Photography, Water Stuff

Let’s go Swimming

I swim from time to time at the beach near a place called Lauderdale by the Sea.  It’s about two miles from where I live, and I go here to jump into the water and see whats happening.  Some days I get to see giant schools of fish, other days everything seems to be be hiding, or on vacation on this exhausted reef just offshore.

All in all it’s usually a pleasant experience, save the one from the other week where I met a Portuguese Man of War floating by doing his thing.

One of the things about swimming in the ocean is that there is always the possibility, that you could end up some other creatures meal.  The separation of man from beast is facinating to me.  Sometimes I like to imagine that humanity in all of it’s complexity is just a bunch of  smart animals doing their thing.  Much like the Man-O-War is doing it’s thing, and a shark chill’n near a reef finger is doing his thing.  We just do our thing with a mask, or a wing, or a rope.

For me to be happy I dont have to see a million fish, or tons of reef life.  I’m just happy to be alive, and able to experience the moment.

It feels like a long time since I have been able to take a dip and visit my sea friends.

This year I am hoping to extend my experience with the small nurse sharks that frequent the waters near my home.  I want to interact with them, and possibly handle them if the moment feels right.

For now, I have limited my interaction to a few gentle touches on the tail to gauge their reaction to me, and to test myself to see if I have the nerve to push the envelope and pet one like I might pet a kitty cat.

My home movies are not the things of Youtube legend.  They are mostly private memories, short and sweet, sometimes lacking a beginning or proper end.

Below are two more videos of my swims near lauderdale by the sea.  They contain a few more fish than the first one in this post.


I'm not a Jellyfish :)

They call it a Physalia Physalis

Physalia-PhysalisIf you’ve gone to the beach and seen the blue balloon like “Jellyfish”, then you have seen a Physalia physalis.  Commonly thought of as a Jelly Fish, the Portugese Man of War are actually an entirely different kind of creature.  It’s not even a single creature, but a colony of creatures working together to exist as a single entity.

Feared around the world for it’s fierce string, they are quite common around the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area.  I’ve seen them many times on the beach, but not so often in the water.

Well, my luck changed last Sunday.  I was returning to shore and had decided to swim on my back.

I swam into the Portuguese Man of War “Tail of Death”  as I will call it.

I got to shore and discovered that the little arms have something in them that make them stick to your skin like a piece of briar sticks to your clothes when you’re walking through the woods.  Despite looking rather modest, the raised area of skin was felt like an ongoing bee string.  My level of empathy has certainly increased for those who suffered a serious injury from a man of war.

I remember thinking to myself that afternoon, about how strange it was that I could be experiencing such a pain, and yet no visible physical damage was present.  After the pain of the initial string is gone, then something brand new happens.  All of the places where the tentacles of the Portuguese Man Of War “Jelly Creature” had touched me had begun to blister up and itch badly.  As intense as the initial sting was, the itch that began on my hands and arms was incredible.  It was most certainly the most intensely concentrated itch I have ever felt.

The itch that developed felt like an echo of the initial pain.

I had my camera with me as I often do when I snorkel.    I figured I would record myself and talk about how it felt so that I could preserve the memory of the event (for myself).

For me, it was almost like experiencing the whole event 3rd person, I remember really thinking about the pain.  Thinking while it was happening, how I had never felt anything as painful, and being impressed with the effectiveness of the toxin causing the pain.  I was fascinated about how the pain could be so intense, and yet no permanent damage was happening to my hand.

I made the comment to someone near the first aid stand that getting stung makes you feel alive.  When you can step back, and appreciate another creatures developed mechanism, and experience a moment in that creatures life.  For all intents the “Jelly Creature” would have happily eaten me had I been a bit smaller, and overwhelmed by the toxins.  I’m happy to have added this experience to my repertoire of lifes events, but I hope to never experience it again.


I’ve been listening to Depeche Mode for at least 25 years. Through the years I have always been able to connect to their music in what felt like a personal way.

This song, and the entire album Delta Machine follows in the footsteps of previous DM albums that I have loved to listen to over the years.

Somehow the rhythm of my own life seems to mirror the music produced by this Epic band.


If you enjoy this song here is the entire album:  Love these guys!

The Rise and Fall of things

Having made a painful decision recently I found a quote from Buddha that helped me to accept the decision. While the pain still lingers in my heart the simple logic of a quote helps to give me perspective.


The Rise and Fall of things


Mothers Day 2013

What better way to spend mothers day than with your Mom. I had the good fortune of having both my parents down for the weekend.

You really start to appreciate your mom and dad as you get older. I’m very lucky to have these two in my life.

It was a great mothers day.


Mothers Day 2013


25lb Practice Dauphin Fish that Dad Caught

Mom and Dad are down in South Florida to visit Dick & Chrissy Russell.  While he is here he is going to fish in the Pompano Beach Fish Rodeo Tournament like he did last year.  A year ago he and Dick did really well and won several of the categories.

They are hoping to do well again this year. The photo above is one of four Dauphin fish they caught yesterday while preparing for the tournament catching bait and scouting for the perfect fishing spot.  They were both pretty pumped up when I met them for drinks later in the afternoon.

I could tell that it was a good day.


Dad Catches 25lb Dauphin While Preparing for Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo


I was going through some old photos and videos this morning when I ran across this video I made while I still worked onboard a cruise ship. The video is just a walk from near my room on deck 13 down to the staff mess on deck 4.

I’m not even sure why I recorded the trip, but I did, so the moment was meant to be preserved.

It’s forgotten moments like this that I hope to remember when my adventures have slowed, and I am telling stories about the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen.

Completely unedited, this video brings back a brief memory from 2010 when I still lived at sea.