Saving the Reefs in Key Largo. A Divemaster’s Perspective.

Divemaster Natalie at Sea Dwellers Dive Center
Divemaster Natalie

In the end we will only conserve what we love…”

-Baba Dioum

I graduated from Denison University in Ohio with a degree in biology and environmental studies. Before attending graduate school for marine conservation, I wanted to take some time off and gain experience, so I moved down to the sunny Florida Keys to be by the ocean and focus on the marine environment.  Not to mention….to go scuba diving!  I had always heard that Florida Keys diving is the best in the states,  and in particular, in Key Largo, known as the “Dive Capital of America”.   Since moving down here, I have had the opportunity to witness Florida’s environment changing; from working/diving with Sea Dwellers Dive Center, to volunteering in the Everglades, this is truly a unique destination with a huge amount of biodiversity.

With the recent release of Chasing Coral on Netflix, coral reefs have never been such a hot button topic. Watching the coral bleaching events they recorded on the Great Barrier Reef and the rapid degradation of fish life in that ecosystem is heartbreaking. This documentary is informative as it shows the viewer the rapid changes that reefs are undergoing, but it focuses in only one area of the world. So what about the reefs of the Florida Keys?

In recent history, coral reefs have been faced with large scale bleaching due to warmer water temperatures and ocean acidification. In Chasing Coral you are shown a rapid bleaching event, but it doesn’t always happen that quickly. In the Keys, we have faced a few bleaching events and the reefs are not thriving as they once were even five years ago. The reefs are still abundant with marine life and are gorgeous to dive, but there are a lot more white corals and algae covered corals appearing on our reefs.  The reefs are changing.

The vast majority of scientists agree, the decline of coral reefs globally is unarguably driven by humans. The rapid rate at which these events are occurring make it hard forKey Largo diving on the reef some corals to evolve to these changes and this is one of the main reason we are seeing these massive coral die outs. Scientists have already identified the issues and have proposed solutions to these problems years ago, however, getting widespread change has only started to become more pressing as the world is realizing what climate change is affecting.

Widespread change will not begin to happen until individuals start to make changes in their daily lives.


Things you can do to help reduce your footprint and stave off climate change to help our Reefs in Key Largo survive;

  1. Buy a reusable water bottle! Plastics are one of the main marine pollutants and are responsible for killing many marine organisms every year.
  2. Use reusable grocery bags. Going along with the plastic theme, less is best! Plus, most grocery stores will take a small amount of money off your bill for bringing your own bags.
  3. Car pool, ride bikes, use public transportation. The emissions from cars are one of the greenhouses gases responsible for climate change.
  4. Eat less meat. You don’t need to cut it out of your diet completely, but factory farms are one of the main sources that greenhouse gases are emitted from, and billions of gallons of water are used to keep a farm running. One hamburger is the equivalent of someone taking 32 showers, so the less meat you consume, less water will be used and the stress on the environment will be lessened.
  5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But mostly reduce. Many people have begun to recycle both at home and at work, which is wonderful! But out of the three r’s, the least you can do is recycle. The best thing to do is reduce your consumption of goods. Less plastics purchased means less plastics that need to be produced!
  6. Be a responsible boater. This means making sure you don’t anchor on a reef or ground your boat on a reef.
  7. Be a responsible fisherman. With the return of mini season upon us for lobsters, it is important to remember that while it is exciting to find and catch lobster, be mindful of what you’re touching and standing on when you’re looking. Touching coral can hurt or kill it, and breaking pieces off because you were trying to catch a lobster isn’t benefitting anything. Additionally, that means not fishing in sanctuaries, out of season, bringing in undersize fish/lobster, and adhering to the guidelines for your local area.
  8. Dive with a Blue Star Operator. Boats and dive shops that are blue star operators have made a commitment to protect and educate about coral reef conservation. Sea Dwellers is a Blue Star Operator 
  9. Be a responsible diver. This means not touching the reef, not standing on the reef, and keeping all your gauges and consoles from dangling below you. As a diver you are mainly down there as an observer, which means not touching or chasing the wildlife.
  10. Don’t fly first class. Flying emits a lot of greenhouse gases into the environment and contributes to about 5% of warming annually. This number will continue to increase every year as air travel becomes more popular. So, don’t fly first class. The larger seats and extra room means that there are less people that can be on one flight, so each individual on that flight has a larger carbon footprint in turn.
  11. Contribute to the CRF – The Coral Restoration Foundation is doing amazing things cultivating, growing, and transplanting corals onto existing reefs and also new areas that are deemed able to start a new reef.  Direct action at it’s best!

