Monday, January 25, 2010

A Good Day Diving

We had another good day of diving today (in Bonaire). In the morning we went out on our own (first time) from shore. It's not the best reef but there were still tons of fish and a moray eel and even a small sea turtle. Frustratingly, when I went to take pictures of the turtle, my camera said "please change the battery". Argh! We managed to go out and back and return to exactly the right spot (not always as easy as you might think underwater).

Waiting to go out on the boat in the afternoon, a group of dolphins showed up and we watched them from shore and then from the boat as we headed out. It's always nice to see them.

On our afternoon dive we saw a seahorse, the first one we'd seen in the wild and not in an aquarium. It was in a hole in the coral and everyone was crowding around to see it, so no photos unfortunately. As Shelley puts it, people were standing on her head to get in to see it.

And then on the way back we saw another sea turtle and this time I got some photos. It was another small one (maybe 15 inches) but for a change it was swimming towards us instead of heading away. It passed a few feet under me. Very nice.

And as usual here, a zillion fish. There are so many different ones and often males and females are quite different (like the Stoplight Parrotfish) and often juveniles are quite different from adults. To complicate things some of them change sex. And we're only trying to identify the bigger ones, there are a ton of smaller ones too. There's nothing like it on land - you might see a flock of birds or a cloud of insects but not so many different kinds at once and close up, all around you.

It's really hard to take good photographs. I'd like a better underwater camera, but as usual, it's not just the camera, it's the photographer. Everything is always moving - you're moving, the fish are moving, the soft coral is moving. And there's not much light so you have slow shutter speeds, large apertures, and high iso - a recipe for blurry photos. Many of the creatures don't like being approached too closely. The Christmas Tree worms are a good example - as soon as you move in for a close up, they disappear. And even when the visibility is good (as it has been here) it's seldom clear enough to use telephoto, you pretty much have to get close. So my diving photos are not what I'd like, the equivalent of tourist snapshots. But it's fun to take them anyway. And it helps to identify the fish afterwards.

1 comment:

  1. Just saw your first set of underwater pics. They look great to me! I especially love the large Midnight Parrot fish! What a wonderful shade of blue :o) PS We just went through a nice blizzard and should be back in the deep freeze by the time you get home, just thought you would like to know :o)