big Christmas party on the Chapman Research vessel at downtown Punda, which you can see on the horizon. The Chapman is usually parked inside a safe harbor but last night it was brought here to Punda for our annual Sea Aquarium Christmas party. For this photo my colleague Tico and I arrived at 5:00 on the Otrabanda side (meaning the “other” side), and sweet-talked our way onto the second floor of a very popular sea front restaurant called The Governor. This gave us a great view of the Chapman against the beautiful backdrop of the colorful buildings of Punda. Our goal of the evening was to shoot the Chapman all lit up with Christmas lights, but because the ship was constantly rocking back and forth, we were unable to get any sharp photos.

As Tico and I sat here waiting for darkness, we watched countless tugboats, tankers, Venezuelan floating market boats, and these ferries you see below passing back and forth through the harbor. People normally can walk across the “Swinging Lady Bridge” that connects the two sides; but when that is open for ships to pass back and forth, then the ferry which you see in the foreground transports the pedestrians, which is a free service offered by Curacao.

At 8:00 the party started, and we again tried to get some Chapman Christmas light photos, but the ship was still rocking too much and we ended up putting the camera equipment away and enjoying the party with our friends.

Off to bed, see you tomorrow, Barry

Dec 17, 13     Comments Off on Blue-Light Corals During the Day, Night and Blue-Light

Good morning all, as promised I have three photos showing the same little coral under three different lighting circumstances. The top photo shows our little coral during the day “closed for business” in what I call the “sleeping stage”. The middle photo is the same coral late at night photographed under plain o’l white light produced by an ordinary strobe. Now you can see it’s “open for business” with polyps extended and feeding on passing plankton. The last photo is again the same exact coral late at night under blue-light, pretty cool right?? From what we are seeing here in Curacao, the smaller the corals the more beautiful the colors are, this little treasure here is only about the size of a dime. I did two dives yesterday, one in the afternoon to photograph them closed and again late last night to photograph them open. The hardest part about the night photos is subjecting them to light. These are creatures that are very sensitive to any light, that’s why they are closed during the day. I have had good luck with diffusers on the strobes to tone down the light but once the strobes fire they will instantly begin to close, you gotta be fast!!

We have our big Sea Aquarium Christmas party tonight on the Chapman Research vessel (ship) that will be parked in downtown Punda. For you locals, if your out driving around you may want to do a drive-by to see this thing all lit up in lights, it should be beautiful.

Have a great day, Barry

Dec 16, 13     Comments Off on Blue-Light Flounder, Peacock Flounder, Bothus lunatus

Good morning from Curacao. I had another exhausting but fun weekend of long bike rides, trail building, dog walks, beach combing and diving. Friday evening Stijn and I did a blue-light night dive starting at around 7:00 and after an hour we were both frozen and had to get out! During a normal blue-light dive one of us is in charge of searching for new subjects using a mega-bright hand-held blue-light and wearing a pair of yellow glasses over our masks. On Friday night the job was given to Stijn and he did great, the kid found so many cool new things like the flounder above! Once an item is located I line up on the subject with the camera while he puts the hand held blue-light away and then with an “OK” from me turns on a bright white flood light so I can see to focus, this is really a major team effort and I can not do this alone! The flounder was found at the end of the dive as we were heading back in through our small channel, it’s his cool glowing eye that caught our attention! Most of these flounders lay partially buried in the sand and remain completely motionless, the only thing moving is their cool eyes that are always on the lookout for danger.

On my dive this morning I went back out to photograph the few things we found Friday night. Our goal is to have one photo under blue-light, one under white light at night and another shot during the day, there’s quite a difference in all three! I’ll send a shot of one subject in all three different settings to you later this week.

Tomorrow night is our annual Sea Aquarium Christmas party and this year it will be help on the Chapman. The Chapman as many of you already know is our big ship that transports the “Curasub” submersible to any location we choose to explore. From what I have heard it will be docked in Punda tomorrow night and lit up in Christmas lights and yes I will be somewhere taking photos before the party!!

I trust you all have a handle on your Christmas shopping?? Mine has been done for months, I’m one of those buy it early in the year and put it away, I hate waiting till the last second!

Have a wonderful day!!

Barry

Dec 13, 13     Comments Off on Diving with Endangered Hawksbill Turtle in Bonaire

Good morning friends, don’t you just love sea turtles? They’re one of the most universally loved of all the earth’s ocean creatures but they are in danger of literally being loved to death. At just 10% of their numbers a century ago, the Hawksbill sea turtles of the Solomon Islands especially could really use your help. How you ask?? Go to www.nature.org/turtles and show your support with either a donation, taking part in an eco-torism trip or just by forwarding this blog to others and spreading awareness.

