As you read this, we are on our way to catch the Gulf migration. We had to cancel this trip last year and looking forward to giving the Average Year efforts a booster shot (a few ticks behind, but link here). Thanks to some local finds, the count sits at a healthy 240 with just a shade over 9 months left. A few days in Dauphin Island will assuredly push me closer to the 300 goal. We first head to Florida for a boys agility competition and then make our way back across the panhandle to Gulf Shores. While we travel to our first base camp, Brad will be taking the helm to boldly go where no Intrigued post has gone before! Thankfully there are people like Brad (and his wife) that are willing to risk it all and live to post about it. …catch you later in the week, meanwhile, take it away Brad…(note, you can hit the image link to see larger versions of his shots)
With the exception of Hawaiian green sea turtles, nearly every Intrigued article has been about something with feathers, or at least above sea level. This one is going to completely different. The only air you will see is what’s reflected on the underside of the surface of the water, or the “underside of air”. There’s also an evolution of photography woven throughout the story. Grab your reef-safe sunscreen and a towel, because we are going snorkeling.
But first, set the way-back machine for a bit of history before we “dive” in. Our friends from Boston scored a “free” condo on Kauai (kah-oo-ah-ee) for eight days in February 2000. Of course, we said we’d go with them. We found babysitters for Allyson (she was not quite four years old then and retired grandparents are wonderful). Once we booked flights from frozen Chicago to Kauai (known as the Garden Isle), we were on our way.
Jan and I were in Hawaii! We were very excited to squeeze out every ounce of fun during our first trip to the islands. We decided to snorkel at Ke’e (KAY-ay) Beach on the northwest side of the island. We were looking forward to some sunshine and warm water.
This was going to be our first underwater photography experience. Not knowing what to expect, and not wanting to spend a bunch of money on a camera if we didn’t like it, we used disposable film cameras. Five of them if I remember correctly. Each little “camera in a box” had 24 exposures of ISO 400 film, a nearly microscopic (smaller than most smart phones) fixed focus plastic lens (only in focus for about 3-10 feet away), and a thumbwheel to wind the film. (Kids, go ask your parents or grandparents about manual winding film cameras)
After arriving at the beach, I jumped right in. Holy crap the water is cold! We were in Hawaii, right? Shouldn’t this water be warm? After the initial temperature shock, I eventually remembered to breathe and started snapping photos. The water around Hawaii is very deep and never gets a chance to really warm up. The ocean currents push very deep water up the steep slopes of the islands (upwelling) towards the surface. Here is the first fish I saw, and photographed, underwater.
It is a surge wrasse (Thalassoma purpureum). They are about the size of the 2-3 lb. bass from a farm pond but much more colorful. The surge wrasse likes heavy surf areas (hence the name) and is usually within 30 feet of the surface.
Hit the jump to read more about this underwater adventure!Continue reading Under the Sea – Part I of II…by Brad Marks