|Me with my camera|
So, with that said, after more than two years of using the thing I keep asking myself when I’m going to start getting good at it. I say that because every time I download the shots, especially when it comes to the video, I feel like kicking myself in the pants for continually repeating the same old mistakes, primarily my penchant for panning the camera too fast. Usually I’ll do it when in spite of myself I’ll try to keep up with the flight path of some quickly moving fish. Later, viewing the dismal results, I always mutter to myself that next time I’ll concentrate on NOT doing that, but the sight of a fish darting past my sightline just makes me lose my mind.
At 14 and a half minutes, the embedded clip below is just about as long as I’m allowed to post in YouTube. All together, I probably took more than two hours of video during the nine dives we made based out of The Claveria Lagoon. In my previous post I attached a compilation video of the many minutes that we spent in and around “the cave,” which for me was certainly the highlight of the expedition.
So, the cave notwithstanding, the clip I’ve inserted below I guess you could call the highlights of most everything else we saw. About the only thing I forgot to add to it is a very cool clip of a large tube anemone about five inches across and about the same high. I find those things extremely fascinating, the way they instantly snap out of sight in the blink of an eye. Whoosh! I’ll include the very short video of it somewhere below. In fact, how about right here?
Anyway, the compilation video posted directly below begins with a gorgeously clear shot at the top of coral hill, bright blue water as a sweet backdrop of a teaming swarm of mixed colorful tropicals. But once again I let my camera follow where my eyes are pulled when a little bright blue wrasse darts downwards. Sorry about that.
I think THE primary reason I love to use my underwater camera is for what I’ve been doing even as I write this, using the captured images to try to identify what it is I’ve seen. I can barely tolerate not knowing the name of each life form I discover. I MUST know! The problem I have is that there are literally thousands of species down there, many of them resembling one another. Because of this I’ve spent countless hours on the internet combing through photos trying to correctly ID MY particular creature right down to the spot on its fin or strip behind its mouth.
1:06 minutes: In the video there is a large mat of some kind of coral, anemone or sponge. It is the bland brown color of an old fashioned rubber band, and indeed, it feels rubbery when I carefully pat it with my gloved hand. Just below this mass of rubbery living carpet I pan for a while to two large lionfish.
1:55 to 4:25: while casually filming nothing in particular I am pleasantly stunned when a three foot sea snake, scientifically called a Laticauda laticaudata, suddenly comes into view. I am ascending when it appears only a couple feet to my front. My first instinct is to pull back, but I soon recover my pluck and move the camera within a few inches of it as it makes its way along the holes and cracks of the rock and coral wall.
Even though there are times when I’m nearly touching it with the camera the snake hardly acknowledges my presence, and continues to explore every hole and crack it can stick its head into, I assume looking for a meal. I’ve watched the clip of it many times now admiring how it moves so effortlessly through the water. Watching it swim it appears to be slightly negatively buoyant so that it tends to drop once it completely stops. To move through the water it uses the undulation of its body and flattened tail. I’m not sure how long it can hold its breath, but eventually it must go back to the surface to breathe. I followed this creature for quite some time and if not for Don waiting for me up the hill I probably would have spent a lot longer with it.
One more comment about this striking creature—watching as it checks every crevice and cranny along its path, I’m reminded of how much it behaves exactly like Don and I do in the water. We also are compelled to peer into every promising area along our way, and once we find something new or interesting we don’t leave until we’ve had our “fill.” We are like human sea snakes.
4:25 to 4:38. At this time, with the water slightly silty and with much lower light due to the deeper depth, we see the screen completely filled with fish. For me, the star of this group is a single large clown triggerfish, a species that we have not seen all that often in the Claveria area. You can’t miss this beauty in the multitude—its top half is dark while its bottom half is a series of white circles outlined in black.
|clownfish trigger in the middle. See it?|
|a gorgonian or sea fan on side of cliff to access current flow|
|clear blue water, fluttering fish, cliff face|
|another nudibranch, wonderful to see|
|Another delicately colored nudibranch|
|And yet another|
|and another, their variety is unending|
|Anemone and clownfish|
10:19 to 13:14. We found “The arch” last year; you can read about it in this post. Since discovering it I’ve always wanted to surface to get a better idea of where it is using the topside geology as a reference. So that’s what I do in this clip. It starts with Don near the sea floor; having already passed under the arch, he’s a good 30 feet below me and probably 40 feet to my front. I purposely let him get well ahead of me for the shot.
|storming at the surface|
|Surprise! A school of jacks|
|"...the arch is a beautiful thing."|
|My first "blue clam" ever|
|Usually I've found them like this|
|... or like this|