|Hubby Kenny and I have been taking underwater videos in the British
Virgin Islands since 1993 and have about 60 hours of tapes. I finally found
some time to use a program called SNAPPY to "snap" frames of our videos
and convert them to photo images. These are some of my favorites and others
will be added to future articles about diving in the British Virgin Islands.
(Would you believe 500 images? I might need more Web Space!)
After spending several weeks viewing all the tapes, I had forgotten how abundant the fish, coral, and sponge are in these island waters and all the things and creatures we had filmed over the years. Using Paul Humann's three excellent references, REEF FISH, REEF CORAL, and REEF CREATURE, I found over 80% of the marine life in our videos!
During the viewings, I also noticed some interesting habits of the various
fish. Angelfish are some of the most graceful, but the colorful Queen Angels
are extremely elusive and like to hide in crevises far away from people
and cameras. I'd almost given up finding a great picture of one until I
happy discovered this shot of one dashing from one hide-out to another.
Interestingly, the French Angel fish seem to like to hang around and pose for divers and aren't timid at all. They aren't as pretty as their cousins the Queen Angels, but have bright yellow accents on their sides which is quite eye catching.
Another of my favorite fish is the spotted drum, which REALLY like to hide. The black and white baby drums uniquely have very elongated fins and tails. They are tiny and hard to spot while underwater and difficult to film or photograph because they constantly move and flutter. Nevertheless, here's a nice photograph of one.
Finding a good photo of "fish globs" is not easy... they tend to all blend together in a picture, whereas a diver can feel surrounded by them and in awe of the sheer numbers of fish. Shooting a good "sky" picture isn't too easy either since video tends to confuse the many colors of water. I was pleased to find this "snap" which shows an example of the gorgeous underwater scenes that divers often experience.
O.K. some of you die hard divers are waiting for a shark shot, right? Well, what photo gallery would be complete without one! One day we were puttering along on a dive and found a huge nurse shark sleeping under a ledge (their favorite hangout). Our group of divers disturbed it and it decided to back out and escape. I was so close that the tail almost knocked the camera out of my hand. Guess, I should start playing it safe and learn to use the ZOOM feature!
The BVI has endless areas of coral gardens, full of tiny little fish, colorful sponge, and reef creatures such as this black sea urchin.
The British Virgins also have lots of eels. I remember the day we saw a rare golden chain moray, but didn't have our camera along! We've also found lots of huge 5' long green morays, but they are always in a very dark cave or crevise (you'll find one of these in a future article). The spotted moray seems to be the most abundant. I found lots of them in our videos, but this one was the best of all. He wasn't too happy that I was filming him but slithered part of the way out of his "home" to give me a good photo.
Copper Sweepers, known as Glassy Sweepers to some, love dark caves since they have huge eyes. They also have an almost "cartoon like" shape. We've found lots of sweepers in the British Virgins and always feel like a 1000 eyes are watching us when surrounded with them.
Probably one of the strangest creatures in tropical waters is the "puffer fish". It usually resembles a long, pear-shaped underwater cactus or porcupine until it is agitated or frightened when it blows up like a huge balloon. This one was a real cutie.
I'll be adding more underwater images to this Web Site soon. Hope you've enjoyed this little "bunch"!
-- Lynn McKamey (ScubaMom)