Sunday, May 31, 2009


 OK, Why is my title "Choir"?  Because that's what I feel when I see sponges like this group of Yellow Tube sponges.  Sponges are filter feeders.  They have cells that whip seawater in through their sides, and the waste water exits out of the big holes, after food has been captured by the sponge.  There are actually measurable currents coming out of each of those holes.

I know you're not supposed to -- what's the word for humanize?  You're not supposed to give alien creatures human characteristics, but with a bunch like this it's so much fun.  I can see them as a group of little people, or maybe like an old fashioned pipe organ, each singing his/her own note, sound.  The bigger ones are the bass singers, "Ooooooooooo"  another bass is singing. "Ahhhhhhhhh"  Then there are the two leaning on each other, they're a little off key because they were having a bit of a drink before coming to practice.  Then there are the twins, with the same high quavering "Ohhh!", but it's rather soft and breathy.

And the guy over on the far right has a cold, and should have stayed home.

And two in front that have stepped forward are a tenor and a soprano, each trying to sing the loudest.

OK, just for fun. I'd like to paint these guys by themselves, but I guess I'll have to put a fish in there  someplace. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Still not painting

I don't know why.  Not diving, either.  Perhaps it's having an old house with so many repairs needed.  I don't have hot running water.   and etc. 

So here are a few more photos from the snorkel.
Grass always drops off to sand along the edges.  Sometimes tere are little fish, little lobsters and crabs seeking shelter along this 'dropoff'
There was one area of just sand, near the outside of the little bay.  Interesting patterns made by wave action.
This is just inside the barrier reef.  Quite shallow, easy to stand up.  Fish run back and forth along this 'wall'.

Oops!  Some, or most anchor designs don't work at all to hold a boat if the line gets fouled.  This big anchor must weigh a hundred pounds. The shaft is about four feet, more than a meter high.

Sun Anemones.  I didn't touch because they're toxic.  Seven or eight of them here.  I didn't see any of their crabs or shrimp that live in association with them sometimes.  I'll have to return sometime when the sea is flat calm, and there's no surge pushing me around, so I can get close for better photos, and maybe find a "Squat Shrimp".

 "I see you!"   A lobster or three under the only shelter around, an old overturned Elkhorn coral.  As I approached, this little guy actually came out to look at me.  Not very experienced! No, I don't eat lobster.
OK, all for now!  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The BIG picture

I just accidentally found out how to make pictures here bigger, hooray!

Let's go for a snorkel!

Hum, This is my view from my house, lucky me! What's down there, in that little bay? The old plantation there is named Rust-Op-Twist, which is old Danish for rest after work.
Grassy and shallow, and the water's warm and greenish. A few "Sea Egg" urchins in the turtle grass.
A juvenile French Angel fish, picking parasites off a Bar Jack. "Cleaning' it's called. The jack comes to where the little angel lives, and poses, jiggling his fins, "Please help me, get these bugs off me!" And the angel gets a meal.
A group of Spiny Urchins. The bottom is quite rocky here. Still only about four feet deep, a little more than a meter.
A Checkered Puffer fish. These guys live in this habitat, rather than on the reef. Sometimes they dig all the way under sand with only the top of the head showing. He's really looking at the camera! Moving very slowly won't frighten him, so he wouldn't dart away.
A Redstripe Parrotfish, surprise! They look completely different when they are out on a coral reef! Again, I was so careful to not make him run away.
Here we are all the way out by the barrier reef. The waves were tossing us around some, but not unpleasantly.
Let's swim to a rubbly place, and stand up where we might not hurt anybody by standing on them. This whole snorkel has been this shallow. The weather has been overcast for a week now, not usual! And there's Sahara dust, and it's a little late in the day. That's why this looks so dreary. Those breakers are only about a foot high, haha. 1/3 meter for my metric friends.

Creepy looking on top, let's get back underwater.
There's one huge coral, a star coral of some sort. About the size of half a little car. It might be four or five hundred years old, or even older. And it's in surprisingly good condition, considering all it's been through lately, hurricanes and hot water bleaching. Beautiful!

Healthy brain coral! I love the patterns!

Manatee grass at the edge of the beach. The water here is about a foot deep. So beautiful! (I repeat)

And no sharks, no barracudas, no big bites

Thanks for stopping by, and coming along for a snorkel!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another slide show!

