Filed Under: Kelp Diving

Ship Rock

Decompress Like A Boss

If someone tells you that they like doing decompression, they’re either lying or they haven’t done enough of it to know better.

This is a rule.

I will concede one very notable exception to this rule, and that is decompression on walls or pinnacles. On walls or pinnacles, a diver can make his or her way up the reef, conducting—and actually enjoying—their deco stops during what amounts to a second recreational dive, without that pesky “getting out of the water and doing a surface interval” part.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Spanish-Shawl-Nudibranch-text

Obligatory End-of-Year Post (A Summary of 2013)

Because (a) It’s pretty much in the rules of blogging to make an end-of-year summary post, and (b) 2013 was full of great diving and photo ops. From technical wrecks to nudibranchs: a photographic summary of my underwater exploits in 2013.

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Sun shining through the kelp canopy

Sunlight streaming through the Catalina kelp forest canopy

Just a quickie today. Visibility on our little island Santa Catalina is routinely much better than it is over here on the mainland, but I don’t usually see the Catalina kelp forest quite this good. This was taken off Two Harbors at Ship Rock.

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Melibe leonina nudibranch

Melibe leonina nudibranchs are weird and awesome

Nudibranchs never cease to amaze me. Just when I think I’ve had enough nudibranchs for, like, ever, a new one I’ve never seen before comes along and voilà, instant nudibranch love affair all over again. I’d seen the Melibe leonina nudibranch in photos but never in the flesh (in the slime?). Then we went for a shore []

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Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber

Chamber Day 2013 and Catalina Kelp Diving

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013, marked the 25th annual Chamber Day on Catalina. The event benefits Catalina’s hyperbaric chamber, the only hyperbaric chamber in Southern California that is exclusively dedicated to the treatment of diving accidents. The Chamber, which is staffed 24/7/365 by volunteers, derives over half of its annual budget from Chamber Day proceeds. We []

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