AmbassaDiver Manuel Bustelo and the Hydromedusa

Capturing the almost transparent Hydromedusa on film is no easy feat – so we asked AmbassaDiver™ Manuel Bustelo how he did it…

Can you tell us a bit about your dive and where you found the jellyfish?

I spent two months scuba diving in Roatan (Bay Islands) with Sun Divers Roatan.  I found this Jellyfish during the first dive of a planned two tank dives last August. The name of the dive site is ‘Hole in the wall’. I found this hydromedusa Jelly fish at 15m deep about 50 minutes into the dive.

How did you film such a translucent marine creature?

That’s a great question. This jelly is really translucent and not easy to keep in constant focus.  What I did was, I positioned my strobes against one another, right in front of my camera lens and tried to keep the jellyfish in between the lights. I set the power of each strobe to 1000 lumens. I ended up turning around my own axis for about 50 seconds doing my best to keep it in focus.

If you look closely in this video you can see the jelly’s tissue in detail. Take a jellyfish out of water and it collapses into a quivering blob. Creatures like these gelatinous animals are united by having bodies lacking hard skeletal components. With tissues composed of 95% or more water, they are usually exceedingly delicate and easily damaged, with a gelatin-like consistency. Unlike a fish, which retains its form when out of water, a jelly requires the support provided by the aqueous environment. Gelatinous animals are remarkable in their abilities to swim and capture food without the aid of hard skeletal parts (with the exception of some pelagic molluscs that have jaws and a radula).

Manu Hydromedusa

Do you have any stand out moments from your dives in Roatan?

Oh yes I do! During the last ten years I’ve missed several moments or dives where I could have seen whale sharks. I finally got the chance to see one in Roatan!

I also absolutely loved the dives on the ‘sea mounts’. These are stand-alone coral reef formations half way between Roatan Island and Cochinos Cays. Because they are literally in the middle of the ocean, the reefs are in pristine health and filled with marine life.

If you want to see more of Manuel’s videos then check out his YouTube channel here.