Sten Johansson Sten has the viking wanderlust coursing through his veins. He roams the world in search of new places and seas to discover. For a time he wandered around the Mediterranean and Caribbean isles on a big ship, initiating new divers to the wonders of the underwater environment. He embarked on a sixteen-day voyage to reach the island that time forgot, which he did twice more afterwards.

He enjoys journeying to wild places where he can witness the power of nature in a harsh environment, and how human nature reacts to its environment.
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Boobies Running Amok

In my line of work, boobies are a common sight. And these are not the kind that get men excited and women reacting in varying degrees of envy, depending on the size and the quality of work done on the object of interest. I am talking about the cross-eyed winged creatures that are known for their lack of intellect and consequent inability to handle new situations. I think they are descended from the now extinct dodo birds. They certainly exhibit the same mannerisms, and even look a little bit like those duds.

Granted, their cross-eyed look gives them the advantage of cuteness. You might even find their vomiting antics funny if you’re not the one cleaning up the deck of a boat. And, as long as you are not the target of their surprisingly accurate poop missiles, you will still find them likeable.

One evening a masked booby bird made its way down to the engine room of the boat that I was working on. I still don’t understand why he chose to go down there when the hot air coming out of the hatch was enough to blow away any potential visitors. (But as I have mentioned, they are not very smart birds…) After chasing the bothersome creature between the main engines, generators, and water makers, the bird had a bit too much of excitement and ended up emptying its stomach of all the fish that it had caught earlier that day. Our brave beak-fighting engineer managed to get to the squawking bird in between the puking and was finally able to liberate the cross-eyed creature.

Later in the same evening, the other dive guide on the boat got attacked for no reason by another booby (again, NOT the good kind!) while he was sleeping outside on the sun deck. We do get intruders onboard…

It was July the last time I was here in Malpelo. Guiding for 3 months a year on the liveaboard Yemaya has become a habit. This will be my third year, and I do have a reason for coming back. It is a wild, remote, and very special place with so much life and with so many faces and temperaments that each day here, each dive, is not the same and doesn’t get me bored. I also have had the best and most encounters of Scalloped hammerheads, Galapagos and silky sharks here than in any other place I have been diving in in the world.

This is where I have seen more baitballs than anywhere else, the biggest school of big-eye jacks ever, and then all the rest that many divers forget—the other kinds of marine life to observe, not only the big pelagics.

Quite frankly, it was hard to get the sharks this season. I think the warm waters and the lack of current were some of the factors. But we have to remember that it is a privilege to be out here at this island and appreciate whatever she gives you. I am one of the few humans that have had the privilege to visit one of the last frontiers that exist on this planet.

There is a reason I keep on coming back to this island…

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