Stilts were named for their incredibly long legs.
The Flamingo is the only other bird with longer legs relative to
its size. I have never seen stilts in the ocean, but they are
common at the Salt Ponds south of our house. Stilts are normally
wary birds, but we found two stilts next to the road that we
were able to get close to. I took two shots from the car before
Most gobies we see around here are dull colored,
skittish fish. There are a few brightly colored species, but
they're usually found in deeper reefs or hidden under sea
urchins. The two species that I found were under sea urchins at
some tide-pools (Queens Baths) north of our house.
Nineline Gobies. These gobies are fairly common, but most are
under an inch long and spend most of their time under urchins,
so you have to look carefully to find them.
Greenband Goby. These aren't as common as the Nineline, but
their bright colors help them stand out. They are shy
gobies, usually darting back to their urchins as you
first notice them.
I took this shot of a Southern Stingray from Kirk and Jakes'
boat. The stingray is raising his tail as a threat. Unlike Eagle
Rays, Southern Stingrays only have one barb on their tail. We've
noticed that many stingrays
especially the small ones ̶
tend to stay in the same area, so maybe I'll get a
better shot of this one soon.
While out at Muttonfish Point my mom and I saw at least 5
different eagle rays. The first one we spotted cruising through
the shallows. We buzzed up in front of him and cut the engine.
The ray passed right by the boat and went a ways then turned
around and came right by us again. We sat there waiting a while
and he passed by the boat one more time and left. A few minutes later we saw
eagle rays. These weren't interested in us and only cruised by
us once. A little further up we saw three more eagle rays. Two
little ones and one big one. The little ones came in for a look
a few times, but the bigger one always kept it's distance.
Eagle ray. Shot from above the water.
The water had been too cold to dive, so I held the camera
underwater and aimed as best I could. I messed up a lot, but a
couple pictures came out okay. This ray is probably about 4 feet
from one wing tip to the other.
Barracudas checking out the boat
Posted February 21st 2009
The past three days we've had good weather.
Finally a break from those 25 knots north winds. We got some good
pictures that I'll be posting over the next few days. Here's a
picture of my Mom and I out front.
This is a picture of a Yellow-crowned Night heron. I found
him sleeping near our neighbors fence. Once he saw me he hopped
clumsily to the fence, but seemed too sleepy to fly off and I
was able to get a few pictures before he flew off. We don't see
these herons much, though you can find them on the beaches at
night. They like to hide out during the day and I've noticed
that whenever I see them, sea-grape plants are usually around.
Our beach and trail are often full of footprints from last
The fishing has been extremely unusual this
year. We haven't had near the usual amount of fish. The winter
fish have be so delayed that we've resorted to fishing for
Houndfish instead of Tunny and Mackerel.
The Mackerel usually show up when the water cools down,
normally around November. The water has been freezing for
months, but its been just recently that we have caught mackerel
bigger than 7 or 8 inches. Another winter fish, the Little
Tunny, came about a month ago, but since the bigger mackerel
have come they have disappeared. Luckily my brother got here
just in time to see both the tuna and the mackerel.
Dane's girlfriend took this picture of him on
I got a new reel for Christmas. It's an Abu Garcia Soron 40.
The Soron is just slightly bigger than most of our other reels
holding 180 yds. of 12#. I've only used it a few times but it
Kirk and I went up to Whale Point today and each caught a 7
pound Horse-eye Jack (C. latus). Horse-eyes are solid fish and
the reel performed perfect throughout the fight, so it'll be
fine for anything we catch out front. The only complaint I've
had was that the spare spool had an almost silent drag clicker,
but I managed to fix it.
Jethro and I went looking for waves yesterday, but we
couldn't find any so we drove south in search of a dive spot. We
finally found a fairly calm place on the Caribbean side and
jumped in. While offshore a short way, Jethro found a big old
anchor. We wanted to take it home but it was too heavy to carry.
So we looped a line over a kayak and managed to pull the anchor
a couple feet off the bottom and then slowly towed it to shore.
Here's a picture of it in front of our house. We think the
anchor was probably made in the late 1800s.
I went fishing off the northern point on our beach. I went out
mainly to check if the winter Mackerel had shown up yet, but I
was also hoping to catch a Bar Jack. The fishing was lousy and
there were no mackerel but I stuck around until finally
something showed up. Two Spotted Eagle Rays cruised by the point
and I cast toward them thinking that some Jacks might be
traveling with them. Right away I had something bite. Once I
pulled it in I was surprised to see it was a large Sharksucker.
I towed it back to the beach for some underwater pictures:
Maurice came over with a big crew yesterday to go lionfish
hunting. We went to all the local reefs around our house and
finally headed down to the bridge. I was so cold I decided to
skip the dive and stay in the boat, but everyone else went in.
About halfway through the dive Joey, Maurice's nephew with a
medium sized lionfish and shouts: "There's two more". Joey was
so excited about the other two he barely noticed when the one on
his spear slid down and stung his hand. The only way to treat
lionfish stings is to neutralize the venom with hot water. Joey
tried soaking his hand in the engine exhaust water but that
didn't help too much so we headed back to the house.
