This portrait of a hawksbill sea turtle in Grand Bahama, Bahamas was taken on a patch reef dive site where coral heads will rise out of the sand and often have a mushroom-like shape to them. Patch reef is some of my favorite type of reef to dive, mainly because I just love swimming in between the coral heads and go around each coral head. Many of my favorite macro subjects I like to shoot prefer patch reef where there is a sandy bottom. This area of patch reef compared to other parts of patch reef has more sponge growth on it so conversely, we see lots of sea turtles in the area (mainly hawksbill,) that are feasting upon the sponges.

This hawksbill sea turtle was munching on a sponge when I came across it nearing the end of my dive at about 30 minutes bottom up to that point. When the turtle saw me he immediately pivoted and turned towards me, starting to swim towards me. When I saw him turn, I stopped swimming and let it approach me if it wanted. The turtle proceeded to swim towards me and directly over me up to the surface to breathe. I was able to snap off a couple shots and was very pleased with what I got. It was a very cloudy overcast day so the minimal light made it so I could create the strong contrasting background with the turtle exposed and lit up in the foreground.

That is one of the best tips I can ever give to anyone who wants to see more of cool things while diving or snorkeling. Let the animal come to you, on its own terms. Do not swim towards or after them or they will most likely feel threatened and leave the area and or hide. Be calm, make minimal bubbles (but do not hold your breathe and or stop breathing) and do not approach and I promise you will see a lot more heads than tails.

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