Mar 242015

We found this greenish/brown longlure frogfish on Bari Reef recently.  It was well camouflaged, as are most frogfish, as it perched atop a brown sponge.

Brown Frogfish S Bari Reef

Brown Frogfish Bonaire

My friend Sharon, a witty fellow (land based) photographer, always has positive comments for the vast array of fish photos we post on Facebook.  This time, however, she commented “Now you’re just messing with us! This is just moldy bread.”  I can see the resemblance.

Mar 222015

I regret the length of time between blog updates as of late.  Typically, I like to post at least once per week, and I’ve generally maintained that schedule (give or take) since I started Reeftraveler in 2011.  But in the past few weeks it seems I’ve been operating on Island Time.  Toes in the water and…?  Well, a little bit of that, but there’s also a more serious underlying reason.

If you’ve followed Reeftraveler for a while, you may remember my post about what it’s like to be a diver with rheumatoid arthritis.  I wrote about the challenges of carrying and donning heavy gear, complete with 12 pounds of weight sitting around my hips.  Then, add a wide, bulky camera rig (which I must grip continually underwater) to the gear roster, and I’m pushing my already painful (and somewhat dysfunctional) joints to their limit.

For the past two years, I’ve enjoyed a relatively healthy, stable period when it comes to dealing with the monster that is called rheumatoid arthritis.  However, I’ve not been as fortunate during the past two-three months.  I’ve had more dive-free days than I prefer, and gripping my camera has, at times, led to the inability to use my hands for a day or two.  Some things that I treasure, like this blog, have had to take a backseat to my quest to get better.

The strange thing about rheumatoid arthritis is that one day you can wake up and feel great, and the next day you may have 4-5 joints aching like you are being stabbed repeatedly with a hot dagger.  Things change very rapidly, and you must learn to deal with it.

So I am dealing with it, and I expect to continue diving and photographing for as long as possible.  Even if it means doing it on Island Time.

Do you face physical challenges when it comes to diving or underwater photography?  How have you learned to deal with it?

Mar 032015

Steve shot this beautiful Music Volute (Voluta musica) recently in Bonaire.  This gastropod mollusk received its name because the intricate detailing which decorates its shell often resembles sheet music.

Found mainly in the Southern Caribbean (and occasionally in the Eastern Caribbean island chain), it is now considered an endangered species in Venezuela.

music volute

More about the Music Volute –

Size – 1.5-3 inches (3.8-7.6 cm)

Habitat – prefer shallow water, often sandy or rocky bottom or reefs

Behavior – predator, scavenger, carnivore, feeds on bivalves, generally nocturnal

One of the factors which has contributed to its endangered status in Venezuela is the beauty of its shell.   The reality is that there is an international market for shells such as the Music Volute.  Shallow water species are hand collected in some areas of the Southern Caribbean, and deeper water species may be subject to trawling.

Please remember to respect our ocean’s creatures. Take only photos, leave only bubbles.

Feb 152015

How many colors can Octopus vulgaris (aka the Common Octopus) wear?  While tones of brown are its usual choice, the common octopus can also change to white, red and even purple.

I took each of these photos of the same octopus within a five minute period.

common octopus

Octopus medium solid brown

Octopus speckled

common octopus

octopus white

The Common Octopus, by the numbers.

3 – number of hearts in its body (I had no idea)

3 – number of oceans in which it lives (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian)

8 – number of tentacles it has (this is pretty obvious)

9 – number of brains it has (What? Wow!)

12-18 – number of months in its average life span (life is short)

22 – its maximum weight, in pounds (10 kg)

24-36 – its average length, in inches (61-91 cm)

While I’ve seen the Common Octopus display many different colors and patterns, I have never seen it turn red. And since red is the color it turns to show anger, that’s OK with me.

Have you seen it turn red, or any other unusual color?

PS – I would never touch, poke, harass, disturb or otherwise harm an animal to obtain a photo, and I would not condone such practices.

Feb 082015

We recently stopped by Bonaire’s Animal Shelter to have a look at the newly completed Cat Palace.

The Cat Palace

The Cat Palace

The Cat Palace is a deluxe compound where the feline residents can eat, sleep, play, climb, scratch and receive attention.  The interior is bright, spacious and immaculately clean.

inside cat palace

shelter cage

cats eating

We were totally impressed, but how did the cats feel about their new abode?  While I don’t have cat whisperer credentials, I think it’s safe to say that they are purrfectly content.

cats playing


cats in palace

Want to see for yourself?  Check out the cat cam to see what the cats are up to.

Want to help the shelter?  Check out this page to find out how.

Maybe you want to adopt a cat or even a puppy?

puppy pen