I’d ask my friends to come and see
An octopus’s garden with me.
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’s garden in the shade.
We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves.
– Octopus’s Garden, by Ringo Starr (1969)
No one dares to tell Eduardo Baena what to do in his hideaways beneath the waves – be they the Yucatan’s underwater lakes known as cenotes, the sunken wreck of the HMCS Saskatchewan (an artificial reef for watery wildlife near Nanaimo), or closer to home, Surrey’s Bear Creek, where salmon swim.
Photo: A Mexican cenote, part of a series of underground freshwater lakes in the Yucatan Peninsula.
He first took the plunge 12 years ago with a disposable underwater film camera in Argentina, then continued diving on the West Coast of B.C., where he’s lived for the past seven years, upgrading his equipment as his skills improved.
Today, with the Surrey resident’s Nikon D90 encased in a waterproof (and seemingly bulletproof) housing, Baena dives down to a maximum of about 30 metres, shooting marine life such as eels (hideous, but “friendly,” he says), starfish, cod, rockfish, shellfish, urchins, geoducks (clams, pronounced “gooey-ducks”) and lots of nudibranchs, often described as sea slugs.
Out of the water, Baena is a music teacher in Maple Ridge and a Beatles fanatic (the on-theme songs Yellow Submarine and Octopus’s Garden are among his favourites).
Although he also shoots lots of “dry” photos, he keeps taking the plunge for his hobby.
“It’s what I do best.”
For more images and videos, visit www.eduardobaenaphotography.wordpress.com