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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.

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Jun 21, 17     Comments Off on Valley of the Sponges Dive Site, St. Eustatius

Good morning, I’m finally getting around to actual dive photos I took on my last trip to the Caribbean, here’s a little window into a dive-site called “Valley of the Sponges”. The morning we did this dive a small boat came from shore over to our ship and picked me and two other Smithsonian friends up and off we went for a three hour, two tank dive. Because St. Eustatius is one big volcano we had to go almost two miles offshore to get to this dive-site, it’s for sure the furthest I have ever been from any given shore. I remember we were already soaked before we even got to the drop-site because of high winds, big waves and a tiny boat, good thing I had already put on my wetsuit. Once we arrived we wasted no time getting in, especially after that crazy ride, we all knew it would be nice and calm underwater and raced to jump in. I had two science people with and they both took off in different directions in search of something different and I went in search of beautiful reef scenes. These kind of dive trips are hard for me because I know I will most likely not be back and I try as hard as I can to cover as much reef as possible in a one hour time period. On my way down from the boat I can usually see my first objects to shoot and from there I race around like a crazy person trying to take as many photos as I can in this short period of time, it actually should be an Olympic event. This particular dive-site was littered with my favorite giant red barrel sponges and they were in every shape and color, I was honestly going crazy trying to figure out how can I shoot them all! I did end up with a great collection of photos, one of my favorites is the top one with the corals growing inside the barrel sponge, this would be a rare sight in Curacao but here I found this fairly common, maybe they know they are more protected in there?? Any ways, if you are visiting the island of St. Eustatius have your dive operator take you here, it’s truly a unique dive-site with lots of sponges, sea-fans and barracuda’s.

Off to start the day..

Barry

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