June 22nd, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

On our recent expedition to Roatan, Honduras, we undertook a very special mission on Karl Stanley’s submarine The Idabel. We set off in search of a ship called Wendy, which was thought to be 1.8 miles from the West End. The ship originally sank in a location that blocked access to Coxen Hole, on the the other side of the island, and was towed to its final resting place by a navy salvage ship. Karl had obtained the ship’s log, which specified the coordinates of the ship as well as its estimated depth, 420 fathoms.

This expedition started with a boat tow to the site where we hoped to find the ship. With a little trial and error, we were able to come up with a functional towing arrangement. Once near the site where we hoped to find the ship, we dropped down. We reached bottom sooner than we anticipated, I believe in the neighborhood of 1400-1500 feet, and headed down along the sea floor to 2540, the maximum depth ever reached by The Idabel (which was already the world’s deepest diving tourist submarine).

Upon reaching the estimated depth of the Wendy, we traversed at depth back towards West End, in the hope of finding the ship. While we did not, we did encounter many unusual creatures and a fascinating underwater landscape that alternated between gently sloping sandy bottom and rocky underwater cliffs.

Some of the more interesting creatures we encountered were the “squidopus,” an octopus-squid hybrid that turned out to be something called a Jewel Squid, a siphonophore, and a very strange, free-swimming, transparent sea cucumber. We saw several deep sea fish, including the Orange Roughy (which are thought to live up to 150 years) and the Tripod Fish, as well as the Chimaera, a cartilaginous fish that is perhaps a living link between sharks and rays and bony fishes.

Although we did not find the remains of the Wendy, our five-hour excursion was a great success. A welcome party greeted us upon our return, including the Mayor of West End. Below are some images from our ride, and stay tuned for video of our adventure!

[tiltviewer=flickr width=”500″ height=”500″ flickrtags=”may,roatan,submarine,2009,favorites”]



June 18th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Oceanblue Divers will be meeting tonight at Honey on West 14th Street in New York: “Captain Steve Bielenda, former captain of the now-legendary RV Wahoo, will lend us his years of experience overseeing dives to some of the most challenging wrecks around.”



June 10th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

On our recent expedition to Roatan, I was able to take some striking close-ups of coral using a 60mm macro lens on my new camera setup. While corals often look like plants, they are actually animals – colonies of individual polyps that together build the structures we think of as coral. Viewed very close up gives one a strikingly different take on the look of coral. Here you can see the polyps extended:

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Here you can see how different a coral looks when the polyps are retracted, giving the coral a knobby look:

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June 10th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

One of our favorite friends, the Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster cinctus), was amazingly common on our January trip to Roatan, and much less so during our May expedition. Hopefully it was a seasonal, and not a permanent change. It was also disturbing to notice that many of the remaining Puffers in May were covered in warts and some had missing fins. Anyhow, as you can see, they are adorable little fish!

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June 1st, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Les Fruits have returned from their Roatan expedition and are slowly getting the site up-to-date with the news from the trip – diving, E.S.S. and a record-breaking sub ride!!!