More Salty Goodness from Leper Island

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I’m now one dive behind. Our last Leper Island  dive was some time ago. Yesterday, which was Sunday, we did a dive on the wall up at Blue Blood in a spot where I had not been before. I’ll be showing some images of the incredible variety of flatworms we found there. That’s for later. Today, I’ll show some more shots from the Leper Island  dive.

With the help of friends beginning on Friday evening, I managed to keep myself distracted over the weekend – Friday at the Country Club for a very difficult quiz, Saturday on Sanguma,  with Rich Jones and Jenn Miller and Sunday up at Blueblood with a group of friends. Distraction was particularly important to me, as Saturday marked four months since Eunie’s death and I desperately needed to avoid deepening my depression by brooding on it over the weekend.

I imagine that distraction is important to anyone suffering from severe reactive depression. I’ve been depressed for longer periods of time – this episode is in its sixth month and is pushing me closer to the edge than I have ever been. I’ve never before suffered depression so profoundly disabling. It is very scary. There is no aspect of life left untouched by it. It drags down every joy and leaves its ugly traces in every dark corner of the mind.

Strange as it may be, I’ve experienced some significant comfort from a friendship with someone who is equally depressed for other reasons. Comparing notes and discussing symptoms and coping strategies has been very helpful to both of us. The most valuable thing for us, however, has been to have someone to talk to who understands exactly the feelings which are so troubling, someone who is experiencing them at the same time. There is great value in speaking the with the same vocabulary and sharing the same emotions.

Again, a blessing.

On to the pictures.

You’ve seen the Sailor’s Eyeball (Valonia ventricosa)  many times here:

This is a particularly nice one. Repeating myself as usual, I’ll mention that this is the largest single celled organism on the planet. It’s an algae. The skin is like tough plastic and transparent. It’s full of green fluid.

Here is an image of a plate coral that is clearly dying. You are looking straight down on the colony:

Everything below the white line is dead. The white line shows where the symbiotic protozoans have either died or been expelled from the polyps. Above the white line, the coral appears more or less healthy.

Here is a starfish which has lost part of a leg to a predator. It has begun to grow back, but it appears comically small:

It will continue to lengthen and thicken until it matches up with the rest of the previously stubby leg.

Here is a coral garden shot with a big colony which brings to mind a mountain covered by rice paddies:

I enjoy trying to make these little reef scenes appear to you as close as I can get to what I saw with my own ancient eyes. It is a pleasant distraction with some minor purpose. It is infinitely better than watching the television set, an addiction to which I have not been able to put aside. Distractions . . . Blessing or curse? I suppose it depends on the nature of the distraction, eh?

Here’s another reef scene with a spiky coral:

I saved the best for last, hoping to end up with something a little more flashy. Here are a couple of Nemo wannabes for your amusement. Specifically, they are Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula)  hovering in the protection of their beautiful Magnificent Anemone (Heteractis magnifica):

The colours are not natural due to my use of flash, which puts artificial sunlight where it never shines. Still, it does make a pretty picture.

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10 Responses to “More Salty Goodness from Leper Island”

  1. kristy Says:

    I cannot help it, I like what happens when the flash goes! I love the colors that come out!
    But, I also plan to get some sort of Photoshop product and learn how to filter out the blue!
    I have never seen the Sailor’s Eyeball, looks like I will have to go back through and read through your old posts to see what else i have missed!
    Thanks again for your open and honest account of how you are dealing with grief.

  2. Fortescue Bullrout Says:

    I googled “Sailors Eyeball” and MPBM is the second and third hit. You are the internet’s go to guy for Sailors Eyeballs. That’s fame for you.

  3. Ruth Denny Says:

    Jan, we are still praying for you nearly every day. May God be there each day to help you. Thanks for sharing your “distractions”. What beauty you share with the rest of us to bring light into our dark days (it has been so very overcast for the last several days and very cold too).
    Just remember that there are folks who love you and want you to experience release from you loss. We understand that doesn’t come easily, especially to those who have been so very close. God hold you close. -Ruth

  4. Lorraine Collins Says:

    I like the rice paddy comment!

  5. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, the flash shots fit more easily with what most people expect from UW shots. Most people would not recognise the natural colours.

    The standard Photoshop should come with a program called Adobe Bridge which allows you to open a RAW file with the Adobe Camera RAW filter which allows you to set the colour temperature and tint (and many other settings) before you open the file in Photoshop. This is definitely what you want if you’re doing UW shots. You can never get the colours right if you shoot in JPG mode. There are many web sites which explain why this is true. Basically, the JPG mode fiddles with the colour and mixes them in ways which prevent you from correcting for the loss of red. By shooting in the RAW mode you preserve the colour information gathered by the sensor for the red, green and blue. Since the information is preserved accurately and separately, you can correct your colours in the special RAW filter before other editing.

  6. MadDog Says:

    Fortescue, everybody is famous for something, eh?

  7. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Ruth, for your kindness and care for me. I can’t imagine how my post of the last few months could be very uplifting. I do it mostly nowadays for therapy. If I bring some entertainment or possibly some kind of wacky insights to readers, so much the better.

    I’m sticking to my plan to feel better in a year. I think that there’s real hope of that. God will get me where he wants me to be. Trusting in that does help.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Lorraine, you are famously easy to please.

  9. Ahna Says:

    I love your therapy writting. I just want you to know that depression must run deep in our veins. I feel you pain and loss for the losses I have gone through the last 18 years. The three men in my life that has meant so much to me. I have been on the teeter totter of why am I still here, things will be better without me and then blocking out my family (husband and kids) has been the worst. I had a smack on the head with an imaginery 2×4 by God and finally got myself on the right track a year ago and thank goodness I was on my last rope and not thinking right. So in all like Ruth has said, you have alot of people that feel your pain and love you and trust in God that he has a wonderful plan for you as he does for me. Love you.

  10. MadDog Says:

    Ahna, I believe that you are right. We are genetically disposed to depression. Half the time I wish that I wasn’t still here, but I hope that will pass. I’m waiting to see if God is going to explain any of this to me. Right now I don’t know what to do. If I did what I really want to do, everybody would be shocked. I don’t mean suicide. I’d just like to escape. I think that’s probably normal. I hope that passes also. If there’s a plan, when am I going to find out about it?