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A NorCal Coastal Treasure: Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary By Jennifer Stock 

It was 1977 when avid diver, career scientist and intrepid explorer Dr. Robert Schmieder spotted Cordell Bank on a nautical chart. One sounding on the chart indicated that it was potentially diveable even though most of the bank was surrounded by deeper water. Schmieder saw an adventure, something to discover, and something very challenging that, to his knowledge, no one had done before. Scratching his “itch” to do more than just dive for fun, Schmieder set out to explore and discover a place that up […]

Sharp and “Spiny Skinned”: California’s Sea Urchins 

My introduction to sea urchins — on my first scuba dive — was a learning experience. I learned how easily their sharp, brittle spines pierce the human body. Most importantly, I learned to avoid contact with sea urchins, which is easy because the animals are sedentary, slow moving and not aggressive. Sea urchins are classified as Echinodermata, which means “spiny skinned.” The 6,000 member phylum also includes sea stars, brittle stars, sea lilies and sea cucumbers. Seashore Animals of the Pacific Coast defines sea urchins […]

Aquarium of the Pacific’s Autumn Festival: November 16-17

Delve into the arts, cultures, and marine environments of Asia during the Aquarium of the Pacific’s 18th annual Autumn Festival. Autumn Festival highlights the traditions and cultures of Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines through a weekend of learning opportunities and family entertainment celebrating the rich diversity of Asian and Asian-American cultures. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, November 16-17 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the aquarium facility in Long Beach. The event is suitable for all ages and is free with […]

A New Discovery Off Carmel Bay’s Outer Pinnacle: Exploring the Horseshoe

What makes a great dive site? Clear water? Varied topography? Lots of fish? Colorful invertebrates? While most great dive sites have many of these things, few will have them all. One that does have it all is a seldom-dived site in Carmel Bay that divers call Horseshoe. Horseshoe is best described as one of the outer, outer pinnacles and is a bit further offshore than the Outer Pinnacle in Carmel Bay. This site was first “discovered” using US Government bathymetry data. This is the modern […]

Crowd Control: Now’s a Great Time to Enjoy Catalina’s Cherry Cove 

When the crowds of summer have gone, divers can safely get into nooks, crannies and reefs of Isthmus Cove that are usually jammed with pleasure boaters during summer months. Perhaps the most popular mooring area is Cherry Cove on the west side of Isthmus Cove. There are more than 100 moorings in the cove (controlled by the Isthmus Harbor Patrol) and a Boy Scout Camp on shore. On the north side of the cove is the popular dive site known as Lion Head. On the […]

Tunicate Tales: “Simple” Sea Squirts are  Surprisingly Complex 

Of all the marine animals in the world, tunicates are vetebrates’ closest relatives and that includes the class Mammalia (us). Both tunicates and mammals are members of the phylum Chordata. Both have a notochord (a cartilaginous skeletal rod) when they are embryos. The notochord is lost as most tunicates grow older but it segments and turns into a backbone in mammals and other vertebrates. Tunicates further belong to the subphylum Tunicata and the class Ascidiacea. The latter includes 2,500 to 3,000 species, about 90 of […]

After the diving’s Done: An Image Processing Guide for Underwater Photographers 

Underwater photography involves a lot more than just making a dive and tripping the shutter. In last month’s issue of California Diving News I delved into the things you need to do before you dive to be sure your camera system is set up properly, and how to address the challenges of California diving. Here I’ll discuss some best practices for dealing with your images after your dives so you can find them, avoid losing them, and manipulate them so that your photographs look the […]

Two-for-One Fun at Anacapa: Goldfish Bowl

Just the name Goldfish Bowl makes you think of a fun, cute dive site. And it is. But there is a deeper, more advanced dive also here that a lot of people don’t know about (more on that later). Goldfish Bowl has long been and remains to this day a favorites site for many dive charter boats out of Ventura and Santa Barbara to drop in newbie divers. It is relatively shallow with calm, clear, life-filled waters and a beautiful small kelp forest. Currents are […]

Big Fun, No Matter How You Define It: Enjoying Aumentos Reef 

On a good day in Monterey many boat divers hope their captains head south to Carmel Bay. While Carmel does offer some of the best dive spots on calm days, some of the more exposed and more interesting Monterey sites should not be overlooked. One of my top Monterey sites has got to be Aumentos Reef. I have heard some boat captains say that Aumentos is Spanish for “the enlargement;” however, this is incorrect. The name of this site is likely derived from one of […]

CA Diving Community Mourns Divers Lost in Boat Blaze 

Early on the morning of September 2, 2019 the Truth Aquatics live-aboard dive boat, Conception, caught fire while anchored off Santa Cruz Island, California. Flames prevented five crewmembers who were on the top deck from reaching the stairs or emergency hatch to free those asleep below. Tragically, all 33 passengers and one crewmember who were sleeping in the bunk room below deck perished.  The critically damaged Conception sank in 64 feet of water a few hours after the fire started. Recovery of the remains took […]

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