Another great piece of news is that with the growth and popularity of scuba diving in the last 15 years, more people are Abundant marine life on these Key Largo dive sites!seeing firsthand the effects of climate change. This means that more people will care about these bleaching events and die offs and more people will want to do their part to help prevent more bleaching events. As Baba Dioum said, “In the end we will conserve only what we love…” and I believe that to be true, so if you aren’t a scuba diver, there is another reason to become certified. As a diver, you will want to protect your favorite dive spots and return year after year and if anything changes hopefully see new growth. For more information, see this link to the NRDC website. 

Together we can make a difference, the marine life you see on your next dive will appreciate it!

 

Divemaster NatalieSea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo

Jacques Cousteau | The “Father of Scuba Diving”

I remember clearly to this day watching on our television as an Octopus slithered towards the round glass jar sitting on the reef bottom with a large lobsterJacques Cousteau Underwater World inside of it.   A big cork was covering the opening of the glass jar, and was the only thing keeping the octopus from devouring the lobster.  Slowly the octopus inspected the jar with it’s arms, (octopus do not have “tenacles” they have arms), covering all surfaces of the jar repeatedly.  Eventually, this amazingly intelligent creature zeroed in on the cork and r Recognizing that it was the key to his meal, he popped it open and that was it for the poor hapless lobster!

“The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”

This was the show, a series back in the 70’s and I was a huge fan.  I did not miss an episode, and it was one of the main reasons I knew I wanted to be a scuba diver from a very early age. Growing up in South Florida the underwater environment was always front and center, and I was a huge fan of Jacques Cousteau like many others of my generation. The series was about the intrepid undersea explorer circling the globe on his floating scientific laboratory, the Calypso.  What adventures he had! A pioneer in marine study, the red-capped Frenchman introduced generations of people to the mysteries of the seas.

Scaub diving with jacques CousteauMany younger scuba divers today are not aware, but in 1942, Cousteau invented an underwater demand valve system that could supply divers with air when they breathed. This demand regulator was called “Aqua-Lung”, (same as the scuba equipment manufacturer today), and it eventually opened the door to scuba diving for everyone.

The Birth of Recreational Diving

“The impact of the Aqua-Lung cannot be overstated. It was the first efficient and safe scuba set that allowed divers to stay underwater for long periods of time at deep depths. It was a small contraption with a simple design that was reliable and relatively inexpensive. This monumental advance in diving technology laid the foundation for the creation and growth of the recreational scuba diving market. Up until that point, diving equipment, though widely used for military and commercial purposes, was not available to the general public for recreational or sport purposes. The very idea of diving for fun, or to explore, was virtually unheard of.”  See source link

A Setback for Calypso

Some time ago, the Cousteau Society set out to bring back the Iconic Calypso, starting with renovating the ship. Now it seems that although the renovations were pushing ahead, there has been a setback. On September 12 at around 2:30 am, a fire broke out and damaged the legendary ship.  I’ll hope that one day the Calypso can ply the waters again in honor of Cousteau and everything he accomplished.

As I sit here in Key Largo, Florida Keys, sometimes referred to as the “Dive Capital of the World”, how can I not but look back admiringly at the undisputed “Father of Scuba Diving” Jacques Cousteau?  As someone who has been fortunate enough to make a living doing something he loves, scuba diving, I can only look back at this giant admiringly, and offer him my silent gratitude.  A gratitude that began when I was but a child.

