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I’m back to the land of the interwebs, and I brought all the underwater goodness that I promised last week. Our four-day dive trip to Isla de Coiba with and surrounding days in Santa Catalina, Panama, were completely off the grid. Yesterday was spent wading through the 270 emails that piled up in the five days I was offline and whittling down over a thousand photos from the past week. While it was nice to take some time off, it’s going to take me ages to catch back up and its hard to get back into my disciplined routine after spending a few days doing nothing more than diving and lazing on the sand. Was it worth it? I’ll let the following photos answer that questions.

This week we’re drying out in the highlands before crossing the isthmus to hit the beach on the Caribbean side of Panama. It is suddenly hitting me that I’m in the final stages of this Latin American exploration — I’ll be stateside in just over three weeks!

Photo A

Photo B

Photo C

Photo D

Photo E

Photo F

Which photo is your favorite?

3-devide-lines
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63 Comments...
  • Welcome back! Loving all the underwater goodness ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m staying photo B. What is that on the right?
    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      It’s a moray eel! Guess I should have done captions this week ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kathryn
    February 2 2014

    Love them all but F1 is spectacular! He/she almost looks like a fossil, while also seeming like a human trapped in a fish body…maybe a spell?

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Love that idea! He is a frogfish, a rare diving find and one of the many we spotted at Coiba!

  • Yasemin
    February 2 2014

    Photo D really captures the movement of the fish!

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      It was one of my favorite moments of the trip!

  • Emily
    February 2 2014

    I like photo D the best – incredible!
    Emily recently posted..

  • Divelicious Chris
    February 2 2014

    I can’t decide between photo C and D..
    I like the moray eel in B as well but it took me a long time to actually that it was a moray eel! Think I got confused with the lack of colors.
    Divelicious Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Unfortunately Coiba has pretty low viz most of the time and we were diving quite deep, so the only way to work with a lot of my photos was to edit them into black and white!

  • Andy
    February 2 2014

    Wow, dang! You really have got a great eye, Meihoukai. I really like the composition of your photos. This week I think I’m picking C…and D (and B and E) ๐Ÿ˜€
    Andy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Thanks Andy! I appreciate it… and I’m sure my BFA is to thank for those compositional skills ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    February 2 2014

    It was C , and i was feeling pretty set on that … but i scrolled on and D just snuck right up! D for the win. At this point I get max 10-15 e-mails a day. i crave more e-mail. maybe one day I’ll be like you with an overflowing inbox, but until then i’ll stream Girls (the tv show) and eat skittles ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Email has basically become the bane of my existence! I’ve done unroll.me and got rid of most of my junk mail which has helped enormously. But between advertising and freelance stuff, making future travel plans, keeping up with friends and fam and answering reader emails I spend so much of my day in my inbox. Maybe I can send you some of mine? ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Koalatravels
    February 2 2014

    Photo D! So. Many. Fishies. In. One. Photo!! I miss diving already sighs

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      I’m happy I don’t have to wait too long to dive again. We should be back in the water next week! But it will be quite a while after that, sadly.

  • Meghan
    February 2 2014

    These are the best photos I’ve ever seen from you! Amazing!
    Meghan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Wow, thanks Meghan! That’s a nice thing to read ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Soffรญa
    February 2 2014

    I have to go with C!

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      I love me some silhouette shots! Thanks Soffia!

  • Amanda
    February 2 2014

    These are stunning, can’t wait to see the rest ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll go with c or d, those are my two favorites!
    Amanda recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      I have SO much editing to do ๐Ÿ™‚ Underwater photos need a lot of attention!

  • Colleen Brynn
    February 2 2014

    These photos all have unique perspectives which I really enjoy. I have to say there is something special in photo A with the crisp clarity of the crashing waves!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Pretty crisp considering it was my iPhone! Continue to be amazed at what that thing can do.

  • Caity
    February 2 2014

    This week I am voting for photo D. You have captured the motion and abundance of life beautifully!

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Thank you Caity! It was a fantastic school of fish!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    February 2 2014

    C and D! SO happy to see more dive shots on your site! Guess the camera didn’t fog this time and the tampon worked? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 2 2014

      Tampon worked — no fogging! However my camera is definitely on it’s last legs. It doesn’t focus as crisply as it used to and the image quality has significantly degraded. I think I may have dropped/abused it one too many times ๐Ÿ™ On the lookout for a new one at the big dive show in March!

  • becky hutner
    February 2 2014

    C!! I have a weakness for the underwater low angle with sun flare shot & this is a great one!
    becky hutner recently posted..

  • Cat
    February 2 2014

    D! I feel like I’m seeing the perspective of one of those fish in the school. Cool photo of the eel too even if he creeps me out a bit – they’re the one creature I’ve encountered underwater that make me the most nervous.
    Cat recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      I know how you feel. They pop out of nowhere! With all those teeth!

