|Archives: May 2009 - May 2010
Juvenile Barracuda - More
My mom wanted me to post a few more barracuda
photos so here they are:
The 'Cuda is trying to swallow the baby Mojarra
here. The Barracuda is so small that you can see the victim's
eye through its mouth.
A view from underneath: Again the
Mojarra's eye is visible through the 'cuda's mouth. The
Barracuda's pink gills are also visible from this angle.
Posted June 8, 2010
My mom and I took a trip out to Bottom Harbour
with our snorkel gear and camera. Bottom Habour always seems
to have something good so I wasn't too surprised to find a
rare four-legged Bahama Starfish before putting on my mask.
Not long after I found a tiny 1 inch juvenile Great Barracuda.
I had only shot barracuda this size once before so I was very
This barracuda didn't seem to mind my company so
I followed him around for almost an hour. At one point the
'cuda and I came upon a school of baby mojarra (sand fish).
The little 'cuda slowly maneuvered itself near the school and
prepared to pounce. I waited...waited...and waited until
finally a tiny mojarra swam too close. In less than a second
the 'cuda nabbed it and swam to the surface - as if to show
off his catch - where I could get photos. He swallowed the
mojarra quickly, but luckily I was able to get a couple shots
before. I was pretty happy with this one:
Posted May 24, 2010
This nuisance of a sea animal can be found almost
everywhere (though they seem to be most common in places I am
likely to step). Urchins spend almost their entire life clinging
to the sea floor with long tube like feet. The mouth is placed
on their underside and is ideal for feeding on algae, which makes
up the bulk of its diet. Surprisingly these menaces can sometimes
be considered beneficial:
The roe of urchins, although not eaten in the Bahamas,
is considered a delicacy in the Caribbean and many other parts
of the world. Sea Urchins also provide homes for many of our juvenile
and small fishes.
The urchin spines of this specie can be particularly
painful: Their spines are thin and very brittle, easily breaking
off in the skin. A juvenile damselfish provided a bright background
for this photo.
These Nineline Gobies never venture
far from the protective spines of their Rock Boring Urchins. Photo
taken at the Queen's Baths.
The Red Clingfish is another beautiful
specie that lives under urchins. Also from the Queens Baths.
Posted May 17, 2010
Kirk and Jake took us on another trip to the Exumas.
We had heard a few reports of people catching Mahi in the Exuma
Sound so we decided to try our luck out there. Before heading
out deep though, we donned our snorkel gear and hopped in at the
Highbourne Cay Marina. There was a pack of over 20 Nurse Sharks
there that we wanted to swim with. The water where we jumped in
was a little too murky for photos, but Jake and I headed out to
some deeper, clearer water and found a couple sleeping sharks.
The deep sea fishing was a bit disappointing, but
the pod of Pilot Whales we found made up for it. This Pilot Whale
approached us and swam parallel to the boat for a long ways. After
checking us out he dove down deep, but behind it we saw two more
Pilot Whales; they were heading right for us! Everyone got their
masks and fins and quietly slipped into the water. Jake and my
dad went ahead and only got about 20 feet away before they shouted.
I thought they saw the whales so I rushed out and was very surprised
to see a big Oceanic Whitetip heading right for us.
Photo courtesy of Kirk Aulin:
The shark rushed in very aggressively and turned
right toward Jake and my Dad. We immediately rushed towards the
boat and clambered aboard at record speeds. Just after we left
the water a second smaller Oceanic Whitetip showed up. It was
a pretty cool experience, but we definitely won't jump in
for Pilot Whales again.
This is a screen shot from a short video I
took as we raced back to the boat. That is Jake's fin on the right;
we were swimming on our back and watching the shark all the way
back to the boat. I would estimate the shark to be around 8 feet.
Posted April 27, 2010
My mom pointed out this tame Curlytail Lizard to
me a few days ago. He was hanging around our back porch so I grabbed
my camera, got down on my belly and slowly inched my way towards
him. After a while he became tame enough for me to get some good
Curlytails are much more common on Eleuthera's Atlantic
coasts, but a fair amount can be found in certain areas on the
Caribbean side. Unfortunately Hurricane Francis wiped out most
of the Curtail's habitat around Gaulding Cay. I was very surprised
to see this one around our house; I hope he stays around.
