What is Under that Ledge??

What was that thing??? It was green and has scary looking teeth.  Full length of this species is about 4 feet if you could see it outside of its hiding place.  These animals are nocturnal though.  I have seen one during a night scuba diving trip.  It was freely swimming in the open all around hunting the reef fish. HUGE! Here is a picture of one that I took two years ago in Cayman when I was diving on the west side off Seven Mile Beach. You can see more of its body.

I was using a digital underwater camera with a flash.  Note all the Red and Orange 🙂

Click Here if you are ready for the answer…

We also saw a spotted species of this animal but could not get a good photo or video.  They are smaller but are really cool looking too.

Good pics of the spotted species.

6/29~ More Baby Snakes Find Homes in LC5!

Zander adopted a really healthy sized (12″long) okeetee patterned baby snake yesterday.   He named it Skittles!  Look how bright the orange coloration is around its head.  I can’t wait to see the colors brighten after the next shed.

Skittles curled up on a log in his/her new habitat.  Home sweet Home.

And… Nick’s little brother, Noah, adopted a perfectly patterned okeetee baby.  He appropriately named his little snake, Chip.  Chip is living with Nick’s baby amelanistic (red albino) corn snake, Sherbet, in an awesome habitat.

Today I took the remaining three baby corn snakes to Pets-A-Plenty.  They will find good homes for them!  I decided to keep two…. for a little while anyway… Rainbow (albino with tail kink) and Mr. T (an okeetee with a perfect T on his head!).  The third one I am keeping is a beautiful okeetee for Mrs. Mclean in LC4.  She is coming to pick hers up in July.   OH… I forgot to report:  Mrs. McQueen in LC1 adopted a cute little okeetee on Monday that we will be able to visit when school starts!!  Did you miss the opportunity to have a baby corn snake???  Don’t worry… TEN healthy looking eggs are in the incubator 🙂  I wonder if we will have more red albinos?

6/29~”Like totally Dude! Now give me some fin.”

On my top 10 favorite animal list… Sea Turtles!  My featured photo is of a species called the Hawksbill Turtle.  I enjoyed my encounter with this favorite sea friend at Blue Peters Reef in Grand Cayman on June 16th… YUP! on World Sea Turtle Day!!  Serendipitous!

Sea Turtle Day 2016

It let me approach closely I believe because it was very busy eating a shell.  See it in the turtle’s beak shaped mouth?  Odd, because they are omnivores that eat eel grass, sea sponges, sea anemones and squid.  Perhaps this was a female that needed some calcium in her diet to produce her own eggs???  Hypothesis.  Maybe one of you could do some research to figure this out for me.  Check out the VIDEO footage below of “her?” eating.

On a sadder note, like most sea turtles, Hawksbills are on the Endangered Species list; mostly due to being hunted for their beautiful shell… Tortoise Shell… that in some places is still used to make jewelry, hair accessories and decorative boxes.

Here is a video that Taylor took of another Hawksbill that we saw while at a dive site called Rays Bedroom. Taylor was coming back up after finishing our 60 minute dive and doing a decompression safety stop.  Taylor had to stop between 15 and 20 feet for three minutes so he could not move back down towards the turtle.  Luckily the Hawksbill was curious enough to come check Taylor out.  The cool thing though is that Taylor was able to get beautiful footage of the Hawskbill’s shell from above.

In the videos you can really see how much of the color Red is lost.  Please question or comment.  I’d love to hear from you!




6/28~Sea Selfie

Before sharing sea animal photos (and VIDEOS!!)  I must give credit to my co-photographer, dive buddy and son, Taylor, in the featured photo above.  I was a bit challenged by the GoPro equipment at the start but Taylor was able to get the ball rolling and teach me the ins and outs of the camera.  The GoPro Hero we used was fitted with a red filter to help us compensate for the loss of “ROY”.   “ROY” who???

As you will notice in the photographs and hopefully remember from our light energy lessons in science class… “ROY”, of ROY.G.BIV ,is often absent in our underwater photos. The deeper we were the less sunlight was able to penetrate the water to be reflected to our eyes and the camera lens.  Red is the weakest end of the visible light spectrum and thus the first color to be lost as we descended.  The red filter helped to add some red back in.  A flash on the camera would have been better.  The best photos of sea life I will share are at shallower depths (40-50 feet) where more of the full visible light rays were able to penetrate.

We don’t see Red… but many corals would look Red if we used a flash on the camera.  Scuba divers often carry a flashlight so they can see the true colors of all the sea life.

6/27~”Seasing” the Natural World!

