November 30th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Monday was moving day, so while we waited for our new room next door I took the Tokina 35mm macro around the neighborhood to see how it works topside. My experience was very similar to using it underwater. It’s not quite as good for really small stuff, especially if you don’t want the shadow of the lens in the photo, but it’s quite versatile and much easier to use for normal shots. These virtues combined make it a very useful lens, especially if you are just bringing one lens along.

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November 29th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Today Madam J and I went out on the boat in the afternoon with Aure and Matt. We alternated dives so one of us could keep an eye on the boat at all times. Madam J dove Chico and I dove Japanese Garden. Both are dive sites on the far side of Tintamarre. Today was my first underwater experiment with the Tokina 35mm macro lens. I think there are definitely some benefits to this lens versus the 60mm macro that I normally use. I think it may be somewhat better for portraits of medium to large fish, which can be hard to get with the 60mm since the field of view is so small. Also, it is easier to track a moving subject because it doesn’t get out of frame as easily. Today I used the 35mm macro under a flat port, so I look forward to trying it under a dome in the future. The best thing I saw today was a spotted eagle ray, but I was too busy looking at it to get a decent photo. I would definitely love to get a nice shot of one while I’m here.

Today was the first time we didn’t go out snorkeling in the morning. It’s hard being so busy.

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November 29th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

We undertook the second day of diving on la Grande Expédition yesterday, visiting a couple of our favorite dive sites – The Tugboat, a small wreck off the coast of Tintamarre and Creole Rock. For our Creole Rock dive, we did a drift dive starting on the back side and finishing on the front. Highlights included a strange starfish, large schools of goatfish kicking up sand with their fu manchu whiskers, french and gray angelfish and a large porcupine fish. The back side of Creole Rock is an oasis of coral fans. Today I took up the nice camera with a 60mm macro lens so all the photos are of small stuff.

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November 27th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

After a quick morning snorkel in our backyard, we went out with the afternoon boat for dives at Creole Rock and Turtle Reef (aka Sec de Grand Case). Highlights at Creole Rock included numerous cleaning stations, with a large grouper being cleaned by at least a half dozen cleaning shrimp, a large adult spotted drum and an octopus. At Turtle Reef we saw a turtle, of course, as well as a flying gurnard, numerous fish inside an abandoned oven and a trio of incredibly small juvenile fish we believed to be young high hats.

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November 27th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

In the afternoon we went with Chris and Sally to Happy Bay, a short hike from Friar’s Bay, for a second E.S.S. mission. We explored the north side of the bay and, although the swell reduced the visibility we were able to see quite a lot including at least a half-dozen types of coral (fire coral, elkhorn coral, brain coral, sea rods, sea fans and a few other encrusting species). Below are a few photos from the mission.

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November 26th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

This morning we went out on our first E.S.S. mission, entering the sea directly behind our apartment and exploring both directions in Grand Case Bay. Amongst other things, we saw a high hat, a lobster and several sunken concrete staircases, no doubt claimed by hurricanes past. Below are some photos from our expedition, taken with the Canon Powershot using natural light, often in the shade.

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November 24th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

We have arrived safely in Saint Martin to begin our year-long expedition!



November 9th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Don’t mind me, I’m just testing a new slideshow plugin for posting flickr sets to this blog.

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November 8th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

With only a couple weeks to go before Madam J and I depart for a year long expedition to St. Martin, I thought it would be fitting to post a selection of vacation-style photos from some of our many shorter trips there over the years. So many happy memories! Here we come for more!!!

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November 4th, 2009 by Marc AuMarc

Les Fruits de Mer members Marc AuMarc and Madam J are currently preparing for a year-long expedition to Saint Martin in the French West Indies. They seek to make the first comprehensive survey of the extreme shallow waters on the island and surrounding areas.