The slideshows are fun, but time consuming to set up, mostly because I don't (yet) know how to do photos in 'batch'.

This picture is of rope sponges, and a red boring sponge that's consuming the round M cavernosa coral. The kind of coral that "Looks like olives!" one lady accurately said.

I laughed when I discovered that there are boring sponges. I never thought about it, but sponges are rather boring when you have to wash something. I love the English language, and am SO glad it's my first language! I know bits of other languages, and they're so much simpler.

The fish all left as I approached this place, a bug-eyed, glaring, noisy, bubble-snorting alien. I dove one time with a rebreather, which recycles your breath instead of expelling it. No bubbles, quiet diving! The fish think you're a deformed turtle, and behave totally differently, they ignore you. But the gear is too complicated and high tech for me, booo.

OK, now to go off and post the slideshow for you! I'm getting back into my blog here, as the sea is warming, and I'm in it some. Maybe I'll go someplace warm next winter for a few months.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Two days fiddling with Blogger and Picasa and my photos and I can do slide shows now.

Fun, but, whew!

Forget the "One Hour"!

Here's an octopus crawling around in water less that three feet, one meter deep. Crispy bright sun rays dancing on the sand.

I gently followed him/her for a half hour, as she/he foraged, stopping at each likely looking rock to feel all around underneath for a crab or some other tasty morsel.

An Octopus must have a different brain from me, they can keep track of each of eight tenticles at the same time! Poor guy, girl, didn't find anything to eat by the time I went on my way.

There are two common kinds of Octopi in the Caribbean, one is nocturnal, the other diurnal, daytime active.

I'll keep the splatter paintings for the Friday Plien Air group that I paint with. I look at that last mess I posted and do not wonder that I lost a follower. This blog is not for to be a diary.

This computer is clogged up with I don't know what(my fault, adding security) and is either slowwwwww or just plain stuck.

I finally went for a snorkel yesterday, and the water was bearable. Warming, I mean.

OK, I'll have something for you in a day or two.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

OK, one hour---

One Hour Stoplight
16x12 inches Acrylic on stretched canvas
Here we go! I've decided to see if I can do a painting a day in one hour. That's why this one is such a mess! And the colors are brighter than they are in this post, my photography needs bettering, also. If I manage to discipline myself on this task, I should improve quickly. I don't finish paintings if I get too 'perfectionisty'.

I don't really have very many photos of Stoplight Parrotfish. They're on the menu here, so there are too few of them, and they flee from divers. I keep thinking that I should make a quick trip to Bonaire to photograph fish. Although Grand Turk would be better, because they have real parks with no fishing. Easier diving in Bonaire. GT requires a boat ride, and they would make me stay with the group, few photos that way.

OK, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Website, finally.

I've been fooling around with foliotwist, learning how to use the beast. It's a cross between a blog and a website, seems. I have started different galleries for the different things I paint. Then here will be only coral reef stuff, and not dumb things unrelated.

More soon,

Christiansted Harbor before People
8x10 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
This little mess, you could call it 'Impressionism', is what I painted Friday with the Palletteers. I sat out on the boardwalk by myself, to be in view of the cam. One friend emailed that she'd looked and seen me, so it wasn't a total waste of time. The scene in front of me was actually the harbor full of boats, and a few people wandering around on the boardwalk. I enjoy painting people, and usually I paint the Palletteers painting. But they were all up in the town painting buildings. I felt rather like a idiot, sitting out there painting, having the occasional onlooker. Ha! They never comment when I'm doing a mess like this. Ha!

I like these blue messes. I think I'll do a rather endless series of sea and sky, and work on getting the clouds accurate. Hmm. I aim to load the brush with two or three colors, then lay only one coat of paint. Hmm, but then there's one 'plain' layer underneath. Now I'm confused.

I was sad this morning that I didn't have a new coral reef painting for you. sigh. I'll fix that today, I feel much better when I have a fishpicture to post, solid and real. OK, thanks for stopping by!

Here's the Christiansted Boardwalk cam, if you wish:

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Palletteers

On Friday mornings, a group of Open Air (Plein Aire) painters gets together in different places around St Croix. Sometimes a resort or sometimes a private home.

In the winter months, there are as many as thirty of us, but then summer comes, and a lot of folks go north for summer there, and we are only four or five.