The Nature Conservancy has a wonderful Hawksbill Sea Turtle Program and you can become a Sea Turtle Hero, talk about a great Christmas gift!! Go to www.nature.org/turtles to learn how sea turtle lovers can travel to the Arnavon Islands, accompany conservation officers on their nightly beach patrols to witness hatchings, snorkel on the healthiest coral reefs in the world and even help harvest eggs! Prized for their meat and beautiful shells and overhunted for decades, sea turtle populations cannot stand up to the climate changes that have caused oceans to rise and and swallow up the sandy white beaches where they nest. Fortunately, the Hawksbill sea turtle is one of the great success stories of conservation and The Nature Conservancy’s Hawksbill Sea Turtle Program in the Coral Triangle has been a major factor in their comeback.

Sea Turtles are so intertwined with the cultural heritage of the Solomon Island people and while sea turtle hunting has helped feed islanders for centuries, this practice is no longer sustainable. The Nature Conservancy works directly with communities, educating them about the value of ecotourism while helping them maintain their traditions. Hawksbill sea turtles are crucial to the health of coral reefs and the biodiversity of our planet yet only 1% survive after hatching. 

The above photo is our friend Jen following a majestic Hawksbill Sea Turtle on the wild east coast of Bonaire.

Have a great weekend all and thanks for supporting the turtles!!

Cheers, Barry

Dec 12, 13     Comments Off on Colorful Caribbean Reef Squid, Curacao Cephalopod

Good morning friends, I first want to thank everyone for all the compliments on the driftwood tree I posted yesterday, you guys are too kind!

I have a MEGA colorful Caribbean Reef Squid for your viewing pleasure today that I photographed in 10 feet of water during the day right under our submersible platform. This squid was one of 6 that we had living here for a long time and when they reached a certain size left our protective area and took off to the reef to do what squids do! This one here was around 3-4 inches in length and was one of the most colorful squids I had ever seen! The best thing about them growing up here was that everyday they watched me get in and out of the water and would allow me to get pretty darn close, it was pretty much a photographers dream squid!

Caribbean Reef Squid are largely piscovorous (means feeds of fish) and wait for their prey to approach them during the day. At night, they are more active hunters. Captured prey are generally a few centimeters long, depending upon the size of the squid. In feeding, fish are transported to the mouth by the arms where they are bitten behind the head and secured until eaten. These arms are lined with sharp hooks, corresponding to adapted sucker-rings. The tip of the arms have a cluster of smoother suckers, while the clubs at the ends of the longer tentacles have both connective tubercles and smooth suckers. The squid will feed on the flesh and internal organs of the fish but discard the head, tail, vertebrate column, and ribs. When out hunting, these squid will employ a number of very clever techniques. Individuals may raise their central upper arms to lure potential curious predators. Another method, presently exclusive to Caribbean Reef Squid, involves hiding their tentacles from the vision of their prey until the time to attack. At this time, tentacles are rapidly extended past the limit of the longest arms. Also, squid can bend their tentacles in a hooking v-pattern to aid in capturing smaller prey. In addition, upon approaching food a squid may twist and spiral its tentacles in hopes of confusing its prey.

During the day, they live in large and organized groups but are never close together and usually equally spaced apart. This species does not cooperatively drive its prey but may compete with one another for food at times. They remain closely bunched and will strike at prey generally one at a time then fall back into line with the group. However, they are known to exhibit cannibalistic activity. When ready to feed, they have been observed anchoring themselves, and remain very still, by the arm tips on the seafloor bottom and wait for the appearance of its prey. The fish captured are primarily sardines, dwarf herring, false prichard, red, and hardhead silversides. Other prey include shrimp, mysids, and mollies. Food selection is of greatest important to the survival of young squid. In isolated studies, newly hatched squid were very selective in choosing prey but flourished upon large amounts of mysid crustaceans. Juveniles and adults also capture small planktonic animals (copepods) and small arthropods, something I have never seen yet as a photographer.

Busy day ahead, I have two dives today, one at 10:00 and another at 1:00 followed by a two hour mountain bike ride!

Take care, Barry

Dec 11, 13     Comments Off on MERRY CHRISTMAS from Curacao!! Driftwood Tree

By overwhelming request this morning I’m posting our Driftwood Christmas Tree for your Holiday viewing pleasure. It took us around a year to collect the wood for this tree as we only wanted the coolest, smoothest, most beautiful pieces of driftwood we could find which is not as easy as you might think. We hiked up and down the coast week after week and even hunted inside the mangrove trees and most trips we would only find one or two nice pieces. And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of driftwood to be found in Curacao, but not what we considered “the good stuff”!! All the pieces of wood are completely balanced and resting upon each other meaning there are no nails, screws, zip-ties or string holding it together, it’s like a giant JENGA puzzle! Setting this up along the windy North coast was no easy task because of the high wind, as you can see I had to place heavy rocks on the base just to keep it up and from falling over. The tree breaks down and fits into a bicycle box and really doesn’t weigh that much because of how dry the wood is. The tree is now reassembled in our living room decorated with fun ornaments, lights and flip-flops and we are praying it doesn’t fall over!