Posted April 24, 2010
While Jake and I were goofing around outside we stumbled
onto a couple of Worm Snakes. Worm Snakes are the smallest and
probably rarest Bahamian snake. They resemble earthworms more
than a snakes and, like worms, they spend most of their lives
wriggling through the dirt. They seem to have some sort of eyes
(looks more like a magic marker spot), but judging by their erratic
movements both Kirk and I think they are blind. Their diet consist
mainly of ants and termites; it's too bad these snakes aren't
Here's a photo of one of the Worm Snakes in my hand:
Posted April 20, 2010
This is a photo from the trip to Current Cut in the
Liberty Clipper. We anchored just north of the cut and ran the
dinghy over to snorkel it.
The water was murky and the current tame, but the
school of Eagle Rays seemed to be enjoying themselves. Unfortunately
the Eagle Rays hung out the bottom so not many people saw them.
On one of my dives I almost ran into an Eagle Ray by not watching
where I was drifting. It's a good thing they are so agile as there
was no way I had enough time to get out of the way.
Many of the rays were unusually large. This one has
a wingspan around 6 feet!
Posted April 17, 2010
Here's a great shot of Luke holding up Liberty Clipper's
stern. Luke, a deckhand, was the youngest crew member aboard and
was the snorkeling guide. This photo was taken at Gaulding Cay
in about 10 feet of water. The 8 foot draft of the Liberty Clipper
makes navigating very difficult in the shallow Bahamas.
Indeed, we barely made it over the 8 foot deep sand
bars of Current Cut. Luke and I took the inflatable dinghy ahead
to scout out the deepest channel and we had a couple crew members
watching for shallow spots from the top of the mast. We made it
through fine, but I'm sure we scraped the bottom a few times.
Look at the size of the rudder and
Posted April 12, 2010
Our friends took us on a boat trip to the Northern
Exumas recently. It was my first time there so I was really excited.
Our first stop was at Leaf Cay to see the Iguanas. The subspecie
we saw were the Allen Cay Iguanas which are endemic to just a
few islands in the Exumas. The iguanas spend all day sunning and
eating on the beach and head inland to sleep in burrows at night.
We also did some diving, but the current was a bit too strong
With some lettuce in one hand and my camera in the
other I was able to get some cool photos. This was one of the
A large Iguana sunning on the ironshore:
The animals on Leaf Cay were incredibly
tame. I got a better Bananaquit photo in five minutes there than
I've gotten in nine years on Eleuthera. Bananaquit on a Silver
Even the Curly-tail Lizards posed for
Posted April 7, 2009
Kirk, Jake and I just had a great day fishing and
diving. We started out deep-sea fishing north of Spanish Wells.
Jake caught a nice Mahi, but the trolling was slow so we buzzed
over to the Egg Island Wreck for some spearfishing.
We didn't have to wait long before a school of African
Pompano swam by. We followed them for a while but they weren't
letting us get closer than 15 feet. Finally I got fed up and took
a long shot anyway. My spear went through its back and into the
stomach cavity, not a great shot, but I was surprised I hit it
at all. We chased it down until it tired enough for Jake to put
another spear in it. After landing the first one Jake and I headed
back to the wreck hoping for another Pompano. I got lucky and
ended up shooting two more, both of which also needed a second
spear to be subdued. Kirk stoned the second one fairly quickly,
but Jake and I had to chase the last one around for about 20 minutes.
Kirk managed to get a nice 10 pound Nassau Grouper in this
time. With all the wounded fish in the water we were amazed that
we saw no sharks, this wreck usually has them even before you
shoot anything. To top off an amazing day a couple enormous Amberjack
made some very close passes just before we left.
Here's my three African Pompano (Alectis ciliaris).
They weighed in at 25, 23 and 21 pounds. I gave most of my Pompano
away, but I kept a good bit as they are one my favorite food fishes.
Posted April 5, 2010
I just got back from a week of cruising on the Liberty
Clipper. I was invited onboard after they saw the ship's photo I
posted. We sailed from Nassau directly to Egg Island then headed
south through the Current Cut to spend a couple nights around Gregory
Town. After a bit of exploring we headed back to Rose Island and
finally Nassau. The trip was great and the snorkeling was pretty
I'm having some trouble loading my photos now so I'm
just posting this one of a tiny Hawksbill we saw out at the Egg
Island Wreck. I'll upload some more later.
Posted March 31, 2010
This photo shows a few Blackbar Soldierfish out at
a wreck off Current. I found them under a ledge in about 30 feet
of water. Luckily they were tame enough that I could take several
photos before running out of breath. Like their relatives, the common
Squirrelfish, Soldierfish are nocturnal and spend the day resting
in dark places. I thought the Canon G9 did a great job of lighting
the scene up. I just wish the background were better.