I like summer here. The weather is much milder, the sea calmer, and the cooling sea breeze is nice. Much more pleasant that where my USA friends live, with their 100 degrees in the shade and horrendous thunderstorms. Of course, every so often we do have a rotten weather day, or night, and it takes months to recover... I'm almost getting accustomed to that.

If you want to see what we paint, the blog is:

And I cannot just write, so here are some photos for you. I've been gardening instead of painting lately, bad me. The building is a Great House, a residence back when there were sugarcane plantations here.

OK, and a fish, a Redstripe Parrotfish. These fellows change colors and patterns as much as any fish. Sometimes they're vivid green, and the fins are so red that it's difficult to believe. But when you try to get a photo, they get nervous, and dull down. Yes, thtis image is a little over photo shopped, but not much.

And some scenery. Where are the fish???
OK, off to paint something in downtown Christiansted with the L.O.L.'s. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

To begin...

I don't know where to start this selling of art on the internet. There's a lot about marketing, but then what? Do I need a local business license? I guess I do need a business bank account. Do I need an lawyer knowledgeable in the arts? I've had my work stolen and published twice, that's a shock, I opened a magazine and find my painting there in an ad...

Owell. I'll get it figured out soon.

Longspine Squirrelfish and friends

Hum, I wanted the squirrelfish first, still learning! Blogging, you put first things last! And I have no idea how the photos came out side-by-side in the post below. Owell!

OK, when a Squirrelfish is hanging out above the reef, they become very pale. This fish is REALLY at attention! See his fins so stiffly erect! The camera didn't catch his eye, a nighttime active fish, with large dark eyes.

He's over a "Do Not Touch Me" Sponge. This sponge is very defensive. If you bump into it, you knock loose stinging cells that can really hurt! Even someone diving along in front of you, well, if they hit the sponge with a fin kick, and you're following closely, you could swim through the cloud of stingers. And be stung. So? Just stay up off the reef.

The sponge is actually very pretty, a velvety looking surface, and a warm brown color. Just don't touch it.

The blurry photo is one I plan to use for a painting. This is just a tiny part of the original photo, hence the poor focus. Maybe I'll put in some more fish, and a Great Star coral on the right side, we'll see, once I have brush in hand. That's a barrel sponge in the background, and a Stoplight Parrotfish.

Ok, off with me. There's been rain, so the yard is knee deep, should I mow, or paint??

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anchor and Squirrel

The left photo has an old encrusted anchor, lumpy with coral, standing right in the middle of the image. There's a Blue Chromis fish above the anchor, swimming in front of a tangle of Rope Sponges. Many divers go right past without seeing the anchor. Mostly visible is the crossbar and shaft, at a slight angle. This is in about twenty five feet depth, or roughly seven meters.

This anchor is in Cane Bay, on St. Croix where I do most of my diving. There are lots of anchors in this bay because this was an easy stop for the old sailing ships to get their cargoes of rum. Thus avoiding the Customs Man, who couldn't get there quickly enough from town to collect taxes. Unfortunately for the ships, sometimes their anchors became hopelessly stuck in the reef, and the ship would have to cut the rope and leave the anchor behind.

The fish is a Longspine Squirrelfish. Fearfully regarding me, trying to decide if he needs to run for his life. Or her life. There are six different kinds of Squirrelfish. This kind is the most often seen here in the sea around St. Croix. I like the white tips on the dorsal fins, and the 'standard' spikey pose, this is usually their posture by the time a diver is close enough to see the fish.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Island Photos

A beautiful Elkhorn Coral.
One of my wild guppies, I have hundreds! All different colors.

Obligatory coconut trees, on a windy day.

Rain 'out west', where the sea is usually mellow.

Pelicans flying along the coast at dawn
OK, all for now! See ya soon!

I'm here now

I just got internet service at home, finally, and I'm using my own geriatric computer, rather than an internet cafe machine.  Therefore, I have my photos in hand, so to speak, and can easily post every day, or maybe I'll say six days a week.  Or maybe five!  Ha, I do need to keep myself off the internet as much as possible, I'm one of those addict people.  We'll see...

 I haven't been diving (too cold!) or painting (!) for a while, but that's changing 'soon'.

And I can't seem to upload a photo today, hmmm. 

OK, I plan to be here a LOT in the future, and I'll fix this photo problem quick, too.  I'm a sight kind of person.  Thanks for stopping by!