BIO: Scott Johnson has felt drawn to the sea and its creatures from a very young age. As a child, he made frequent trips to visit an Aunt who lived in Miami Beach, FL. Sitting spellbound for hours he would simply listen to the waves roll in and wonder what lied beneath the water's surface.

That curiosity eventually led to his first ocean dive. Johnson carried with him an underwater camera, although he had no previous interest in photography. But from that first dive a strong desire to capture the essence of his underwater experiences quickly developed. Working as a freelance photographer and writer, he has traveled extensively in the Caribbean as well as explored the South Pacific and Middle East. And he counts Cocos Island, Costa Rica among his favorite destinations.

Johnson's images have been recognized in international competitions and appeared in numerous publications, including major diving magazines, as well as in calendars and advertisements.

 

Day 3

Today I am off to visit with Donna Blackley of Fantasea Diving, which is located less than a mile away at the Sonesta Beach Resort. She is an energetic and dynamic individual who manages a superb dive program. She is also very generous because she invited to take me to the wreck of the Minnie Breslauer. There is no need to beware those baring gifts of great diving.

As I previously warned you about the need to do the hustle when getting geared-up, I barely have time to take my gear out of the dive bag before I hear Donna yelling, "We're here! It is time for the dive briefing." Did I mention that she also runs a taught ship? The wreck is located one mile from shore and at depths ranging from 30 to 70 feet. Needless to say, it takes much longer to dive the site, than it does to reach it.

The Minnie Breslauer, a 300-foot English steamer loaded with wine and dried fruit, struck the South Shore reef in 1873. Sadly, it was both her first and last voyage. I tell Donna that I want to be the first one in the water so that I can lay claim to any wine left on the bottom. She laughs and tells me that the wine was salvaged and consumed many, many years ago. Oh well, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Without the hope of vintage, liquid treasure, I do the two-step off the back of the boat and start my dive. After equalizing and adjusting my strobes and other camera equipment, I begin to look for the wreck. At first, I start to think the visibility is going to be really bad today because the water seems so murky. Then, I realize that I am heading into a cloud, an aggregation or maybe it is just a mob of Moon Jellyfish. They are everywhere. In all my years of diving exotic locations around the globe, I have never, ever seen so many large jellyfish in the open ocean.

Watching their pulsating, transparent bodies is mesmerizing. Like ballet dancers lightly tiptoeing across a lavish stage, these jellyfish seem so delicate, yet in complete harmony with their surroundings. I think I could spend the rest of my dive with them, but I have a wreck to examine.

The Minnie Breslauer's rudder, four-bladed propeller, steam boilers and fractured wheelhouse lay below the haze created by the jellyfish. The remnants of the wreck lay scattered over a wide area. Rambunctious parrotfish and angelfish meet me at every turn. I can hear the parrotfish munching on coral as the angels swim in and out of the remains. Like so many of Bermuda's historic wrecks, the Minniw Breslauer is both a living reef and an underwater museum.


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