Posted March 13, 2010
The Cow and Bull are two giant boulders perched up
near the edge of an Atlantic cliff. This well-known landmark is
just south of the Glass Window Bridge. No one is sure how they got
there, but one theory suggests that a giant wave launched them up
from the ocean. There are several of these boulders in our area.
One of them is the Twin Sisters rock which lies in about 5 feet
of water on the Caribbean side.
A much less exciting idea proposes that the land around
these boulders has been eroded. Though, to me, it seems odd that
many of them would have been undercut so thoroughly.
Whatever the cause, these rocks are pretty cool. The
Cow (left) and Bull:
Posted March 11, 2009
Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I had a few problems
with my server, but everything is sorted out now.
The water has been cold and murky so I'm posting a
photo I got a while ago out at Bottom Harbour. As usual the water
there wasn't very clear, but the bluish green color makes a cool
background on the macro shots.
This is an intermediate French Angelfish. This was
a pretty one so I spent about 30 minutes shooting it. It was very
tame, but otherwise uncooperative; it kept approaching the camera
from weird angles. I wasn't happy with any of my shots, but at least
you can see its beautiful yellow bars in this one.
Posted March 1, 2010
Jake and I found this shy Honeycomb Cowfish out at
Muttonfish Point. Cowfish are masters of color change, though judging
by their bright colors and bold patterns they don't use this expertise
for camouflage. This specie is usually gold while calm and blue
when alarmed. This one was particularly bright so I'm glad I got
a picture before it jetted off.
Honeycomb Cowfish, Acanthostracion polygonius, darting away:
Posted February 15, 2010
A giant schooner, The
Clipper, has been mooring out front lately. After a quick
search we found the website of this massive 125 foot sailboat;
apparently it's a cruise-ship that tours a few Bahama Islands every
winter. It was built as a replica of an 18th century clipper.
Here's a neat view of the ship from our yard:
Posted February 2, 2010
While we were driving down the Queens Highway I noticed
a large bird sitting on a telephone pole. We turned around to investigate
and saw it was a Barn Owl! It's only the fourth one I have seen
in Eleuthera so I am glad I had my camera ready. Most of the Barn
Owls here live in small caves in the sides of cliffs. Kirk and I
explored one of these once (while the owl was out) and found thousands
of rat skeletons.
A giant Barn owl specie (Tyto pollens) that
stood three feet tall and inhabited the Bahama Islands is unfortunately
extinct. This enormous, flightless bird was probably the basis for
the legend of the Chickcharnie. The Chickcharnie was said to be
a giant three toed, mischievous creature with glowing red eyes.
Posted January 26, 2010
My dad and I went diving at a reef near James Cistern
a couple days ago. As soon as I entered the water I was swarmed
by a school of Palometa. I got some decent photos with my macro
lens, but I wish I would have had a wide angle. Palometa schools
are fun to snorkel with, the whole school often circles around you
and the individual jack make very close passes.
You can find Palometa at surfy Atlantic beaches, such
as Surfer's Beach. They are rarely found more than 40 feet from
shore. This school had around 100 fish:
Posted January 23, 2010
This is an older picture from last November that I
had forgotten to post.
Jake, Kirk and I went out diving at Rhino Rock. It
was a spear-fishing trip, but I decided to take the camera. Jake
soon started cleaning the place out of Lionfish and he decided to
try to feed one to a Sun Anemone. To our surprise the Sun Anemone
slowly sucked the Lionfish in. We were excited to finally find something
to eat our dead Lionfish; we can't even get Barracuda to touch them.
The silversides in the foreground (on the right) are one of the
Lionfish's favorite foods.
Posted January 16, 2010
Though Ghost crab holes are common on our beach, I
don't often encounter the crabs themselves. Sometimes at night you
can find them scurrying to and from the water, but other than that
I rarely see them.
So I was surprised when I found this crab out in the
middle of a sunny day. After taking several shots I sat and watched
it for a while. It sat half submerged in the waves for a while,
presumably moistening its gills. I read that they go down to the
sea in the evenings to soak their gills. Maybe this one decided
to get a drink earlier.
Posted January 16, 2010
Calm days are rare this time of year at the Queens
Baths, but the fish are more plentiful so I make an effort to go.
The wind and swell cooperated a few days ago and I was able to get
in a long dive. I got a good shot of a Pearl Blenny and one of a
Pearl Blennies are one of the more common and photogenic
blennies in the tide-pools. They are usually shy, but occasionally
I find one that holds still long enough for a photo.
