Jeff Biege photography: Blog https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog en-us (C) Jeff Biege photography (Jeff Biege photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT https://www.jeffbiege.com/img/s/v-12/u158590923-o232496882-50.jpg Jeff Biege photography: Blog https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog 120 117 Boat life, Bahama islands 4.15.19 https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog/2019/4/bahama-islands-4-19 I have been trying to get to the Bahamas with my friends Billy and Sierra for years. They live aboard a self restored 42ft catamaran Adrinaline with their awesome rescue dog Jetty. They run a You-tube sailing channel "Tula's endless summer" which is hugely successful and have an online store where they sell lots of cool ocean and sailing inspired items. They left Florida last week on an adventure that will take them all the way to Granada and this was my chance to catch them before they got to far away! They will sail nearly to the tip of South America by July to avoid the hurricane season, their destination beyond that is unknown , what an adventure!

DCIM/103MEDIA/DJI_3286.JPG The 2nd day of the trip greeted us with a late season cold front which meant off shore winds and surfing! We timed it perfectly and arrived at the beach just as the rain ended and caught perfect chest high glassy waves, I made the mistake of surfing first and waiting to shoot, so the winds had shifted by the time I swam out, but it was awesome to surf with friends and and only two locals out.   The next day the sun came out and the winds backed off, it was time for some free diving. The mission was simple , they would search for dinner and I for images, same goal, different hunting tools:) I have tried spear fishing a few times , and overall hunting and fishing have never been my cup of tea, I would rather hunt with my camera:) It was very interesting to watch these two switch from mild mannered surfer kids, to fully tuned hunters. They have become very efficient at the game, they are often anchored in places far from a town , with the ocean their only food source. While free diving you have no air tanks, just one breath, you dive to the bottom and go into stealth mode, searching along the bottom, under rocks, ledges, and in caves. The visibility was less then stellar most days after all the wind and rain from the passing cold front so we stayed in relatively shallow water ranging from 10 to 40ft. Both of them have breath hold times of more than 2 minutes and were way more comfortable going under overhangs and caves than I was! I was def doing my best to keep up!  Sierra on the hunt The first thing that stood out to me was the underwater landscapes . Eleuthera is different that a lot of the Bahama islands in that it has more cliff faces , caves , and rock formations under water. So cool to have so many places to explore!  Sierra heading down along one of the many cliff faces along the Caribbean side of Eleuthera .

My main focus for imagery was to find marine life, we did spot Dolphins several times and even jumped in the dingy one evening to see if we could get a swim in with them, but all the pods we found were bottle nose dolphins who tend to not be very social with humans. We spotted several Nurse sharks over the course of the week, and saw one small blacktip shark. The main creatures I was able to photograph were different tropicals , rays, barracuda , and as mentioned the occasional nurse shark. Sierra and I actually saw one laying under a rock that was the biggest shark I have ever seen under water, had to be a solid 12ft! I had no idea they could get that big! Being mostly harmless sharks, it was still impressive!  Nurse shark Huge stingray! Yellow stingray at night . Love the "deer eyes" of the puffer fish, so cute! Another huge sting ray , he had enough of me and was off like a jet!

The best part about Eleuthra is the live rock! I have traveled a lot and have not seen reef like this since I was a kid. So amazing, sea fans, sponges , and several different types of coral. So cool to see a fairly functional reef system in place! Coral comprises one of the most life giving eco systems on earth . Every other breath we take comes from the ocean, and corals are the backbone of this process. Its estimated that at least 50% of corals have been lost in the past 20 years, and the great barrier reef in Australia is 80% gone. The main source of this loss is rising sea temps and ocean acidification caused by climate change. Its rare to see so much live rock in one place! Sierra who is a marine biologist was quick to remind me that although the reef looked healthy , the abundance of sea urchins and sea stars was the sign of an out of balance eco system. More work has to be done to help restore that balance , but it was still beautiful to see. 

Several different species of coral, sea fans, and sponges add an amazing backdrop for this blue tang! Juvenile Queen angelfish tucked away in the coral reef. coral on top of coral! Fan Coral

Overall it was an amazing trip. I have traveled to the Bahamas many times in the past for kitesurfing trips, but to see the underwater world here was very special! Its was also nice to experience the boat life first hand and get to peer into the lives of two kids living their dream. It was an amazing feeling to live on a vessel powered mostly by the wind and sun. There were several days that we sailed 10 miles or more with no engine power at all, straight off anchor to the next spot compleatly driven by the wind, and there were a few days I never touched land over the course of the day, very cool! Living off the grid is not easy on land, but throw in a saltwater environment , and it becomes pretty interesting . The logistics of conserving water, power, and food is not to be taken lightly. These two have it down to a science , they are bright kids, driven, focused, and passionate about living close to and in tune with nature. Such a refreshing change from the mad world and gives me hope for the rest of us!  Many thanks to these two for my time on the boat! Looking forward to hopefully joining them again as they get deeper into the Caribbean. Flat seas and fair winds my friends!  Billy at Queens Bath Until next time! DCIM/103MEDIA/DJI_3301.JPG

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(Jeff Biege photography) adventure bahamas diving free friends islands jeffbiege lifestyle ocean photography sailing surfing travel https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog/2019/4/bahama-islands-4-19 Sat, 27 Apr 2019 22:00:49 GMT
Happiest Place on Earth https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog/2017/5/happiest-country-on-earth Costa Rica... land of surreal sunsets, pumping surf, and Pura Vida. This Central American Country is also ranked at the top of the list of happiest countries in the world by the Happy Planet Index. Not to mention, they are home to one of just five Blue Zones in the world, meaning it's a place where people live longer, higher rates of centurions, and remain healthier and happier longer than anywhere else in the world.

