sharks

Fear and Fascination: Encountering the Great White Shark

There is no fish in the sea more feared — or more fascinating — than the great white shark. In 1971, Peter Gimbel’s movie, Blue Water, White Death, focused public attention on this large animal. In 1974, Peter Benchley’s book, Jaws, and the movie of the same name released in 1975 caused general hysteria. People stayed out of the ocean. A photo of a great white that ran on the cover of Skin Diver magazine in July of the following year was said to have […]

I’m Certain

In this issue longtime contributor Bruce Watkins shares his experience of living a diver’s dream of swimming with a humpback whale mother and calf off the island pinnacle of Roca Partida in Mexico’s Revillagigedo archipelago. Only a day later Bruce and his dive buddies witnessed the violence and reality of nature in its raw, wild state. It is a good read, perhaps a tough read, as it will likely evoke a range of emotions amongst readers. I feel certain that some readers will respond with […]

Cold Water? Lucky Us!

A couple of days ago I was talking to a couple of my diving buddies at a local club meeting, and they were excitedly telling me about their upcoming trips to tropical destinations. As often seems to happen in discussions of that nature the gathering crowd began to explain to each other how easy it is to dive in warm water as opposed to what they make sound like the near-freezing water we have in California. I listened for quite a while, and then I […]

The Challenges of California Underwater Photography: A Guide to Local Shooting Success

Here’s a quick photo fact: it is technically easier to shoot compelling underwater photos in the bright sunlight and clear water of the tropics. Compared to the tropics, shooting in California means shooting in generally dark water that has less visibility and more suspended particulate matter. But just because California water is less forgiving is not to say creating pleasing images can’t be done. Any underwater photographer who pays close attention to their shooting scenario and technique can enjoy success in our waters. That’s another […]

Massive Anchovy School Migrates Off La Jolla

The waters off La Jolla in San Diego were filled with anchovies in early July, as a massive school of the fish migrated near shore, leading to a spectacular sight recorded by researchers from the San Diego-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). The event gained nationwide media attention. According to Scripps, the giant school of California anchovies, also called northern anchovies, Engraulis mordax, formed a dark band off La Jolla, near the Scripps pier, swimming quickly through the area. In an interview with CNN, SIO […]

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 […]

Welcome to the Second Golden Age of Diving

I attended the 43rd San Diego Underwater Photographic Society (SDUPS) Film Festival recently. Held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the event showcases still photographs, slide presentations and videos from SDUPS club members.  We were treated to one fantastic image after another. We saw it all from nudibranchs and squids to sharks and whales. The imagery came from destinations as distant as the Solomon Islands and as close as La Jolla Shores, a popular dive site well known for wintertime squid runs that is only […]

The Spice of the California Diving Experience

Mention California diving and the first thoughts of divers around the world are likely to be about our kelp forests. Their reaction is proof that just seeing a photograph of shimmering rays of sunlight dance through a golden undersea forest can get you hooked on California diving. And as so many California divers know, exploring a kelp forest in real life is a magical experience.   More than 800 species have been documented to inhabit a healthy forest of giant kelp. Those creatures include the […]

Seen Any Basking Sharks? Contact NOAA

Basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are one of the largest fish in the sea, second only to whale sharks. They can reach a maximum size of 45 feet, and are distinguished from whale sharks by their pointy snouts, dark grey to brown color, and gill slits that nearly encircle their head. Like whale sharks, as well as all the largest rays and cetaceans, basking sharks are filter feeders foraging near the base of the food-web on krill and other zooplankton. Consequently, they have no interest in […]

San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition — September 17 and 18

Two extraordinary evenings of undersea videos will highlight the 11th Annual San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition, which will be held at Qualcomm Hall’s big screen auditorium in San Diego on Friday and Saturday evenings, September 17 and 18th, 2010. Utilizing a state of the art digital projection system, it promises to be an exciting showcase of digital videos, most of them in high definition, by some of the finest underwater videographers from around the world. A different program will be presented each evening beginning at […]

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