Once while diving in a small tide-pool I felt something
biting me over and over. I figured it must be a fish but I couldn't
see anything so I ignored it. Near the end of the dive I noticed
a small suspicious looking Pearl Blenny streak away from my leg.
I eyed it carefully for the next few minutes and watched it dart
out into the open water to bite my leg again. It was useless trying
to swat the lightning-quick fish so I ended up leaving the water.
Needless to say I haven't dove in that tide-pool since. Another
blenny, the Molly Miller, often crowds around my hand to take turns
biting at my fingers. These blennies are worse than the sharks at
Current; it's a good that most blennies are under 5 inches.
A friendly Pearl Blenny:
This Redlip Blenny is about 5 inches long and is one
of the larger inhabitants of the tide-pool. The frilly lip is an
interesting characteristic of the specie.
Posted January 12, 2009
We have been stuck inside due to strong north winds
this past week so I'm posting pictures from a while ago. The first
is of a small Caribbean Reef Shark that lives out at Current. It's
only about 4 feet long so its not much of a threat. We identify
it by the small split in the tail.
It's frustrating to photograph these sharks; they are
always too close until the camera comes out.
Spotted Eagle rays feed by using their
nose as a shovel; they typically dig for clams or crustaceans. Notice
how long the tail is! I couldn't fit the whole ray into the frame.
Eagle rays usually have 4 or 5 barbs which are placed at the base
of the tail.
Fortunately Spotted Eagle rays rarely
bury in the sand so you are not likely to step on one.
The barbs of an Eagle ray are larger than the single barb of the
Posted January 6, 2010
A current line has been running along the shoreline
lately and is bringing in tons of jellyfish and seaweed. Hidden
in Sargasso seaweed we found Filefish, Seahorses and juvenile ballyhoo.
This unidentified Filefish specie is camouflaged to
match the Sargasso :
The juvenile ballyhoo came in an amazing
variety of colors. Unfortunately these juveniles were already as
shy as the adults and scurried away before I could get a good shot.
These three were hovering obliquely near the surface; possibly imitating
floating sea grass.
Posted December 26, 2009
Merry Christmas! Here are a few Christmas
photos from the Bahamas:
I spent forever trying to photograph
this intermediate phase Queen Angelfish. This was my only good photo.
Christmas Tree Worm: These worms live
in tubes inside coral. The two feathery "trees" are the antennae
of the worm. It uses these to filter food and oxygen from the water.
When disturbed the worm quickly pulls its antennae inside the tube;
after a moment the worm will slowly reappear.
Sea Urchin snowmen enjoying the beach:
Posted December 23, 2009
Blue Tang start out on the reef as tiny yellow fish.
As they mature the blue color of the adults slowly takes over. The
last area to change is the tail; it's not rare to find a blue bodied
Tang with a bright yellow tail. The size that the color change takes
place varies with each fish. Sometimes you will find an all blue
adult that is smaller than a yellow juvenile. This large juvenile
was swimming around a colony of Branching Fire Coral. I took several
shots and this one turned out the best.
Posted December 13, 2009
These aren't great photos, but I wanted to post about
Hawksbills. I found this turtle in about 20 feet of water out at
Current. I dove down with the camera and waited for the turtle to
pass by. The turtle turned directly toward me and swam within a
foot of my camera. I was so surprised that I had forgotten to take
pictures until the turtle was on top of me. Desperately I tried
to snap a picture but I accidentally turned my camera off. By the
time I was ready again the turtle was swimming off.
The narrow pointed beak is an easy way to identify
the Hawksbill. They are also the only sea turtle with overlapping
plates on their carapace:
We usually see Hawksbills in areas with
currents and reefs while we tend to find Green Turtles in calm,
Posted December 5, 2009
I took another trip to the Queen's Baths yesterday.
The tide-pools weren't as busy as usual, but I was happy to find
two giant Hairy Blennies. They are the largest blenny found in the
Caribbean; the two I saw were around 7 inches.
A clear view of the 'hair' (cirri) on its head:
These giant carnivores must terrorize the other inhabitants
(whose body length averages around the length of this blenny's tail).
Posted December 2, 2009
We dove out at Current recently and found a school
of African Pompano. They are great food fish, but they were too
big to spear with Hawaiian slings (Spearguns are illegal in the
Bahamas.) Juveniles have long elegant fin rays that trail far behind
their body. Larger African Pompano lose these completely.
