reef

Knowing and Catching California Spiny Lobster

Lobster season opens Saturday, October 3, and many California divers are eagerly awaiting it. This article provides information on the life cycle of these savory crustaceans as well as tips and techniques that will help you catch them. First, let’s take a closer look at Panulirus interruptus, aka the California spiny lobster. The most obvious difference between it and the East Coast’s American lobster is that the American lobster has big claws and the spiny lobster has none. While some sea creatures are involved parents […]

The Thrill of the Hunt: A Diver’s Guide to Lobster

Who says we don’t have seasons in California? We most certainly do! There is lobster season and everything else. We’ll keep this simple: California spiny lobsters (“bugs”) are very tasty. They’re also hard to find at local seafood specialty stores and restaurants — and are often outrageously expensive when you can find them. Finally, they are a lot of fun to catch while diving! If you have not already done so, perhaps it is time for you to try lobster hunting. Is it easy? Well, […]

Own Unique California Underwater Art

This year’s Scuba Show featured a lot of artistic talent from our attendees who helped assemble the collaborative painting featured on this month’s cover. The underwater California reef scene was divided into 414 small square chips that guest artists reproduced onto larger tile “canvases.” They used paint, glitter, crayons, pastels and pencil. The completed tiles were placed together with stunning results — a magazine cover image and an original work of art that is now available to the highest bidder, to benefit a nonprofit. Proceeds […]

Shell Games: The Curious Habits of Hermit Crabs

While riding an Amtrak train along the coast just south of Santa Barbara I had an epiphany. It was sparked by the neatly parked RVs on the two-lane road along the shore below the train tracks. Are you ready? Here it is: Hermit crabs are the RVers of the crab world. Of course, human RVers can live independently of their vehicles while hermit crabs require a sea shell home for protection because only their heads, part of their carapace and the first three pairs of […]

Your Basic Certification: Licensed to Learn

Like a lot of divers I participate in the diving community in several ways. One way is by serving on the Board of Trustees of the Reef Environmental and Educational Foundation (REEF). REEF’s membership is free, and we welcome anyone who cares to join.  REEF volunteers survey fish populations around the world, including many sites in California. The results are available to anyone that wants to use them, and a lot of scientists put REEF’s data to good use in a variety of ways.  Surveyors […]

Effective Underwater Modeling

You can be a good dive buddy in many ways, but there is nothing more precise than being the buddy of a photographer. It is essential that you plan your dive and know exactly your objective. Photographers are tricky beings and you need to stay out of their way when you need to, and help them create incredible photographs when they need you. Before we discuss anything, I want to remind you about buoyancy. Obviously, as a diver you will better enjoy any underwater activity […]

Swell Sharks

What can I say? I am a sucker for cute and interesting faces underwater (other than divers, of course). And fortunately, for California underwater photographers we have many. But for me, I am especially drawn to our bottom dwelling sharks, specifically horn sharks and swell sharks. What fascinating faces! Of these two sharks I find the swell sharks to have the most interesting faces. Especially striking is the metallic golden colored eyes. Their flat heads spread out their funny “smiles” underneath. “Nostrils” just above the […]

Sheephead: The Bold Rogue of the Kelp Forest

When I first came upon a male California sheephead, I thought I had wandered into the neighborhood of the local bully. The adult sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher) are bigger than many fish of the Central and Southern California rocky reefs and kelp forests. With a big, blunt, black head, red mid-section, and black tail he looks at you with alert eyes, a sense of cool detachment and a mouthful of long, crooked teeth. Itʼs not just his appearance that is a bit intimidating, itʼs his attitude. […]

California Ships to Reefs Announce Dana Point Project

California Ships to Reefs (CSTR) has informed the Dana Point City Council it is ready to move forward to create the nation’s second largest ship-based reef at a location southwest of Dana Point’s harbor. An appropriate site for a ship sinking, about two miles from the harbor, has been identified by CSTR. The organization is also in the process of applying, through the State of California, to the federal government for approval to sink the USS Kawishiwi, a decommissioned fleet oiler currently moored in Suisun […]

Yellowfin Fringehead

Those with patience and good eyesight are frequently rewarded with glimpses of exceptional beauty. California has many tiny invertebrates and fishes that are difficult to find, even though they are brightly colored and quite common. The yellowfin fringehead may be one of the cutest and hardest to find little fish a California diver will ever encounter. Yellowfin fringeheads have three pairs of massive, multi-branched cirri between and above their eyes. Their “Marty Feldman eyes” can be used to distinguish them from other native fringeheads including […]

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