News got you down? Check out these 10 pretty underwater photos

I wish the non-stop barrage of bad news would end.

The hurricanes, the earthquakes and this week’s mass shooting are piling on, coloring every part of the day with a tinge of sadness.

Sometimes, I need an escape. For me, that means water – and especially the ocean, where Mother Nature provides a full body hug, and lights up the blue with flashing rays of sunshine.

I spent a week on a dive boat off the coast of Belize recently, practicing my underwater photography skills and exploring the reef off Half Moon Caye. The only noises were bubbles from my scuba tank, the slapping of waves and fish crunching on coral.

Here are 10 pics I took that I hope will help put you in a better mood…

  1. Diving under the waves without the burden of scuba gear frees the soul. I took time to do that, and noticed that the sealife is less afraid of divers who don’t carry big metal air tanks. And I got rewarded when a spotted eagle ray let me swim alongside it for a few minutes.

 

(Photo by Chris LeBlanc)

2. The captain of the Belize Aggressor IV waits for divers to return from their explorations so he can help them back on the boat. It’s hard to get an over-under shot just right, especially when it’s wavy, but I got a few that work in about 50 attempts.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

3. The water surrounding the famous Blue Hole in Belize, explored by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s, shimmer in shades of turquoise.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

4. The sun lights up a barrel sponge, where tiny reef fish seek shelter.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

5. A black tip reef shark scans the shallows. They’re beautiful and strong – and a necessary part of the food chain. And they showed no aggressive behavior toward our group.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

6. Another reef shark makes a close pass.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

7. A macro lens shows the blue-edged beauty of a coral branch.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

8. The shy yellowhead jawfish spends much of its life tucked in a hole on the ocean floor. I waited a long time until this one got brave enough to show himself.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

9. A peacock flounder swivels its eyes at me.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

10. A southern stingray cruises the sandy ocean floor.

(Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman)

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