Click here to see a juvenile African Pompano.
We estimated this African Pompano to be about 20 pounds,
it's about the average size though we have seen much larger ones.
We fished for them but they were picky biters as usual; they seem
to bite at random.
This Pompano passed by very close. I wonder why they have so many
Posted December 1, 2009
My parents and I paddled out past Muttonfish Point
to a small partially submerged cave. The entrance to the cave faces
west so the sunset illuminated the entire cave. It goes back about
100 feet to a really small dry beach. The front of the cave is always
submerged, but it is shallow at low tide. Juvenile grunts, lobsters,
and Lemon Stingray are about the only animals that live here.
The entrance is under the ledge (the cave opens up once you're inside):
Water drops got on the housing and ruined many of the
photos. We are planning to paddle back to get some better pictures.
It's much easier to move around at low tide:
Starting our one mile trip back:
Posted November 24, 2009
This Green Turtle is gliding over Lugworm mounds in
Bottom Harbour. The Bahamas government has recently banned the harvest
of sea turtles, which are used in many traditional Bahamian dishes.
Green Turtle are the most common specie, though we also see lots
and Loggerhead Turtles. Young Green Turtles, like the one below,
are known to eat small fish. As they grow they switch to a vegetarian
diet of Turtle Grass.
Posted November 16, 2009
This is a picture of Muttonfish Point about two weeks
ago. We've been having horrible north winds for the past few days.
The water is too cold and murky to dive (without a wetsuit) and
it's too rough to fish. The wind is supposed to shift to the east
in a few days; with this colder water maybe we can catch a few mackerel.
Glassy afternoons like this one are
Posted November 15, 2009
My mom found this school of Spadefish at a sunken log
off the north point of Gaulding Cay. We counted 28 Spadefish,
the most we've ever seen! They are good eating fish, but we decided
to leave these small ones alone. My dad took this picture with the
This friendly immature Gray Snapper
also resides at the log:
Posted November 11, 2009
I was out off the beach today with my camera and came
across these two Caribbean Reef Squid. They hung around me for about
twenty minutes while I shot picture after picture of their different
The squid turned a light color when moving and a darker
color when stopped.
On my first approach both squid went into a defensive
posture by spreading their arms. After a while they became used
to me and started to relax.
Very few people know that squids are experts in the
While hovering over the seafloor this squid assumes
the 'elephant posture':
Posted November 9, 2009
This Houndfish has a freshly caught pilchard in its
jaws. The pilchard (Herring) was still kicking when I found them.
For a long time the Houndfish struggled to swallow its prey and
eventually decided it was too big and let the pilchard go. This
is one of the first times I've seen a Houndfish with a captured
fish so I was really glad to have my camera ready.
I found this tiny Barracuda drifting near the surface while diving
at Rhino Rock. This Barracuda is not much more than an inch
long, but it's already lightning quick. After a while
he got used to the camera and let me take a few photos. Jake and
I were wondering why his belly was so inflated. The brown body bars
usually stay until the Barracuda is around a foot.
Posted November 4, 2009
I took this picture at the northern cove of Surfer's Beach. We
see Spanish Hogfish at almost every reef on the Atlantic side, but
we rarely see them on the Caribbean. These tasty food fish have
become so skittish from spear-fishing that I haven't been able to
get a picture until I found this fish. I found this tame one in
a cave and snapped several pictures of it. This fish here is about
7 inches long, they can grow to about twice this length.
Spanish Hogfish - Bodianus rufus
Posted October 28, 2009
Kirk and I were out in the boat speeding towards a dive spot
when we almost hit a giant Barracuda sleeping on the surface. The
Gregory Town locals are always happy when we can bring them a Barracuda
so we decided to try to shoot it. The Barracuda was wide awake by
the time I slipped into the water. Kirk stayed in the boat and corralled
the 'Cuda into a small bay where I was able to shoot it in the head.
The Barracuda went berserk! It flew out to sea, jumping over
and over with the 6 foot spear sticking out of its head. Kirk counted
seven jumps overall. I fell way behind, but Kirk was following the
'Cuda in the boat. Finally I caught up with the exhausted fish and
shot a second spear in its head. We weighed the Barracuda back at
the house, it was 33 pounds!
33 pound 'Cuda
Posted October 16, 2009
Our internet has been out for the past few weeks while we switched
internet service providers. The new internet service is working
so I will be posting regularly again.
I took this photo while diving out at Current. We were spear-fishing
and had shot a couple of hogfish when this shark swam in. I dove
down to see if I could get a picture, but the shark turned and swam
off; this barracuda came in at the perfect moment for a picture.
