Thursday, February 14, 2008

Turtles, Turtles and More Turtles

Yes, I have been diving. And diving some more, and diving some more. I pretty much live underwater on weekends, and turtles are a big part of the reason why. I just never get tired of swimming with these amazing creatures and watching & studying them. They are a work of art to me, and I always enjoy capturing them with my camera. Usually when I'm diving I'm looking down at the bottom for turtles, nudibranchs, Leaf Scorpionfish or anything that I think may make an interesting picture. But occasionally I look up and I see something like this, a green sea turtle that is coming down almost on top of me. I can't even imagine how many thing my dive buddy Doug and I have missed that swam right above us or right next to us because we were looking down so intently.
When I'm swimming with turtles I'm always looking for just the perfect angle or background setting to take the picture in. This formation outside of the Grotto is one of my favorite backdrops, but it's a fairly unusual thing to manage to catch a turtle at just the right spot to take his picture with the big rocks in the background. This was just one of those charmed days when visibility was good, the turtle was in the right spot at the right time, and so was I.
This particular turtle and I have spent a lot of time together over the last few months. You may wonder how I know it's always this same turtle. If you look closely on his shell at the end toward his head, you'll notice a couple big scratches or scars in the shell. He is pretty easy to identify because of those marks. I don't know if he had a run in with a Tiger shark or what happened, but it does make it easy to know it's him. He's gotten so comfortable around me that he will just sit there and eat letting me park right next to him and just snap picture after picture.
Here is another shot of him where you can see the scratch marks more clearly. I've spent so much time with some of these turtles that I not only know when to find them and when to find them there, but I also have a very good idea of what their behavior will be when they see a diver approach, and where they will head. Could it be that I'm starting to turn into a turtle myself? I can think of worse fates, I'd much rather face Tiger sharks that some of the people that I have to deal with. And finally my buddy decides it's time to go up and get a breath of air. I can easily lose track of time and spend an hour just watching these guys and studying their behavior. That's why I've got a monster tank, I love being able to spend all the time with the creatures down there and not having to worry about running out of air or getting into trouble on decompression time. Yes I do have some whopping decompression stops, but it's a small price to pay to spend some quality time with these magnificent creatures. I plan on getting wet tomorrow and initiating the new camera, hopefully I'll have some cool pictures to share when I get back.


Tamara said...

Your Back! Welcome back!! What awesome shots!!!! I missed your underwater photos! glad your back.
I still haven't gotten around to bringing those photo's by for you to sign. Time just seems to fly by and I never seem to have enough of it. Will try to get that done next week.

Jeff said...

That turtle behind the big rocks is a spectacular pic.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

The turtle by the rocks seems to be flying, almost like Jules Verne might describe some imaginary cross between an animal and a flying machine. Nice shot.

Welcome back. I've missed your posts.