Entombed

Dead hawksbill sea turtle hatchling, about 5-10 hours old. Out of a nest of 100-120 eggs buried in a nest under 60cm of sand, up to 70% or so will hatch; of those, several inevitably die in the nest, too weak or malformed to dig their way out like the others. This was one of 5 dead hatchlings unearthed while excavating a translocated nest to evaluate hatching success.

Taken in July of 2010 at Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates

 

Think Pink

Lone flamingo meditating at sunset in a lagoon on a stretch of marine protected land on the Jebel Ali coast. Ironically, the flamingo itself was one of the palest I’ve ever seen – almost totally white.

this woman’s work

Female Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) returning to the sea after nesting in a small cove on the Sir Bu Nair Island off the U.A.E. coast. Most sea turtles nest at night, so this was a rare and fortunate sighting.

Hawksbills lay about 100 eggs in a nest dug in the sand, and may nest up to 7 times in a season. The eggs lie buried for 45-60 days before they hatch. Hatchlings dig their way out of the sand and make immediately for the sea. The males will never return to land again. After 15-20 years, adult females will return to the beaches where they were born to lay their own eggs.

Taken during nesting season of 2010 on the sea turtle monitoring programme I helped start for the Sharjah Environmental authorities.

Sea to Sky

Mangrove lagoons on the southeast edge of Jenanah, a tiny island off the Abu Dhabi coast with no permanent human habitation. One of the smaller lagoon systems, but one of the nicest I’ve ever seen.

Into the Blue

I’m a diver. Fairly recently, I got my Advanced certification, during which I did my first ever deep dive. The limit for recreational open-water diving is 40 metres or so, and until you’re certified Advanced you can’t go anywhere near that deep. This was taken on that first dive, at a wreck site called Inchcape 1 in Fujairah, off the East coast of the United Arab Emirates, at a depth of about 35 metres. I haven’t been diving long, but I love it. Actually, no, that’s an understatement. There is no feeling on Earth like it. It is freedom, euphoria, discovery, and a million others all at the same time. It always seems to me like a tragic cosmic oversight – or an evolutionary step that can’t be completed soon enough – that humans aren’t built to live underwater.