In our new Gallery feature, we let the photos tell the story… Each Gallery showcases a selection of outstanding images on a chosen theme, taken by our Underwater Photography Editors Nick and Caroline of Frogfish Photography. This week, we focus on the tiny but beautiful Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius.
St Eustatius is a Caribbean island that is very close to our hearts. We lived on this volcanic island, working as dive instructors at Dive Statia, when we first started out in the diving world. We also worked as marine park wardens for a few months at the end of our stay. We were involved in the sinking of the island’s most famous wreck, and were the first people to dive, the 100 metre long Charlie Brown. Statia (as it is fondly known) is a small island with some great diving. Almost all of its coastline is a protected marine park, and this really apparent when you head underwater and see the amazing marine life. Turtles thrive here, and are found sleeping on the artificial reefs at night. You may never have heard of St Eustatius, but once you have been there, your heart will never leave. Visit www.scubaqua.com and www.statia-tourism.com to find out more.
Image 1: A hawksbill turtle on the Charlie Brown wreck. The turtle’s flipper briefly touches my camera dome as it swims past. The wreck of the Charlie Brown has been underwater for over 10 years now and plenty of marine life has made it their home.
Image 2: Nurse sharks live in many of the overhangs that are cut into the reef and this one surprised Caroline. As you can see, fantastic visibility is common around these waters, so when we visit, we like to shoot in wide angle.
Image 3: Huge barrel sponges sit on the tops of the reef, and Caroline has posed near this one to show off its size. If you look inside these sponges you might find a turtle, porcupine fish, arrow crabs and more.
Image 4: The bow of the Charlie Brown. The odd shape of the bow is because this ship used to be a cable layer. I think this shot works very well in black and white and the diver really emphasises the huge size of this impressive wreck that lies in 30m of water.
Image 5: The reef is in fabulous condition, as it has been a marine park since 1996 with all waters protected that are 30m deep or shallower. In this shot, Caroline approaches a trumpetfish, with her fins high in the water so as not to touch any part of the reef.
Image 6: There are a whole host of wrecks that have been sunk as artificial reefs on Statia. This tug boat is one of the oldest and has amazing coral and sponge growth on it and in it. It this shot, Caroline has gone into the wheelhouse carrying strobes that fired remotely, so that Nick could light both the bow of the boat and the inside of the wheelhouse at the same time.
Image 7: A final shot of one of our favourite wreck dives – the Charlie Brown. You can see here the amazing visibility as you descend towards to the wreck in clear blue Caribbean water. We have returned to the island on several occasions, and it has been amazing to see how the marine life continues to make this into a home. I hope we can return soon.
Want to hear more?
Here is Dive Centre Owner Mike talking about Statia:
DEMA 2016 Review: Scubaverse talks with Mike from Scubaqua in St. Eustatius (Watch Video)
For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com