Joey described the pain as having someone slam a hammer on your
hand over and over. He spent a while soaking his hand and biting
a towel, but by the time the rest of the crew showed up he
seemed much better. We got a total of 18 lionfish, six of them
were big enough to eat, but the others were too small.
Joey (right) demonstrating how he got stung. The pan below him
was for soaking his hand.
Kirk and I padded two kayaks to Hog Heaven
(dive spot) to go spear fishing. didn't get. I dove down
to look under a ledge and saw a fish tail going around the
corner so I dove back around the other side and saw a nice
size porgy sitting there. I was so excited I almost shot right
away but I decided to wait until I got a better shot. I
starting to run out of breath and the porgy wouldn't move.
Finally it turned side ways and I shot it just under the eye.
This is my first Porgy from the Caribbean. Porgies seem to
know that they're good to eat so they're always on the run.
This one was digesting food and was hiding under a rock where
he could be cornered.
While diving a shallow reef on the Atlantic I looked down at
some sea fans and saw a pair of flamingo tongues. I was
surprised because there was a bit of wave action and the sea
fans were really getting whipped around. I couldn't get a
picture of those two, but I found one a more stationary fan and
was able to get decent picture.
Here's a close up:
This is what they look like when they wash up on the beach.
The attractive spotted mantle is gone. If you can find them soon
after they died they still have an orange tint, but they soon
fade to white in direct sunlight.
Here's a picture of a juvenile Yellow Jack (Caranx
bartholomaei) taken just off our beach. This summer we saw
more Juvenile jack than in the previous seven years that we've
been here. Small Bar Jacks (C. ruber) were the most
common but we also saw the occasional Horse-eye (C. latus),
Blue Runner (C. crysos), and Yellow jack.
I went to the hot-tubs (Queens bath) this morning with my
camera and underwater housing. The hot-tubs are a few big tide
pools on the east side of the island just north of our house.
Fish regularly get swept in and out of them during storms and
tropical storm Hanna pushed a bunch of juvenile Sharpnose
Puffers (Canthigaster rostrata) and a school of baby
jack. A pair of really bright Golden Sun Anemone shrimp were
also in there but I didn't manage to get a good picture of them.
Highhats are a small fish in the Drum family. This is a
juvenile Highhat, the adults are much different but I haven't
been able to get a good picture of one yet. I found this drum at
the sponge patch that's just off the end of the cay. It's about
12 feet deep and the sponges provide shelter so it's a perfect
nursery for small drums.
My dad, mom, and I just went out on a kayak and paddleboard. My
dad was on the paddleboard and was cruising by the northern
point on our beach when a large hammerhead swam underneath him.
The shark circled back approached him from behind with it's
dorsal and tail fin above the water. After checking him out the
shark started to leave and my dad started following it and the
shark came back and did the same thing with it's dorsal and tail
fins even higher out of the water. I saw the fins out but was
too far away to see the shark underwater. By the time I got
there the shark was gone. After we got to shore, we took the
boat out with some chum but the shark never showed up.
Another bird picture from this past winter. Like Pelicans,
Snowy Egrets are uncommon here. I'm always on the lookout for
these small Egrets, but so far I've only seen three on
I found this one while buzzing by Lenny Kravitz's Point in
our boat. It flew off when I stopped, but I managed to snap a
picture of it leaving. The silver glare beneath it, is a school
of baitfish jumping. Their black legs with yellow feet are an
easy way to distinguish this egret from others.
A few months ago we had a Brown Pelican stay at the cay for a
couple days. Pelicans are rare on Eleuthera, so we were excited
to see this one. The Pelican would always land on the highest
branch on the cay and would almost break it every time. Whenever
it was hungry it would just plunge down into the permanent
school of baitfish that live at the cay.
I caught this Black Jack (Caranx lugubris) about a
year ago in Kirk's boat, Mini-Me. Since then, Kirk has caught
two smaller ones and we've both hooked bigger ones. They are
usually a deep water fish but we've been able to find them in
shallower waters, especially around drop-offs.
Recently Kirk and I ran into a whole school of Black Jack in
80 feet of water. We both managed to hook one, but mine broke
the treble hook and Kirk's snapped his line. They are an
excellent eating fish.
I found this immature Green Heron (Butorides virescrens)in the mangroves behind our house yesterday. Juveniles
aren't as bright as the adults, but they have a bright
green patch by their eyes which older birds lack. The
light was fading when I took this, so the picture is a
I speared two hogfish at Muttonfish point a couple weeks ago.
The first one was four pounds and the second was six pounds.
The bigger one was smart and was a big pain to get. I missed
my chance to shoot the first time, so I waited a while
until he came back out. Sneaking around a rock, I peered around
the corner and found the hogfish fleeing to his hole. I shot him
in the head just before he got in. The hogfish took it back into
his cave and wedged himself against a rock. We couldn't pull him
out so I shot it a second time in the cheek. After a little more
tugging we pulled it out.
This is the six pound (23 inch) Hogfish on our fillet board.
Kirk, Jake, and I went spear fishing at Muttonfish Point a
little over a week ago. We saw a few turtles but not that many
fish to shoot. Jake and I finally found a large hogfish in a
cave. Kirk wasn't interested and kept heading down the coast. A
little while later Kirk swam back and told us that he had just
seen a 8-10 foot Tiger Shark swimming by him with a turtle in
his mouth. So all three of us swam to the boat and raced back to
where Kirk had seen the shark. We searched and chummed for a
while but the shark never showed up.
I was really bummed that I didn't get to see the shark. Kirk
said that the shark had already bitten a chunk out of the turtle
and that blood was everywhere.
Muttonfish point is only a mile away from our beach and it's
shallow so we were really surprised to see a shark that big
during the day.
Kirk and Jake took me out spear fishing yesterday. We went to
a lot of different spots, but we didn't see that much. While
trying to find a lobster my arm brushed up against the underside
of a cave and something stung me. I jerked my arm out and looked
to see what it was, a small four inch lionfish was sitting right
where my arm had been. Most of the pain was gone within an hour
and after a couple of hours I couldn't feel anything. I was
really lucky that it was just a small lionfish that got me.
Worst of all, we didn't get the lobster.
Below: Lionfish at Gaulding Cay. This Lionfish is much larger
than the one that stung me.
We went out diving at the grass patch off the south point of
Gaulding Cay. It was busier than usual with more grouper and
Gray Snappers than I've seen there before. None of the snapper
or grouper pictures turned out so I'm posting a picture of this
Giant Hermit Crab. This is a smaller than most underwater
hermits but is still much larger than the average land hermit
crab. It's shell is probably around 7 inches long.
There was a really good lightning storm last night, it was
the perfect distance for taking pictures. I setup the camera and
headed out around 11:00. Only one of the pictures came out but,
luckily it was one of the best strikes that night. After a few
more strikes the storm dissipated so I decided to head in. I
didn't realize how calm the water was that night until seeing
the reflection from this bolt.
Jake and I found this tiny two inch juvenile Nassau Grouper
Epinephelus striatus hiding in a small coral mound. Jake
netted the grouper yesterday and put it in his aquarium. It has
already claimed a small cave and is defending his area. While
photographing him I watched it eat at least 3 Mysid shrimp.
Unfortunately I was never able to time it right and always took
a picture just after he swallowed. We saw this grouper while
diving in front of
I just got back from Ben bay. It was murkier
than we've ever seen it but I still found a couple cool fish.
There wasn't much to spear but I brought my camera along and
found some brightly colored Fairy Basslets Gramma loreto.
The backscatter was a huge problem but the Basslet's colors
were so bright I thought I'd post them anyway.
I found this Cicada in a tree while trying to find a Cuban
Tree frog that was croaking. It has just molted and left it molt
stuck to the tree. Some of the northern species live for 17
years underground then crawl out, molt, and live above ground
for 5 weeks. The cicadas here don't live as long.
Posted July 21st, 2008
I went out spear-fishing at Mutton Fish Point
three days ago. There wasn't that much there, so I concentrated
on finding as many Lionfish as I could. I found eight throughout
the dive, more than I've ever seen there. The biggest one, 12
inches, I decided to eat. After carefully cutting the spines
off, I filleted the fish. The meat was surprisingly white. We
fried it up along with some Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus
striatus). I liked both fish but I thought the Lionfish tasted
better than the grouper. There wasn't much meat but it tasted
Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) have been a big topic in
Eleuthera lately. Lionfish are an 'alien' fish from the Pacific,
that have recently invaded Florida and the Bahamas. The first
ones were sighted in 1992 and now they have become common on
reefs all over the Bahamas. Many people think that the lionfish
are going to overrun our reefs because they have few if any
natural predators and are themselves voracious predators. One
suggestion is to make lionfish a new marine resource, which
would hopefully control the population. Maurice White has a
video on YouTube showing how to clean and prepare Lionfish to
eat. They are supposed to be excellent eating, but we haven't
tried one yet.
I took these pictures a few weeks ago with my
new Canon G9. For lightning photography at night you use a
tripod and leave the cameras shutter open for a long time. The
maximum shutter time is only 15 seconds on the G9 which isn't
very long, but it works. I spent the first night experimenting
with different settings. I had to delete a ton of fuzzy,
blurred, and overexposed pictures, but by the end of the night I
figured it out and got a few good shots.
I went out a few nights later and found another
huge thunderstorm. Unfortunately the storm was way out on
horizon. I still got a decent photo though. The purple effect is
from taking pictures from far away. The dust particles give it a
reddish color. It's the rainy season now so we're supposed to be
having a lot of lightning storms, but lately the storms have
been during the day or too far away.