The First Two Days
Every expedition begins with a lot of gear preparation. I brought over 500 pounds of personal equipment and thankfully the airlines cooperated in helping it arrive safely. We built our rebreathers, side mount diving rigs and topside and underwater camera equipment. After a full day of prep, filling and organization we geared up for our first dive. Not everyone was as fortunate with the state of their gear and we got a very slow start. Well worth the wait, our first dive took us into a beautiful system called Green Bay Cave.
When I first entered the cave, a very large grey snapper became very agitated. He careened off the walls and seemed attracted to my light. He slammed into my helmet knocking me sideways than looped around through the silt and bounced off the front of my camera. After two hard hits, he retreated to the darkness to hide until we returned for our decompression.
I dove with Gil Nolan, Brian Kakuk and Paul Heinerth. They served as my lighting assistants for underwater photography. It takes a tremendous amount of diving expertise to safely conduct the type of diving we are involved in, but it also takes a high level of creativity and awareness. The four of us have to conduct an underwater dance together, jockeying for position and pointing the strobes in the correct direction to illuminate the cave. The three guys are carrying devices called slave strobes. They are triggered by my camera when I am ready to take the shot. Everyone must have excellent buoyancy control and exacting movements to keep the cave clear and illuminate the stygian darkness we are swimming through. The visibility was rather challenging with a significant white haze hanging in the water column, but I manage to pull off terrific photos thanks to my team.
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