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
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.
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.
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.
A geometric moray (Siderea grisea) emerging from a rock crevice at Shark Island, Fujairah, about 15 metres down. Or, as a friend of mine calls it, the lesser-known ‘preparing for plastic surgery eel.’
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.
Nautch girl statue dating from the early 17th century, now preserved behind glass at the City Palace Museum in Udaipur. (With apologies to Manuel Álvarez Bravo.)