Features by our regulars

Alphonse Atoll: Pristine Diving in the Seychelles' Outer Islands

May 13, 2019 - 13:55
The story is found: 
on page 21

There is just something that always feels right about getting on a small airplane for the final leg of travel to begin a dive trip. In my mind, it almost guarantees the destination is somewhere amazing—a place that is so special that the large jets used in mass transit cannot even get to it.

As we flew away from Mahé, a beautiful granitic island in its own right, it took about an hour to fly 400km (250 miles) southwest over blue seas before we began to descend on a small coral atoll, just a speck of palm trees and sand that steadily got larger as we approached.

Shipworm: The Scourge of Wooden Wrecks is Really a Mussel

April 14, 2019 - 16:02
The story is found: 
on page 0

Have you ever wondered why some bodies of water, such as the Baltic, have so many wooden wrecks in great condition while other areas have almost no wooden wrecks at all? It has something to do with salinity; however, it is not the salt in seawater that consumes the wrecks but a mussel, which somewhat confusingly is called a worm—and it only lives in saltwater.

In fact, shipworms are not worms at all, but rather a group of unusual saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies.

Diving with Great White Sharks of Guadalupe Island

January 28, 2019 - 14:33
The story is found: 
on page 0

“You’re crazy; I don’t get in the water with bitey things!” The announcement of my impending great white shark trip drew a variety of such responses from horrified friends. The undisputed bad boys of the shark world, great whites are the largest of all predatory sharks, reaching lengths of up to 6m and weighing in at over 2,000kg.

The blatant sensationalism of the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" notwithstanding, the movie Jaws has not done the image of sharks, and great whites in particular, any favours. Unfortunately, perception overrides facts. “Sharks are dangerous and eat people,” say those who know better.

Timor-Leste: Off the Beaten Path

January 28, 2019 - 14:31
The story is found: 
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
The story is found: 
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
The story is found: 
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
The story is found: 
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
The story is found: 
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.

Japanese Giant Salamanders

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 86

The Japanese giant salamander is a quite unique, if rather mysterious, creature that lives in rivers across western and southwestern Japan.

As both its common and Latin names (Andrias japonicus) suggest, it is an endemic species of Japan that is both protected under federal legislation and formally nominated as a special natural monument because of its cultural and educational significance.

The Ogasawara Islands: Japan's Galapagos

April 07, 2018 - 11:42
The story is found: 
on page 24

Often referred to as the Oriental Galapagos, the Ogasawara Archipelago is located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,000km south of Tokyo and is one of the most isolated and remote parts of Japan. The isolation of the archipelago, combined with the fact that the islands have never been connected to a continent, is said to have produced a “Galapagos effect” with flora and fauna that is unique to the islands.

Volcanic in nature, visually the islands are quite remarkable and rise spectacularly out of the surrounding deep waters and oceanic trenches.

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