Just back from Cayman

Bottoms! Stingrays at stingray sandbar, Cayman 2016

Hi All, It’s been a while! Phew, just back from my first diving trip in over two years (since having my lovely daughter). I actually got back last week but the little one has not been well so we’ve been busy and sleep deprived.

Here’s a taster but I’m putting together a gallery page here. I’m experimenting with putting my pictures directly on my blog rather than pbase this time.

Kittiwake Jacks (Black & White), Cayman 2016

Reef Shark, Cayman 2016

Photofriday – ‘Lonesome’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Lonesome’

In contrast to last weeks PhotoFriday (Huge!), this little critter is very small. She was affectionately known in Grand Cayman by the dive guides as Sally the Sailfin (Blenny). I didnt see any others there, many other types of blennies but only one Sailfin. I thought she must be lonesome, or maybe not, with all the divers stopping by to say hi?

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery.

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Lonesome’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Graceful’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Graceful’

This week’s theme is Graceful.) I thought I focus on the Stingrays of Grand Cayman, since pretty much everything we see underwater is graceful (apart from some of the divers)! Graceful implies movement so video would be a much better medium for this challenge as its quite difficult to display the true grace of these animals in still photographs. I’ve given it a go though, let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

and here is one not looking so graceful trying to climb into my camera

If you want to see more of my Grand Cayman photos then check out other photos in my Cayman 2010 and Cayman 2011 Galleries.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Graceful’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Vertical’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Vertical’

Click image to go to see alternate sizes (looks better larger).

When I think of vertical things in the sea I think of tube sponges and whip coral which both seem to love to grow vertically from the reef. If you peer inside tube sponges you often seem small crabs and shrimp hiding out in there as they make a nice safe haven that larger predators cannot fit inside to eat them. My photo here shows some bright yellow sponges (and the boat & divers in the background) that you can find all over Grand Cayman.

If you want to see more of my Cayman photos then check out other photos in my Cayman 2010 and Cayman 2011. Galleries.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Vertical’ here.

Macro Monday – Blenny Mania!

More new photos from Cayman this time we’re looking at the small. I love blennies, perhaps not as much as Jarrett but not many people do. So with both Jarrett & I on the same trip blenny mania ensued, here are (some of) the results…

These secretary blennies are the more common type of blenny that you see in Cayman:

These golden phase rough head blennies are apparently quite rare to see. I’ve not seen them before but we sure saw lots that week!

not sure what this one is though

sailfin blenny with Mike in the background. This was funny because their eyes swivel round completely and independantly. He couldnt decide whether to look at me or Mike so he kept an eye on us both.

Grand Cayman Underwater

I wanted to tell you all about our Photo Workshop with Alex Mustard in Grand Cayman.

As usual, click on the images to see them at a larger size (& they are copyright to Suzy Walker or Michael Toye so please do not use without permission).

Overall I enjoyed the diving very much. It’s not like Egypt where the reef goes right to the surface, the more interesting dives are quite deep with the interesting bits at the bottom so we used Nitrox to allow us more dive time. We went to cave areas with glass fish and great swim-throughs, we did an off camera strobe model shot that Alex set up for us, we saw sharks, we saw (lots of) sting rays and I even got my macro on for a dive or two. I did notice there wasn’t as much fish life as I’m use to (we usually spend time in Indonesia or Red Sea) but I think that’s a Caribbean thing rather than a Cayman thing since there seemed to be many more fish than we saw at Bonaire.

Alex provides an excellent level of photo workshop (He runs this trip every year and there are quite a few repeat trippers), he explained a lot about light this workshop during evening lectures (take a jumper for these – I was cold) & image critique and on the boat and during the day. He even spent all day in the freezing cold pool showing people strobe positions (I skipped out on that since I was too cold from the 26 degree sea water to brave the pool as well)! This was our 1st trip of the year but not the first workshop we have taken with Alex so we knew what to expect from the workshop.

The pace is quite fast, you couldn’t possible fit any more into this trip but it was so relaxed that you could decide to skip any of it if you wanted to just chill out and enjoy the holiday. We went specifically to dive for photos and learn from the workshop, however the cold water & rocky boat (take you sea sickness tablets with you!) got the better of Mike and I spent a lot of my time diving with a nice American lady, Ellen, who also found herself with no buddy too.

We stayed at Ocean Frontiers (Compass point) in the East End of Grand Cayman. I didn’t actually know it was self-catering until we got there (it came as a surprise since we’re so used to liveaboards now). I cannot say that I’m a great fan of self-catering – we’re spoiled and when we go holiday I don’t like to worry about going to the supermarket and feeding ourselves, but the facilities of the room were good and we probably

saved a bit of money (since everything on Cayman seemed very expensive even at the supermarket – and I live in London so that much be saying something!!) We ate out a lot at a ear by restaurant (5min drive) called Portafinos which was pricey but delicious. We had a teeny tiny white car included in the holiday price that drove like a go kart but it was enough to get us around the island – we worked out after a few days that the speed signs were Miles per hour and speedo was in Kilometres 😉

The dive centre was great – we didn’t have to take care of our gear at all the whole week (which is always good when you have so little time and so much camera gear to get ready).

Off Camera strobe Model shot

and you can see the rest of my images here: