Recent Articles

  • The Flower Animals of California: All About Stony Corals

    The Flower Animals of California: All About Stony Corals

    It’s a fact stranger than fiction: there are underwater creatures commonly found in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast that are biologically classified as “flower animals.” The class is Anthozoa, formed from two Greek words, anthos, meaning “flower” and zoa, meaning “animals,” and it contains the stony corals. Anthozoa is a class within the photogenic phylum Cnidaria (the “C” …Read More »

  • The Otter Option: Exploring Elkhorn Slough

    The Otter Option: Exploring Elkhorn Slough

    Sometimes the weather guy gets the predictions wrong, and when you get to a dive site the waves look like so many mountain ranges crashing on the beach. What’s a diver to do? One suggestion is to grab your kayak, or rent one, and paddle up Elkhorn Slough. Elkhorn Slough is a huge estuary that begins at Moss Landing and …Read More »

  • The California Photo Challenge: Tips for Creating Winning Underwater Images 

    The California Photo Challenge: Tips for Creating Winning Underwater Images 

    Talk with underwater photographers about shooting in California and it probably won’t take long before you hear some comments about how much more difficult it is to produce compelling photographs in our home waters than it is in clear tropical water. I am not going to refute this premise as nonsensical. But I will to say that with some forethought, …Read More »

  • The More Morays, the Better: Adventures in Eel Land 

    The More Morays, the Better: Adventures in Eel Land 

    Did you know that the moray eels found in Southern California waters (the California moray, Gymnothorax mordax) are actually semi-tropical visitors? It is thought that our local waters are too cold to serve as eel breeding areas. Instead of being “born” here, larval eels hitchhike here on the currents from warmer waters to the south.  While it is not unusual …Read More »

  • California Glory: Our Coastal Kelp Forests

    California Glory: Our Coastal Kelp Forests

    California divers are lucky that giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), the largest kelp in the world, grows off our coast. With sunlight sparkling down through the canopy swimming through a kelp forest is an awesome experience, as magical as driving through a redwood forest on land. Giant kelp is a type of brown algae that can grow up to 24 inches …Read More »

  • A Model Relationship: Modeling for and Diving with an Underwater Photographer 

    A Model Relationship: Modeling for and Diving with an Underwater Photographer 

    By Kim Sheckler • Photo by Dale Sheckler  Working with a photographer is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done as a diver. I’ve been diving for 35+ years now, many of them as a photo subject for my husband Dale. Underwater modeling sounds like fun, and you might think it doesn’t involve anything more than swimming around …Read More »

  • Fishy Fun at Lingcod Lair

    Fishy Fun at Lingcod Lair

    AT-A-GLANCE  Location: On the mainland side Anacapa Island (actually a chain of three islets) that is the closest to mainland of all the Channel Islands at only 11 miles off Port Hueneme. It is wedged between the dive sites known as the Pelican Preserve (which can only be dived in November and December) and Goldfish Bowl.  Access: Boat only. Skill: …Read More »

  • Cool and Calm in Carmel Bay: Stillwater Cove 

    Cool and Calm in Carmel Bay: Stillwater Cove 

    AT-A-GLANCE Skill level: Beginner or better Location: Along the 17-mile drive in Pebble Beach. Access: By boat from Monterey or via the beach near the Pebble Beach Clubhouse. Facilities: Public parking toilets, boat and kayak launching at the clubhouse. Entry and Exit: Best to dive from a boat or kayak. Depth range: 10 to 50 feet Conditions: Predictably very calm …Read More »

  • Domoic Acid Outbreak Sickens California Sea Lions

    Domoic Acid Outbreak Sickens California Sea Lions

    It’s not unusual for beachgoers to see California sea lions stranding this time of year as one-year-old animals wean from their mothers and strike out on their own in search of food. But the increased number of starving young sea lions is of particular concern given what National Marine Fisheries Service observers, including animal care specialists from the Marine Mammal …Read More »

  • Talking Shrimp: Identifying Shrimplike Creatures

    Talking Shrimp: Identifying Shrimplike Creatures

    Shrimp belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, which means jointed leg and includes 75 percent of all animals. They aren’t all aquatic. Spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes are arthropods that live on land. Shrimp are members not only of the Subphylum Crustacea — which includes crabs, lobsters, barnacles, amphipods and isopods — but also of the Class Malacostraca. This article discusses …Read More »

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