We saw at least four sharks while spearing, though since none showed
any aggression we decided to continue snorkeling.
A Barracuda threatens me by flaring its gills and baring its
teeth while a Caribbean Reef Shark swims off in the background:
Barracuda constantly open and close their mouth
to breath, a behavior very different from the threat seen above.
Threats like this are rare in solitary Barracuda and are only occasionally
seen in schooling fish. The smaller Barracuda (2-3 feet) seem to
be much more likely than the large ones to put on a threat display.
Posted October 14, 2009
While I was out snorkeling I found two Bucktooth Parrotfish fighting.
I think they might have been fighting over their territories. Fortunately
I had the camera ready and I was able to snap a few pictures.
Posted August 26, 2009
My dad and I went snorkeling at Ben Bay yesterday. We were expecting
clear, calm water, but it was very murky. Even in the murk we saw
plenty of cool fish and took tons of photos. I was really hoping
to get a good picture of a Fairy Basslet (Gramma loreto), but so
much sediment had been stirred up that the lens didn't know what
to focus on - sand or fish.
Ben Bay: (Viewed from above with
The water was much clearer on top of the reef, but there wasn't
much to see.
A small Bar Jack - Carangoides ruber - swimming over
We saw the first Goldentail Moray (Gymnothorax miliaris) that
we have seen here. These morays average around 1 foot in length,
which is much smaller than most.
I was disappointed that I didn't get a better picture.
Posted August 16, 2009
While we tend to see more juvenile Jacks in the early summer,
small schools of juvenile Horse-eye Jack can be found year round.
There is usually a group of Horse-eyes in the Queen's Baths tide-pools.
I've tried to photograph them many times but have had little success.
The jack in the current school are quite tame, but the water was
too murky for any great photos. Without the yellow tail it's difficult
to identify the juveniles. Their blunt head and giant eye distinguish
them from the similar Blue Runner.
The backscatter almost ruined this photo, but I like it anyway.
Posted August 16, 2009
While I was out snorkeling at the cay I found a
juvenile Black Grouper. It was the smallest one I had ever seen.
What was really exciting, though, was its bright red markings. I
had the camera with me, but after taking a few pictures I realized
how difficult it would be. The grouper was way back in a cave and
I would need to use the flash to bring out its red color. It took
four different snorkels, where I spent the majority of the dive
waiting at its cave, to get a decent shot. Most of the time the
grouper wasn't even out. I just checked the cave a few days ago,
but it seems that the grouper has disappeared. I hope it wasn't
This Juvenile Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci) was about 2
1/2 inches long.
Posted July 6, 2009
I was in Oregon for the week on a Salmon fishing trip. Our friend,
Wes, had invited me to go Salmon fishing in his boat. I had never
even seen a salmon so I accepted. Wes lives in northern Oregon and
is just over a mile away from the coast. I had never visited that
part of the country so just seeing the land and wildlife was interesting
We caught plenty of Salmon, mainly Coho (Silver), but a few Chinook
(King) too. Fishing for salmon was very different from anything
we do here. When salmon fishing you troll very close to the boat
and use large sinkers to get your bait down deep.
We fished out in the ocean, usually over 6 miles out! I knew
that salmon spent time in the ocean, but I never imagined they would
be miles out in deep water. Most of the salmon we caught were around
7-10 pounds. You're allowed to keep 2 salmon per person, per day
and they have to be hatchery fish. Which means they have been hatched
in a tank and let go into the river. Before the salmon are released
they clip off the adipose fin, which is how fisherman tell the difference
between hatched fish and the natives.
Two Coho Salmon. These fish were caught the first day and were
some of the smallest.
Posted July 28, 2009
Kirk and I went out fishing on the Atlantic a few days ago. We
were casting from shore with small yellow jigs and had caught a
few small fish, but no keepers. Kirk hooked up to a small Blue Runner
(Jack). While Kirk was bringing it in it spit the hook and raced
10 feet over to bite my jig. Just as I was about to bring it up
a giant tarpon swooped down on the jack, but didn't take the fish.
I kept the Blue Runner in the water waiting for the Tarpon to return.
By the time the Tarpon came back Kirk had hooked up to a massive
Ocean Trigger. The Tarpon finally took my Jack and shot off running.
It ended up snagging my line on a rock and cutting it. The Tarpon
swam back towards us and we could see my small yellow jig in the
corner its mouth. We both thought it was over 100 pounds.
