Thursday, February 14, 2008

Turtles, Turtles and More Turtles

Yes, I have been diving. And diving some more, and diving some more. I pretty much live underwater on weekends, and turtles are a big part of the reason why. I just never get tired of swimming with these amazing creatures and watching & studying them. They are a work of art to me, and I always enjoy capturing them with my camera. Usually when I'm diving I'm looking down at the bottom for turtles, nudibranchs, Leaf Scorpionfish or anything that I think may make an interesting picture. But occasionally I look up and I see something like this, a green sea turtle that is coming down almost on top of me. I can't even imagine how many thing my dive buddy Doug and I have missed that swam right above us or right next to us because we were looking down so intently.
When I'm swimming with turtles I'm always looking for just the perfect angle or background setting to take the picture in. This formation outside of the Grotto is one of my favorite backdrops, but it's a fairly unusual thing to manage to catch a turtle at just the right spot to take his picture with the big rocks in the background. This was just one of those charmed days when visibility was good, the turtle was in the right spot at the right time, and so was I.
This particular turtle and I have spent a lot of time together over the last few months. You may wonder how I know it's always this same turtle. If you look closely on his shell at the end toward his head, you'll notice a couple big scratches or scars in the shell. He is pretty easy to identify because of those marks. I don't know if he had a run in with a Tiger shark or what happened, but it does make it easy to know it's him. He's gotten so comfortable around me that he will just sit there and eat letting me park right next to him and just snap picture after picture.
Here is another shot of him where you can see the scratch marks more clearly. I've spent so much time with some of these turtles that I not only know when to find them and when to find them there, but I also have a very good idea of what their behavior will be when they see a diver approach, and where they will head. Could it be that I'm starting to turn into a turtle myself? I can think of worse fates, I'd much rather face Tiger sharks that some of the people that I have to deal with. And finally my buddy decides it's time to go up and get a breath of air. I can easily lose track of time and spend an hour just watching these guys and studying their behavior. That's why I've got a monster tank, I love being able to spend all the time with the creatures down there and not having to worry about running out of air or getting into trouble on decompression time. Yes I do have some whopping decompression stops, but it's a small price to pay to spend some quality time with these magnificent creatures. I plan on getting wet tomorrow and initiating the new camera, hopefully I'll have some cool pictures to share when I get back.

I guess I'm ready to start doing my blog regularly again, but it will be devoted exclusively to my pictures of paradise and possibly a story or two about things that I find amusing. I have no interest in debating with others over politics, social issues or anything else controversial. That may be where the interest and comments are, but frankly I'm just not interested. I'd much rather just share the beauty all around us that I manage to capture through my camera lens. For those who enjoy the pictures and want to follow the blog, you're more than welcome to come along for the ride, and leave comments if you'd like. For those who just want to be nasty and pick, go away. Your comments will not be published and you will have no voice here, this is simply a place for me to share my pictures, my love of diving and the creatures I meet up with underwater.
And it will also be a place to share pictures like these, of phenomenal sunsets and the paddlers out doing their thing. I believe that there is a place for blogs like this that just want to share the beauty of the islands through pictures and give people a look at some of the cool things we have here to see. If no one reads it anymore or bothers visiting it, no big deal, I really wasn't doing it for you in the first place. I guess I've said my peace, and now I can quietly post my pictures and tell my dive stories. And by the way, dive weenies are also not welcome here. Just thought I'd make that perfectly clear before we get back into more underwater shots.