COME SNORKEL WITH ME!—March and April, 2019

One of our favorite activities to do from Nancy Lu is SNORKELING!  I’m always trying to capture what I see under the sea with my camera.  I have varying levels of success.  In the past, I’ve used an Olympus Tough 4.  This year, I’m using an Olympus Tough 5.  Of course, I use the underwater setting, but there are a few options within that setting.  I’ve played around with a few of them.  I think I like the Underwater Macro setting best.  It is described as ideal for taking underwater shots close to subjects.  Getting close to what I’m snorkeling over is exactly what I like to do!  Being up close makes such a difference in what can be appreciated about the color and detail of whatever is down there! 

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Smooth Trunkfish—I never would have seen the sand that this little guy had on his snout if I hadn’t dived down to get a closer look.  BTW, I saw him while swimming back to the boat after a “noodling” session in Bequia, which I talked about in my previous 2ufromnancylu update.

I can dive to about 30 feet (nothing compared to most local people we’ve met, but helpful at most snorkeling sites), but I’m not the greatest at holding my breath for a long time.  I AM PERSISTENT, however!  I’ll go down over and over to make sure I get at least one clear photoSmile.  I love the challenge of getting a clear photo and then coming back to the boat to

 

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compare my photos to the ones in the wonderful resource books we have on board, trying to figure out exactly what it is that we saw and learn a little about it!

I sometimes use the “Underwater Wide” setting described as ideal for underwater landscape photos…

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On our day trip to the Tobago Cays aboard the Friendship Rose (previous blog update), I used that setting to capture these two Green Sea Turtles.

 

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I also used it to get this picture of a rather large grove of Elkhorn Coral, the one bright spot as far as coral goes in the Tobago Cays.  Other than it, the area is pretty desolate.

 

One more thing before I just share pictures with captions:  It seems that my underwater photos taken with the Olympus Tough 5 have had a greenish tint that I didn’t get with my Olympus Tough 4, especially when I’m far from the subject or really deep.  I don’t like that!  I’m pretty disappointed in almost all of my underwater photos this year, especially compared to past years…Oh well, They remind me of beautiful and interesting sights, and I hope you enjoy them!

 

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More Tobago Cays Sea Turtles…I love swimming with these sea creatures!

 

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In Martinique, we took the dinghy over from where we were anchored in Anse Chaudier to snorkel in nearby Les Anses D’Arlet .  We weren’t super impressed with the snorkeling, but isn’t the town picturesque from a water-level view?!

 

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Mark did take this picture there of his favorite fish, a Blue Tang (Dory), that he wanted me to include!

 

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We dinghied on around to the next bay north, Grand Anse D’Arlet, and really enjoyed our snorkel there!

 

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There’s a lot in this picture—coral, sponge, hydroids, a feather duster tube worm, Christmas tree tube worms, some algae, etc.

 

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Feather duster Tube worm and crusting sponge

 

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Sea Rod Coral with its polyps out

 

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Christmas Tree Tube Worm on what I suspect is crusting sponge that has taken over star coral, but I may be wrong. This might be some kind of star coral.

 

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Chain Moray Eel

 

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Orange Cup Coral, my fave!  I’ve only seen it in two places, Grand Anse D’Arlet, Martinique and Toucari Bay,Dominica. I love it when the polyps are out, unlike they were this day Sad smile

 

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This big older Green Sea Turtle was just hanging out here eating whatever grass that was within reach.  He never moved to a different location or came up for air while we were there.

 

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The red is sponge.  You can tell by the holes.  The big mound is star coral.  Our turtle friend would hold things between his fins and chomp.

 

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Sponge and Sea Stars (Starfish)

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Tube Sponge, Ball Shape Sponge (the black), some coral, and Tube Worms—If you disturb the water in front of the tube worms, they suck back in their tubes and disappear for a bit—fun!

 

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Feather Duster Tube Worms and a big ole Sea Star (Starfish)

 

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Tube Sponge and a friendly Sea Star waving hello

 

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Sea Rod Coral with some of its polyps out

 

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Ball Shape Sponge; the very light is Lumpy Overgrowing Sponge (looks like some kind of whistle to me).  There’s also a Feather Duster Tube Worm and a Tube Sponge.

