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Into the Blue: All About the Blue Whale 

This is the last of three articles on how to identify whales commonly seen off the California coast. Humpbacks were featured last month and grays before that; this month we feature the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). All three are baleen whales — Mysticeti. Their cousins the toothed whales, which include sperm whales and orcas, are known as Odontoceti. Humpbacks and gray whales breach frequently, allowing topside watchers to see nearly their entire bodies. Blue whales rarely breach, however, and those seeking to identify them must […]

Fond Farewells: A Tribute to Bonnie Cardone

In this issue of California Diving News, we say farewell to one of our own, CDN’s  longtime contributing editor Bonnie Cardone. When news of Bonnie’s death circulated through the scuba diving industry, many of Bonnie’s longtime friends, colleagues and dive buddies shared notes and remembrances telling of her influence on their lives. We’re pleased to share them with you here, as a testimonial to Bonnie’s lasting contribution to our sport. Eric Hanauer: Author/underwater photographer/videographer In the early 1960s I was the swimming coach at Morgan Park High […]

A Freak of Nature: Anacapa Island’s Underwater Arch 

Divers are familiar with bubbles, so the underwater arch at Anacapa Island should not be such a big surprise to them. But what have bubbles got to do with an underwater arch made of solid rock? Well, believe it or not, a really big bubble is what created the arch eons ago.  Much of Anacapa Island is volcanic in nature, the remnants of an ancient lava flow. And as lava goes, it was full of gas. As the molten lava solidified, the gas bubbles were […]

March 12-15:International Ocean Film Festival

The 17th annual International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) takes place March 12-15 at San Francisco’s Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. Since its launch in 2004, the IOFF has presented over 600 films and featured post-film Q&A sessions and panel discussions with filmmakers and ocean experts. To learn more about the IOFF or to obtain event tickets, visit intloceanfilmfest.org.

The Shallows of Monterey’s  Submarine Canyon: Exploring Monastery South 

Monastery Beach in Carmel is home to two rather different dive sites. The North end of Monastery Beach has relatively easy access to very deep water due to the fact that the Monterey Submarine Canyon gets fairly close to shore. The South end of Monastery Beach is a bit shallower and is often better protected from the swell. Both ends of the beach are rocky and are home to good sized kelp patches. Under the water there is a sandy area between the North and […]

The “Big-Winged” Whales: California’s Humpbacks

In last month’s Marine Life column we featured gray whales. This time we’ll spotlight humpbacks (Megaptera novaengliae). Blue whales will be featured in the next issue. All three of these are baleen whales — Mysticeti. Their cousins the toothed whales, which include sperm whales and orcas, are known as Odontoceti. Humpbacks are among the easiest whales to identify. This can often be done even before the whale surfaces. That’s because the whales’ long pectoral fins usually have white undersides that shimmer as the whales move […]

First White Abalone Release Marks Important Milestone for Species Facing Extinction 

A career dedicated to mollusks isn’t always easy. Sometimes progress can occur at a snail’s pace. But a team of scientists are close to reaching a significant milestone in their efforts to bring white abalone — a species of sea snail — back from the brink of extinction. During the week of November 18, thousands of white abalone hatched in a marine lab were planted in the ocean near Los Angeles and San Diego. It was the first time that scientists are attempting to introduce […]

A Pinniped Playground: Diving with Sea Lions at San Carlos Beach 

San Carlos Beach has got to be the most versatile dive site in the Monterey area. The dive site located just off the beach, also referred to as The Breakwater, is used for scuba class instructional dives, a great macro photography location, a go-to night dive destination, the location of the “barge” wreck, home to the Metridium Fields, and the location of an almost guaranteed California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) encounter. San Carlos Beach is not just a single dive site but many dive sites […]

Getting Schooled as a Scuba Diver: Finding the Lesson in Every Dive 

A dear friend, a diver with seven decades of diving experience, once told me something that stuck with me. “I’ve never stopped learning,” he said. “I can always get some lesson, however small, out of every dive I do.” I surfaced from my dives with a slightly different attitude after that, always taking the time to concentrate on what I’d learned and what tiny bit would — or should — remain with me. He is right: there is always something you can absorb, no matter […]

Enjoying the East End Pinnacles of Santa Rosa Island

Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I saw that our dive boat had reached the backside of Santa Rosa, the third in the Northern Channel Islands chain, while I’d been snoozing. I wasn’t sure where we were or where we were headed but I quietly wished it was the East End Pinnacles.  My wish came true. There are two groups of pinnacles just south of East Point. Three make up the outer group with depths of about 50 feet to the top and 85-100 feet […]

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