-Rob Haff

 

Sea Dwellers Dive Center and Florida Keys Diving Packages!

Sea Dwellers Florida Keys Diving Packages – One of Key Largo’s Best Attractions!

Key Largo Diving Packages

For 25 years now, Sea Dwellers has been teamed up with the Holiday Inn Key Largo Resort in offering one of the most popular Florida Keys diving packages in Key Largo.  Why has this been so successful?  A couple simple reasons really.

Dive & Stay Packages in the Florida KeysDive Package Convenience

Your Boats are just Steps from your room!

One thing we hear from our divers is they love the convenience of our Florida Keys diving packages.  Our boats are just steps from your room at the Holiday Inn Key Largo Resort.  Scuba divers can wake up, go eat a full buffet breakfast at the Resort, and then stroll on out to their dive boat…couldn’t be and easier!  After a couple of great dives on our reefs and wrecks you are brought right back to your dock and a minute or two later you are back in your room.  Your Dive Center is also just across the highway for easy access.

Florida Keys Diving Packages | Amenities

The Holiday inn Key Largo Resort has many amenities to enhance your diving package.  2Your Dive Center scuba staff pools, outside Tiki Bar, full service restaurant “Bogie’s Cafe” and one of Key Largo’s newest restaurants, “Skipper’s Dockside”…a wonderful tropical diving experience harking back to the Florida Key’s early days! This is one of the best Key Largo diving packages on the island!

Great Scuba Diving Close By!

Our boats are fast, custom built dive boats that will wisk you to your morning or afternoon dive sites quickly andKey Largo Holiday Inn Resort comfortably.  Most of your Dive sites are within 30 minutes from the Marina!

Dive Life

Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo has been in business in the Florida Keys since 1974. We know how to treat our divers, we know what they want.  There are other options for you here, and we know that how we treat you makes the difference and accordingly out experienced staff provides you a safe, comfortable, no-rush environment for scuba diving in Key Largo.

“We’ve Never Forgotten that Diving is Fun”

Key Largo Diving – Marine Sanctuary

And lastly, we offer great scuba diving in Key Largo!  Our reefs offer some of the most abundant and diverse marine life in the Caribbean, (according to the REEF Foundation, as well as our customers).  The Florida Keys is known for it’s schooling fishes, as well as other marine life not seen in other places in the Caribbean. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary provides protections for our marine life and our scuba divers benefit greatly!

Dive Package Pricing

Sea Dwellers Dive Center & the Holiday Inn Key Largo Resort have been offering Dive & Stay Packages together for over 25 years. We offer great pricing discounts for any length of stay any time of year!  Beautiful Hotel Resort, fast Dive Boats, friendly staff, and great diving are all here for you at a great package price.  Call toll-free 1-800-451-3640 any time 7 days a week for your Key Largo Diving Package quote, we’re sure to have what you are looking for down here in beautiful Key Largo!

-Your Sea Dwellers Staff

 

 

2016 Sea Dwellers’ Reunion Weekend

A Weekend of Scuba Diving in Key Largo with Great Friends!

What a blast we had again this year at our annual “Sea Dwellers Dive Center Reunion Weekend”!  We were a bit worried, the weather had gotten erratic on us, (after a great year overall), and we had a terrible weekend prior to the event.  But the dive Gods were on our side and the Key Largo weather cleared the day before the first of our 4 days of diving.

Once again, we had a great bunch of folks join us, most of which we’ve known for years…no, decades really!    The great states of California, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Florida, Wisconsin, and New Jersey were represented, (I know I’ve left someone out..sorry!).

The scuba diving was good, seas calm…and much marine life was experienced.  Many of our scuba divers know each other, and have been diving together for years also.  This weekend always brings like-minded people together to do what we all love a lot, scuba diving, in a tropical environment, Key Largo, Florida Keys!  What more can you ask for?

