Saga of the Heineken Photograph

Yes, every diver has a saga to tell and Anne's and my long story, which I have shortened considerably for you, involves Anne, a Heineken beer bottle and a Nikonos underwater camera.

During one of our many dives in Grand Cayman back in 1992 Anne stumbled upon a Heineken beer bottle which she proudly held up as if toasting. Without thinking I quickly aimed the camera and took a picture (left). When the roll was developed we loved the picture, but noticed it was full of bubbles. Wouldn't you know it, Anne exhaled as I squeezed the shutter ... or was it just me squeezing the shutter without waiting for the bubbles to subside? Anyhow, we resolved to re-shoot the picture without the bubbles and with the label clearly shown.
As the years passed we kept thinking about retaking the picture, but for one reason after another we never got around to it until our 1999 Bonaire trip. For those of you who don't already know our '99 Bonaire trip was a disaster. Arriving in Bonaire from our week in Aruba I found myself with a terrible cold and way to much congestion for diving. We just sat around for several days for the congestion to subside so we could dive. Finally with me feeling a bit better we began to dive.

Our first problem was discovered when I went to remove the cap from the electronic strobe connection to the camera. It was frozen on. I had failed to remove and clean the threads after snorkeling in Tahiti and the salt water had frozen the connection. Trying to force it was not a good decision
. The seal broke and rendered the flash useless. Not to be discouraged we went to the Sand Dollar Photo Shop and rented another strobe. Soon we were in the water.
On our third dive, at the Alice in Wonderland dive site, we were finally prepared to re-shoot the picture. With camera in good working order, a brand new Heineken bottle in hand, and instructions to Anne to "not breathe as I took the picture," we set off to recreate the shot. Arriving at depth I began to shoot several pictures and then reminded Anne of the Heineken shot. She took her pose and I began to shoot the picture.

After taking two or three shots something happened to the camera and it refused to advance the film. I motioned to Anne that something was wrong and we continued the dive without thinking to much about the camera. Arriving back on shore it was immediately apparent that the camera had flooded. A quick drive to the photo shop where the attendant put the camera into a light box to remove the film confirmed my worst fears.

The camera had indeed flooded. Not knowing exactly what damage the salt water would have done to the film I had the film processed. The resulting picture (above) shows Anne holding the Heineken bottle and not breathing as instructed. But the salt water damage rendered the shot useless.

I learned several important lessons from this costly experience (having the strobe and camera repaired was almost as expensive as buying new equipment).

First: Always clean the connection threads of the camera and strobe with alcohol to make sure that all saltwater has been removed. While snorkeling in Tahiti I didn't need the flash for taking pictures, but it is much more convenient to hold the camera by the flash so I attached it. Since I had not actually connected the sync cord I didn't remove and clean it as I should have following the snorkeling.
Second: Follow Nikon's recommendation and send the camera out for servicing every year so they can lubricate the O-rings that are concealed and cannot be lubricated by you. I always took painstaking care to insure that the O-rings were in good condition and well lubricated. I am convinced that the user serviceable O-rings did not fail. That leaves only two other possibilities: A bad lens connection and the failure of a non-user serviceable O-ring. The lens appeared as if it was well seated so I came to the conclusion that an O-ring I couldn't access failed. I had the camera and used it at least three years prior to this so servicing on an annual basis might be overkill, but it is certainly much better than experiencing a flooded camera and a lot less expensive too!
With the camera repaired and in good working order we set out again to recreate the Heineken shot on our Bonaire 2000 trip. With a Heineken bottle in hand and a fresh roll of film we began our dive at "North Belhem" with this sole objective.

I'm happy to report and present to you the final picture ... Anne holding the Heineken bottle with label clearly shown and no bubbles!
Having been successful at recreating our "Heineken" photograph we decided to add to our growing collection of "Beers under the sea" with this "Coronita" photograph.
Previous Page | Next Page

Direct Page Links

Buddy Dive Resort (Updated) | Buddy Reef (Updated) | Buddy Reef Night (Updated) | Carl's Hill
Pink Beach (Updated) | Salt Pier 1 (Updated) | Salt Pier 2 (New Page) | Southwest Corner | Leonora's Reef | Town Pier
Captain Don's Wreck | Sharon's Serenity

New Bonaire pages added July 2000

Paulie Gets Certified | Alice In Wonderland and Angel City | Playa Pabou 1 | Playa Pabou 2 | North Belhem | The Lake

Other Vacation Pages

Vacations Paradise | Aruba | Curacao | French Polynesia

Other Annie Bee's Pages

Annie Bee's Home Page | Drewry Family History | Padi's Corner | Scuba Diving | acb Systems Management Consultants