underwater

Awesome Nature: Predator Versus Prey

There comes a time in the evolution of a diver, and particularly underwater photographers, when we graduate from reef scenics and little macro creatures and set our sights on more exciting subjects — that is to say big subjects. While there are many places in the world where divers may safely interact with large animals, the Revillagigedo Archipelago off Mexico’s west coast stands out as one of the very best, both for numbers of species and numbers of animals. My buddies and I recently spent […]

Shell Games: Classifying SoCal Gastropods

Intriguing shapes and gem-like colors distinguish the seashells shown here — but the vast majority of these fascinating marine creatures are much more cryptic. Many of them live in shells so covered with growth they are difficult to see, let alone identify. Seashells have been around for 500 million years. Many are collected, some are eaten, and some have been used as currency. There’s even a “money cowrie.” Seashells belong to the second largest phylum, Mollusca, which is exceeded in size only by Arthropoda. Various […]

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 […]

Not Your Average Anemones: Examining Unusual Species

We’ve discussed cnidarians in this column several times and will likely do so many more. There are about 10,000 species in this phylum and since most of them live in the ocean, divers encounter them all the time. Many are photogenic, which is why my files are full of their images. The two forms of cnidarians, polyps and medusae, are, according to The Shape of Life, “essentially mirrors of each other.” Polyps (i.e., anemones) are attached to a surface on one end by the pedal […]

Uribe 121 Sinking April 25 Off Baja California

A date has been set for sinking the first underwater park attraction off Baja California. April 25 is the date planned to sink Uribe 121, an old Mexican Navy battleship in The Rosarito Underwater Park, or Parque Sumarino Rosarito.   The area in northwest Mexico is about 40 miles from San Diego. The decommissioned Uribe-class patrol boat, Uribe 121, has been donated by the Mexican Navy and is being cleaned to protect the environment and modified for diver safety. Other ships and sculptures will be added […]

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 Mysteries of Marine Algae, Part Two

Last month’s article pointed out that algae are classified as red, brown or green based on the color of their photosynthetic pigments and their evolutionary lineage. They all have chlorophyll a but only green algae look green. Other pigments mask green chlorophyll a in brown and red algae. In this article you will learn that basing an ID on the color of an alga in an underwater photo won’t always result in the correct classification. I thought I had several photos of green algae but […]

A Diver’s Guide to Charitable Giving

A New Year is here, and with it good intentions to do more to help support the causes that matter to divers. But do you know where your donated dollars are going, and how hard are they working for the cause? Nowadays, appeals and requests arrive year-round, with the pace picking up during the holiday season and year-end. Even checking out at the store involves deciding on the spot if you wish to donate to this or that cause by adding an amount above the […]

The Mysteries of Marine Algae, Part One

Writing and taking photos for this column has been a journey of discovery and enlightenment. I’ve learned the common names of many marine creatures I encountered (most specifically in SoCal, where I have spent the most time) but didn’t delve into anything bordering on the scientific. I also photographed a lot of “stuff” I couldn’t identify. While looking for material for this column, I’ve made a lot of progress on that.  The Internet is a godsend, but, this article proved more difficult to research than […]

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 […]

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