Brandi Mueller

Timor-Leste: Off the Beaten Path

January 28, 2019 - 14:31
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on page 0

Admittedly, I knew almost nothing about Timor-Leste until I started seeing a lot of great images of the diving there on Instagram. I became curious and started following a local dive operator’s Instagram feed, watching them post daily photos of cuttlefish, nudibranchs, peacock mantis shrimp and beautiful reefscapes. Where was this place and how did I not know about it?

Other research on the internet did not give Timor-Leste’s dive secrets away. Located within the Coral Triangle, which contains the most marine biodiversity on the planet, it was boasted to be some of the most biodiverse and pristine diving left on earth—an untouched area and mostly not dived.

Sand Tiger Sharks of North Carolina

December 10, 2018 - 18:21
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on page 41

There I was, off the coast of North Carolina at a depth of about 20m (60ft) when the shadowy shape of the WWII wreck Caribsea came into view—but it looked almost as if it was moving! Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a cloud of tiny bait fish completely covering the wreck. As they moved, the ship seemed to move with them; and then, out of the swarm, a massive, tank-like, gray silhouette emerged.

Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) look mean but in reality, they are quite docile. As I watched, at least 12 sharks crisscrossed the Caribsea wreck; they almost seemed to be in a perfect state of Zen.

Graveyard of the Atlantic: Wrecks of North Carolina's Outer Banks

August 14, 2018 - 14:48
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on page 34

One of the problems with the proverbial bucket list is that whenever you tick a dive trip off the list, it seems that you add at least three more destinations to it. This is exactly what happened to me. I had never considered North Carolina as a dive destination, much less one of the top wreck diving locations in the world.

Wreck diving is one of my favorite types of diving because I love the history of how the wrecks came to be underwater, and North Carolina has plenty of that.

Fluoroscent Photography Underwater

July 25, 2018 - 12:32
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on page 53

On a night dive in the Philippines several years ago, I had an opportunity to do a "fluoro" night dive. Atlantis Dive Resort rented blue underwater flashlights and yellow filter shields that went over divers' masks. Geared up, I set off into the night. The blue light was very dim and the dive was much darker than a normal night dive.

I suddenly felt like I was in a neon video game with the underwater world transforming into vibrant greens, reds and yellows. A bright, glowing light snaked across the sand, and on closer inspection, it was an eel that was vivid green.

Saba: Pristine Gem in the Caribbean

July 25, 2018 - 12:06
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on page 33

I loved Saba before I arrived. Throughout my dive travels, I had occasionally heard about this mythical island of which not many knew. Tales of a small dormant volcanic island with healthy reefs, hiking trails crisscrossing its eight square kilometers, and excellent food.

Being in the general vicinity of Saba and having a little free time, I decided to finally make my way to this island, which has lingered in my diving dreams. Officially a special municipality of the Netherlands, Saba is part of the Leeward Islands and Lesser Antilles with St.

Northwest Bali: Underwater Gods & Conservation

October 01, 2017 - 20:56
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on page 16

Rarely do you come across someone who has a negative opinion about Bali. More often than not, you will find previous visitors raving about Bali as magical, some suggest it is spiritual, and others find it relaxing, or even full of adventure. It is a place I have come to love and enjoy returning too often.

After braving a few days among the masses in these areas, I headed northwest. The hair-raising, four-and-a-half-hour drive up and around two volcanoes showed me one reason why not many people make the trek this far from the airport.

Australia: The Little Life on the Great Barrier Reef

July 28, 2017 - 12:33
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on page 53

There is nothing small about the Great Barrier Reef. It is not only the largest coral reef system on Earth, but probably the most well-known. You would be hard-pressed to find divers who do not have it on their dive wish lists. It is Earth’s largest living structure and reaches over 2,300km (1,400 miles) down the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Love and respect for this massive reef system goes back many years (possibly with the exception of Captain James Cook, who found himself run aground on it). It has been a marine park since 1975 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Indonesia's North Sulawesi

March 18, 2017 - 12:29
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on page 14

The current felt like the wind on a breezy day, and it was blowing me past the coral-covered sheer wall that disappeared over 60m (200ft) below me. Looking directly down, I noticed the color blue fading into slightly darker shades and finally into darkness, at the edge of how far I could see.

To my right was a gorgeous wall of color. Pink and purple soft corals extended fully, reaching out into the current to feed on plankton passing by and numerous giant purple barrel sponges extending away from the wall. Looking to my left into the open water was more blue and thousands of fish.

Treasures of Tasmania

February 22, 2017 - 15:02
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on page 35

There is an island at the bottom of the Earth playfully referred to as the end of the world, or the edge of the world, and if I did not know better, I could picture this to be true. Standing at the edge of some of the steepest cliffs in Australia on the Tasman Peninsula of southeastern Tasmania, I looked out over the steep, jagged coastline and the steel blue Southern Ocean.

The previous day, I was at the other end of these cliffs and 10m underwater, getting my first glimpse of weedy seadragons, a unique and strangely beautiful marine organism endemic to southern Australia.

Maldives: The Central Atolls

January 16, 2017 - 15:46
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on page 16

I was not planning to go on the night dive. It was the first night of the trip and I was a little tired, I already had my camera batteries charging and was all settled in with a book for the night after a fabulous first day of diving with turtles, sharks and tons of fish. But Fernando, our dive guide, told me I had to go.

The dive site was Alimatha Pier at Vaavu Atoll. We did our giant strides into the black water and were immediately greeted with a ripping current. They said to bring reef hooks if you had them (which I did not), so after getting to the bottom, I found a rock to hold on to.

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