Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring 2014 Header Photo

I have just come back from California and the unique experience of being surrounded by growing giant kelp is still lingering in my mind so I decided to select one of the wide angle shots that I took while diving at Whaler's Cove, Point Lobos State Reserve, and use it for the spring 2014 header. 

The water was a bit cloudy but the visibility was better than last December. Still, capturing  the sunlight beams that made their way to the bottom through the kelp forest  was magical.  


******
© Elisabetta (Betty) Bastai

******

Thursday, January 30, 2014

California Diver Magazine has published my new scuba diving story titled "My First Dives in California Waters"

"The meandering topography of Puget Sound, my home since 2004, offers in winter a good number of shore dive sites sheltered from inclement weather. However, its relentless overcast sky can significantly increase a craving for sunlight. Last December my buddy had a whole week off work for Christmas and we decided to escape the gloomy Pacific Northwest by driving to sunny Monterey and diving in California waters for the first time..." Read on the full story of my first dives in California at  California Diver Magazine's website. 



******

© E. Betty Bastai/CaliforniaDiver Magazine

****** 
*

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

On January 5 I saw sea stars affected by the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on Whidbey Island, Washington, for the first time. I was diving at Possession Point Fingers when in 30 ft. of water I noticed scattered arms of a pale-colored sea star (a spiny pink star Pisaster brevispinus?) and  a sunflower star  ( Pycnopodia helianthoides) in distress on the edge of a clay wall. Its arms were stretched out as if they were ready to fall off (later I did see a detached sunflower star's arm). It was indeed a sad sight: 



Yesterday, January 15, I saw more sunflower stars that showed signs of the same disease at Keystone Underwater Park near Coupeville:


There is no doubt that Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is spreading at an alarming rate in Whibdey island waters and beyond. 

Since I have heard about the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome few months ago I have been submitting sea star surveys to the Vancouver Aquarium:


******
© E. Betty Bastai

******

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Norther Forest Canoe Trail: Article about the video "Clean Drain Dry for Paddlers"


I am please to announce that the Northern Forest Canoe Trail has published a couple of articles about the video that I filmed and edited last summer titled “Clean Drain Dry for Paddlers" in the Fall-Winter 2013-2014 Newsletter.



******
© Northern Forest Canoe Trail

******

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Northern Forest Canoe Trail Video Production Internship: Clean Drain and Dry for Paddlers


More information at: 

******

******

Dancing with Fishes in Arkansas


I left Kentucky on Tuesday, September 10 at noon. I drove through the hellish interstate 65 (a 'race track' for truck drivers) and reached Nashville,Tennessee, where I spent one evening listening to live music played by my friend musician Tom Mason and his music buddies Sheila Lawrence and Randy Leago. It was a great opportunity to socialize with other human beings after a week of solitary traveling. The following day I stopped in southern Arkansas to visit a family member; a couple of days later I drove to northern Arkansas to spend few days with some friends. One of them is a ranger at Blanchard Springs Caverns. She took me to North Sylamore Creek where we had a swim in its relaxing beautiful clear water and I saw for the first time in my entire life a snake hunting a fish!  As we were getting ready to leave I noticed a plastic water bottle on the ground. I picked it up and saw that several crayfish were trapped inside.




I opened the bottle to free those miserable-looking creatures. There were seven of them; unfortunately only one was still alive. 




The following day, I went back to Sylamore Creek with my snorkeling gear. I picked a different swimming hole that was smaller than a 25 meter swimming pool, but very pretty. A photographer was on the bank of the creek. She was throwing pebbles into the water. At first I couldn't understand why. Then, after walking closer to her, I realized that she wanted to make gentle waves so she could photograph their reflections on a boulder. I went for a swim trying to avoid being hit by one of those pebbles and then I decided to snorkel in the opposite corner of the swimming hole away from the photographer. 


The small size of the swimming hole made me believe that I could snorkel without wearing fins. So I left my Force Fins in the trunk of the car. As soon as I tried to follow a fish with my camera I regretted not having the fins on my feet. I moved in the water clumsily and my balance was, at times, all over the place. Stubbornly I kept snorkeling in that way refusing to get out of the water, walk to the parking lot and pick up those bloody fins!  I guess it was one of those days...


The swimming hole turned out to be a fascinating fresh water aquarium. I had never seen so many different species of fresh water fishes before. It must have something to do with the low level of the water in the creek, which may have forced the fishes to share such a cramped space. In any case, after being immersed in the densely clouded water of the Green River, Kentucky, snorkeling in Sylamore Creek was an unexpected magical treat: 



******
© E. Betty Bastai

******