Crush Depth: Adventures with Scientific Submersibles

Tissot in Submersible 2003

“What’s your depth?” echoed down from the surface radio, unanswered for the third time in a row and sounding increasingly desperate. It was 2002 and I was riding inside the scientific submersible Delta, heading towards the seafloor off Anacapa island in an area known simply as the “footprint,” a deep-water fish, coral and sponge hot spot…

Surfing Crystal Pier: Life as a Grommet

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Crystal Pier, 1966 In the long arc of my surfing life my early years remain indelibly etched on my psyche, as is true of most surfers. Why is simple: we are pulled in by the ocean’s allure, rapidly learn her inner-most secrets, measure our courage against her power, but are ultimately humbled by fear. It is the beginning of…

Skipper: Stories of my Grandfather

Sydney Patton in the Canadian Army.

Sydney Nelson Patton (1882-1976) was born into the world of another era. During his life he arguably witnessed the greatest change of any generation: when he was young he rode horses, trains and read by candles but during his life he saw the advent of electricity, radio, cars, airplanes, TV and he watched men walk on the moon. During his lifetime the world grew from 1.2 billion (1880) to 4 billion people (1975), he saw the US engage in five major wars, and he lived under 17 US presidents.

Find the Kraken! The Search for Giant Squid

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The idea of the Kraken appears in Melville’s Moby Dick in 1851; played a major role in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870; and appeared as the Watcher in the Water in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, lurking in a lake beneath the western walls of Moria. The truth is that the giant squid, which may have been the basis for most of these myths and legends, has a real-life story almost as mysterious as unicorns and dragons.

Smoked Prime Rib on the Pit Barrel Cooker

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Nothing beats a good prime rib and one cooked in a Pit Barrel Smoker is absolutely magical. Tender, juicy, a nicely favored crust and a touch of great smoke results in a melt-in-your mouth experience that you will not forget. My recipe is simple: I use a good cut of beef, a salt-thyme-garlic dry rub then apply a pepper-mustard flavor paste before…

Chasing the Wild Abalone: Confessions of a Field Biologist

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To be honest, I love abalone and have always been fascinated by this most unusual of snails. In college I truly began to “chase the abalone” which led me to become a field biologist. So these are my confessions; some of my adventures while chasing abalone. Things I normally wouldn’t admit to but looking back were just part of the lore of being a field biologist.

BBQ With Aloha: Hawaiian Kalbi Beef

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One of the best things about Hawaii is the food and often that means plate lunch! Now plate lunch is both uniquely Hawaiian and a key part of the culture. Take the many asian traditions in Hawaii and add local touches and you have something that is quick, easy to grab and head to the beach, and incredibly…

A Walk in The Clouds on the Oregon Coast

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On our first date we walked the beaches of Oregon. In was Valentine’s Day 1987 and we both instantly knew we had something special. I still remember the feel of the brisk salt air on my face, the sand blowing down the beach, the call of the gulls, and the smell of the sea that day. But most of all I remember her smile. It was like a walk in the clouds.