Kirk's Triggerfish was done fighting, but needed to be hauled
up the cliff. The Trigger was too heavy for our 12 pound test so
I tied on another lure to double hook it. I positioned the lure
right in the corner of the Triggers mouth and pulled, the hook set
for a second and then popped free sending the lure above our heads.
On its way down the back hook of the lure snagged Kirks arm and
barbed itself. We left then, with no Trigger, Jack, or Tarpon. Kirk
had to get the hooked cut out and ended up with four stitches. Kirk
has had some bad luck lately, just last week he had to get a fragment
of a hook removed from his finger.
Posted July 15th, 2009
I got this picture of a juvenile Nassau Grouper
this morning. This one lives at the cay and is around 3 inches long.
We started seeing the tiny 1 inch groupers about two months ago.
This Nassau Grouper probable settled at the shallow east end of
the cay and is now slowly working its way out to deeper water. The
grouper is now in a small cave and will have to grow a few more
inches before it can join the other grouper. Groupers are one of
the slower growing reef fish, sometimes living for over 30 years.
The above picture was cropped from this photograph.
Posted July 10, 2009
The relentless west winds are starting to push large
rafts of Sargassum seaweed onto the beach. In these mats of seaweed
live hundreds of fish, shrimp and crabs, many of them which are
perfectly camouflaged. I searched through several clumps of seaweed
before I found this Sargassum fish.
Sargassum fish (Histrio histrio) out in the open.
The giant fins below its head are used for walking through Sargassum.
Some species of Sargassum spend part of their life
on the seafloor. I didn't know if this specie would survive there,
but decided to anchor a bit to our small artificial reef. This crab
is now one of the residents at Sargasso reef; the Sargassum fish
was also meant to reside there, but swam off the explore the reef
Sargasso crab hiding in Sargassum. The crab's
extended claw is visible on the left. .
Posted July 10, 2009
|I've finally gotten a decent lightning
picture. A few nights ago there was a giant wall of clouds moving
in from the west. There was lightning everywhere so I never
knew to where point my camera. I just barely captured these
two bolts and a third struck outside of the frame. The bolt
on the right is partially obscured by the cay out front.
lightning pictures you need to have the camera shutter open
for a long time. My current camera's (Canon G9) maximum
shutter time is only 15 seconds and it takes another 15 seconds
to write the picture, so I'm only able to capture half the strikes.
I have a new camera on its way that will be able to stay open
for 30 seconds. I will probably end up taking both out so I
can cover more sky.
Posted July 6, 2009
Jake and I were back at the tide-pools today. It was rough and
cold, but we decided to go anyway. We ended the dive full of urchin
spines, but it was worth it since we saw some cool fish.
This curious looking fish (below) is called a Longhorn blenny,
they are quite rare around here. It seems that the most likely place
to find them is in rough areas with brain coral and sea urchins.
This was the smallest one I have ever seen, it must have been about
3/4 of an inch. We've also been seeing a lot of juvenile French
angelfish, many of which are around 1/2 long, though we have no
good pictures of those yet.
Posted July 2, 2009
I took this picture a few weeks ago. I was out at night taking
pictures of Cuban Tree frogs, when I saw this lizard sleeping on
a Silvertop frond. It think it must be a male Brown Anole.
From the other side. I thought it was funny how
it dangled it legs off.
Posted July 2, 2009
My mom and I went out looking for something to photograph, with
the 25 knot northwest winds it's hard to find anywhere protected.
We found a place on the Atlantic side that was fairly calm. I had
just taken my camera out when I saw an Ocean Triggerfish cruising
along the shore. I didn't have my snorkeling gear ready so I held
my camera underwater and aimed as best I could.
Triggerfish are commonly caught while fishing, often on
small crabs or squid. They taste delicious, but their tough skin
makes them a chore to filet. Most of their diet is made up of sea
urchins and other crustaceans. Ocean Triggers are reported to be
pelagic, though many that we see are on very shallow reefs.
The fish on the right is a Sergeant Major and the round rocks
in the background are ballast stones from old sailing ships.
Posted June 25, 2009
Many species of terns nest here during spring and
summer. The small Least terns are probably the most common. One
of their nesting sites is at Whale Point, which is just a few miles
north of our house. They nest on the iron-shore or in the sand,
typically laying one or two eggs. Being on the ground, the young
terns would seem an easy meal for most predators, however, the parents
dive and attack any intruders and the young birds are nearly impossible
to find due to their excellent camouflage.
