Filed Under: Wreck Diving

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.

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How to Remove Backscatter: The Fastest Way to Improve Your Underwater Photos

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking about technical diving and underwater photography to the Whalers Dive Club in Canoga Park, California. It was a great crowd, and the attendees were every speaker’s dream: they both laughed at my jokes and asked engaged, thoughtful questions!

One of the questions that stood out, and that I frankly do get asked all the time, is “Do you post-process your photos?” My immediate, emphatic admission of “YES!” drew laughs from the audience, but it wasn’t a joke; I firmly believe that post-processing, especially for underwater photography, is nothing to be avoided or ashamed of. My standard workflow typically includes color and contrast adjustments, sharpening, and–the bane of every underwater photographer’s existence–backscatter removal.

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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.

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Diving the Eureka Oil Rig

Getting Riggy on Eureka

The silence of my rebreather allows me to hear every hydraulic hiss, every crash as steel collides with steel, the sounds of industry happening above the surface. I catch myself wondering whether the fish are anchovy or sardine, realizing that I have been contemplating the question for several minutes, lazily resolving the taxonomical conundrum with the label: baitfish.

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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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UB-88 Submarine U-boat wreck

Diving the UB-88 Submarine Wreck

Part of the allure of technical wreck diving is getting the opportunity to experience bits of history that very few others, not even many other divers, get to experience. This is why when I received an invitation to go dive the UB-88, a German WWI U-boat off San Pedro, California, and the only U-boat wreck on the West Coast, I jumped at the chance.

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The Ruby E: One of San Diego’s Most Richly Historied Shipwrecks

The Ruby E, one of San Diego’s premiere wrecks for divers, has a rich and colorful history. Although initially commissioned to intercept Prohibition-Era alcohol shipments on behalf of the United States Coast Guard, she also assisted in Bering Sea patrols, thwarted Japanese task forces in the Aleutian Islands during WWII, and worked as a commercial fish processing boat in Central America. She now rests in 85′ of water outside of Mission Bay.

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I saw things in the Sea of Cortez that were not nudibranchs

Despite troublesome conditions on our Sea of Cortez diving trip (on the liveaboard dive boat Nautilus Explorer), we did manage a few days where the visibility was good enough to leave the macro lens in the cabin and get underwater for some wide-angle action. In fact, the water was so clear and beautiful on our first []

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USS Hogan wreck

Diving the Hogan Wreck

USS Hogan was a Wickes-class destroyer commissioned in 1919. During WWII, she served as a minesweeper and coastal convoy ship. In November of 1945, she was used as a target ship for firing tests and sank. Located south of the Point Loma peninsula on the US-Mexican border, the Hogan wreck rests just far enough from the []

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Diving the Palawan Wreck

Palawan, formerly a Liberty Ship, is an artificial reef off Huntington Beach, California.   What is a Liberty Ship? Liberty Ships were WWII-era cargo carriers designed to be built cheaply and quickly, and were mass-produced by the thousands in the later years of the war. These steel-hulled ships were 441 feet long and 56 feet []

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Rebreather divers at the wreck of the Infidel

Tech Diving Catalina Island and the California Oil Rigs

Southern California Tech Diving with Ocean Research Group This past weekend, I attended my first Ocean Research Group technical dive trip on the Sand Dollar out to Catalina Island, California.  As a fledgling SoCal tech diver, it was pretty cool to do some “big kid” deep dives under the guidance of experienced divers and instructors. I’m also []

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Parrotfish in Curacao

The Best of 2012: My Year in Photos

2012 was a hell of a year. I settled in San Diego and got to know a ton of cool people. I was fortunate to travel to some really amazing places. Of course, there was quite a bit of diving. I saw some San Diego sunrises…   And some San Diego sunsets :)   I []

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Wreck Diving North Carolina’s Graveyard of the Atlantic

After our ill-fated attempt to dive the caves of north Florida, we needed a Plan B if we were to salvage our trip. Armed with cell phones and hope, the three of us piled into our go-kart of a rental car and started the nine-hour drive north, making calls to dive shops and charter boats []

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Point Loma Sailboat Wreck Debris Cleanup

Update 2/2014: Although swells have long since reduced the Chelsea Lee wreck to a debris field, the rocky reef structure at the wreck site remains a favorite destination for divers due to its dramatic wall topography and rich marine life.   Cleanup of the Chelsea Lee Sailboat Wreck Yesterday, Marissa crew and friends went out to []

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