Jun 032016
 

World Ocean’s Day is June 8th, and this year’s theme is “Healthy oceans, healthy planet”.  It’s been a while since we’ve discussed plastic pollution here on the blog, so in the spirit of World Ocean’s Day 2016, we wanted to reinstate a serial post called Breakup with Plastic, Makeup with the Ocean.

In these short periodic posts, we will provide a tip as to how you can reduce, reuse or recycle your plastic wares.

flyer-top-NoDate

Tip 4 – Eliminate the use of beauty and personal care products containing plastic microbeads.

First, what are microbeads?  Microbeads are tiny plastic balls that are used in some cosmetic exfoliators, body washes, facial washes, scrubs, toothpastes and other products.

Why are microbeads bad?  Microbeads are a major source of plastic pollution in our oceans, lakes and other bodies of water.  Due to their minute size, they are not filtered out of the wastewater at sewage treatment plants. Also, they act as toxin absorbers, causing harm when they are inevitably ingested by marine life.  Eventually these tiny spheres move up the food chain, and we all know what that means for human who consume fish.

How can I determine that my products are microbead free?  By 2017, it will be illegal to manufacture and sell a cosmetic product containing microbeads in the United States.  Until then, or if you live in an area that has not banned microbeads, become a label-reading sleuth.  Look for the ingredients polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, nylon or polymethlyl methacrylate, especially when purchasing products which claim to exfoliate or deep clean the skin.

Plastic pollution of our oceans may be a HUGE issue, but small changes CAN and DO help.  Please remember that your actions add up.

 

More about World Ocean’s Day 2016

This year World Ocean’s Day is organizing a Better Bag Challenge.  By taking the challenge, you promise not to take any disposable plastic bags for a whole year.  You can share your commitment on social media using the hashtag #BetterBagChallenge.

challenge-box

May 122016
 

The Carmabi Marine Research Station based in Curacao has published its annual coral spawning calendar for the southern Caribbean, including Bonaire.

Coral Spawning Bonaire

2015 Spawning Event captured by Steve

If you are in Bonaire during August, September or October, you may be lucky enough to witness this amazing reproductive activity.  In order to maximize your chances, it’s best to find an experienced guide.

Bonaire Coral Spawning Calendar 2016

Apr 202016
 

Lately I’ve been interested in wave photography.  I’m still a beginner when it comes to this photography medium, but I’m hoping to hone my skills to produce some interesting images.

A wave crests over Bachelor's Beach, Bonaire

A wave crests over Bachelor’s Beach, Bonaire

Speaking of honing my skills, I thought it would be helpful for me to delve into the world of waves for a bit.  What exactly are waves?  How are they generated?  Why do they always knock us down at the worst times?  These are basic concepts that I knew a bit about, but a refresher was definitely in order.

Another view from Bachelor's Beach

Another view from Bachelor’s Beach

The majority of the waves we see in the ocean are wind-generated, and they are caused by the wind blowing across the ocean’s surface.  There are three major factors that determine a wave’s size: 1) how long the wind blows, 2) how strong the wind blows, and 3) how far the wind blows (called fetch). The highest part of a wave is the crest, lowest part is the trough.  The wave height is the distance from the trough to the crest.

A wave spills onto Te Amo Beach, Bonaire

A wave spills onto Te Amo Beach, Bonaire

A particularly cool fact about waves is that water does not travel through the ocean via waves. Energy is what does the traveling.

A shimmery wave at Bachelor's

A sunlit wave at Bachelor’s

On the verge of a crest at Te Amo Beach

On the verge of a spill at Te Amo Beach

Here are some other facts about waves.

-The tallest wave ever measured was 1719 feet (523m)  at Lituya Bay, Alaska.

-The tallest wave recorded in the open ocean was 95 feet (29m) during a storm near Scotland.

-Other causes of waves aside from wind are – gravitational pull (tides), earthquakes, volcano eruptions and landslides.

-A tsunami wave can travel 500 mph (804kph) in deep water.

If you know a thing or two about photographing waves, care to share any tips?

Mar 272016
 

When we first started traveling to Bonaire, we stayed at Sand Dollar or Den Laman, so Bari Reef was always our house reef.  If I had a “home” underwater, Bari Reef would be it.

Green Sea Turtle on Bari Reef

Green Sea Turtle on Bari Reef

So why is Bari Reef so appealing to us?  There are several reasons.  First and most impressive is the fact that it is home to the most diverse array of fish life in the Caribbean (as cited by REEF).  According to REEF, there have been 300 species of fish spotted and recorded here.

Redlip Blenny on Bari Reef

Redlip Blenny on Bari Reef

Another reason that we love to dive here is the ease of access to the reef.  The shore diving entry at the public access site is relatively non-treacherous when compared to other dive sites on the island.  When you are toting a large camera rig, choosing sites with an easy entry is of prime importance (even for those who are generally surefooted).

And finally, the conditions on Bari Reef are typically good since it is protected its proximity to Klein Bonaire.  The current here is generally mild, and it is a quick and easy swim out to the reef.

Mahogany Snapper, Bari Reef

Mahogany Snapper, Bari Reef

Below are more of our recent shots from Bari Reef.

Porcupinefish

Porcupinefish

Glassy Sweeper

Glassy Sweeper

Peacock Flounder

Peacock Flounder

We first spotted this longlure frogfish in this upright position.

We first spotted this longlure frogfish in this upright position.

A few minutes later, Steve watched it do a headstand.

A few minutes later, Steve watched it do a headstand.

Do you dive at Bari Reef?  What do you like most about it?

Feb 262016
 

Bonaire is a nature lover’s paradise.  Many visitors are lured here by the spectacular underwater life and crystal clear aqua waters.  And while the sea life is incredible, sometimes we need to decompress and look upwards.

There are over 210 species of sea birds, shore birds and land birds on Bonaire, and the island is an excellent habitat for bird watching and bird photography.  The vibrant Caribbean Flamingo is the most well-known of Bonaire’s birds, but there are many other beautiful species to behold.

The Yellow-shouldered Parrot (Amazona barbadensis) is the sole species of parrot native to the ABC islands (it is now extinct on Aruba).  It is an endangered species that is highly protected on Bonaire.

Yellow-shouldered Parrot

Yellow-shouldered Parrot

Other interesting land birds found on Bonaire are the Brown-throated Parakeet (Aratinga pertinax) and the Bare-eyed Pigeon (Columba corensis).

Brown-throated Parakeet

Brown-throated Parakeet

Bare-eyed Pigeon

Bare-eyed Pigeon

Among Bonaire’s shore birds, both herons and egrets are commonly seen wading in the mangrove areas or marshlands.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Snowy Egret in Flight

Snowy Egret in Flight

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)

The majestic Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentals) is a sea bird that is often seen making dramatic dives into the ocean to feed.

Pelican

Brown Pelican

Pelican

Brown Pelican

Other sea birds found on Bonaire are the Frigatebird (Fregata magnificent), which is the most common sea bird on the island, and the Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus).

Royal Terns

Royal Terns

For more on Bonaire’s bird life –

Birds of Bonaire

Avibase

Info Bonaire

What is your favorite bird species on Bonaire?