Part 3 – Day 4 Mother Nature’s in charge

Part 3 – Day 4 Mother Nature’s in charge

Rising to the sound of lighting and hard rain is not ideal when on a photo trip!  This morning I was forced to take a lay day, well atleast a half day.  Hard rain, heavy clouds and lighting don’t help my efforts in shooting.  Finally about 2 p.m. things started to clear up a bit and I was quick to be prepared and ready.  Based on the the previous days research and findings I had a few spots I needed to return to when the proper light and tide was just right.  I also researched a few wave spots….
My weapons of choice were a wave runner, fins, Cressi mask, snorkel, and Canon 1d Mark 3 with a Canon 8-15mm lens in an Aquatech DV4 housing with a LP1 Dome port.

Since the marina gas station closed earlier in the day because this place is a ghost town this time of year I was left with just 2 bars in the red for gas on my trip.  They assured me I would be fine!  My trip would take me about 7 miles total.  First stop was a sand bar lagoon on a cut to the north.  The first day we tried shooting spotted eagle rays but with the tide push was hard to swim against and keep up with the rays. At the point of slack tide there is a higher chance of the clearest water as well.  Making my way north I come to the lagoon, out of a calendar landscape and immediately see the 4 large spotted rays on the bottom 20 feet down. That was the last time I saw them!    I immediately anchor in the shallows and gear up, jump in and they are gone.  I continue to search the lagoon for 25 mins and come up empty.  Instead I find a large stingray gliding through the area and start to slowly inch closer without him taking off.   In shallow water its actually very hard to swim without making much noise and stirring up the sand not to mention avoiding drifting into a 3 foot sting ray tail.  Moved on to shoot a little cove back south where I had spotted a mangrove clump and potentially life below it.  As many of the spots go I am always being watched by large barracudas in the shadows.  This spot had a lot of shadows and was creepy.  The silt of the floor was thick and easily disturbed making swimming an art.  As the sun was nearing the horizon I had one more spot to go.  I headed out a channel and to an outer reef.  Moored the ski and jumped in the clam windless sea.  Conditions were now perfect.  As I had been told about the sharks in the area, it was on my mind the whole time jumping into this spot.  Deep channels and lots of fish around.  Never saw one!  As the light started to fade and headed home.  The gas warning beep started to go and I was immediately thinking of alternatives to running out of gas, which there really weren’t any!  I made it back to harbor with the alert blaring away before dark.  Turned out Mother Nature gave me some chances today!  Thanks!  Note:  Everything shot was in the wild, not hand fed or attracted with chum for those asking.  I also exclusively free dive, with no tanks, weight belts or oxygen.

Ben Hicks  www.bocaratonphoto.com     www.benjhicks.com      www.seaturtlephotos.com

Supported by #Cressi Dive Gear USA    #Dakine Photo packs

Fish!

Fish!

Patroling

Patroling

This guy followed me everywhere.

This guy followed me everywhere.

Parrot color

Parrot color

Fish poop

Fish poop

On to the next grazing spot!

On to the next grazing spot!

Stained glass minnows

Stained glass minnows

Fisheye

Fisheye

Mangrove School

Mangrove School

Mangrove tree

Mangrove tree

Inside a mangrove

Inside a mangrove

protection

protection

Yellowtail mangroves

Yellowtail mangroves

Black and white

Black and white

Mullet

Mullet

Symmetry

Symmetry

Turned on

Turned on

Hi

Hi

Profile

Profile

The glide

The glide

The swoop

The swoop

The split swim

The split swim

hover craft

hover craft

Paradise found

Paradise found

Found one.

Found one.

Where I begin and end my day.

Where I begin and end my day.