Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Loreto Diving

We're scuba diving for six days in Loreto. This is our fifth trip here over the last ten years, obviously we like it! One of the main reasons we come back is Rafael Murillo at Dolphin Dive. He is a Loreto local and is both very knowledgeable about the sea life, and also very friendly and fun. He has been the manager of Dolphin Dive and the main dive master since we have been coming here. We were happy to find out that he and and a partner have taken over ownership. The first time I came here to dive I was newly certified with only about 10 dives. Rafael did a great job of looking after a bumbling newbie and we've been coming back ever since. With about 200 dives now, I hope we're not quite as much trouble!

dive boat

I still struggle with underwater photography. It's a challenge with the visibility, lack of light, shy fish, everything moving, and trying to operate the camera inside a bulky housing with an awkward external flash. I'm happy if I get the subject in the frame and it's half decently exposed, and more or less sharp. Worrying about nice light and backgrounds and artistic composition is still beyond me. Part of the problem, of course, is that we only dive once or twice a year, whereas I take photos above land all the time. I have to learn from Rafael who takes great underwater photographs.

The sea stars are one of the easiest subjects - they are common, colorful, and don't move! They actually have quite interesting details if you get closeup shots.

sea star

sea star

These little boxfish are quite common, but also somewhat shy.

Spotted  Boxfish

The christmas tree worms are also common but they are hard to photograph close up because if you disturb them they contract and disappear. (A pair of "christmas trees" is a single worm.) As I recall, the movie Avatar had some vegetation that was a lot like these.


It's hard to capture the feeling of being surrounded by schools of fish. The Sergeant Majors are one of the most common.


Here's a closer look at a few of them.


Here are some straightforward "id" shots of different fish.

King Angelfish



Moorish Idol

The scorpionfish are well camouflaged, but you don't want to step on one since they have poisonous spines. The eyes are easiest to spot in this photo.

spot the scorpion fish

I wonder if this boxfish realizes that the scorpionfish is an ambush predator?

scorpion fish and spotted boxfish

These giant damselfish are quite territorial and will chase away other fish, and even attempt to chase away divers (generally unsuccessfully!) They clear a patch of rock (like the one behind this one) to lay their eggs on.

Giant Damselfish

The porcupinefish are funny looking with their big eyes. They are another shy fish and will swim away as soon as you get your camera ready. Presumably their eyes are so big for night vision.

porcupine fish

Now that Shelley is diving with her GoPro, we both get absorbed by our photography and we enjoy the long slow dives (like when Rafael brings his camera) that give us lots of time to look at things.


See all 43 photos as a slideshow or overview

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