Tag Archives: Scuba Diving

Underwater Photography

Back when I started diving… 50+ years ago, my primary interest other than exploring the undersea world was hunting. Spearfishing, lobster, abalone and scallop hunting were my main focus. As years went by I had visions of becoming a great underwater photographer. I’ve won a few awards for underwater photography over the years but back then it was a very difficult skill to master, which I never really did. I started with a Kodak Instamatic camera in a plastic box before moving up to a Nikonos camera and then 35 mm SLR cameras with large bulky housings. Strobe lights attached to the cameras made using them difficult to do sometimes and a complete underwater camera setup was an expensive investment.

Continue reading Underwater Photography

Catalina Goby

As the name suggests, the Catalina Goby (Lythrypnus dalli) lives around Santa Catalina Island. It’s about 1/2 – 3/4-inch-long and can be found among the crevasses of rocks down to about 75 meters. It’s considered a nano fish and lives in the west coast waters from California to Peru. They remain gender neutral until they establish dominance within the harem. The most dominant will then become male and grow a longer dorsal fin.

Lobster Man

We were diving off a small, remote island called Mayaguana, the easternmost island in the district of the Bahamas. The diving there wasn’t that good. There’s about 30 local residents and not much in the way of services. They have medical folks who show up about once a month. I’m swimming along and there’s a good size Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) walking across the sand so I grabbed him. He didn’t make it to the dinner table, I let him go.

Diving the Hermes

The wreck of the ‘Hermes‘ is also a popular Bermuda wreck site. There was a large Lion Fish waiting for me when I arrived. Shortly after that he was speared and later met me for lunch. Lion fish are delicious! The ‘Hermes’ was a U.S. Coast Guard WWII buoy tender that was sunk as an artificial reef in 1985.

Fore more information about Lion Fish in Bermuda, check out the Lion Fish Task Force.

Lion Fish Task Force

Diving Mary Celestia

The island of Bermuda is a wreck dive paradise. The island is surrounded by ship wrecks of all types. The ‘Mary Celestia’ is one of the more famous wrecks. The ship was a steam powered side paddle boat and was sunk in 1864. This is a photo of Pam next to what’s left of one of the paddle wheels. The ship was running guns for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederates would trade cotton with the English for guns and then run the blockade back to the south. She was a victim of the many reefs around the island.

You can interact with a 360º 3D model at Bermuda100.

Diving in Roatán

On a shark dive in Roatan I was in the water with about thirty sharks… mostly small in the 4-5 ft. range but there were a few like this one in the 6-8 ft. range. Lots of close up shots!

Pam diving in Roatán, Honduras

We encountered this large grouper near the ship wreck of El Aguila (The Eagle) in Roatán, at a depth of 100 ft. The ship is 210′ long but in 1998 when hurricane Mitch came through it broke into three pieces… even down 100 feet!

Large Grouper lazily gliding passed El Aguila, Roatán, Honduras

Sea Creatures

Just a few photos of the creatures we share the sea with. Future web posts will have some of our smaller creatures.

Octopus close encounter
Octopus Close Encounter

A close encounter of the octopus kind! This is one of my favorite creatures. They are incredibly smart and very adaptive. They change colors depending on their mood or environment.

Barracuda Belize
Barracuda

Large barracuda like this guy usually swim around alone. When they are small you will see them in large schools. They have large sharp teeth and the unwarranted  reputation as being dangerous. I have been in the water with them hundreds of times and have found them to just be curious. If you catch one on a fishing line… getting him off the hook could be dangerous. This was taken in Belize.

Caribbean Reef Shark
Caribbean Reef Shark

Caribbean reek shark. I love diving with sharks. They are fun to photograph and add an element of excitement to any dive. This guy and his pals were keeping us company on a dive. There are really only a few species that are of much concern to divers.

Lemon Shark Bora Bora
Lemon Shark

Lemon shark in Bora Bora. This was a large pregnant shark about ten feet long. She was a little far away for the photo and kept her distance. The photo shows how well they blend into the surroundings. You look into the distance and see nothing and then suddenly they are there. We saw several sharks of the same size on this dive but only a few came close to us.

Pamela Marchetti 70 feet down Bora Bora
Pamela Marchetti

This is my wife, Pamela, diving in Bora Bora at about 70 feet down. The water is warm enough that you do not have to use a wet suit but keep in mind that in the ocean there are lots of little stingy things that can get you. I learned that lesson with fire coral many years ago. Clear warm water with lots of fish… just like an aquarium.

California Spiny Lobster - Panulirus interruptus
California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) in Casino Point Scuba Park, Santa Catalina, California

Garibaldi damselfish - Hypsypops rubicundus
Garibaldi damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus) is the state fish of California and is prevalent in the shallows around Santa Catalina Island, California

Green Abalone - Haliotis fulgens
Green Abalone, Haliotis fulgens, is a species of large edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk, found in the Casino Point Scuba Park, Avalon, Santa Catalina.

