A Darker View

Tag "reef"

Just a little bit jealous… My friend Pete shot a beautiful photo of a tinker’s butterflyfish…

Tinker's Butterflyfish

Tinker’s butterflyfish (Chaetodon tinkeri), photo by Pete Tucker


Pete descending to the reef forty feet below

Dascylus Reef

A Hawaiian Dascyllus (Dascyllus albisella) hovers over the reef

Pete on the Reef

Pete looking for subjects to photograph on a Kona reef

Yellow-Spotted Guard Crab

A yellow-spotted guard crab (Trapezia flavopunctata) shelters in the arms of an antler coral (Pocillopora eydouxi)

Lantern Toby

A lantern toby (Canthigaster epilampra) hiding in a reef crevice

Gliding across the sand, a handsome sea star catches my eye. These stars spend the day under the sand, hiding from the many predators that hunt with the light. In the darkness it rises and begins its own hunt. While two arms seem to be in the process of regrowing, the star is otherwise quite healthy. I wander off into the dark, wondering what prey the starfish is seeking, what will be eaten tonight.


A starfish (Luidia aspera) hunting across the sand at night, 40′ depth, Mahukona

When diving with a camera you understand the situation…  It is not a question of if you flood the camera, it is a question of when you flood the camera.

Pipe Dreams

The author diving the intake pipes at OTEC, photo by Pete Tucker

Yes, I flooded a camera this weekend.

Just 15-20ft down on a dive off the old Kona airport, I went to turn the camera on and saw something that made my heart miss a beat.  The camera case was half full of water.  Nooooo!

As we were just starting the dive I popped to the surface and drained the case.  I knew that the damage was already done, salt water and electro-optics simply do not mix. Re-seating the rear hatch I dive again, the leak has stopped.

Continuing the dive without a camera was painful. I dive to shoot, not being able to take photos takes the color out of the dive. At least nothing special wandered by, no 14ft tiger shark or underwater humpback sighting, that would have been excruciating.

The leak appeared to be on the rear hatch, I could see a trickle originating on the top right corner. Some small debris in the seal? A slight kink in seating the seal. Later examination shows nothing wrong, I will probably never know.

The memory card appears to be just fine, I read out the few shots that were on it.  This includes the photo of the folks drying coffee on the old runway.  I simply marked the card so I know which one it was in case there are questions about the reliability later.  The camera battery also appears to have survived the immersion, need to use it a through a couple cycles to be sure.

Otherwise the camera is an expensive desk ornament.

As Pete said after the dive… “Insert $400 to play again.”

Fortunately there is EBay… Inserting a mere $200 has a used G12 on it’s way for me to play again.  It appears the the G12 is old enough that used cameras are very available and the prices are falling.  I may want to pick up another one.  This is why I use a few hundred dollar camera underwater, not a few thousand dollar camera, it will happen again.  In the meantime Pete is currently assembling a Canon 5D MkII underwater rig.  Not me.

After identifying the juvenile bigeye emperor, I thought I recognized the adult photos in the book. Sure enough, when I looked back through the photos of the same dive there they were…

Bigeye Emperor

Bigeye emperor (Monotaxis grandoculis) at 40ft depth, Hoover’s Tower

Sometimes you see a fish that is not familiar, asking yourself “What is that?” After so many dives I probably have seen one before, but have not paid any attention to that particular fish in the swirl of color and fish on the reef.

Then comes the challenge of identifying the photo. A first run through the book provided no answers. A second run, checking any families with similar body plans… Nothing. Great, it is probably juvenile that looks nothing like the adult… The adult photo is in the book. More browsing, this time on the Stender’s website. The website often has multiple photos of the same species, including the color variations that come with differing sex and age.

Yup, a juvenile bigeye emperor, it looks absolutely nothing like the adult

Juvenile Bigeye Emperor

A juvenile bigeye emperor (Monotaxis grandoculis) at 30ft depth, Hoover’s Tower