A big thanks to my loyal readers out there, you are the reason we do this every day!!

Merry Christmas from Curacao,

Barry, Aimee, Inca and Indi. (and the cat and 4 baby turtles)

Dec 10, 13     Comments Off on Lionfish Eye Photo, Invasive Creatures, Deadly Fish

Hi all, I have a lionfish eyeball for you all today mainly because I don’t have anything else to send! How is this possible you ask when I am always in the water with a camera?? Well, most days I’m just shooting the submersible with it’s passengers and lately at night only blue-light photos so I really don’t have anything new at the moment. We did do a deep-water fish collecting dive yesterday so I may have some new rare aquarium fish pictures for you soon but they are still out on the reef and take a week to decompress and acclimate to the warmer temps. I took this lionfish eye photo the other night while out searching for small corals that we had previously shot with blue-light. Lionfish can be tricky to photograph as they always face towards the reef when first approached with their venomous spines erect signaling to one and all to keep away! This is where another diver (lionfish whisperer) comes in handy to help turn them a bit into the camera so you don’t just get a rear end photo. At night these fish like many others are very easy to approach and it’s the best time to get some cool photos, especially close-ups!! 

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just a few weeks away, where-o-where did this year go??

Have a wonderful day all, Barry

Dec 9, 13     Comments Off on Caribbean Reef Octopus, Octopus briareus, Mollusks

Good morning from sunny Curacao. How was your weekend out there?? Did any of you get around to digging your Christmas decorations out?? We did but I made the mistake again of taking down the lights (last year) from the tree and all over the house and because I was in a rush just tossed them all together in one box!! Yeah, you know where I’m going with this, what a tangled mess! I almost threw them all out and swore I would be more careful this year when putting that stuff away, it kind of kills the Christmas spirit!

I had a very busy but very fun weekend! Our weekend started Friday evening with a fun night dive, Aimee and I did blue-light photos while Stijn swam around us cleaning up unwanted lionfish. We have a giant spotted moray eel who has become a pet of sorts and every lionfish we shoot goes directly to him, he loves them!! I told Stijn next week we have to get that on video of the moray eating the lionfish, it’s so cool! Aimee and I found all kinds of new blue-light creatures but most are so light sensitive that trying to get one good shot can be a major challenge! We found some of the most beautiful little anemones I had ever seen and you would never even know they are there without the use of a blue light. Almost every night dive here in Curacao involves a close-encounter with an octopus or a squid. You would think at some point we would get sick of seeing them but the fascination with these beautiful creatures just never seems to end!! This one here was happily parked on top of a mound of finger corals surrounded by yellow sheets of fire coral. Most of the time these Caribbean Reef octopus are so busy hunting that they completely ignore the divers and seem to know we are not a threat!!

On Saturday Stijn and I left the house at 6:00am with the dogs and took off to get some needed work done on our new mountain bike trail that is currently being built. Then about thirty minutes later three other friends showed up and joined in the digging fun, it’s amazing what you can get done with a little help! We ended up staying out there for around three hours, that’s about all our backs could take! Once home we all (Aimee included) decided to drop everything and go to the movies for an afternoon of popcorn and relaxation. We ended up seeing the movie “Home Front” and folks it was great!! On Sunday, Stijn and I left the house again at o-dark-thirty and got in a fun three hour ride to the Hato airport and back. Since it had rained hard the night before we ended up just riding all over town and doing a lot of road riding instead, it was super fun and I found all kinds of new places to go back to and explore later. After our ride we went for a dive and again fed our pet eel who almost seemed to know we were coming! He again gulped down a few lionfish and after every one he swallowed came back for more, what a pig! That’s my weekend in a nutshell, what did you guys do??

We have a bunch of submersible dives going on today so I need to get moving!

See you soon, Barry

Dec 6, 13     Comments Off on Jumping Dolphin, Baby Bottlenose Jumping

Hi all, I have a jumping baby dolphin shot for you all my dolphin lovers out there today.

We are gearing up for a busy weekend starting with another blue-light night dive this evening. Tomorrow it’s trail work first thing in the morning followed by a dive, then a long walk with the dogs, a three hour bike ride Sunday morning and a long hike at Porto Mari in the afternoon! Stijn is being dropped off this afternoon at our house with his bike and will be spending the whole weekend with us for once, so while we are doing the blue-light photos tonight he will be looking for lionfish for dinner.

Yesterday Aimee and I hauled our driftwood Christmas tree to the North coast and spent two hours setting it up on the sharp limestone cliffs overlooking the sea. The reason for all that work was to photograph it and use it as this years Christmas card which I will be posting soon, we hope you like it. After the shoot we took it all back down, re-boxed it and hauled it back home where it is not re-built again in our living room soon to be covered in lights and ornaments.

Be safe out there and have a great weekend!

Cheers from warm, sunny Curacao,

Barry

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