California sheephead - Semicossyphus pulcher
California sheephead exposing his teeth against the backdrop of the kelp forest in Casino Point Scuba Park, Avalon, Santa Catalina.

Diving Cormorant
Cormorant diving for dinner in Casino Point Scuba Park, Avalon, Santa Catalina

California moray - Gymnothorax mordax
California moray (Gymnothorax mordax) is a moray eel of the family, hiding in a crevasse in Casino Point Scuba Park, Avalon, California

Wreck Diving

Wrecks offer great places to dive and they are located all over the world. As technology evolves divers are able to go to sites much deeper than in past years however those dives involve greater risk to the diver and advanced training. In my younger days I did dive to much deeper wrecks but now I focus on shallower sites within what is referred to as “sport diver limits”. Wrecks provide areas that attract wide varieties of marine life and many of the sites have interesting stories attached to them. All of the sites I will post on this web site are wrecks that are within the sport diver limits of no more than 130 feet down. When you travel on a dive trip, the local dive shop can be the focal point to find those interesting sites that are attractions in the area. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you can find a local who will take you to a site that’s not on the tourist trail.

Airplane wreck Mexico
Airplane Wreck, Mexico

Airplane wreck – Mexico. As with most airplane wrecks, it’s upside down and now a home for the fish.

Airplane wreck Bermuda Triangle
Airplane wreck, Bermuda Triangle

Airplane wreck found upside down…somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. The story is that it’s the results of a drug smuggling operation gone wrong.

USS Bluegill WWII Submarine Conning Tower Hawaii
USS Bluegill WWII Submarine

USS Bluegill WWII submarine once located in 130’ of water off Lahaina, HI. This is the view looking up at the conning tower.

USS Bluegill WWII Submarine divers on deck Hawaii
Divers over USS Bluegill WWII Submarine

Divers swimming along the deck of the USS Bluegill towards the bow. These photos were taken during the late 1970’s before the boat was relocated to very deep water out of the range of divers.

USS Bluegill WWII Submarine conning tower to bow Hawaii
USS Bluegill WWII Submarine

Dive conditions were a bit murky on the day of the USS Bluegill dive. This is the base of the conning tower looking forward. The boat was used as a training location for Navy divers and a popular site for recreational divers before being relocated.

baby barge reef honolulu hawaii
“Baby Barge” Hawaii

This is the wreck of the “Baby Barge”, a small barge that was sunk to become a reef near Honolulu, HI. The bubbles are from the divers under and in the wreckage.

Turtle YO-257 WWII Navy fueling vessel
Turtle on YO-257 WWII Navy Fueling Vessel

This turtle was taking a nap on the wreck of the YO-257, a Navy fueling vessel from WWII, before the divers woke him up! There were three turtles hanging around the wreck when we arrived.

oil pump connections YO-257 WWII Navy Fueling Vessel
YO-257 WWII Navy Fueling Vessel

These are the oil pump connections on the YO-257 used in pumping oil during the refueling process. The YO-257 was 174’ long and now home to much marine life.

Top Structure YO-257 WWII Navy Fueling Vessel
YO-257 WWII Navy Fueling Vessel

The top structure of the YO-257. I love diving on wrecks, partly because of the history of the ships and partly because they attract a wide variety of marine life. The YO-257 was intentionally sunk off Honolulu to become a reef structure in 1989.

San Pedro Reef Wreck Honolulu Hawaii
San Pedro Artificial Reef, Hawaii

A short swim from the YO-257 lies the wreck of the San Pedro. The 111’ vessel was sunk as a reef off Honolulu, HI in 1996. Two turtle gracefully swim into the wreckage.

james marchetti 50foot sailboat wreck caribbean
James Marchetti

This is my youngest son, James, diving with me to a sunken sailboat at about 125’deep in the Caribbean. The boat was about 50’ long and was now the home of tropical fish and moray eels.

turtle sugarcane barge wreck caribbean
Sleeping Turtle on Sugarcane Barge

This turtle was located during a night dive on a sunken sugarcane barge that sunk off a small Caribbean island in about 30’ of water. It makes a perfect sleeping station for the turtles. They find a comfortable spot on deck to sleep and when they need air, it’s a short swim to the surface then back to the boat for more sleep. The remora on his back just tags along for the ride.

ray sugarcane barge wreck caribbean
Night Ray in Caribbean

On the way to the sugarcane barge this ray went swimming by in the darkness.

Wreck of 54' Gaff-rigged Schooner, SueJac
Sheephead swimming through the hull of the 54′ Gaff-rigged Schooner, SueJac, which sank in 1980 in Catalina Harbor