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The world's premiere extreme shallow snorkeling team.
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  • 03/11/12--13:54: Protecting the Nest
  • The salt flats surrounding Salines d’Orient serve as a nesting ground for several species of bird, and apparently the nesting season has begun. This killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is brave enough to try to distract and intimidate humans near its nest, even though we are hundreds of times larger than it is. Camouflaged eggs and a [...]

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  • 04/05/12--11:43: Eternal Death Grip
  • This fantastic specimen shows two formidable foes caught forever in their mutual destruction. The wasp (Pepsis rubra) is from a group known as tarantula hawks, which hunt and paralyze tarantulas, bringing them to their burrows as food for their larvae. Typically an egg is laid on the tarantula and the larva eats the paralyzed host. [...]

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    A dying Anguilla Bank anole (Anolis gingivinus) provided an interesting case study in how anoles manage territorial disputes. After discovering a sick anole that was emaciated, listless and likely close to death, we took it from the beach to a perch on a nearby tree. Of course, any viable perch is usually occupied by another [...]

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    Right now there are killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) nests all over St. Martin, in fields and on mudflats. In most cases I’ve seen, the nest just a small bowl of bits of stone or shell on the ground with two to four eggs inside. Although the nests seem obvious in the photos below, they can be [...]

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  • 05/13/12--07:47: Lizards in the Kitchen
  • This April, a groundbreaking paper was published, identifying 24 new species of skink from the Caribbean. (The abstract is here.) The study generated quite a bit of press because it is very unusual to discover so many new species of lizard these days. One of the species, the newly-named St. Martin skink (Spondylurus martinae) is [...]

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    With polluted water from Salines d’Orient contaminating Le Galion, polluted water from Étang Chevrise contaminating Orient Bay, it has been a bad couple weeks for Saint Martin’s salt ponds. More accurately, it’s been a bad couple decades, and perhaps now the impacts of poor environmental stewardship are accelerating. Perhaps it is not entirely bad. We [...]

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    We recently made a pilgrimage to Caen to visit the Alcyone, the Cousteau team’s second most famous ship, featuring the innovative Turbovoile sail system designed to increase fuel efficiency by harnessing wind power with unique “sails” that are computer automated. Or, according to a nearby placard: “Alcyone, robot-ship of the 21st century? Almost!” In addition [...]

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    For a quick diversion during our visit to Sanary-Sur-Mer, we took a voyage on the Nautilus, a handmade merry-go-round submarine. The merry-go-round operator explained that his family had been building merry-go-rounds by hand for generations, back to when they were powered by a real horse.

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    Our most exciting historical excursion in Sanary-sur-Mer was the Frédérick Dumas Museum, which featured diving and snorkeling equipment from the very beginnings of modern diving and snorkeling. As you can see from the photos, most of the equipment was handmade, including leather diving fins, wooden underwater camera housings and a depth meter made by a [...]

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  • 03/21/13--05:43: Tacousteau 2013
  • Another year, another Tacousteau. Our 2013 event was, as always, a feast for the body (tacos) and the imagination (screenings of Cousteau documentaries). Many thanks to all the Les Fruits de Mer members old and new who joined us for the event, and special thanks to Steph and Olivia for hosting it this year!