Saturday, June 24, 2006

David and Liwei's adventures in snorkeling

Today I took Liwei and David for their first snorkel trip ever. The weather was amazing, I have not seen such a beautiful day in HK. We went to Clear Water Bay, and spent 1 ½ hour in the water. Murphy’s Law made sure that very few butterfly fish and not one larger fish showed their fins. Both of my “students” did well. Christel and I looked after either one alternatingly. I had constructed a little life-savor for David, and he was very comfortable. Liwei just became a fish. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

Another afternoon in Clear Water Bay

I spent another afternoon in Clear Water Bay. It was low tide, some of the bay lay dry, and the rest was very shallow. Water was around body temperature, almost like a bath. Visibility was good, especially with bright afternoon sunlight. There were no Cornett fish, but I saw another puffer fish that quickly disappeared. I saw another moray eel, same species but larger specimen as last time (50cm). Surprisingly it was hunting in open water, at around 1m depth, and only hid under a rock as it saw me. Usually, one would expect moray eel to hunt in the dusk or dawn, as they do not see very well, and rely on their smelling. For the first time, I saw little anemone fish.
My setup for free-diving is almost ideal; I feel very comfortable with it. However, I have to work on my skills in ambushing fish for pictures. Too often the fish are too quick and disappear. Also, I have to handle the switch between normal and macro mode on the camera more quickly. Now, too many pictures turn out blurry. Maybe there are some principles from spear fishing that I can learn. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More CWB pictures from today

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Clear Water Bay

I took my gear to a small beach left of Clear Water Bay Beach One. Visibility reached 4-7 meters. Water was very warm; I spent two hours wearing shorts. There was a distinct thermocline at around 2.5 meters, combined with dramatically decreasing visibility. I went in late afternoon (4-6h), and visibility can be expected to be better with more ambient light earlier in the afternoon. The ground is rocky, with small patches of softcoral. The bay in front of the beach is very shallow (<1m).
several cornet fish
a juvenile moray eel (prob. Gymnothorax Pseudothyrsoideus)
a large puffer fish that was too quick every time to identify it
small scorpion fish
a medusa swimming upside down
several butterfly fishes (Chaetodontidae)
hundreds of hermit crabs
The setup was ok. This was the first time I took the camera, and it might require an extra kilo. As the sun goes away, the moskitos and woodlice mad the shore far from pleasant.
Taking pictures is not easy without scuba equipment. There is little time, and the descent might scare away the fish one was looking to take a picture of. With the low visibility, the flash is to be avoided. Pictures are best taken close-up, in macro mode. In this case, it is best to come at noon, when ambient light is maximal. I posted soem of the pictures here. Posted by Picasa