Netherlands Antilles : Photos

Discover every day Photographs of the various countries of Africa and the Caribbean

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F-GLZP - 5/3/17

nstampede002 posted a photo:

F-GLZP - 5/3/17

N678DL - 5/3/17

nstampede002 posted a photo:

N678DL - 5/3/17


A male ruby topaz hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus). I experimented with using a flash to capture images of these beautiful birds. In this instance I was lucky enough to get the tail in full spread.

The ruby topaz is one of two species of hummingbirds on Bonaire. They are the larger species. The male rubies are definitely the bullies on the island.

Itty bitty

This guy is the size of a pea, maybe even a small pea. It is a juvenile smooth trunkfish. Finding a juvenile tucked into the nooks and crannies of the coral is not so easy.

They are loads of fun to watch because they are not very coordinated. Think a drunk bee bopping around, bumping into things, but underwater.

It requires concentration to follow them through your mask, but to locate them in your macro view finder of the camera housing is a higher challenge. (There is a reason why most underwater macro shots are of creatures that don't move.) And then try tracking it with its random motion (while floating in water, avoiding any contact with nearby coral). Needless to say, I have plenty of shots of absolutely nothing, or blurry images, or images with the fish's back, etc. In the end, I am happy with this frontal portrait.

Dragonfly Dythemis sterilis rests at a leaf

Brown Setwing (Dythemis sterilis)|Brown Setwing (Dythemis sterilis)

Spotted cleaner shrimp

A spotted cleaner shrimp (periclimenes yucatanicus) in a giant anemone (condylactis gigantea). The shrimp uses the anemone like a giant billboard - if a fish wants to be cleaned, it doesn't have to try to find one of these tiny shrimp, but rather, it approaches the anemone knowing that the shrimp will emerge for the cleaning.

525 - Salty Hills

Salty Hills

If only they could talk

Squid (along with octopi) are some of the most fun creatures to encounter on the reef. They change colors instantly and appear to do so to communicate. They clearly are interested or amused by the presence of a diver. The trick is to just float in the water with as little movement as possible. And then they will approach you slowly, even coming a few centimeters from your mask.

Apparently, these squid have been observed to fly out of the water. And like other cephalopods, they are semelparous (die after mating).

They are not threatened, but we no longer order squid off the menu. We can't stop eating all animals and plants, but neither do we need to eat all of them. We are ok with leaving the squid in the ocean.

Leopard fish?

A rare find - we see many smooth trunkfish on every dive, but rarely notice a spotted trunkfish (Lactophrys bicaudalis). Beth found him (or her) and then while she was waiting for me to catch up, she lost him in the coral. After some hunting (and me not knowing what we were looking for), she found him again. And this one is probably a juvenile given its size (probably about 2-3 cm long) , which is a double bonus.

If you were to design a fish, I doubt you would come anywhere near this. They are terrible swimmers and they have a goofy triangular shape. But I guess it works for them.

Papa and his clutch

On Father's day of this year we finally found a jawfish with a brood of eggs. The male holds the eggs in his mouth to incubate them and during that time the male doesn't eat.

Angry octopus

This is a white-spotted octopus (Callistoctopus macropus). They are not common in the Caribbean nor Bonaire, and this is the only one we have ever seen, making this encounter rarer than frogfish and sea horses.

One of the most remarkable abilities of an octopus is to be able to change colors quickly, nearly instantly. To see it with your own eyes is magical.

In this case the octopus has turned red because it is angry at being discovered by the divers who are obnoxiously flashing strobe lights at it.

To understand how this octopus can transform itself requires seeing another image of the same octopus only moment before this shot was taken ...

The world may be our oyster, but let's leave octopi off our dinner plate - I admit that their flesh is delicious, but the playful wonder of an encounter with an octopus it its natural environment is worth more than all of the pearls in the sea.

Agave americana

In a little valley on the east side of Bonaire there is a bonanza of agaves. Maybe its little micro-climate or its soil (or both) creates the perfect conditions for them. Each agave at its base is big (about 2 meters across) and the flower stalks are huge (5-8 meters tall). Each flower stalk branches out in a Dr Zeus like fashion with magnificent clusters of bright yellow flowers. At this time there were hundreds of agaves in bloom, each with 20 or more of the clusters you see in the image.

It was a feast for the hummingbirds. In this image there is a female ruby topaz, one of the two species on the island.


The tuturutu produces brilliant and delicate yellow flowers. It also must produce a nectar that this male blue-tailed emerald (Chlorostilbon mellisugus) likes.

Salt works on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Buy this photo on Getty Images : Getty Images

Much of Bonaire's Southern half has been made into a giant system of ponds and pools which take seawater and allow incrimental evaporation of the water until the only remaining product is sea salt. Bonaire's solar salt works produces 400,000 tons of industrial grade salt per year primarily using wind to operate windmill-driven pumps and gates and the sun to evaporate the collected seawater.

Submitted: 09/12/2017
Accepted: 14/12/2017

- KLM AMS/MS (Netherlands) 11-Jan-2018
- RTL Nederland B.V. (Netherlands) 01-May-2019
- Cambridge University Press (United Kingdom (Great Britain)) 19-Jun-2019


Female blue-tailed emerald hummingbird taking a drink from ground lantana.

Ironic color

The little juvenile queen angel (about 3 cm long) is competing for attention with the encrusting sponges. When you dive, everything underwater has a blue cast and the deeper you go, the more blue. Or put another way, water kills reds. For example, cut yourself underwater and you will bleed what appears to be green. So it is ironic that with artificial light you discover the many reds, yellows, and oranges that exist down there.

Juvenile queen angels are not common and they are among the prettiest of small fish. They are a treat to find.

One of the challenges of underwater photography on a coral reef is to isolate the subject from all of the distracting background. In this case the distracting background becomes (I think) part of the subject.

This was a tough shot to get because I had to float in open water next to the pillar, staring into my view finder to find this little angelfish darting about, while not bumping into anything and avoiding sea sickness. Once I saw that I had this shot, I moved on.

Fat Froggie Fishin'

This frog fish was so fat and big that I swam over it thinking it was just another lump on the sponge. But he didn't fool Beth, who rattled all of us to see this beauty. Always great when you can get them with their lure out.

Red, white and blue

Two windows in Kralendijk.

Comic relief

I almost deleted this image because who wants to look at a soaked bird? But if all posts are perfectly composed, well-lit shots with some interesting action and subject, then that can be boring too, right? ;-)

So I kept the shot and now I am glad I did. About ten minutes before everything was completely dry and the sun was shining. A drenching squall came through and I sought shelter under the awning of a shed. Most of the parrots flew off, probably to seek shelter too. But this one just stayed on the perch. Who knows, maybe he or she is really enjoying the bath.

This is a yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot, which is known on Bonaire as the lora (in the local language, Papiamentu). About 1000 remain on the island, which is their only location outside of northern Venezuela. They are listed as vulnerable by BirdLife International. They are mainly threatened from poaching and habitat loss. There are extensive reforestation efforts on the island to help with the latter. See

for more info.

Incidentally, Papiamento is a creole of Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. It is spoke actively in Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao. It is wonderful to listen to (very melodious) and simple to learn basic expressions.

Kralendijk, Bonaire

Antilhas Holandesas

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