Day 2: Weather!

Wake up and immediately focus on the weather and forecast for the area.  There has been a 60% chance of rain in the area, so I wanted to make sure I knew where the storms were in the morning before deciding which direction to head.  Heading out to the dock it looked like another day in paradise!  I drove the boat over and picked up Gabrielle and Giavanna to join my adventure for the day at 6:30 am, adding some local knowledge and company.  We loaded up and headed south to a reef I had lined up to shoot with the rising sun.  First I scoped out a shot of the Hope Town lighthouse since we were driving right by it.  When we had finally made it to the reef down south the tide was still going out and it took an hour for the water to clear up before visibility became clear again.  We all explored the area for a couple hours.  Shooting conditions weren’t ideal but its always nice to swim into a reef teeming with life!
We got back on the boat and continued to head south to a little bay known for its habitat for Green Sea Turtles.  Playing hooky with the clouds and sun, I eventually got in to see how eager the turtles were to say hi.  In true Bahamas fashion they weren’t so welcoming.  Sea turtles in the Bahamas were hunted for food for a long time.  It wasn’t until just a handful of years ago until it became illegal to hunt them.  They are more skittish here than anywhere else in the world I have been and that may be why.  By the time I had gotten back in the boat the clouds started to deepen, getting thicker and darker.  We headed West to a little in the creeks to find mangroves and check out a blue hole.
At that point the weather really turned.  Pretty much all around us started to get dark.  We decided to head back.  A little disappointing since it was only 11:30am.  On our way back north the storm looked nasty and the lighting had started off on the horizon.  Not really wanting to charge through it we waited it out a bit on a sandbar, taking advantage of the interesting lighting with the aqua blue water and dark clouds.  After shooting a bit there while Giavanna modeled for Gabrielle and I, we had to find cover.  The boat did not have a top and the lighting was getting closer.  Just to the north was an island and a few houses on it.  Picking the one with the most sheltered dock we pulled up and took anything we didn’t want to get wet.  The house was up on the highest part of the island nestled in the short trees (since all the hurricanes wipe out anything that gets tall).  For over 2 hours we waited, watching the rain, listening to the lighting, talking about stuff, and eating what we had.  Finally things seemed to settle with the lighting, although it was still raining a little it was our chance to head north.  Gunning it, we headed north home.  It rained most of the way but we had made it, a little cold.  Dropped off my co pilots and headed to get gas before the gas dock closed.  Got back around 4:30 by the time I had taken the boat back, washed everything off and rode the bike back to the house.  Long day, everything was wet, all my bags and clothes.  Finding out soon after things at the home front weren’t going so smoothly back home.  I would have to change my ticket that night to fly back in the morning.  The weather was also turning for the worst the next two days.  Knowing I would be flying back the next day, after a light snack I headed north on the island to one of my favorite spots and shot until dark.  Getting back around 8pm in the dark, they had saved me some dinner!  Liver!  Seriously liver, but hey its good for you once and a while, right?
I woke up the next morning at 5 am.  Knowing I would need to make the 8 am ferry in the morning I started to pack the night before.  I was off to get one last shoot in before sunrise.   Of course there wasn’t much of a sunrise but you never know until you try.  I headed back on the golf cart about 7:20.  It was 10 mins home and still had to pack and then get a ride to the ferry.  Somehow I made it!  It rained the whole way back to the mainland on the ferry, atleast knowing I wasn’t missing much.  Thanks to everyone that made this trip possible!

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 1: Bahamas Sept 2015

It is always nice to fly over with no air conditioning on the plane.  This way it sets me up for my next 4 days on the water in the sun!  Atleast this time they included my checked back with gear on the flight unlike last time!  My connections here continue to grow with smiling faces and great places to explore!  I have come to stay with our friends (my wife’s, whom I stole) Darrin and Amelia.  They have opened their home to me as well as a fleet of vehicles from golf carts to boats.  Joanne from the Abaco Buzz picked me up at the airport which was very nice.  I will looked forward to working with Gabrielle,  whom has taken me to some magical spots while I share knowledge of shooting.  Thank you all!

I started off the day hoping the contractors working on my house back home were going to show up and wouldn’t give my wife too much trouble as she has to handle it by her self while I am gone this week.  Thank you Cristina for supporting me in so many ways!
Loaded up my gear and headed off at 6am to the docks, loading up the boat and heading south to find good light under the water.  The vast majority of my images are taken in the early hours of the day.  Water surfaces are almost always calmer in the mornings so the evening sessions are harder to nail.
They had gotten the boat dialed before I came with a brand new engine.  Thank you Darrin and Amelia! I headed south from Man-O-War harbor, and hopped in the water at sunrise about 30 min later.
Highlights included nearly getting bit by a eel that came out of nowhere while trying to investigate a rock, stalking by large barracudas, which is expected, saw two four leg Cushion starfish (never seen one before) and getting stung by upside down jellyfish that I accidentally disturbed, sorry guys!

I went to about 5 spots and took about a 10 min break to eat.   630 until 2:30 pm.  Came back for a late lunch and catch up with business back home since I had been behind being gone last weekend.  Amelia cooked up another epic meal and I was off to bed soon after the sun dropped.

Here are about 1/4 of the keepers.  Many will be released at a later date!

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Watershot.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos