“Coralpalooza” 2017

“Coralpalooza” 2017, an event organized by STINAPA Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire took place yesterday, June 3rd.  Volunteers helped clean the various coral nurseries on Bonaire and Klein.  This video features the Harbour Village site and we were lucky to have the STINAPA Bonaire Junior Rangers participate!  Thanks to GAB dive shop crew and manager Christine Ball.

Lessons from the Mat.

View from the “Yoga Terrace” at Spice.

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We have a gentle and encouraging Yoga instructor.  Her lessons serve us well on and off the mat.

1) Find your balance

2) Breathe

3) Be in the moment

4) Create space

5) Nice and stay

6) Be aware

7) Expand

8) Feel the sensation

9) Don’t judge

10) Just let go

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“Namaste” What does it mean?

The gesture (a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest) and word is used mainly throughout India, Nepal, and parts of Asia.  We use it in Yoga class.

It is a respectful way of greeting hello and saying goodbye.

It can also translate to:

“I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.”

“I honor the place in you of light, of love, of truth, and peace.”

(Yeah, that one word means a whole lot, but it’s a great saying none the less.)

Namaste my friend. Namaste

Shrimp Manicure Anyone?

The Pederson cleaner shrimp is most often spotted living in a Caribbean Anemone.  They are found in the Western part of the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. They have a clear translucent body with beautiful purple and blue markings. Their front claws are very large and are also adorned with the same purple and blue patterns.

These shrimp also act as cleaner shrimp. They lure fish into their surroundings using their large antennae. Many fish will allow them to clean the inside of their mouths referred to by divers as a “cleaning station”.  If they are not busy, you can gently move your hand near their antennae and receive a complimentary manicure.

Reproduction:

After the male cleaner shrimp fertilizes her eggs the female then carries them in her pleopod. She then releases the young into the water column, which produces a pelagic larval form. After the young planktonic shrimp develops it immediately finds its host anemone.  If you look closely, you can see the fertilized eggs in the first two images.

Photos by Shelly Craig, Bonaire Netherlands Caribbean

 

Queen Angelfish Portrait

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They are shy fish, found often alone unlike the French Angelfish often found in pairs in the warm waters of the Caribbean and western Atlantic. Fairly large for reef-dwellers, they can grow up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in length with a lifespan of 15 years. They have rounded heads and a bird-like mouth, and their long upper and lower fins stream dramatically behind them.

Queen angelfish get their royal title from the speckled, blue-ringed dark spot on their heads that resembles a crown.  Next week a watercolor image showing her crown.

Decked out with electric blue bodies, yellow hashtags, blazing yellow tails, and light purple and orange highlights, Queen angels are among the most strikingly colorful of all reef fishes. Their adornments seem shockingly conspicuous, but they blend well when hiding amid the exotic reef colors.

The Queen Angelfish is one of my favorite fish to photograph.  If I get a glimpse of one, and capture a portrait, it’s a great dive!

Sources: National Geographic

Photo by: Shelly Craig 1st place EPIC Underwater Photographic Image Competition

Nikon 150 Lens, Sea and Sea Housing, Duo YS Strobes

Let’s Flamingle!

The holidays are coming! Birds of a feather flock together.

Cocktails and Mocktails!  Mix up a pitcher and shake your tail-feathers!

“Pink Flamingo” drink Recipe: 

Pink lemonade with a splash of soda.

Garnish with lemons, limes or strawberries over ice.

With or without Vodka. 

Cheers….and a little more art making!

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Flamingo watercolor

Watercolour flamingos by; S.Craig

Fun Facts about Jellyfish

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Jellyfish watercolour and ink

Fun Facts:

Some jellyfish are bigger than a human and others are as small as a pinhead.

People in some countries eat jellyfish.

Jellyfish have been on Earth for millions of years, even before dinosaurs.

Jellyfish have no brain but some kinds have eyes.

Jellyfish are mainly made up of water and protein.

A group of jellyfish is called a smack or bloom.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea.

Sources: National Geographic, Smithsonian

Art rendering: by S. Craig

Lionfish Hunter

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The first Lionfish was spotted on Bonaire in October, 2009.  They reproduce rapidly and aggressively prey on small fish and invertebrates.  The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal. Their feeding consumption poses a major threat to reef ecological systems all throughout the Caribbean.

Jim Morris, “The Lion Fish Guy,” says it’s our fault. Pretty, frilly fins made the fish a favored pet and lured aquarists and aquarium dealers into a false sense of security. We simply didn’t see how dangerous these charismatic fish were—dangerous not for their venom, but for their beauty. We have trouble killing beautiful things, so instead we choose to release them into the wild, believing somehow that this is a better option when, in actuality, it’s the worst thing we can do.”  (Slate News-Christie Wilcox)

Native to the Indio-Pacific, it is now believed aquarium owners first dumped lionfish off the coast of Florida in the mid-1980s. Since the fish don’t have any natural predators here, they have the chance to multiply quickly, overtaking and killing native species, which results in a huge danger for the local environment and aquatic life on Bonaire. 

The current management philosophy is to kill ‘em and eat ‘em. 

It is legal to hunt lionfish on Bonaire through a dive operator but only when using marine park authorized spears. The Lionfish Hunter Specialty consists of a knowledge development session, practice using the hunting tools and two training dives actually hunting lionfish. You will receive a PADI Lion Fish Hunter specialty card recognized by STINAPA Bonaire (National Park Foundation Bonaire) and you will contribute to keeping our reefs healthy.

To further educate and eradicate these predators STINAPA Bonaire has organized events such as the “Malicious & Delicious Derby” to spotlight the problem and encourage the removal of the invasive lionfish.

National Geographic /Ocean service.noaa.gov/STINAPA Bonaire/Slate News

“Vitamin Sea” coursework project  “Jane Davenport Art School” http://www.janedavenport.com

Art Image:  S. Craig, Watercolor and ink