Tag Archives: diving

Google Maps adds underwater imagery – go diving in Hawaii, Australia, & the Philippines

Maps go underwater now as Google has added panoramic imagery of Hawaii, Australia, and the Philippines. From the Google Maps Blog:

Find a sea turtle swimming among a school of fish, follow a manta ray and experience the reef at sunset. in the Great Barrier Reed. At Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old. And in the middle of the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can join snorkelers in Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and drift over the vast coral reef at Maui’s Molokini crater.

The images are stunning as seen in this video.

 

 

The feature works like Street View in Google Maps. And the images were captured using an SVII specialized camera while traveling at 4 kilometers an hour.

View the full collection of 12 dive sites at Google Maps Ocean.

Snorkeling at Fisherman’s Cove in Lagune Beach, CA – where, what, how, & when

This morning I went snorkeling at Fisherman’s Cove in Laguna Beach for the third time. I like this spot a lot and so I want share it with my readers. I’ll include a description, photos, maps, marine life, and links to other dive sites.

The cove is right off PCH in Laguna Beach, turn onto Cliff Drive and immediately look for street parking. Most of the time I find a spot, but, if not, metered parking is available if you take the first left and go about 200 feet. That is also where the entrance to the Cove is.

Suit up, grab your gear, and head towards the entrance. Go down the steps and take the concrete path all the way to the sand. There you will find a nice secluded beachfront with a lifeguard tower, a few beachgoers, SUP’ers, and a nice rocky landscape for you to explore.

On the left, is a sheer rock face that you can launch in front of on small days. Keep a good distance away from the bluff and follow it out to sea. It’s pretty shallow and you can see tons of fish, mollusks, anemones, and more.

In the middle, a bit offshore, is a rock cluster that is great to swim around. You can see it from the shore with waves crashing against it. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to swim around and even dive into. Plus, it’s a great middle-point as you snorkel around the perimeter.

On the right, are a series or rocky outcroppings, like little peninsulas, that continue to jut out farther and farther as you swim out. These are ideal for snorkeling because an abundance of marine life hides in all of those mini-coves. Follow the outcroppings all the way around to the next cove, which is my favorite route, or you can head over to the middle rock cluster mentioned above.

It is usually best to go when the waves are small and the sunlight is good. This often changes but I’ve gone out at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm and had a blast. It all depends on the conditions. You can scope it out before you go using Surfline for wave size, wind speed, and water temperature. Rockpile as the nearest spot.

The amount of wildlife is amazing. I’ve seen nearly everything you can in Southern California waters from the famous Garibaldi to a huge stingray, octopus, and colorful snails. For list of species you will find check out Cabrillo Aquarium’s marine life profiles.

Here are a few other sites with good coverage of Fisherman’s Cove:

 

Maps/Photos:

Here is a link to the site in Google Maps, and below are screenshots of the site. There is no official address for the place but you can put this one into your phone, for the neighboring Heisler Park:

  • 375 Cliff Drive - Laguna Beach, California 92651

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A Pinterest account to protect the ocean – One World One Ocean

These photos come from One World One Ocean, started by “a family who has been making IMAX Theatre films for 35 years in far-off places like the top of Mt. Everest, the ice caves of Greenland, the Nile river, and the deep-ocean reefs of the South Pacific.”

Their goal is to inspire people about the ocean so they can protect it. These photos, from their Pinterest account, inspired me:

Sources:

 

 

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California creates a science-based series of underwater parks

You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around.  But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.

California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.

“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”

Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans.  According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.

via Designing Healthy Communities

 

The Story of California’s MLPA’s

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Abalone, near endangered, once enjoyed by our parents…what will we pass on to our kids?

The next time someone asks you to drive less or recycle, try not to think about how much that annoys you. Instead think about the world that your children or grandchildren will live in. Will it be better or worse than the one you enjoy now?

Many signs are pointing to it being worse. One of those indications comes from an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune discussing the incoming extinction of Abalone on the West Coast.

..baby boomers who grew up peeling them off rocky outcroppings so that the practice became part of California beach culture.

“You used to be able to get an abalone sandwich for lunch when I first got here in the early 1970s,” Butler said.

I’ve never eaten an Abalone or even seen one. Am I already a part of that generation experiencing a worse world?

Abalones were a staple of coastal life for centuries — a nearshore fishery once topped 5.4 million pounds — until they were all but wiped out by disease, overharvest, predatory otters, poaching and habitat destruction.

By 1997, state officials had shut down all abalone fisheries south of San Francisco in hopes of saving the species.

In many ways the answer is yes, the environment passed down to me is worse than it was before.

The good news is that the solution defies generations. It requires the passion and motivation of young scientists combined with the wealth, political policies, and experience of older, often retired, specialists and philanthropic individuals.

The National Marine Fisheries Service recently formed a task force to save the black abalone, which was listed as federally endangered in 2009. A recovery plan is expected in about two years, though scientists said it’s complicated by poaching in the United States, limited harvest enforcement in Mexico and the potential that climate change will speed the spread of disease in the population.

There is still an abundance of hope, but first we must overcome our balking at minor inconveniences.

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The best snorkeling in Orange County

My neck is all busted up. Too much surf paddling. I’m shore bound.

But, you can’t keep a good watermen down. I’m gonna head out and do some leisurely floating and watching with some kicking, i.e. snorkeling.

My research shows that Shaw’s Cove is the best in Orange County:

“One of the most popular dive sites in Orange County. It is well-protected from large swells, making it highly suitable for the beginning beach divers.”

“Have dove here twice and so far it is my favorite shore dive in Laguna. Vis was excellent two weeks ago at about 35-40 which is great for this area. I saw a lot of fish live. I spotted two octopi, sea hares galore with one that was huge. It has a nice wall to dive near. There are a lot of divers on Saturday mornings because the conditions are usually good for the dive classes. The hike to the shore can be tiring depending on where you get a parking spot. It is a residential area so parking on the streets fills quickly and early on the weekends. There are about 40 stairs that you get to hike up as well. Great cardio workout.”

Of course, there are 7 other notable places to check out. Here is a full list from shorediving.com.

I will have to investigate to see which one I think is best, but I’m definitely starting with Shaw’s thanks to this personal video:

This is the first video I’ve ever shot in my life. I’ve been wanting to make some videos to share with my non-diving friends & family why each moment beneath the water is so special to me. I purchased a FlipHD and Ikelite housing for it, with their lighting system. The color is uncorrected and video is unenhanced. Conditions were a bit rough for the locale, but I’m overall happy with the quality of the output. Shot a few hours of video in the morning then edited down to 5 minutes. Enjoy!