Recent Articles

  • “Baby Shark” Spotting Off Monterey Bay—What It’s Like to Be a Citizen Scientist

    “Baby Shark” Spotting Off Monterey Bay—What It’s Like to Be a Citizen Scientist

    Baby shark. Doo doo doo doo doodoo. Since its release in November 2015 the original “Baby Shark” video has had over 2.2 billion YouTube views and the song is on the Billboard Top 100. Toddlers everywhere are snuggling baby shark plushies and adults are wasting lots of time at work uploading #babysharkchallenge posts. Most divers love sharks, but the “Baby …Read More »

  • A Retirement Retrospective

    A Retirement Retrospective

    This year marks my 35th as an underwater photographer and author. It has been an enjoyable and memorable career, and this seems to be a particularly good time to look back and reminisce about where I am, and how I got here. It all started during the summer of 1977 when I arrived in Berkeley, began my graduate studies, and …Read More »

  • They’re on the Move Again: Encountering Pacific Gray Whales 

    I know of no other wildlife excursions where seeing an entire animal is rare and viewing parts of it are exciting, photo-worthy events. Better yet, there is an entire industry devoted to it. It’s called whalewatching.  Like tens of thousands of others, I have stood on the deck of many a rocking boat hoping to see such clues to whales’ …Read More »

  • Mixing It Up at Santa Cruz’s Quail Rock

    Mixing It Up at Santa Cruz’s Quail Rock

    It was a strange sensation. It was like one minute we were diving the far reaches of the Northern Channel Islands, and the next, we were at Catalina Island. Water temperature had changed little but the marine life most certainly had. We were in the transition zone that often typifies diving Santa Cruz Island. Transition zones are great places to …Read More »

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

    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 …Read More »

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

    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 …Read More »

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

    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 …Read More »

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

    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) …Read More »

  • Tunicate Tales: “Simple” Sea Squirts are  Surprisingly Complex 

    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 …Read More »

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

    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 …Read More »

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