scuba

A Worm By Any Other Name — Taking a Look at SoCal Tube Worms

“Worm” has numerous meanings, including: a weak or despicable person; a self-replicating, detrimental computer program; or, the coiled pipe of a still in which vapor is cooled and condensed. In this article, however, worm means a creeping or burrowing sedentary invertebrate animal with a long, slender, soft body and no true limbs. That description is unlikely to inspire you to look for marine worms, which would be a shame, because all are interesting and some are beautiful.  The worms of which I speak are the […]

Shipwreck Identified At California Channel Islands

Seventy years after it was scuttled off Los Angeles, government archaeologists have found the wrecked remains of a rare Pacific Coast schooner that was used in the lumber trade in the early 1900s. The Billings, a five-masted schooner built in 1903 by Halls Bros. of Port Blakeley, Washington, hauled lumber from the Northwest to Hawaii, Mexico, South America, Australia and Southern California. After decades servicing the lumber trade it was converted into a sportfishing barge. In 1941, the owner decided to scuttle the aging vessel […]

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 […]

Blend In or Brawl? Crabs as Misunderstood Crustaceans

Some of the sea creatures I’ve described for California Diving News are more than a little aggressive. Many crabs, however, prefer hiding to fighting even when equipped with those seemingly formidable defensive tools called claws. Like 75 percent of all animals, crabs belong to the phylum Arthropoda, which means jointed leg and includes not only aquatic creatures, but also many terrestrial ones, such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes. The subphylum Crustacea includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, amphipods and isopods. Some isopods and a few […]

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 […]

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