In the summer of 2016, me and my boyfriend, Jeff, decided to travel to this country and stay for two months. He's a professional photographer who loves to surf and I'm a voiceover artist and yoga teacher. And now, almost a year later we're finally getting around to writing about our time there.

During our time in Costa, we primarily stayed in the Guanacaste region in the northern part of the country on the Pacific Ocean side. We spent the first half of our trip staying in a friend's quaint little cabin nestled in an eco-friendly community, Pura Jungla. Once a barron property, in the past 30 years, the owner has planted over a million trees and built a water filtering system that provides all of the home owners with clean drinking water- which we learned later, having unlimited access to clean water is a really big deal in this country.

In the not too far distance from this little cabin, we could hear the crashing waves. The beach was only a couple kilometers drive away.

Costa Rican sunsets have a way of making you feel like you're on a movie set of some kind of chick flick with lots of kissing a romancy type stuffTaken in Junquillal. This beach is tucked away and hidden from most of the tourists. You'll see a few locals hanging around, but for the most part is a very quiet beach.

Every day we got to enjoy breathtaking views.

But that's not the only reason we enjoy visiting this magical place. Here are a few other reasons that keep bringing us back to Costa time and time again.

~World class surf

 

This photo was taken at Playa Negra, a world-renowned surf spot known for its right hand reef break. Located in the northern part of the country on the Pacific Ocean side in the Guanacaste Region. It's not for the faint of heart, and even the most experienced surfers are hesitant to paddle out. Jeff surfed here once during our stay... but as he says, it's one of those breaks where his teeth are clenched together and so are his butt cheeks. Most days it was a hunt to find the best waves for that day. The right size, a good swell direction, and the timing of the tide... all make for finding the perfect spot. Here's Jeff enjoying some waves at a secret spot.

There are spots throughout the country to suit all kinds of levels of surfers, including newbies like me. 

After several days of lessons with Avellanas Surf School, I finally caught a few waves. On this day, I rode several long ones all in a row. I was stoked! 

But most other days, I just stuck to diving under the pounding waves.

This was an impromtu shoot at Negra. Jeff was taking photos of waves that day as I was swimming when he said "hey, swim under this wave and let me take some pictures". It's not easy to keep your eyes open as you swim under but it was a lot of fun creating this image together.

One of the many things I learned on this trip was a deep respect for the ocean. The waves and current don't mess around in this part of the world. On more than one occasion, I thought I might drown from the pounding waves or get swept away with the strong rip current. Even Jeff, who is much more experienced in the water, almost drowned on his first day out for a surf. The ocean has a way of making you feel humble.

~Adventure awaits around every corner

 

Of course there are incredible waterfalls scattered throughout the country. This one was a smaller one but hidden away from the crowds. We were visiting friends, Pamela and Jeffrey, in Nosara. It's only about 50 miles south of Negra, but on Costa Rican roads- it took us about 4 hours to drive in our tiny rental car to our destination. Driving into Nosara is a bit different than some of the other places we visited in the country. Nosara has quickly become a world-renowned yoga retreat destination. People come from all over to enjoy the high-end luxury that is offered in this area. Even the grocery stores are equipped with expensive items you can't find in other typical Costa Rican stores. And as many American appreciate, they even have gourmet coffee shops.

When we arrived in Nosara, our friends suggested we go find a nearby waterfalll they had heard about, so we set off on an adventure. Luckily, Pamela speaks fluent spanish so we were able to ask for directions along the way from the locals. We kept getting closer and closer but were not finding anything resembling a waterfall. We finally ran into a gringo family from Florida of all places (where we're from) and after walking through a cow pasture, jungle, and crossing a small creek, they led us right to the tucked away little gem. 

As much as we would have liked to stay longer in Nosara and enjoy the amazing yoga classes at the resorts, we found something closer to home and closer to our budget.

Peace Retreat is a resort in Playa Negra, and happened to be just down the road from where were staying. Luckily, timing was perfect and I got to enjoy one of their week-long Ayurvedic detox retreats. It was a week of two yoga classes a day, ayurvedic cooking lessons and journaling assignments that inspired self reflection. It was exactly what I needed to help me get more balanced during our extended stay.

~ Nature and wide open spaces

Waking up to the sounds of Howler monkeys and parrots is quite possibly the best alarm clock on earth. During our time in Costa, our bodies adjusted to the natural rhythm of nature's clock. We got up earlier and went to sleep early. In the mornings, we'd sip on our coffee while listening to the howler monkeys announcing their machoness while the parrots would spend the morning gossiping and chatting away.

During our stay we saw all kinds of cool creatures... like crocodiles...

watch out for these guys though, while we were there, an American tourist surfing in Tamarindo had his foot bit off by a crocodile. Yikes!

We also saw all kinds of different species of lizards including spiny iguana's like this one...

And the list goes on... butterflies of every color and shape, insects I never knew existed, it's a nature lovers paradise for sure.

If you're a nature loving, wave chasing, surfer, and photographer, it's pure bliss. Jeff was able to capture so many beautiful images of his favorite thing in the world to shoot: WAVES

 

In Costa Rica, they use the phrase "Pura Vida", it means pure life, but it's often used as a greeting or just to say "hey! life is good!" That mind set, that way of life gets into your soul. And if you spend enough time visiting this country, you will inevitably be drawn back to that Pura Vida vibe.

Until next time, Costa Rica... We'll definitely be back soon :)

 

 

 

 

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(Jeff Biege photography) adventure angie rosecrans beach costa rica effbiegephotography" j jeffbiege jungle nature nature photography peace retreat pura vida simple life sunsets surfer surfing surfing photography sustainable living travel water photography waterfalls waves yoga retreat yogini https://www.jeffbiege.com/blog/2017/5/happiest-country-on-earth Wed, 03 May 2017 13:54:35 GMT