Clam Close-Ups…..

Dear F&F,
July 13, 2010
Clam Close-Ups
Day #18 Aitutaki, Cook Islands

I was awake at 6:30 a.m., but it is pretty dark then still, so lingered next
to Scott until 7. I asked if he was up for a return trip to the lagoon. We
decided it best to get our work done there early, before the tourist boats
arrive, still not knowing if anyone would protest our diving at the site.
And not wanting a crowd of snorkelers kicking up the sand. We had the tanks
topped off, gear loaded in the dinghy, camera equipped with the 105 mm lens
& off we went. This second time I was a bit more bold speeding through the
rock & coral patches. The wind was a little less than Sunday but it was
still a wet & bouncy outbound ride. We were underwater by 9 a.m.

The silly boy wore only his 3 mm suit again. After an hour I felt cool but
not chilled in my 6 mm wetsuit with double layer beanies. We barely moved. I
stuck close to Scott in case he needed my extra flashlight to help the
camera to sharply focus. He has a focusing flashlight attached to the camera
rig, plus strobes, but sometimes the extra beam helps. I love his artistic
results so much that I am a very willing assistant. I am very careful to
maneuver, mostly walking on my hands not wanting to kick up sand.

The term \”clam up\” is not a joke. They are sensitive creatures & we had to
hold very still & allow them to get used to our presence & wait until they
opened up. Sometimes a passing cloud would cause one to close, or withdraw
its colorful body (mantle) into it’s shell. I found the two pipe fish again,
but they are not very cooperative subjects. First of all they are tan &
white on a beige background, difficult to see. And the little thread-like
fish would not hold still. They bob their heads & wriggle across the rock.
Don\’t they know that this is their big day, that they could be famous?!

As I catch up on writing you, Scott is sifting through the 170 images shot
today. He distracts me for my opinion, but I don\’t mind because the preview
of today\’s efforts are stunning. Naturally I am his biggest fan, but his
abstract art photos are my very favorite. I am sorry you will have to wait
to see the results (now posted “07-2010-Aitutaki UNDERWATER photo gallery”),
we don\’t have access to high speed internet, so unable to upload photos to
the website.

We are expecting two boats of friends to arrive in the next 2 days. We are
not sure how long we will linger. We are glad that we stayed long enough to
discover the hidden beauty of Aitutaki. What\’s next? Humpback whales
possible at any of the next 3 islands…stay tuned.

Cindy & Scott