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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pocketful of rainbows

Rumours, damn rumours and outright lies! Toni and Jay swore blind that pipehorses had been spotted through the week just off the mini wall. However hearsay and reality proved to be exclusive of each other today and there was no sign of them. I demand a refund.
Can I interest you in a photo?
But despite the erroneous information handed to us, as always there was still more than enough to keep us entertained for an hour or three. There was a lot of swell at the surface and poor viz below but it was gradually getting better as the morning went on.
Orange sided goby on a brain coral
And just like last week but even more so, it was turtle madness in the water, pun intended. Feeding turtles everywhere on the wall with their usual entourage of angelfish hoping to dart in for a quick nibble.
Feeding time!
Munch, munch, burp
Do I have anything on my face?
There were also some opportunities for some great macro shots, some of them proving to be quite challenging to get the camera into. Someone needs to invent an underwater endoscope.
Look very hard, a pair of squat anemone shrimp
Red stripe hermit on the prowl
And a relative hanging around on some coral
We also thought we had a boat cruising right over the top of us, it was that loud and noisy, but looking up it just turned out to be torrential rain pounding the surface. That's the good thing about diving, it dosn't matter if its raining, you're going to get wet anyway.
A rare shot of a honeycomb cowfish. Rare because it's almost facing the camera and not showing its arse to the lens like usual!
A young spotted drum almost stops for the camera
We still check the hardpan in the shallows on the way back just to make sure no seahorse have sneaked in whilst we weren't looking but they were a no show. I think it will probably be another couple of months before we start to see them again. It'll be worth the wait though.
The unfortunate peacock flounder. Face like a smacked arse
The colour of the sponges really "pop" under strobe light

A lovely little rough head blenny
 And to cap off the end of the dive I spotted the tiniest little thing I have seen in a while (no, it's not what you're thinking...) hiding at the bottom of a barrel sponge. It was about 3mm at best and I've no idea what it is as it's to small to Identify in any of my books. I think it may be a juvenile orange sided goby but I could be wrong.
Tiny, tiny, tiny little thing
If anyone out there wants to correct me then I'd be more than happy to hear from you. Until the next time, safe diving!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Supernaut

Another perfect day in the water, with the wind dropping off and the temperatures rising. It's almost back to normal again. Mind you the forecasted storm did hit us come midday but we were well out the water and away by the time that arrived.

Little bit of surge on the dive which stirred things up a little at the bottom which made for a cloudy dive in the shallows but that cleared up after getting a little depth.
Clear blue water. Nice
With my faithful pet Snapper by my side, we ventured off to see what we could find today. Which turned out to be loads of turtles amongst other things. 

The water was crawling with them today for some reason, I mean we normally see a turtle or two most dives but you couldn't swing a fin without nearly hitting one this morning.
One of many turtles cruising today
A lot of the ones we found were feeding on the elephant ear sponges as well as being accompanied by a collection of angelfish who would dart in for any goodies that got stirred up during the meal. 

One turtle shot I had lined up perfectly got photo-bombed by a queen angelfish, though not the shot I was after, still pretty to look at. That's the way of underwater photography, sometimes unexpected things happen that turn out for better than expected....
"No, take a picture of me instead!"
A lot of morays were out and about cruising amongst the reef and a few at cleaning stations as well, obviously getting their morning grooming done before heading out to the shops.

A spotted moray with cleaning attendant
We came of the wall and got a bit more depth just to see what else may be hanging around out there and had some more turtles do a fly past as well as some nice shoals of sweet lips and grunts. 

My faithful snapper, Spot brought some more of his friends out to play with us and they were more than happy to nudge and generally pester us for several minutes. Next week I'm taking a ball and going to train him to play fetch.
Oh Spot, you scallywag!
There was plenty of small stuff to find as well this morning. Remember that patience needed for a lot of shots that you take to get the shot you are happy with, especially some of the small stuff. It's not unusual for me to sit for 20-25 minutes just to get a shot of something I'm happy with, as they say, good things come to those that wait.
A happy orange sided goby
Blennies, gobies, hermit crabs and cowries where on the list of things to be seen today. There was a beautiful sailfin blenny which I did sit for ages trying to get a shot of with the dorsal fin fully opened up, but it was immensely camera shy and after a long time it only graced me with a head shot.
You've got to come out some time.......
Still, you take what you can get and I had the added bonus of a lettuce leaf slug crawling past not a couple of inches away. Double point score.
That's right, you just look ashamed and crawl away like the slug that you are!
And towards the end of the dive there were a pair of flamingo tongue cowries getting horizontal. Literally. Now I'm not one to be a voyeur but I'm considering selling the shots to The Sun newspaper. I'm sure there's a good scandal in there somewhere....
That's disgusting! Further pictures on pages, 2,3,7,9,11,14,15,16 and pretty much the rest of the paper....
If you're going to end a dive, make sure you end it on a juicy sex scandal! Safe diving everyone!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Stan Waterman Retires

A champion of the Cayman Islands, he made his final dive here last week before retiring.I hope I'm still diving and shooting pictures at 90! 