  • Tyrhone
    February 2 2014

    D for sure, that is an amazing picture. Can’t believe you are almost finished latin america, feels like you just started!
    Tyrhone recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      Really? It feels like ages to me, ha! I guess it has only been four months. But I’ll be back ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Scott
    February 2 2014

    I always feel that when you post a bunch of photos and ask “Which photo is your favorite?” that you need an “all of the above” choice! You take great photos that always make me wish I was there!

  • Scott
    February 2 2014

    Also where did you stay when you visited these islands?

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      We stayed at the ANAM station in the National Park. It was simple but you aren’t spending much time indoors!

  • Jade
    February 2 2014

    Love all the photos this week! Especially the frog fish in F, it is a frog fish right?
    I can totally relate to the love/hate relationship to being offline. While in Malapascua (!!) there was no internet for the entire two weeks I was there and it was blissful after being overly connected here in Korea. I’m struggling to want to get back to emailing, tweeting and what not!
    Also, I am now open water certified! Malapascua was the perfect place to learn and I cannot thank you enough for going there first and writing about it here! And for all your awesome underwater photography too, which over the last 2 years has had me itching to finally get under the water! Thank you Meihoukai!

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      I’m so so happy to hear that, Jade! Yay for diving! And I’m happy to hear Malapascua is still a lovely destination for travelers post-Typhoon. I can totally relate to the post-vacation inertia and having a hard time diving back into work after. Oh, and yes, it is a frogfish!

  • Becs
    February 3 2014

    I love C, I want to know what they’re pointing at! Xx

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      I think it was a giant school of barracuda!

  • Steve
    February 3 2014

    i am choosing C. I like the light shining through the water.
    Steve recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      Love that effect. It’s beautiful underwater!

  • Stef
    February 3 2014

    It’s very hard to decide this week but I’m choosing photo B as well.
    Stef recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      Crazy creatures above and below the surface! It was such a special place.

  • Chris
    February 3 2014

    Hmmm, tough call indeed!

    It’s between C or E for me (hmmmm, between C and D, does that make it D?)

    Loving the underwater world you share with us!
    Chris recently posted..

    • Chris
      February 3 2014

      LOL, it must be late! That should have said “hmmmm, between C and E, does that make it D?”
      Chris recently posted..

      • Meihoukai
        February 3 2014

        Commenting under the influence of exhaustion! It is a serious problem!

  • Corinne
    February 3 2014

    Cool shots, as always!My fave is the top! Love that wave. Panama is sooo on my list!
    Corinne recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 3 2014

      It wasn’t very high on mine before this trip, which has made it a really fun surprise! I couldn’t be loving it more.

  • Olivia
    February 3 2014

    B!

  • Adam
    February 3 2014

    B as well! What setting do you use for underwater fotos on your S100? Do you use the underwater function?

    • Meihoukai
      February 4 2014

      Yup, I always put the underwater setting on to help bring the reds back in. But sometimes if you’re too deep there’s nothing the camera can do!

  • Ron
    February 4 2014

    Gotta love the Frogfish! A face only a mom could love! Too bad you lost your reds, I would love to see all of them in color. Chow – Ron

    • Meihoukai
      February 4 2014

      We found quite a few frogfish on this trip, so no worries…. some color photos will be coming up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • TammyOnTheMove
    February 5 2014

    OMG that thing on the right on photo b would have scared the hell out of me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the last photo!
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2014

      They are pretty creepy… I have to remind myself they chomp their jaws like that just to breathe!

  • Bob Clark
    February 8 2014

    It has to be F1… The Frogfish. I love the effect of the black and white.. Now tell me you took this with your Cannon s100 and I will be happy. I purchased the Cannon s100 after reading many reviews including yours and will be trying it out the end of the month in Akumal Mexico. I will be using the Ikelite housing but not sure I will need the strobe. I believe you told me you did not use one.. Your pictures are great and I enjoy reading about your travels.

    Be safe,
    Bob…

    • Meihoukai
      February 8 2014

      I took all of these underwater ones with the s100 and sans strobe! Best of luck with your dive trip… I’m sure you’ll love the new camera!

  • Katie Featherstone
    February 12 2014

    D is a really great shot! So many fish!
    Katie Featherstone recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 14 2014

      It was a magical moment! Can’t wait to share more photos from the trip.

  • Tikva
    September 28 2014

    I just discoverd you blog when doing some trip planning for our 3 week holiday in Panama. We are from the netherlands and will be taking our almost 2 year old daugther.

    I came across your railway picture on Trover and have now spend over an hour reading the different stories on your site. You have a great website! Was already thinking about going to santa catalina and both doing one day of diving there at la coiba but now I am sold!

    • Meihoukai
      September 29 2014

      Thank you so much Tikva! I LOVED Panama and I’m so glad to hear you’re giving it a good chunk of time — so many people rush through. It’s a seriously underrated country. Enjoy your trip and let me know if I can help!