Archive for 08/23/2012

The Miami Herald – 

On her first-ever scuba diving adventure on the colorful coral reefs and blue holes south of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, underwater photographer Maggie Martorell of Hollywood immediately noticed something was missing.

“Where are all the little tropical fish ?”

Martorell wanted to know. The reef looked healthy; stands of mountainous star coral jutted up from the ocean floor, interspersed with tangled branches of staghorn.

Soft corals, such as sea whips and sea fans, undulated with the gentle current.

A few groupers swam around the entrance to a marine cave that descended into darkness in the middle of the reef tract.

But Martorell was alarmed by what she didn’t see — convict-striped sergeant majors busily patrolling the reef to protect their mass of lavender eggs; brightly hued parrotfish munching the thin coating of algae covering the coral; angelfish, gobies, surgeonfish and others meandering around, doing whatever it is they do in a typical day.

Then, as Martorell swam around with her camera, she saw a large lionfish sitting boldly outside a cavern.

A few minutes later, she spotted another of the peppermint-striped predators, then another.

They weren’t even trying to hide from the photographer and her fellow divers.

Full story…

Lionfish

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Trisha Sertori –

Brave and independent, strong and supple, with brilliant white teeth, flawless caramel skin and sun-bleached locks, the wave princesses of Bali are pin-ups of health and natural beauty.

On Bali’s surf beaches these girls, ranging in age from under 10 to their late 30s, glisten in the sun as they race laughing to the sea; there is no fear of dark tanning, of bucking the advertised trend for white skin.

“Surfing is fun, don’t be scared of getting dark, because hitam [black] is sexy and sweet — white skin is boring,” says 39-year-old Stella Hermina, founder of Indonesia’s first female surf club, Putri Ombak.

The club, this week celebrating its fifth birthday, numbers around 30 members, and most are Indonesian and at least a third are champion surfers.

Jakarta-born Stella started the club to encourage more girls and women to take up a sport long dominated by men after discovering for herself the buzz of the waves, a discovery made not long after the first Bali bombing that crushed her furniture business and left her looking for an alternative income and a hobby that would reignite her natural exuberance for life.

As a non-swimmer, surfing in deep and dangerous swells was not initially on her list of possible hobbies.

Full story…

Larisa Brown –

With its mysterious dark hump floating in the water, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just spotted the Loch Ness Monster.

And onlookers thought just that – after they were fooled into believing it was the legendary creature.

On closer inspection, experts say it is likely to be a basking shark lurking near the shoreline of the famous beach resort of Skegness.

It was captured on camera on Sunday by Rebecca Clarke, from London, who was visiting friends in the Lincolnshire resort.

The footage shows several fins bobbing up and down in the choppy water, just metres off the coast where children can be seen paddling in the shallow water.

People can be heard on the YouTube video shouting it is a basking shark.

But some observers likened the creature to the Loch Ness Monster because of a humped-back similar to the legendary Scottish beasts’.

Miss Clarke, who filmed what is believed to be a shark, thought at first glance it was rubbish floating on the surface but on further inspection realised it was alive.

She said: ‘It might seem silly but I thought it looked rather reptilian, like a crocodile or a dragon as the fins seemed more rigid than they do on sharks.’

Skegness Royal National Lifeboat Institution coxswain, John Irving, said the creature could either be a killer whale or a basking shark.

Neither species are regular visitors to the east coast, however a confirmed killer whale sighting had been made off the Wells coast in Norfolk earlier this year.

Full story…