Sep 262015
 

If you’re a New York Times Travel section reader, you may have already seen the two new underwater webcams at Harbour Village Beach Resort in Bonaire.

The first webcam allows us to dive into the underwater world on the house reef.  Here you’re likely to spot striped grunts, damselfish and other reef inhabitants without donning a dive mask or scuba tank.  Here’s a screenshot.

View of underwater webcam at Harbour Village Beach Resort house reef

View of underwater webcam at Harbour Village Beach Resort house reef

The second webcam shows a view of the underwater coral nursery that was established in 2015 via a partnership between Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and Harbour Village Beach Resort.  Please see this post for more about Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire.  Here’s a screenshot.

Coral Nursery at Harbour Village Beach Resort in Bonaire

Coral Nursery at Harbour Village Beach Resort in Bonaire

These two new webcams have been added to our webcams page here on Reeftraveler.  Here you will find links to tropical webcams from Fiji, Australia, Bali, Thailand, the Caribbean, Ecuador, Seychelles, Mauritius, the Maldives and many more tropical locales.  A word of warning, don’t visit this page unless you have lots of time on your hands.  It’s quite addictive.

Webcam Links

Webcam – Harbour Village Beach Resort House Reef

Webcam – Harbour Village Beach Resort and Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire coral nursery

Apr 032015
 

On a recent night dive Steve had another encounter with an eight-tentacled sea dweller.  But instead of the more abundant Common Octopus, this time a Caribbean Reef Octopus (O. briareus) made a rare appearance.

caribbean reef octopus

caribbean reef octopus

Like many octopi, the Caribbean Reef Octopus is a master of disguise.  This intelligent invertebrate has been known to mimic the shape and color of algae or even a coconut.  In addition to camouflage, it uses jet propulsion and ink discharge to avoid and deter predators.

Here’s a video, shot by Steve.

Have you seen the Caribbean Reef Octopus?  Daytime or night dive?

May 222014
 

A new underwater webcam has been added to our Webcams page, and it’s a good one!  From Explore.com, this underwater webcam from Grand Cayman’s East End is sure to capture some interesting action on the reef.

You can even take your own snapshot from this cam and share it on social media.  Here’s my shot below.

cayman cam

Special thanks to our friend Dan for sending me the link to this webcam!

Mar 282014
 

This post is written by Mr. Reeftraveler (aka Steve).

Mr. Reeftraveler

Mr. Reeftraveler

While following Meredith toward our exit from an early afternoon dive on Bari Reef in Bonaire, I had the scuba diver’s equivalent of a Michael Corleone moment: “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.”

At a depth of around 10 feet (3m), with just over 600 psi (41 bar) left in the tank and my buddy headed up the ladder, I was taking a last look back toward the reef when a critter a few feet below the surface caught my eye.

Before I could fully focus on it, the pattern match clicked in my head.  Squid.  That’s where we usually see them – clearish, streamlined with trailing tentacles, hanging just beneath the waterline.  A second later, more thoughts flashed

Not Squid – Jelly?  Need a photo of this.  Let me swim closer.

Tamoya Oboya, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Tamoya Oboya, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Boxy clear head and brightly striped tentacles.  What the heck?  (or the NJ native equivalent)

Don’t remember seeing this in any of the Humann & DeLoach fish or marine creature identification books.

Looks like a big sea wasp, or Australian box jelly, but the tentacles are all wrong.  There are four, and they’re not jelly looking at all – they are opaque and striped in a reddish copper and white banding, with no signs of trailing tendrils.

 Box Jellyfish/Chironex Fleckeri - Photo from Wikipedia Commons - Guido Gautsch, Toyota, Japan

Box Jellyfish/Chironex Fleckeri – Photo from Wikipedia Commons – Guido Gautsch, Toyota, Japan

It’s getting closer.  Back off.  Breathe.  Check gauge.  400 psi.

Dad always said beware critters that make no effort to hide. Those tentacles qualify.  Respect.

Hmmm – there are 4-5 fish swimming alongside it.   Maybe silversides or some kind of juveniles?  Is that one inside the jelly?

Fish Inside Tamoya Oboya, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Tamoya Ohboya, by Mr. Reeftraveler

Time to get some video and get home without bumping into this thing.

Closing on 250psi.  Low on air, time to exit.  Is that another chain moray in 6 feet?  OK, maybe just one more shot…

On exit, got the instant ID from another rare breed – the ever-helpful and supremely knowledgeable Michael G of Bonaire Help Desk – who confirmed it as the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish, aka Tamoya Ohboya.  Turns out it is not in the Humann & DeLoach books (yet) and its Wikipedia listing reports roughly 50 confirmed sightings, 45 on Bonaire.  In my 35 years of diving Bonaire, this was certainly a first for me – and a moment I will not soon forget.

For more on Tamoya Ohboya-

Tamoya ohboya – A Rare Sighting in Bonaire

Feb 142014
 

There is a certain frogfish on a certain unnamed reef that receives far too much attention.  On almost every dive we’ve done on this reef, we’ve encountered a cluster of photographers and divers hovering over this poor fish. Most are polite, thankfully.  But all too often we’ve seen this fish blindsided by far too many high-powered flashes, focus lights and bright video lights.  Some photographers don’t know where to draw the line.  Unlike a jack or an angelfish, the frogfish lacks the speed and agility to escape the light.

I’ve recently witnessed some poor and unsettling behavior on the reef.  Sometimes it’s the new diver, who can’t yet control his/her buoyancy, and who decides to take a camera on a dive.  We were all diving novices once, so perhaps this diver just requires a bit of education.

But other times it is the experienced diver, handling a domed SLR with dual strobes and focus lights, that is desperate to get “the shot” at any price.

If we as photographers all follow a few basic guidelines, we can continue to coexist peacefully with both divers and critters alike.

Underwater Photography Etiquette

Underwater Photography Etiquette

Do you have anything to add to the list above?  Do you have pet peeves about underwater photographers?

Download this guide as a PDF by clicking below.

Underwater Photo Etiquette