Friday, May 25, 2007

Ascension Island

On our approach to Ascension Island literally hundreds of flying fish were encountered as the hull of the National Geographic Endeavour sliced through the calm waters. Schools of flying fish would explode from in front of the bow and "fly" to safety away from us. The action was fast and furious as of course the fish never erupted from the water in the exact same place!

For more than an hour the action was stop-and-go as new schools fled our approach. Literally thousands of images were attempted on the bow by several photographers and of course only a very few were worth keeping, the success percentage running less than 1%!

How fun to be poised on the bow with my telephoto ready to shoot at the first hint of this elusive fish!

Later that night we went ashore to watch the return of nesting green sea turtles to their natal beaches to lay eggs. The huge females would first dig out a body pit with her front flippers, then delicately carve out an egg chamber with her back flippers. Once the chamber was ready each female would deposit roughly 100 eggs into the chamber. The eggs looked like ping pong balls as they began to fill the hole mom had just made. When she was finally done laying eggs the female would cover the chamber first, then crawl forward and fill in the body pit. Just watching all that work was exhausting!