Today I begin a blog series recapping my undersea adventures in Grand Cayman earlier in June. Grand Cayman is the largest of a three island archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.  Just a short 2.5 hour flight from Houston, it is one of the most beautiful places to scuba dive in the world. All of my diving on this trip was on the dramatic North Wall where the Cayman reef drops off to depths of over 3,000 feet. The sea life is diverse and plentiful. What makes this one of my favorite places to dive is that the visibility in the water is always 100 feet +.  That means that even when I am diving 100 feet below the surface I can still see the boat.  That is VERY clear water that provides a crystal view of all the awesome corals, sponges, fish, turtles and more.  Another HUGE plus for me as a recreational diver is that the water temperatures are a balmy 84 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.  You will see I still wear a 3mm thick full wet suit.

Did you know that astronauts train underwater?  I wonder why?

My maximum diving depth was 102 feet.  I was “down” for 44 minutes.
cayman map

A Home for Qbert

Another of Cookie and Brownie’s offspring is happily settled into a new home.  Kayleigh has named this REALLY big and perfectly patterned Okeetee baby… Qbert.  I think he will be the spitting image of Brownie.  Keep us updated Kayleigh on all of Qbert’s milestones!   Quick update on the remaining 9 babies… all but one little stubborn hatchling ate a hearty third mouse meal.  Hoping he eats tomorrow!  Any babies that do not find their forever homes  with LC5 families by Tuesday (6/28) are headed to Pets-A-Plenty.

Sherbet has a new home!

Our red albino, Sherbet, has left the Caldwell snake nursery and is all settled in at the Beagle home.  Check out the great habitat Nick set up.  If you zoom in on the photo you’ll make out Sherbet close to Nick going into his/her hide.  Nick will keep us updated on how she settles in.  Who will be the next baby snake to find a new home?

LC 5 Astronomer, Maria, Captures Perfect Full Moon!

Just thought I’d share the AMAZING photograph that Maria took last night of our beautiful full moon.   Can you see all the mare?  They really do look like seas or oceans!  I can understand how poor Galileo was confused.  Check out the rays shooting out in all directions from the huge lunar crater, Tycho, that Maria captured.  Hooray Maria!

Forever Homes?

FullSizeRender-1Two of our fourteen baby Corn Snakes have found a temporary home at our favorite reptile pet store, Pets-A-Plenty.


They were stubborn little eaters for me but the experts at Pets-A-Plenty have had no problem getting them to eat.  They are happy and healthy there.  Check out the link:  The Ultimate Reptile Shop  This store is a GREAT field trip. (Caution: They are closed on Thursdays). You can feed a Caiman or a Kookaburra and see all sorts of AMAZING reptiles.

That leaves twelve little baby snakes here living in our laundry room, eating well and ready to go to new homes.  That includes both of the amelanistic snakes, Rainbow and Sherbet!  Remember Rainbow has the little kink in her tail and will need some extra love.

I am hoping to get all the babies into their new homes this week and next.  Please let me know if you are interested in a baby Corn Snake as a pet via an email from your parents to: dcaldwell@conroeisd.net.  The babies are FREE to a caring home.   Pets-A-Plenty is a good first stop before coming to visit the Caldwell laundry room.  They will set you up with everything you need to provide an excellent habitat for your snake and they will expertly answer all your questions on how to care for them.  A 10 gallon terrarium set up is $99.99 and a 20 gallon is $140.  I recommend the 20 gallon.  It will meet the needs of your pet when it reaches adult size so there will be no need to ever “upsize”.  Pets-A-Plenty also sells frozen mice in bulk for the best pricing. Bring an ice cooler if you go to Pets-A-Plenty so that they stay frozen for your drive back to The Woodlands.  You can get the frozen mice at Petco too but they more expensive.

Hope to hear from you soon!

“Shellebrate” World Sea Turtle Day ~June 16th


So as you have likely noticed from the home page of my blog.  Scuba diving is a passion of mine and I am mesmerized when I encounter sea turtles in the wild.  The photograph of the sea turtle on my blog home page is one that I took two years ago while diving in about 40 feet of water off the west coast of Grand Cayman Island.

Thursday, June 16th, is World Sea Turtle Day.  According to Marine Science Today, it is a day “to honor and highlight the importance of sea turtles.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended the celebrations to include the whole week.  You can”shellebrate” Sea Turtle Week by surfing through all the information and videos on these websites below.  After a little study perhaps you can answer… “What species of sea turtle did Mrs. Caldwell encounter while diving?”

Hawksbill Turtle Fact Sheet

NOAA Sea Turtle Week 2015 YouTube Video

Galveston NOAA Sea Turtle Lab Info.

Nature Conservancy Videos of Sea Turtles