Any die-hard canned-air breather has heard of Bonaire. I finally
got my chance to dive this top-flight destination myself in June
of 2006. As an added bonus I finally got the full use of my UW camera
and strobe package, which made nighttime photos possible.
To see these same fish in mid-flight, check
out this video.
The difference it makes is incredible, as I'm sure you will agree
if you compare my photos with previous years. However, as will clearly
be evident my camera setup is designed for up close macro photography
- which it does a very good job of. However, the wide-angle, panoramic
shots suffer at times because of this, and thus I do not have many
wide-angle shots of the reef. Here is one that turned out well,
I got to see and photograph several things for the first time.
Among my favorites is the seahorse photos I was able to capture.
And the Frogfish...
Although I had spotted a pair of Spotted Eagle Rays long ago in
Jamaica, I was never able to get a good look nor capture them on
film (or digital media I suppose). This particular individual was
at least 20 o more feet below me, but I was able to watch it gracefully
glide over the reef and get a halfway decent photo.
The Florida Keys gave me my first view of a Green Moray, but it
was Bonaire that gave me the chance to photograph one.
Shhhh, don't wake it up...
Ever get the feeling you are being watched?
Look closer, it's not just a Fireworm in the above photo. A closer
inspection reveled I was being watched! If you can't see the eye
looking at back at you, look at the photo below. Note the same Fireworm
in the lower right hand corner in the below photo.
Keeping the aggressive theme going for one more photo is this Grouper...
Seeing and swimming with my very first squid was very cool...
But doing it with 14 at the same time was way cooler!
Getting overrun by a school of Atlantic Blue Surgeonfish is always
an enjoyable experience.
To swim along with those same Surgeonfish from above enjoy
this 60 second QuickTime video I captured.
Locating different eels, even those not as large as the Green Moray,
is always rewarding. I came across several varieties over the course
of the week, such as this one on a night dive underneath the town
pier. I also caught one eel free swimming during the day - not a
common occurrence. Have a look for yourself in
this QuickTime video.
On my last day of diving I choose to go diving on the windward
side of the island. Waves regularly reaching 10 feet and larger
pound the reef crest. The prevailing 20mph trade winds ensure a
roller coaster ride on each dive, but the quick access to deep water
and nearly complete lack of diving pressure results in frequent
large animal sightings. It was this day that I captured the photos
of the Green Moray, large Grouper, and turtles. In addition, I also
had the chance to swim with possibly 100 very large tarpon - many
possibly weighing in excess of 150lbs.
How many tarpon can you count in
Check out this
vertical wall of plating Montipora...
When we sucked our air cans dry and had to surface we did so one
at a time due to the rolling waves topside. We waited our turn hovering
in roughly 20 feet of water over a shallow reef. I took this video
of the Gorgonians
swaying in the waves.
I have always been a fan to the masters of camouflage. The picture
below has a baby Octopus in it...
While this one hides a poisonous Scorpionfish...
Many more excellent photos exist in the
complete photo album.
Finally, as a special treat to those of you who made it this far,
you can now view this 20 minute long professional quality video
of a dive off Klien Bonaire, the small island off-shore of Bonaire.
I did not film this video; Credits exist within the video. It is
a VERY large file ~ 800MB ~ so right click the link and select "Save
Target As" and view once it has completed its download. It
is .avi file and playable with Windows Media Player. Enjoy!
If you would like to enjoy the top-side of Bonaire, check
out this page.
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