The Sea Dwellers’ Staff enjoys this weekend. It’s a great bunch of people we’ve known for so long that it’s like, well..a family reunion!  Good friends, good camaraderie, good scuba diving, good environment. We feel lucky to have such great people diving with us for so long!

Jim Matyszyk
Jim Matyszyk

Here’s just a few pictures from the weekend that we’ve gotten so far…it was a great weekend of Key largo scuba diving!  We’ll keep adding some more as we get them and thanks to all divers (and non-divers) Dive Key largo with Sea Dwellerswho attended!

 

Nurse shark on French reef
Jim Matyszyk

 

scuba diving fans!

florida keys number one in areaFlorida Keys reunion weekend!

all of us diving today!

Benwood wreck dive site.The gang diving the reef!

A great big dive party!Scuba diving Reunion Weekend Florida Keysa song in the florida keys
Good scuba diving!Dive sunset

Key largo reinion dive weekend

One of the best scuba weekends in the Keys!

Key Largo Roundup – A Fantastic Summer of Scuba Diving

The Florida Keys are happening…and some great news for the reefs…

We’re happy to report that the summer of 2017 has been a great one for scuba diving.  We’ve seen an up tick of business for the last 2 years now, we’re happy to report, and one of the reasons is…great scuba diving!  Our Captains cannot remember so many calm, clear days as we’ve been blessed with for these last couple years.  Good news for divers for sure.  And while we’ve all heard about the fragile reefs being endangered by rising water temps, a few big players in the Marine Conservation world have announced some big news to help counter this…(see below).

Key Largo Marine Life

Divers love reef sharks!I know I know, we’ve said this before…but heck, we’re going to say it again…the darn marine life down here in Key Largo is simply fantastic!  Caribbean Reef Sharks (on most dives now), Spotted Eagle Rays, Tarpon, squid, Goliath Groupers, just to name some of the critters we’ve been seeing on our reefs and wrecks. Add this to the calm seas and you’ve got great scuba diving.  We’re fortunate to have many of our scuba divers give us pics of some of the marine life off Key Largo they’ve been seeing.Squid on a Florida keys reef.

 

New Coral Restoration Project in the Florida Keys

Coral Restoration Project
Mote Lab – Nature Conservacy Coral Restoration Project

We’re happy to announce that the Mote Marine Laboratory and The Nature Conservancy are “partnering on a coral conservation initiative that will enable coral restoration at unprecedented scales throughout the Caribbean and the Florida Keys”.

You’ve heard about the Coral Restoration Foundation and the great things they are doing for Florida Keys reefs, and now some other big guys in the Marine Conservation world are joining the action.  It’s encouraging on many fronts!

“A collaborative research effort with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Mote is making great advances in developing culture methods for hard corals at Mote’s Tropical Research Laboratory field station in the Florida Keys.”

All of this good news for Key Largo, the Florida Keys, and of course all you scuba divers out there with an appreciation for our beautiful, yet endangered coral reefs.  Your crew here at Sea Dwellers appreciates everyone who has been scuba diving with us this summer, and we hope to see you down here again real soon!

Rob
Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo

Key Largo Marine Life

Scuba Diving with lots of fish in Key Largo!Molasses Reef eagle rays.

Wow, has the marine life been strong for diving in Key Largo this year!  Just an update, this summer has been amazing for marine Life here…again…we’re happy to report!  So in addition to the abundance of tropicals, schooling fishes, etc, that we always see on our reefs here…we’ve been seeing multiple Reef Sharks daily while scuba diving, a good amount of Spotted Eagle Rays, and Tarpon!  While corals have been struggling here, as well as everywhere in the world due to rising seas temperatures, it’s hopeful that our marine life seems to be doing so well!

Caribbean Reef Sharks

Key Largo Reef Shark
Photo by David Jefferiss

This isn’t a totally new phenomenom in Key Largo, as our scuba divers have been seeing increasing numbers of Caribbean Reef Sharks for several years now. But they are definitely peaking this year. At this point we can say that we’re seeing them on the majority of dives, (more than 50%).    Last week on Molasses Reef, divers reported seeing between 8 – 10 Reef Sharks on one dive alone! According to Wikipedia“Measuring up to 3 m (9.8 ft) long, the Caribbean reef shark is one of the largest apex predators in the reef ecosystem, and they are believed to play a major role in shaping Caribbean reef communities.”