Well done sir, we salute you and all your achievements.

Link: HERE

"Stan Waterman, avid diver and pioneer of underwater film and photography, donned his scuba gear for the final time last week. Not bad for a man who celebrated his 90th birthday the week before." 

"Mr. Waterman was among the first to embrace the sport of recreational diving and has spent over 60 years exploring the underwater realm. He has filmed everything from underwater scenes in Hollywood movies to documentaries for the National Geographic, winning numerous awards, including five Emmys for his ground-breaking work. He has also produced two films for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, promoting the Islands as a dive destination."

One of Stans many front cover appearances.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Back in the saddle

Finally got the all clear and despite some minor bruising and tenderness, after over two months, I'm back in the water again. Awesome!.

To celebrate we invaded Lighthouse Point and had some of the best conditions I've ever seen there. Someone knew I was coming......31C at the surface, 27C in the water, 30+ metre viz and no current, you couldn't ask for any better.

Given that this is one of my favourite sites for macro, it was time to got to work, especially as we'd had reports of some flabellina engeli in the vicinity. The hunt was on!
"Wave your antennae in the are like you just don't care!"
As always here, slow and steady wins the race and it pays to scour the hardpan in the first 6 metres as you never know what your going to find. Gobies and blennies were out in force today and it would have been rude not to get some shots of them.
A nice saddled blenny in amongst the coral
As always it wouldn't be a dive here without our faithful snapper Spot following closely by our side, sometimes a little too closely as he would scare off potential subjects or just block the lens. I think a little more house training is in order........
Spot hogs the camera as usual. There was actually a hammerhead behind him. No, honest!
As always when you go diving, you need to go down with a specific plan in mind, e.g. today's mission was macro but when there's so many nice things to shoot you do get side tracked, even if you know you have the wrong lens on for the shot, you know you still have to chance it. You might just get lucky......

There were more than enough morays out and about today and there was a particularly nice little juvenile goldentail that was just loved watching itself in the lens port.
"Look deep into the fiery lidless eye of Sauron!"

There were also some monstrous spiny lobsters out on the reef for a scuttle as well as some channel crabs of unusual size (as opposed to R.O.U.S. And if you never watched the Princess Bride, then shame on you!)
"Hey, I'm scuttling here, I'm scuttling!!!
We gave the dive site a thorough scouring but failed to turn up any nudis on this particular visit, but there's plenty more dives ahead. So it was back to shooting some familiar faces in the hopes of some nudis next week.....maybe.
Peek-a-boo....




Sunday, 14 April 2013

True facts about the Sea Pig

Another in the series of "true facts....." videos. Splendid stuff!

"...whilst bacon from the sea pig tastes like a fish farted on a dirty beach cracker"

"remember if someone scares you, just bend over and fart your lungs all over that b*stard..."


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Brothers in arms

Yes, I know, I'm still not back in the water yet. Over two months now but hopefully the end is in sight. 

Another visit to the doc with steroid injections, more bandages and more pills to take, I swear if I jump up and down you can hear me rattle......

In the meantime please enjoy some of my nudi shots from around the globe and I promise to be back with an underwater bang soon because I'm drying out on the surface! Dive safe.










Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Underwater Basketweaving

Long safety stops getting you down. Wish you had more than your dive tables/stage plan to fiddle with? 

Then fear not! You too can keep yourself occupied with this brand new hobby of underwater basket weaving! 

Say goodbye to those off-gassing blues as you weave your way into a new skill in just five weeks!!

I've already signed up, have you???

Link: HERE

"In this course, you will learn to weave beautiful, structurally superior wet-weave baskets in the ancient Aquacamamata style. Underwater basket weaving is a craft that seamlessly merges scientific intellectualism, manual dexterity, and deep spiritual engagement. We look forward to having you with us on this exciting journey into art and anthropology!"