Sep 302011
 
The one that got away: Diving with sea lions and seals of Anacapa

A sea lion comes in for a closer look I was SCUBA diving in the bracing waters off of Anacapa in the Channel Islands, receiving a stern lecture via vigorous pantomime.  Words aren’t an option when both parties are submerged 30 feet underwater.  It was clear to me, despite our lack of words, that my […]

Mar 042011
 
Penguins I have known: Half Moon Island, Cuverville, and Neko Harbour

Finally, Antarctica proper. Time for penguins! Our first landfall in Antarctica was at Half Moon Island, a crescent-shaped, rocky island with chinstrap penguin colonies and a small Argentinian research station.  (Technically Half Moon Island is part of the South Shetland Islands, not the Antarctic Peninsula, but there was ice and there were penguins, so I’m […]

Jan 202011
 
Antarctica Is . . .

For most of my life, Antarctica was an abstraction — a stand-in for the concept of “faraway”, of inaccessible wilds, bitter cold, the unknowable.  It stood for the idea of a last frontier populated by heroic explorers, or, as a reflection of more modern concerns, a barometer of climate change.  It was the fabled seventh […]

Oct 222010
 
Bringing the Outside In

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco It’s been raining a lot lately.  This is good for our reservoirs, but not good for my weekend plans. All this time spent indoors, reading good books and drinking hot tea, reminds me of the winters that I spent in New York City.  Without the means or the time […]

Aug 072010
 
The Wide View: Diving the Channel Islands with the Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds Camera

Looking up a five story kelp bed off of San Clemente Island In July, I took advantage of the warmer surface temperatures to schedule two separate diving trips off the coast of southern California.  My objective was to test out my Olympus E-PL1 micro four thirds camera system and my Olympus PT-EP01 underwater housing.  This […]

Jul 072010
 
The Cute Factor: Volunteering at the California Wildlife Center

Feeding a baby squirrel at the California Wildlife Center After looking at more depressing images of the ecological disaster in the gulf, I’ve been feeling like I need to get on the next plane to the southeast coast and start scrubbing away at oiled seabirds or patrolling “burn boxes” to rescue mired sea turtles from […]

Apr 302010
 
Grunion Run 2010

  The Venice Oceanarium is organizing a Grunion party tonight at 11 pm at the Venice Breakwater (head to the end of Windward Avenue).  Grunions are sardine-sized fish found only off the coast of California and Baja California.  During grunion season, which peaks from March – June, grunions arrive at beaches en masse, 2 to […]

Apr 252010
 
Camera Review: Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds Camera with Olympus PT-EP01 Underwater Housing

Earlier this week I received my long-anticipated underwater housing for my Olympus micro four thirds camera (Olympus Pen E-PL1).  It was delivered via express mail by Optical Ocean Sales–the first shop that I could find that had the housing in-stock.  (Jack Connick at Optical Ocean Sales was very helpful during this process.)  I received the […]

Nov 082009
 
Humpback Whales in Tonga (Part II: Singing and Swimming)

The most thrilling experience of our trip to Tonga was the opportunity to swim in the water with the humpback whales.  Surprisingly, in the presence of such large creatures, I didn’t feel scared.  The whales were so graceful and in control and aware of our presence, that I never felt like I might get accidentally […]

Oct 262009
 
Advice for Prospective Whale Swimmers

So if I’ve convinced you to book your next trip to Tonga, congratulations!  It’s surprisingly easy to research and book online, and yes, they will eventually return your emails.  Just give them a few days. Here I’ve put together some advice for prospective swimmers: [Click on title for full story]Every day out on the water […]