Tarpon

Key Largo diving with Tarpon
Photo by Bruce Ramsey

Last week a school of about 20 large Tarpons went cruising by several of our divers on a dive on Molasses Reef! And several times over the last weeks divers have come across Tarpons, either large single ones, or in pairs. Strength, stamina, and fighting ability, make the tarpon a premier game fish in Key largo as well as the entire sate of Florida.  This is generally the time of year scuba divers see them come in on the reef, and this year their numbers have been up.  They are bright silver with large scales…and can grow to about 4–8 ft long and weigh 60–280 lbs according to Wikipedia.  They do school at times, which can be exciting to watch while scuba diving.

So come on down and go scuba diving in Key Largo, the marine life, always one of the Keys’ biggest attraction, is really doing well!  An while you’re at it if you want to dive with Sea Dwellers Dive Center that’s cool with us too!

Meet the Scuba Instructors!

Dive Instructor Jeremy

We’re proud to announce this new blog…part of the “Meet the Scuba Instructor” Series, starting with Jeremy Weeks!  Instructor Jeremy has been with Sea Dwellers for almost 9 years now, and has certified quite a few divers at this point!  We’re happy to say that we get a lot of good feedback about Jeremy from our customers, (just check out our TripAdvisor Page)…which is good for everyone.  Scuba diving is not a “natural” thing for many folks starting out, and Jeremy has a knack for making people comfortable in the water so they can enjoy diving. At Sea Dwellers we believe that “diving is fun”, and should not be a high-pressure situation, so we strive to create an easy-going, safe atmosphere for people to learn in.  All of our Instructors have adopted this philosophy, and we pride ourselves on our Instruction. Being a good Dive Instructor starts with enjoying what you do, and as you will see from this interview, Jeremy loves to scuba dive!

A special thanks to our good friend and great scuba diver Tomek for creating this wonderful video! Tomek is part of the JetBlue Team, and we’re extremely proud to consider ourselves the “JetBlue Dive Center”!

You can check out Tomek, Jeremy, Sea Dwellers and some of the JetBlue staff we’ve certified here on the “Scuba Blue” website!

We hope you enjoy Jeremy’s Interview and thanks to all!
Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo

 

Key Largo “Marine Life Series” – The Sea Turtle

All divers love the Sea Turtle it seems…


“We were diving Key Largo, Molasses Reef, myself and 2 new students when we came upon a young Loggerhead Turtle. I hastened to coax my students along so we could take a look at him before he swam away.  As it turned out, he decided we were interesting enough and spent about 10 minutes swimming with us… a wonderful dance for my students and I!”
Sea Dwellers’ Instructor Rob

How many times we’ve experienced the happy face of a diver after an encounter with a Sea Turtle on a Key Largo dive! These specialSee marine life at REEF Fest Key Largo! encounters prove the uncertainty of a Turtle’s behavior; at times skittish, simply swimming away quickly when glancing a diver… and sometimes the opposite; content to simply swim right on up to a scuba diver and “check things out”.   The latter is one of the great joys of scuba diving Key Largo…being able to swim with and interact with one of these beautiful, interesting creatures on a coral reef!

Male sea turtles actually spend their entire lives in the ocean. Adult females do return to beaches on land to lay their eggs, and they often migrate long distances between the areas where they feed and where they nest. There are seven species of marine turtles, five of which are found in the waters of the Florida Keys. These air-breathing reptiles are well adapted to life in the marine world, with streamlined bodies and large flippers.