A Least tern turns away after an attack dive:
Posted June 25, 2009
This is another picture of a typical summer squall and the cay.
The worst part of the storm shifted north so we missed most of the
rain, but suffered through the wind. We've had a lot of thunderstorms
lately, but I still haven't managed to get any good lightning shots
Posted June 17, 2009
We don't see many Trumpetfish while snorkeling. They are most
common on deeper reefs, which is probably why we don't see many.
They are experts at camouflage, often drifting near coral waiting
for dinner to pass by.
We found this Trumpetfish hiding in Staghorn coral.
Posted June 17, 2009
Jake and I explored the Tide pools (Queen's Baths) today. The
pool was full of juvenile Sharpnose puffers and had at least 6 small
Balloonfish, both of which evaded my camera. We noticed a huge jump
in the Seaweed blenny population. The Seaweed blenny's coloring
is highly variable, though all our Seaweeds look the same.
A head on view of a Molly Miller (Scartella cristata). This particular
blenny chewed on my fingers while I tried to photograph a small
Posted June 17, 2009
My dad and I went snorkeling at Twin Coves. Even
though the ocean was flat, the water was surprisingly murky. We
still saw quite a bit, but nothing really big or exciting. On our
way back, we ran into a Smooth trunkfish who posed perfectly for
Trunkfish and cowfish are often mixed up, however
they're easily told apart. The cowfish has a forward facing spine
above each eye, trunkfish lack these. Also, I've noticed that cowfish
are more numerous on the Caribbean side, while trunkfish prefer
Smooth trunkfish - Lactophrys triqueter
Posted June 2, 2007
We've had an incredible amount of rain and wind
lately. The sea side (Caribbean) of the island has been rough and
murky for weeks now, so there has been no diving or fishing at our
usual spots. Luckily the Atlantic side has had no swell and west
winds which is good for diving over there, but we can't wait until
the sea side clears up.
A short break from strong southwest winds. This is a picture
of the cay; a thunderstorm is dissipating overhead.
Posted June 2, 2007
Jake and I found this Spotted eel out by the north point of Gaulding
Cay. Spotted and Green eels are our most common eels. Normally Spotted
eels hide in crevices and under rocks during daylight, but this
one was out in the open. He must've been hungry; when I rested my
fin near his hole, he started nibbling on it.
Posted May 21, 2009
We've been seeing less Lionfish these past few months. Hopefully
their numbers are declining everywhere.
I found this Lionfish upside down on the ledge of
a cave. It was rough that day and the waves were sending tiny bubbles
into the cave which would rise and collect in small pockets. I snapped
a picture of the Lionfish with his reflection from one of the air
During the summer months the reefs are loaded with juvenile fish.
This year a few are showing up early. We're already seeing tiny,
1 inch groupers and we have seen a few small jack too.
A small Yellow Jack swam up to me while diving out front. Once
these small jack find you they never stray more than a foot away.
I was trying to photograph a tiny 1.5 inch Nassau Grouper, but every
time I dove down the Yellow Jack would get in the way. I eventually
gave up on the grouper and tried for the jack. It was nearly impossible
to stop this jack from fidgeting, not even for 1/1000 of a second.
Out of over 140 photos only a few were in focus, often I captured
just his tail.
At the end of the dive I swam the little jack over
to our artificial reef to drop him off. The jack would've followed
me all the way to shore and I didn't want him to get stuck inside
of the sandbar during low tide. As soon as the reef was in sight,
he deserted me and raced over to the school of French Grunts.
About 5 hours later, Jake and I went diving out front. We decided
to check the artificial reef first. Right away the little Yellow
Jack swam up to us. Jake scooped him up and put him in a container
for transport to his fish tank. I made Jake promise that I could
let him go for a while so I could take some picture though. I let
him out while Jake was exploring a sponge bed. As soon as he was
out, he went straight for Jake's mask. Most jack we see are a little
bigger and much more wary. I don't think Jake was expecting such
a tame fish and he liked the jack so much, that he decided he'd
rather let it live in the ocean. The small jack followed us for
the remainder of the dive, which was over 300 yards!
Posted May 5, 2009
Jake and I saw the school of permit while snorkeling out front.
We have been watching them since they were about 2 inches long and
we were excited to see them because we thought they had left. They
moved from the center of the beach up to the northern end off the
rocks. Unfortunately, Permit are not a common specie in the Bahamas.
This is a picture of one them from last year.
Ten months later. Look how much they've grown!
Posted May 5, 2009
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