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The Bahamas: Camera Down

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I’ve been hanging out where every cruiser would love to hang out in the tropics – at a boatyard – awaiting some repairs to my engine.  Which, by the way, was a simpler fix than I thought.  Thankfully the problem just turned out to be a combination of old fuel lines and wrong sizes, delaminating over the years and now allowing a little bit of air into my fuel system.  It’s funny how multiple unrelated engine problems will present themselves at the same time, making troubleshooting difficult.  Anyways, the lines have been replaced, fuel system cleaned, and the engine is running.  Maybe I overreacted in That Damn Engine.  This nice surprise made up for losing my camera two days prior.

I went out for my first snorkeling adventure to Fowl Cay, one of the Bahamas’ national parks, with Froggies Out Island Adventures out of Hope Town.  I had used my underwater camera case before (an Ikelite hard case), just snorkeling laps around the boat and experimenting with different settings while taking pictures of sea urchins and starfish.  It was ready for my first real snorkeling trip!  I decided to take my 15mm fisheye lens for this one.

All latches secure and seals sealed, I jumped in the water and slowly submerged the case looking for any leaks.

And there it was.

The lens dome filled with water and I immediately brought the behemoth of a case above my head and swam back to the boat, depositing the camera on the dive platform.  I quickly took the camera out of the case and laid everything out to dry.  I wasn’t going to let this eat into my time underwater, and continued swimming around the reef.

I’ve been caught out in unexpected rain storms with my Canon 5D Mk II before, and even though the camera stopped working immediately, I always just laid it out in the sun and the water would evaporate right out and the camera would function (don’t tell me about the “rice trick”, it just introduces rice dust into the camera).

But that was fresh water.  This was salt water now.  Having seen how salt water just never goes away and likes to corrode metal, I didn’t hold out much hope.  It’s been three days now and the camera still isn’t working.  I haven’t looked at the case yet to see what went wrong, mostly because I’m angry at it and am worried about “accidentally” breaking it.

If there is any good news or moral to come out of this story, it’s that the damaged camera was a spare body I bought off of eBay before this trip, just in case such a thing were to happen.  My primary Canon body was safe on my boat during all of this.

And the 15mm lens, a fisheye, still functions.  I’m going to give the camera a few more days and expose it to a few more tricks before completely giving up.  I’m almost out of tricks though, so what do you have?

Bobbi

Sunday 13th of January 2013

You could send it to canon...or me :)

Bobbi

Sunday 13th of January 2013

Yikes! But at least you had plan b like a warrior always has :) You ever coming back this way to give me some lessons? Enjoying your journal :)

Bob gilbane

Saturday 12th of January 2013

John The Canon 5d is a nice piece of equipment. What Lena's have u brought on the trip?

I am Barbara's brother in law

Bob gilbane

John Peltier

Sunday 13th of January 2013

Oh, what lenses didn't I bring...I have a 24-105mm IS, 70-200mm IS, 400mm f/4.0, 24mm Tilt-Shift, 15mm Fisheye, and 17-40mm.

Captain Curt

Sunday 16th of December 2012

I wanted to ask you a question and also comment on your blog. I started following your blog few months ago and really enjoy ready your words and reflecting on the beautiful places you capture with your camera. Like your self i also sail alone and will be cutting the dock lines and exploring this planet more in 2013. I have been watching and reading with anticipation as you learn new skills and solve the many problems a signle handed sailor can face. My question this. Can you recommend a video camera that is under a thousand dollars is compact with interchangable lenses? I am looking to film many of my voyages and to produce high quality video clips for my viewers. I know very little about cameras or video equiptment but would like a professional look with very little skill in operating. Thanks for sharing and i look forward to many more intersting blogs and beautiful photos. Curtis

Living aboard boats.com

John Peltier

Monday 17th of December 2012

Hi Curtis, thanks for the review. Unfortunately I don't think you'll find any compact video cameras with interchangeable lenses for under $1,000. I haven't done much research on that yet. Even if you do find a camera like that, you're liable to spend an equal amount of money on a lens. But what I can recommend is the GoPro Hero 2 cameras...you can get two or three for that price range. You can then mount them on your bow & stern rails, on a head mount, wrist mount, chest mount, etc., and record your trips above and below the water. The camera is tiny and allows to you choose between different focal lengths, like a fisheye or normal focal length. I haven't used mine much mostly because...well I don't have an excuse, even though the mount is waiting on my bow pulpit. Now that you've reminded me, I'll start using it more and uploading video. Check them out. Good luck!

John Tiffin

Friday 14th of December 2012

Hi John; We lost one (that I know of) of our Stenograph machines to the NY hurricane (Sandy) and there is not much that can be done if the batteries are allowed to remain in the unit. It will remove the plating from the chips in the printed circuit board, corrode any metal that is not coated, and generally mess up any mechanical parts with a fuzzy coating that when removed, leaves a slightly smaller part. If the battery is removed immediately the electrolytic corrosion will cease, but the mechanical corrosion will continue regardless. Sorry about that, don't suppose there are any zincs on the camera....

John Peltier

Monday 17th of December 2012

Hi John- Yes, I did remove the battery and flash card as soon as I took it out of the case. I think something happened mechanically because the mirror was frozen in the lock-up position and wouldn't return down to its normal position. Nope, no zincs on the camera! Though I'm considering gasketing all potential sources of water intrusion on my main camera!