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Lots of different kinds of coral and Tube Worms

 

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A type of Sea Star (Starfish)—Feather Star

 

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The next day, we went snorkeling right off Nancy Lu where we were anchored at Anse Chaudier!  I love it when we don’t have to take the dinghy!

 

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It was cool to see the Sea Anemone all sucked into its tube/body—not as pretty, but still cool!

 

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Not a focused picture, but I don’t see the bright red Feather Duster Tube Worms near as often as other colors so I wanted to include it.  There were two of them, but the one on the right hid in its tube as I got close!

 

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Another Magnificent Feather Duster Tube Worm among the coral

 

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Pretty Sea Anemone among the sponge and agae

 

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Mark likes to entertain me with superhero poses,Rolling on the floor laughing!

 

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Can you see the Peacock Flounder?

 

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A closer look!

 

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A bendy Sea Star

 

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A wicked looking Sea Urchin

 

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These Lion Fish were about 30 feet deep with their faces hiding in the rock.  I saw them on the swim back to Nancy Lu.  From way up top, they looked like enormous Feather Duster Tube Worms.  I’m glad I dived for a closer look!

 

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Water-level photo of Nancy Lu after our snorkel!

On our way north we anchored with the big boat (Nancy Lu, as opposed to the dinghy) for a night at Grand Anse D’Arlet so that I could do a little more snorkeling there.  In particular, I was hoping to see the Orange Cup Coral with its polyps out!  I got the bonus of seeing Green Sea Turtles EVERYWHERE on my swim over to the south side of the bay where I was going to snorkel!

 

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I think it’s so cute when they flick something off of there carapace with their fins!

 

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I must have seen 6 different turtles.  It took a bit of sneaky maneuvering to get this close to this one.  I still didn’t get right in front of him like I was trying to doSarcastic smile

 

Okay!  Time to leave the turtles behind!  On to the Orange Cup Coral spot…

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Oh wait!  On the looooong swim over to the snorkeling area, I came across this kindhearted Sea Star putting a reassuring arm around an abandoned shackle.  Maybe the spindly Arrow crab is offering some comfort to this old cast off boat part, but I suspect he was just looking for a bite to eat—heehee!  This is what was going through my mind as I took these pictures…sometimes you just can’t help but anthropomorphize a little bit. Open-mouthed smile

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YIPPIE!  The Orange Cup Coral was out to play ( to continue with the anthropomorphic theme)!!!

We also did some snorkeling in Dominica:

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When we went snorkeling while in Roseau, our friend, Mr. Beanz, hitched a ride on our dinghy to snorkel a little, but mostly to go visit some of his friends on the beach.  I had just told him that I had never seen an octopus right before he jumped in the water to swim to the beach.  He got only a few yards from the dinghy when he called for us to come over and see something…he had spotted a little octopus!

 

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He dived down to show us where it was (I don’t know how he saw it just casually swimming by)!

 

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I SCORED A PICTURE OF IT before it disappeared in a crevasse!!!!!!!!!

 

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Another day while still moored in Roseau, we went snorkeling at Scotts Head.

 

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The snorkeling here is a bit challenging.  You have to dive sort of under an over hang to get a good view of a wall.  This is one place that makes me wish that I liked SCUBA better.

 

A few days later, we went snorkeling from our anchorage further north in Portsmouth.  This was the longest snorkeling trip of the season so far—2 hours!  We dinghied over to Douglas Bay and snorkeled the northern wall and around the point to different spots in Toucari Bay.

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Caribbean Puffer

 

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Be careful little Puffer; those Sea Urchins hurt!

 

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Of note in this picture: the bright yellow Tube Worms (well, you could tell they’re bright yellow if my camera worked betterBaring teeth smilegrrr).

 

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Sea Urchin

 

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Elkhorn Coral

 

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Hello Orange Cup Coral!!!  I was hoping to see you!!

 

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The blue speckled fish (the speckles really do look neon) is actually a juvenile yellowtail Damselfish, which is yellow as an adult!

 

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I was looking forward to seeing these Orange Cup Coral again!  I was scared that the hurricane might have damaged them.  They’re on the point between Douglas and Toucari Bays.

 

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The wall on the point

 

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We swam back around to Douglas Bay where our dinghy was moored to get it so that we could moor it around the point in Toucari Bay.

