IMG_5692.jpgWhile Cohen was at Fun Camp, after getting a bit of work done, I headed up to Shirley Hiehgts again to take advantage of the midday lighting to take some photos of the many ruins of the barracks and other buildings build in the late 18th century to support England's defense of Antigua's sugar cane and Dockyard.

 

Very few of the buildings are intact, though some are less ruinous than others, some are merely crusts of foundations, some retain more of their original structure. The more-intact structures are fenced off but the less obvious, more over-grown ones are left free to roam. I was surprised to find that a small bit of broken wall was really a small part of a larger expanse of structure that was hidden behind thorns and other shrubs. Just a bit of walking around yielded much more.IMG_5790.jpg

 

After exploring as much as time allowed, I headed back to pick up Cohen and then head off to Long Bay beach. Originally I had spied a secret beach that was off the beaten path. So we checked it out. I learned first-hand just how out of date Bing's aerial map coverage for Antigua and Barbuda was. The "secret beach" was smack in the middle of a new resort called the Veranda. D'oh. But we weren't completely S.O.L. as Long Bay Beach was just around the corner.

 

DSC02017e.JPGI was anxious to snorkel some more and work on the settings for underwater photography. The rest of the family swam and sunned, though Jenn was still under the weather. I snorkeled quite a bit, though the water was a bit silty from the wind and waves. At one point I reached the outer edge of the reef where the bottom dropped off and for some reason, that really freaked me out. It must be the illusion of height that gave me the willies, but also being out there alone and seeing the open water perhaps. I high-tailed it back to the protection of the reef.

 

I found that the trick to snorkeling is to slow down. Way down. For one, the fish get a little more used to you, and second, you can take in the details. Half of the fish are not the obvious swimmers, it the ones hiding out in the coral and sponges. By slowing down (and, indirectly making the family wait longer) I was able to find a very camouflaged flounder-like fish, a moray eel hiding in the coral, and some amazing little fish all over the place.

 

DSC02020e.JPGI am a bit frustrated by the use of the built-in flash and the particles in the water. The flash illuminates them as spots in a lot of the shots, but I can't not use a flash in the sub-optimal light. So I just have to hope for calmer waters and, I've found, the sun at my 6 o'clock. Eventually I will invest in an optical slave flash and a bracket which should help. I am ecstatic to know that I can use my Sony DSC-T700 underwater without investing in a new, expensive housing.