A Snoot for my Underwater Flash

A flash evenly illuminates the scene. However, the lighting is to broad to isolate the subject and make it stand out.聽With the use of a snoot, the light beam of the flash is narrowed. Using pipe fittings, a reduction in the light beam is achieved. Small pieces of black straws (unfinished) further concentrate the light beam.

It’s the light that makes a photograph. The principle also applies to underwater photography. Sunlight penetrates water. However, only twenty percent makes it to a depth of ten metres. Less than one percent of sunlight reaches the ocean at 100 metres depth.聽To make things more difficult, water filters the warmer side of the light spectrum…… Continue reading A Snoot for my Underwater Flash

The Wreck of the Pe帽贸n

The wreck of the tugboat El Pe帽on sits on the ground in 32 metres depth in Tabaiba, Tenerife.

Wreck diving is fascinating in many ways: there’s the diving aspect, big underwater shapes are interesting to photograph, and last but not least the story behind a wreck is captivating to discover. The tugboat El Pe帽贸n served for 49 years in the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife starting in the Fifties, when聽the port with…… Continue reading The Wreck of the Pe帽贸n

Hermit Crabs, The Home Swapping Club

A hermit crab carries the shell of a sea snail.

Hermit crabs are crustaceans that scavenge and inhabit the shells of molluscs, most often sea snails. Their abdomen is soft and exposed to predators. As the crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell to inhabit. Sometimes hermit crabs will compete for a desired shell. If a shell is too large for an…… Continue reading Hermit Crabs, The Home Swapping Club

Blenny in a Bottle

A blenny fish peeks out of a bottle immersed at the bottom of the harbour of La Restinga, El Hierro, Spain. Blenniidae have characteristic faces.

Blenny are small fish with characteristic faces with large eyes and mouths, some of them have antlers (cirri). Only a few centimetres long, they hide in rock holes or spend their time at the bottom of the ocean. A recent study described unique face markings on individual blennies (J Fish Biol 2016). In fact, you…… Continue reading Blenny in a Bottle

Comb Jellies, Beautiful Aliens of the Oceans

Comb jellies (ctenophora) are gelatinous animals able to swim using cilia arranged in rows along their bodies. The complex animals have muscle tissue, and nervous and digestive systems. Most ctenophores are bioluminescent. In addition, there is a rainbow effect at the comb rows caused by the scattering of light. This Leucothea multicornis was photographed in about 5 metres depth at the Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca.

Comb jellies, or ctenophora, are marine animals with gelatinous bodies. Comb jellies live in tropical and arctic waters, forming about 150 species. Although common, most people have never seen them.

Diving on the Volcano: El Baj贸n

El Bajon is an underwater mountain near the fishing village of La Restinga in El Hierro. The steep summits rise from a hundred metres depth almost to the ocean surface. The currents support an abundant marine life with large dusky groupers, barracuda, greater amberjacks, and sometimes whale sharks and manta rays.

El Baj贸n is an underwater mountain at the southern tip of El Hierro, the island that once was the end of the old world. Out of the deep blue, its steep rock faces rise from a hundred metres depth to a few metres below the ocean surface making the volcanic peak an thrilling dive spot.…… Continue reading Diving on the Volcano: El Baj贸n

Marine Life in El Hierro (Part 2)

Black moray eel (Muraena augusti) with large white eyes, El Hierro. Moray eels actively pump water in and out of their open mouths which is often mistaken as threatening. They have excellent sense of smell.

This is the second article about scuba diving and marine life in El Hierro. The waters around La Restinga are a marine reserve, and underwater life is rich with diverse animals in the clear waters.聽There are triggerfish, pufferfish,聽parrotfish, zebra seabream, porcupinefish, trumpetfish,聽garden eel and moray eel,聽dusky grouper, barracuda, greater amberjack, red scorpionfish, slipper lobster, tube-dwelling…… Continue reading Marine Life in El Hierro (Part 2)

Marine Life in El Hierro (Part 1)

A dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus) curiously approaches. Dusky groupers can grow up to 1.5 metres length and live over several decades. They are an endangered species due to overfishing.

El Hierro sits on a ridge on the 3’500-metre-deep seabed, making it a dive spot with rich biodiversity. As marine biology is an overwhelming field, I’ve compiled a simplified and incomplete scheme. The abundant marine life in El Hierro can be classified into bony and cartilaginous fish, whales, crustacea, molluscs,聽Anthozoa (anemones, corals, and gorgonians), and…… Continue reading Marine Life in El Hierro (Part 1)

El Hierro, the Edge of the Old World

Sailing from North Africa, first settlers arrived in El Hierro about five hundred years BC. Portuguese explorers landed in 1341 and found a stone age culture that had ended several thousand years earlier on the continents. In 1405, Jean de B茅thencourt conquered the island for Spain and captured the native Bimbaches. In 1482, Portuguese Diogo C茫o was the first European to sail beyond the West African Cape Bojador and the Canary Islands: he went as far as to the mouth of the river Congo. Later in 1493, Christopher Columbus fueled up his supplies on his second sailing to the Americas.

El Hierro once was the edge of the known world. The most western point of the Old World remained the meridian of zero longitude for many centuries 鈥 as defined by the Greek geographers Marinos of Tyre and Claudius Ptolemy in the first and second century. Only in 1482, Portuguese Diogo C茫o was the first…… Continue reading El Hierro, the Edge of the Old World