Smile, Crocodile

Crocodiles are apex predators, and in the wrong place and time, humans are potential prey. There are exceptions, but most of these wonderful and primitive reptiles won’t squander encountering a potential meal. When swimming in any reptile habitat, know who and what you may encounter, or don’t swim at all. The resident American crocodiles at Jardines de la Reina routinely share their waters with snorkelers and divers, but Jen Hayes didn’t feel the same comfort working in Nile crocodile waters in Botswana.

An American crocodile rests midwater above a seagrass bed

Models and Marine Life

Underwater photographers usually evolve a specialty, but the first fork in their road typically involves defining an interest in either photographing natural history — marine life in particular — or concentrating on editorial and commercial work that inevitably involves photographing people underwater. Photos of charismatic marine life help tell the story of a dive destination or might be used for photo décor or stock photography. Compositions that illustrate people interacting with marine life bridge both disciplines and combine each approach’s rewards and challenges.

whale shark and diver for size reference

Howe Sound

With nearly 16,000 miles of rugged coastline and more than 40,000 islands and islets, British Columbia’s Howe Sound features fantastic marine life and spectacular coldwater scuba adventures. Stretching 27 miles from its narrow head under lofty mountain peaks at Squamish to its wide-mouth opening into the Strait of Georgia just northwest of Vancouver, Howe Sound is North America’s southernmost fjord. This sea-to-sky corridor crafted by glaciers and perfected by time seems tailor-made for subsea exploration — reef and wreck, rec and tech.

The kelp greenling ranges from Alaska to California and grows up to 2 feet long.

Cristina Mittermeier Photo Gallery

After reading the Shooter column “Cristina Mittermeier: Commitment to Conservation,” view this additional photo gallery of her work.

God's Pocket British Columbia

Howe Sound Photo Gallery

After reading about Howe Sound in Local Diving, discover more of the beauty of North America’s southernmost fjord in this photo gallery.

red Irish lord fish at Howe Sound

Cristina Mittermeier: Commitment to Conservation

Photographer Cristina Mittermeier’s social media posts have insightful captions that reveal her deep commitment to ocean ecology issues. Telling stories that inspire, engage and ultimately motivate action, she wants to show what’s beautiful and special but also what may be in dire peril. Perhaps most significantly, she wants to show her audience an opportunity to act positively and to possibly attain a solution, using her photography to shine a light and make a difference.

The fluke of a humpback whale lifts above the sea in the warm glow of dusk off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Turning the Tide of Mangrove Loss

Mangroves live along subtropical and tropical coastlines. Their upper trunk, branches and leaves grow above the waterline, but an extensive network of roots remain mostly underwater. Dense patches or forests of mangroves are habitats for terrestrial, estuarine and marine species that include invertebrates, fish and many types of seabirds and waterfowl, and they provide shelter as well as feeding and breeding space for 174 marine megafauna species. Mangrove forests provide also protect coastlines against erosion and flooding and help mitigate climate change.

Mangroves near a river mouth along the Belize coast

Current Dives

Diving in currents can be exhilarating, but it can also be hazardous if you do not have the proper training or are unprepared. To get the most enjoyment, perform proper predive research and dive planning. Make sure you prepare physically and mentally and have the proper gear, training and experience. Divers often say that current dives are some of their most memorable and exhilarating dives.

Two divers are in the water, and one is deploying a red surface marker buoy attached to a reel.

Citizen Science

Researchers from the MigraMar consortium take volunteer divers on citizen science expeditions to tag and track pelagic sharks as they migrate through the Eastern Pacific. Scientists use the data to advocate for larger marine protected areas to save sharks from overfishing. Volunteers pay typical liveaboard prices to help researchers defray the high cost of these expeditions, and in return they get to see shark science and conservation up close.

Mauricio Hoyos takes a manta tissue sample off San Benedicto Island, Archipelago de Revillagigedo.

Heart Trouble in Tahiti

While on a trip to Tahiti, a 71-year-old experienced diver and competitive rower coughed up foamy blood after making three recreational dives on nitrox. He called DAN for advice and later saw a cardiologist, who diagnosed him with exercise-induced mitral valve prolapse. This diver recommends that divers continue to educate themselves, maintain their DAN membership and insurance coverage, go slowly if they haven’t dived in a while, be prepared and practice for emergencies.

Male and female diver in red and black wetsuits pose for a photo underwater before descending