Filed Under: Travel

San Diego, California: Divers and a black sea nettle jellyfish on the USS Hogan wreck near the US-Mexico Border.

Photo of the Week: Black Sea Nettle Jellyfish on the USS Hogan Wreck

Regular readers are by now aware of my obsession with the black sea nettle jellyfish. I worked a dive charter a few weeks ago and spotted my first black sea nettle of the summer from the confines of the boat. It was all over–from that moment on, I lived and breathed black sea nettles. (Seriously: it’s a sickness. We even slow down the boat so we can stare/go around/not shred them with the props.)

Read More...
Diver and Sunburst

Macro Mania

I love shooting wide angle.

When the water is clear, there is nothing more gratifying than that fisheye lens and dome port. Wrecks. Kelp forests. Big animals. Coral reefs. And people. Wide angle means context, and people love context. People identify with the scene. They like seeing themselves, or people like themselves, in the frame.

When the water is clear.

But betting on clear water in San Diego is not a smart bet. So I often hedge with the macro lens.

Read More...
USS Palawan Wreck

Throwback Thursday: Technical Wreck Training and USS Palawan

Wreck diving is the ultimate in underwater exploration.

I’m ashamed to admit that I wasn’t into wrecks, at first. I didn’t see the point. They weren’t as pretty as real reefs, and it’s not like I was going to go inside a wreck, like, ever.

And then I got some tech diving training, and it changed my whole world.

I feel like that one warrants a repeat: Technical diving changes everything.

Read More...
Point Loma Kelp, San Diego, California: Spanish Shawl (Flabellina iodinea) Nudibranch

Dreamy Nudibranch

The kelp forest can be a pretty dreamy place. The light coming through the kelp canopy has an ethereal beauty, and the gentle sway of the kelp stalks in light surge could rock you to sleep.

I wanted to capture that surreal, unearthly quality in this week’s nudibranch photos.

Read More...
Fijian landscape

Throwback Thursday: Fiji Honeymoon

I’d never heard of Air Pacific prior to booking our honeymoon flight to Fiji. It seemed like LAX hadn’t, either; our gate was in a forgotten far corner of the antiquated Bradley Terminal, a good half-mile away from the security checkpoint. No big deal, though: after the hot shower I’d had in the airport lounge, the commute was a pleasant way to wind down before the redeye flight. That is, it was leisurely until it was nearly time to board, and I realized I had left my passport behind at security.

Read More...
Wolf Eel on USS Hogan Wreck, San Diego

Photo of the Week: A Wolf Eel on the USS Hogan Wreck

The USS Hogan wreck is pretty much the perfect San Diego dive site–the conditions are usually excellent, the sea life is abundant, and the depth and distance from port are such that the site has an air of exclusivity to it.

It’s also so rife with wolf eels that it almost–note I said almost–renders them old hat.

Read More...
San Diego, California: A Purple-Striped Sea Nettle (Chrysaora colorata) on the USS Hogan wreck near the US-Mexico Border.

The Purple-Striped Jellyfish/Sea Nettle (Chrysaora colorata)

There were ripping currents on the deep wrecks this past weekend, and with the currents came a whole slew of jellyfish and tunicates. I’m mildly obsessive about the Black Sea Nettle bloom we sometimes get in San Diego in the summers, and I’m well-known as a nudibranch zealot, so it should come as no surprise that I get pretty excited about other squishy invertebrates as well.

This is why, when I actually happened to look up for once and spotted a big Purple-Striped Jellyfish (Chrysaora colorata) crossing the anchor line about 20 feet over the USS Hogan wreck, I took a quick mental note of where my teammates were, and went up for a closer look.

Read More...
backtothefuchsia

Back to the Fuchsia

Everything came together. I navigated through crappy visibility. I clambered around in surge that felt like the spin cycle. I stared at rocks until my vision focused on tiny fuchsia Spanish Shawls, my favorite nudibranch. I shed the responsibility of someone else’s good time, and all I had was my own.

Read More...
Dead dolphin at La Jolla Shores, San Diego, California

Throwback Thursday: Dead Dolphins and Live Whale Sharks

It was with a smug superiority that I returned to vacation: living it up while climbing ruins, rafting rivers, and stalking whale sharks was the name of the game. To summarize:

The Belizean landscape was raw and rife with exotic wildlife.

The Mayan ruins were breathtaking and fabulous.

The whale sharks were one of the bigger disappointments of my diving career.

Read More...
Mexichromis porterae nudibranch with Podocerus cristatus amphipod hitchhiker

Photo of the Week: The Hitchhiker

If I’d had the ocular fortitude to spot the microscopic amphipod hitchhiking a ride on this nudibranch’s back, I would have spent all damn day shooting those two little guys. However, I never even saw it until I was home, my gear was rinsed and drying, and I was on the computer, heavily cropping this shot.

Read More...
Anker's Whip Coral Shrimp (Pontonides ankeri)

This Shrimp is the Tiniest Sea Creature You’ve Never Seen

It’s easy for divers to get stoked on seeing the big-ticket critters. Manta rays? Majestic. Sharks? Spellbinding.

So far, we’re all on the same page here.

There’s this cognitive leap, though, that occurs for divers when they learn to find and appreciate the nudibranch. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, but this leap happens around the same time as divers learn to slow down and control their air consumption. Tiny things become cool, dives get longer, and there’s of course the self-satisfaction that comes out of being able to find and recognize the more obscure creatures.

But it takes a special breed to go for the borderline microscopic stuff. It’s possible they’ve taken the obscure critter-finding obsession too far: if you can barely see the thing without a magnifying glass, and your dive buddies can’t see it at all, are you really in your right mind?

Probably not, but that doesn’t seem to stop me, now does it?

Read More...
Missile Tower artificial reef/wreck, San Diego

The Missile Tower Wreck (165′), San Diego

The Missile Tower in San Diego, formerly used by the U.S. Navy to test-launch Trident submarine missiles, now rests in 165 feet of water near the Mexican Border as an artificial reef.

Read More...
Ringed or Banded Pipefish (Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus), another member of the Syngnathidae family

The Reproductive Habits of the Ghost Pipefish (A Limerick)

When asked of his ties to the seahorse,

the ghost pipefish replied in due course:

“Though I lack a pouch,

“our girls are no slouch,

“and they tend to their eggs without remorse.”

Read More...

Newer Posts   Older Posts