scuba

The Everyday Diver: Living the Diving Life, Year-Round

In the language of the automobile collector, there’s a term called the “everyday driver.” It’s the nice-ish car that you drive to the grocery store or on your daily commute. Then there’s the “other” car — the expensive classic that sits idle for months at a time and only gets taken out on short excursions when the weather is perfect.  Some divers fall into the category of “other.” They only venture out into the ocean on bright sunny days when the seas are flat and […]

Same Ol’ New Things

It’s the middle of fall as I sit down to type this piece. As a California diver who works in the sport diving industry this time of year typically means two things to me: right now is when we’re enjoying some of our best local diving conditions, and DEMA, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association annual trade show.  With regard to local diving, our late fall and early winter water often serves up our best conditions. And this year has been exceptional! We have enjoyed […]

Admiring California Hydrocoral

Much prized by underwater photographers for its beautiful colors, California hydrocoral (Stylaster californicus) is one of the 350 species of hydroids in the Phylum Cnidaria. A close cousin of the fire corals found in tropical waters, it is not a true (stony) coral.  Cnidaria (the “C” is silent) is not a small, insignificant phylum. It contains approximately 10,000 species, at least 100 of which are dangerous to humans. The phylum name means “nettle” in Greek and its members include some of the most photogenic animals […]

Unusual Marine Life Sightings In So Cal Waters

A group of fishermen off Catalina Island were treated to a rare surprise on Sunday, September 14, 2014 when a large shadowy figure surfaced near their fishing boat, the Triton. It turned out to be a whale shark, estimated to be about 25 feet in length. Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and have been measured at more than 40 feet long. They are plankton eaters, and usually seen by divers in the warmer waters of Southern Mexico and in the Sea of Cortez.  […]

That Thing We Do

Legend has it that the wonderful author and humorist who went by the pen name Mark Twain was once asked how much he might charge for a speech. His answer was something like “Nothing if there is no time limit, and $20 if I have to make all my points in five minutes or less.” As a public speaker, author and member of the team that produces California Diving News every month, I truly appreciate Twain’s point. It’s far more challenging to deliver a complete […]

Who You Calling Shrimp?

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 three so-called “shrimp.” Only one of them, however, is a true shrimp. Here’s a hint: The “shrimp” are: a Hyperiid (Order Amphipoda), a California […]

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, […]

Camouflage and Courtship: The Colorful Lives of California Kelpfish

Giant kelpfish tend to keep their distance. I have many images of them taken from several feet away as they pretend to be part of the scenery. Since they can change colors (red, lime green, yellow and brown) and patterns to match the kelp or algae in which they have chosen to lurk, as long as they remain stationary this camouflage works quite well. It is their surreptitious slinking through the water that brings them to your attention. Years ago while I was diving off […]

There’s No Place Like Home

Like most divers I know, I thoroughly enjoy my dive trips to tropical destinations. After all, who doesn’t enjoy great visibility, warm water, colorful reefs and all of the associated marine life?  In the coming months, various photo assignments will have me diving off the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica and Grand Cayman. As you probably suspect, I am looking forward to all of these trips. But the dive trip that I am looking forward to the most in the coming months is an October […]

The Bizarre World of Pelagic Invertebrates

I have come to view the oceans as an immense bowl of salty soup. Billions of creatures ride its currents, some visible to the naked eye, but many so tiny they can only be seen under a microscope. Some creatures will eventually settle down and live their adult lives far from where they started out. Others will spend their entire lives offshore. The latter — in particular invertebrates that spend their lives adrift in the ocean — is what this article is about. Many are […]

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