 

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Toucari Bay is still pretty even after hurricane damage…the buildings are restored here and the foliage is coming back.

 

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Life growing on the dinghy mooring line just below the surface…I didn’t even use the underwater setting.

 

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Me diving down to where the mooring line is attached to the rock below to…

 

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get these pictures.  The white string is actually a kind of worm.  You can see some in other pictures.

 

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More pictures of Barrel Sponge from the deep

 

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While I continued to snorkel, Mark took the dinghy to another mooring and talked to the dive boat that was about to leave.

 

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Down below was a huge rock split in two, leaving…

 

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a crevasse teaming with life!

 

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A couple of pictures of sponge from down deep

 

Our latest snorkeling site was in Les Saintes at Ilet a Cabrit…

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This is another spot where we can just dive off of Nancy Lu and have at it!

 

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A little patch of Christmas Tree Tube Worms

 

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The top picture of the Barrel Sponge was taken recently.  The bottom picture was taken in 2017, the last time we were in The Saints.  I found it the other day when I was comparing the color of photos taken with my last camera with the ones I take now.  See what I mean by the difference in color?!  I DON’T LIKE IT!  I’m not 100% sure it’s the same sponge.  There are differences, but they could be explained by the difference in angle.  I’m not sure, but I AM sure that the color is more true on the bottom photo!

Sorry to leave you with a negative word!  The photos may not be as good as I would like, but the actual snorkeling WAS good! 

I’m still behind the times with my updates.  Next time I’ll share about our time in Martinique!

 

ADDENDUM TO THE BLOG UPDATE:

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We visited the Aquarium De La Guadeloupe in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe yesterday.  That doesn’t really count as snorkeling, but it was related.   I saw a couple of things that I haven’t seen yet in the wild, and I learned one new thing!  For sure, going through this aquarium is not as awesome as snorkeling, but it is very well done and a pleasant experience!  What I learned:  Most coral has fluorescence, and scientists speculate that its presence may be related to the health of the coral.  I’ve seen super colorful coral such as the Orange Cup Coral, but I never thought it was florescent…Hmmm.  I also learned that the juvenile form of the Yellowtail Damselfish has FLORESCENT SPOTS (you know the fish that I was talking about earlier in the blog update?)!  I KNEW they looked NEON!  THEY ARE!  So cool!  It was gratifying to have what I’ve observed in real life be confirmed and explained in a scientific setting,Nerd smile, lol.

Mark and I (aka Granddad and Kaykay) spent way longer than two adults should in a cool interactive room at the end of  the aquarium experience.  They have a huge projection of an animated underwater scene that covers a whole wall.

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“Children” are invited to color a sea creature, scan it, get a photo taken of their face,

 

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and then watch their sea creature and the photo of themselves “come to life” as part of the animated projection on the wall…It was so fun!  I wish our grandkids had been with us,

 

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but I included them as best as I couldSmile.  My “Ava and Remi-Sea-Creatures-Come-To-Life” didn’t show up very well in the projection, but our faces did! 

3 thoughts on “COME SNORKEL WITH ME!—March and April, 2019

  1. Wow, what a spectacular set of experiences! My guess is that your lungs are bigger than they used to be! It was a delight to see the pictures of a half way healthy coral reef area. It is quite a job to do the look up and name connect and such but makes the whole experience more interesting. I always wondered about people living in gorgeous areas and not know a single name of a plant or bird…We became less thrilled with diving later in life because we started out young in reefs that were so pristine they glowed and the last few diving experiences were somewhat dismal. The octopus was a great find and a great picture. Glad you mentioned it to an experienced person from the area to get to see such a treat. The turtles were amazing. Simply flying in the water. They always make me serene and happy to be alive! Like proposes gliding thru the water, or stingrays, breath taking for sure. I hate to see the lion fish and the Black Sea urchins. They tend to arrive to see the end of a healthy reef. We must do better in taking care of the ocean. The world really depends on the oceans. Thank you for including the delightful fun at the museum. If one can’t be playful and silly and have fun like a child on occasion one takes life too seriously! That would be a perfect end for a child at the museum to cement the joy of living creatures and being among them. What delightful experiences you had and thanks for sharing your joy in the living ocean that depends on us now to do the right things. Such beauty deserves our admiration and care. Stay safe and sail on.

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