underwater

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 […]

Swimming, Swirling, Schooling, Shoaling: How Fishes Move About

Taking photos of fish schools is one of my favorite underwater activities. It’s always challenging and getting good photos isn’t easy. Schooling fish tend to move away from you in unison, so it’s hard to get close. Only rarely do they let you into their midst. Like birds in the sky, a fish school acts as one, changing direction in an instant. It seems a miracle individuals don’t collide. The school moves like a river, flowing around objects in its path, while each fish maintains […]

Shell Games: The Curious Habits of Hermit Crabs

While riding an Amtrak train along the coast just south of Santa Barbara I had an epiphany. It was sparked by the neatly parked RVs on the two-lane road along the shore below the train tracks. Are you ready? Here it is: Hermit crabs are the RVers of the crab world. Of course, human RVers can live independently of their vehicles while hermit crabs require a sea shell home for protection because only their heads, part of their carapace and the first three pairs of […]

Giant Kelp: The Mainstay of Our Kelp Forests

Has any well-intentioned person ever told you that giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, is the world’s fastest growing plant? Unfortunately, if they have, you have been misinformed.  So, does this mean that there is another plant that grows faster than giant kelp? Or was giant kelp never the fastest growing plant? Maybe your informant meant to say that giant kelp is the world’s fastest growing marine plant. Still not true. Confused? Many are. Here’s the skinny: Not too many years ago your informant would have been […]

Very Special Days for Diver are NOW HERE!

Christmas. New Year’s Day. My birthday. My mother’s birthday. July 4th. Opening day of baseball season. The World Series. The Super Bowl. Starting way back when I was a kid I note the passage of time with these “special” days. In my adult years I still do the same with these days, and I have added a few more. The first days every month when bills are due. Various anniversaries.  I also note the first reported sighting of a California gray whale off the coast […]

Hydro-Powered Holothurians: California Sea Cucumbers

During a late afternoon dive several years ago in Fiji, I came across a sea cucumber (Bohadschia graeffei) that was upright and swaying like a cobra dancing to a snake charmer’s tune. That was very strange and I didn’t know what to make of it. I watched for a while, swam away, then came back, intending to photograph the sea cuke’s mouth and the tentacles surrounding it, which were black with flat, leafy white tips.  That’s when things got stranger. Rising in the water from […]

California Abalone Diving

Strange things happen in Northern California during springtime. Campgrounds and motels that were unoccupied most of the winter are now sold out. Coastal roads that were once empty are bustling with traffic. Large numbers of employees are mysteriously absent from their jobs. A case for the X-Files? No, it’s simply the beginning of abalone season. The red abalone is the world’s largest, and this mollusk thrives on Northern California’s inshore reefs. Red abalones are not as abundant as they once were, but with a little […]

The Spirit of a Dive Show

Along with California Diving News, we publish Dive Training magazine and the diving industry’s trade journal. So as a working member of the scuba industry, I have attended many dive shows. Heck, I was at the Long Beach show way back in its early days on the Queen Mary. Yet, until we took over Scuba Show I never fully understood them. After we purchased the Scuba Show from Kim and Dale Sheckler, and coming into our third year running it I’ve developed a profound appreciation […]

Careers in Diving: Professional Profiles Part 2

Probably the most amazing thing about the jobs people have who work in diving is that their careers are so varied. Pick a type of job, and there is probably someone who specializes in using diving in that job. There are doctors who specialize in diving medicine, lawyers who specialize in diving litigation, archaeologists who specialize in maritime archaeology, and the list goes on in many categories. As we traveled across California (as well as out of state) interviewing and filming professional divers we were […]

Seeing Spots: Studying the Two-Spot Octopus

While two-spot octopuses are not uncommon in Southern California waters, they are usually found tucked away in a crevice. Thus, when I came across one sitting quietly on top of a ledge, I took a photo. I expected the animal to flee when my strobe flashed but it did not. I took another photo and ventured closer. That’s when I noticed there were two octopuses, so well camouflaged they blended into the substrate.  The cephalopods were about eight inches apart, linked by an arm that […]

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