california

Looking Back, Moving Ahead

Ask anyone who’s been diving for decades and you’ll undoubtedly hear a common chorus —  diving has changed a lot. Clearly, our sport has become safer. We have much greater access to dive sites all over the world as well as here in California. We enjoy the option of live-aboard diving and visiting faraway resorts at destinations around the globe. Our equipment is lighter, more comfortable, more durable, and far more efficient.  In diving’s early days our sport was about as male-dominated as the starting […]

A Squid Snowstorm

“If they only knew.” That was the thought that ran through my mind as I surfaced at 12:40 a.m. on New Year’s morning on a dive that had began in the final hour of the previous year. It was an extremely clear night, and from my vantage point as we hit the surface I could see the bright lights of the ritzy coastal community of La Jolla. I feel certain that the terrestrial party animals thought they were having a wild time ringing in the […]

Gorgonian Corals: Admiring California’s Sea Fans

Gorgonian corals, known as sea fans and also called horny corals, belong to the Phylum Cnidaria (the “C” is silent), which means “nettle” in Greek and includes hydroids, anemones, jellyfish and corals. All cnidarians are carnivores and their tentacles contain tiny harpoons (nematocysts) that can be fired to repel predators and catch food.  There are two cnidarian forms, polyps and medusae. Polyps are attached to a surface on one end by the pedal disk, while the oral disk at the other end is unattached and […]

Last-Minute Gift Idea is One That Lasts

The holidays are fast approaching and it looks like I might end up on the “naughty” list again — the list of procrastinators who put off holiday shopping until the last minute. It’s not that I’m a “bah humbug” kind of guy. It’s just that when it comes to gift giving, I want to give each member of my family a gift they’ll truly enjoy. As I considered my “present” situation (sorry, bad pun) my thoughts somehow wandered to a recent dive trip. Part of […]

Scuba Chef: Rock Scallop Flatbread Pizza

While diving off Huntington Beach recently, I was asked if I could come up with an interesting way to prepare scallops. During our conversation our boat captain offered to take us to her favorite scallop spot nearby so I said, “Let’s go.” Within the hour we had enough scallops to prepare dinner for four. This rock scallop flatbread pizza can be served as an appetizer or enjoyed as an entre’e.  Remember, “Always ‘Stay Legal’” and never take more than you’ll eat.” Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 […]

The Secret Lives of SoCal Rockfishes

With more than 100 rockfish species worldwide, about 60 live in the ocean off the SoCal coast. Some are closely related and look very much alike. Colors of the same species can vary and at least some of the fish are chameleon-like, changing color to match their surroundings. Additionally, rockfishes are evolving and forming new species at what Dr. Milton Love calls “a frightening rate.” So is it any wonder many of them are a challenge to identify? I sought out Dr. Love’s expertise and […]

Here, Fishy Fishy: How to Photograph a Fish

Own an underwater camera system and dive in California, and before long you’ll find yourself trying to create a great photograph of a fish. After all, with more than 550 species of fishes off the California coast we have a lot of great subjects. You’re practically guaranteed to have greater success if you develop a strategy for photographing fishes. I’ll share mine in this article and I encourage you to ask other photographers for their input. It’s wise to trade little bits of strategy, philosophy […]

Scuba Chef — A New Twist on an Ancient Recipe: Sheephead Ceviche

Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 1 pound fresh sheephead fillet, cubed 8-9 limes, juiced 2 tomatoes, diced 4 green onions, minced 2 stalks celery, sliced ½ yellow bell pepper, diced ½ chopped fresh parsley Freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro For garnish: avocado or mango slices, corn chips, cilantro sprigs Directions: Place sheephead in a medium-sized nonmetal bowl and add lime juice, making sure the fish is completely covered with juice. Cover and refrigerator at least 4 hours or […]

Marine Life: Bad-Ass ‘Branchs: The Mighty Aeolids

In researching last month’s article on dorids, I finally got around to sorting my more than 370 photos of nudibranchs according to their classifications. I also looked for images for that article (on Doridacea) and this one (on Aeolidacea). The majority of nudibranchs are dorids and when the sorting was complete, that was overwhelmingly evident. I had loads of dorid images and they were of several different species. My many images of aeolids, however, were of just four species.  Aeolidacea are named for the Greek […]

Those Darling Dorids: SoCal Nudies Exposed

Many underwater photographers love nudibranchs and I am not the only one with numerous images of these colorful creatures. We Southern California divers are lucky; of the more than 170 species found off the Pacific Coast, a large number live in our part of the ocean.  Most nudibranchs range in size from less than an inch to several inches long and can have unusual shapes. While a few have colors that serve as camouflage, most are flamboyant eye-catchers. They can afford to be highly visible […]

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