The Hawksbill Turtle

Hawksbill Turtle
Photo by Patrick O’Boyle

A close relative of the Green Turtle, the Hawksbill Turtle is named for their narrow, pointed beak-like nose. One way to tell the difference between the Green and the Hawksbill is the Hawksbill has 2 pairs of plates between the eyes, the Green only one.

hawksbill head
Hawksbill Turtle Closeup

The Hawksbill has a very distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells which can be quite beautiful. Unfortunately, these colored and patterned shells make them highly-valuable and commonly sold as “tortoiseshell” in markets, according to the WWF.

Hawksbills are found mostly throughout the world’s tropical oceans, commonly on coral reefs. They feed mainly on sponges, using their pointed beaks to extract them from corals crevices on reefs. They also eat sea anemones and jellyfish.  This is probably the most common turtle for divers diving Key largo waters.

The Loggerhead Turtle

The most abundant of all the marine turtle species in U.S. waters, the Loggerhead is also one of the easiest to identify due to…yes, because of it’s huge head.  Often seen “sleeping” while nestled among the coral, they are also known to be one of the most comfortable when interacting with scuba divers.

But persistent population declines due to pollution, shrimp trawling, and development in their nesting areas, among other factors, have kept this wide-ranging sea creature on the threatened species list since 1978.

The Green Sea Turtle

The Florida Keys were known for it’s large population of Green Turtles decades ago before they were hunted by humans to near extinction worldwide.  A very close relative of the Hawksbill, Greens are considered very good to eat.  I hate to admit it, but I remember as a little boy eating turtle sandwiches with my parents at Manny & Isa’s Restaurant in Islamorada, our favorite spot back then. Of course at the time we had no idea that they were being fished into near-extinction. But I know now, and I wouldn’t eat sea turtle anywhere!

Green Turtle in Key Largo, Florida Keys
Green Turtle in Key Largo, Florida Keys – Photo David Jefferiss

Old Guys

Sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds. – WWF


The LeatherBack

I remember very well running the Sea Dweller III out to the reef one day many years ago, and coming upon a huge, black object on the surface of the water.  Coming up beside it, I realized that it was moving…and it was like nothing I had ever seen before! With huge dark ridges and about 5 – 6 feet long, I realized that it was a Leatherback Turtle. A truly amazing site!

While rare, they are found in Florida Keys waters, (I’ve never had a diver on the boat say they saw one underwater on a dive). The Leatherback is the largest of the turtles and the largest reptile living today. They can grow to be over 6 feet and can weigh upwards of  2,000 pounds. They are the only turtle that lacks a hard, bony shell.

5 Things You Can Do To Save Sea Turtles

We hope to continue to Dive Key Largo waters with Sea Turtles, as they are one of the reasons we dive in the first place! While human activity has helped to endangered them, we can also act to save them! With awareness and an appreciation of the fragility of these magnificent creatures, we can all contribute to their preservation!  Now let’s go scuba diving and find some more turtles…

Thanks to all!
Rob & Your Sea Dwellers Staff

 

Scuba Diving & Photography Series – Part 6

Welcome to the last installment of our “Photography Series” Scuba Diving Blog!

Part 6 – Getting the best from your strobes

Having talked about what the strobe does for you and the things that you need to think about to use them effectively, it’s time to consider the variety of ways we can use the strobes to enhance our underwater pictures.

The first thing to understand is a formula. That is that Total light equals the sum of  Vertical light and Horizontal light. This diagram illustrates the concept. We can produce infinite variations of the picture by changing the amount of light from each source being used in an image.

As we are scuba diving, we adjust the amount of vertical light in the picture, so we will be changing the color of the background. We can take the background from black, where we allow no vertical light in, to a light blue where we add a lot of ambient light. This is probably a good place to start to compose our picture. Start by tSlide1urning your strobes off and take a sequence of photographs varying the aperture with a  shutter speed of 1/125th until you get the background color you are looking for. Point the camera, with the sun at your back into the blue water. Quite frequently, if you are scuba diving in the tropical waters of Key Largo, a good place to finish will be about f8 at 1/125th. at an ISO of 200. Obviously, less light will make the background darker, an22108007d more light, lighter. Once you have a background color to your liking, turn on one of the strobes and point it at your subject. Start on low power on the strobe and take a photograph. Review the result in the LCD screen and adjust the strobe power accordingly, increasing or decreasing the power. You can then turn on the second strobe to fill in any areas you think could do with some extra light.

