squid

Diving With Blue Sharks

Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are among the easiest sharks to identify. With their thin, sleek bodies — metallic blue on the tops and sides, snow white underneath — they are nearly unmistakable. In addition, blues have long pointed snouts, large round eyes and scythe-like tails. Their pectoral fins are exceptionally long. Blues are members of the largest shark family, Carcharhinidae, which has 60 species and 12 genera. Carcharhinidae are also known as requiem sharks. Exactly why, no one seems to know. All have the following […]

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 […]

Dream It, Do It

A blue whale, the largest creature to have ever lived, appears on the edge of visibility and then comes into view as it swims through a dense concentration of krill-like crustaceans upon which it feeds. Two male sarcastic fringehead confront each other, opening their gaping mouths as wide as they can in an effort to intimidate their opponent and claim their territory. Cruising in the open sea, a Pacific white-sided dolphin grabs a strand of free-floating kelp with its pectoral flipper as it swims by. […]

Good, Better, Best

Few places on earth are as inviting as a California kelp forest in autumn. When diving conditions are favorable, as they so often are in the fall, we enjoy a wonderful opportunity to observe a diverse mix of as many as 800 species of marine creatures in an absolutely stunning setting. We have it all from playful herds of California sea lions to schools of silvery jackmackerel making their way through the forest maze to a dazzlingly colorful exhibition of rainbow colored nudibranchs on the […]

Making Sense of MPAs: A Guide to California’s Marine Protection Areas

The world’s oceans are under siege. That’s not exactly news, especially for divers. Overfishing, pollution, coastal development, habitat destruction, climate change. You name it. The oceans seem to be suffering from it. And here in California, our ocean is no exception.  Scientific studies tell us that without any significant change in commercial fishing regulations, the total tonnage of finfish and invertebrates other than squid taken commercially in California waters decreased by more than an astonishing 68 percent in the period from 1976 to 1998. In […]

Exploring a Not-So-Barren Landscape: The Sand Biome

Some divers swim over patches of sand in California as if they are trying to escape from something. The faster they go, the better. I understand the magnetic appeal of the adjacent kelp forest and rocky reef communities, but experience has taught me to appreciate, rather than avoid, the sand biome. At first glance, some sandy areas appear to be vast wastelands of nothing but sand. But I invite you to look again. I have learned that if I slow down and take a good, […]

Squid Invasion!

There’s an invasion brewing. They are lurking offshore, waiting for the right time to come closer. And when the time is right, they strike with a vengeance. If you’re an FBI agent reading this, calm down. I’m not talking about “scuba terrorists.” This invasion happens every year at this time. It’s the annual mating ritual of the common (or market) squid. Each year from mid-December through March, squid migrate into shallower waters at night to reproduce. This also marks the end of their life cycle. […]

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