In this picture of a Nassau Grouper, the shutter speed was 1/200th of a second with a small aperture and the strobe power was on high. This eliminated the vertical (ambient) light and made the backgound dark to avoid lighting a distracting background.

2007-08-29DSC_0008 (1)

By contrast, this picture of a scuba diver on Molasses reef used a slower shutter speed of 1/125th with an aperture of F9 to allow more of the background light in to show the divers in the distance and give an idea of the size of the reef. The power of the strobe was increased until the lighting on the Atlantic Spadefish highlighted them just enough.

This picture of Divemaster Nick scuba diving on one of his rare days off used a slow shutter speed of 1/60th of a second combined with20090903-_DSC6104 as Smart Object-1 a large exposure of f5.6 to lighten the water on what was a fairly dark day. When you use a slower shutter speed on a moving object with a strobe, there isn’t much risk of motion blur because the strobe, which is lighting the foreground object is only typically illuminated for 1/1000th of a second, effectively freezing any motion.snapper_20080917_0038

This close up of a butterfly fish taken on Snapper ledge, was again taken with a fast shutter speed and small aperture to avoid lighting the brain coral in the background. It was taken using only a single flash to create an interesting shadow and provide some depth into what would otherwise be a “flat” photograph.

Remember that the most important point about using strobes is to use them to balance the horizontal and vertical light. We also use it to bring out the hidden color of underwater lifeMolassass_20080914_0036. These two photographs of the Spanish Anchor on Molasses reef illustrate the point. The photo on the left was takenDSC_1139 using only vertical light. The one on the right balances the  horizontal and vertical light to get a nice blue background and uses the horizontal light to bring out the hidden color.

It also shows how important it is to follow the golden rule of Underwater Photography – While you are scuba diving and taking photographs, get close to the subject and when you think you’re close enough – get closer!

Happy shooting to all you Underwater Photographers out there.   Keep diving, and keep shooting, as the best way to improve your abilities with a camera is experience, especially in the particularly demanding environment of salt water. And heck, it’s a great excuse to do more scuba diving in Key Largo after all!

Instructor Dave Jefferiss

For those who want to continue to learn about Underwater Photography, here is information on our “Digital underwater Photography Specialty Course”.    (And it’s taught by Instructor Dave himself!)

From the staff of Sea Dwellers, we want to extend a special thanks to Dave for his time and efforts creating this great series of Underwater Photography Blogs!

 

 

Another Great Reunion Dive Weekend!

Lot’s of scuba diving, camaraderie and fun for all in Key Largo with Sea Dwellers Dive Center 

We just completed another “Reunion Weekend”… this our 9th… and we’re glad to say we think it was a success!  This weekend has been a staff Scuba Diving with friends!favorite, originally intended for our long standing scuba divers, many which have been diving with Sea Dwellers for decades!  And by the way, we’re honored to be a dive destination for these wonderful divers who are customers…but most importantly, our friends! How can you dive with someone for years, decades, longer…and not be close?

The weather cooperated greatly, calm seas, blue water…fabulous!  REEF, the  Reef Environmental Education Foundation, was our special guests this year, and everyone was able to participate in a Fish Count and Fish ID activity while diving some of the reefs.

On Saturday, we went to the Elbow Reef and City of Washington Wreck, 2 dive sites we do not visit very often due to it being farther abroad from our normal scuba diving destinations. Everyone seemed to enjoy the sites, as many had not been there before and the conditions were wonderful! We had a good Beach Party Saturday night at the Dive Center, food, beverages, and of course the costume Party. Fun was had by all I believe!

10th Annual

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to those who couldn’t make it this year, (you know who youreunion7 are)…we hope to see you next year for our 10th Annual…sure to be an extra special event…(we promise!).  Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key LargoStaffreunion5