Brent Durand

La Jolla: Classic Southern California Diving

May 23, 2020 - 18:16
The story is found: 
on page 41

Cool sunlight slowly crept down from the horizon to the kelp beds off La Jolla in southern California. I took another sip of coffee. Sea lions barked on occasion as small groups of pelicans flew up the coast to start their day.

The two-hour drive south had ended with a spectacular sunrise, saturating the coast in a deep pink that one could feel and breathe. I arrived early to ensure I could find a much-coveted parking space. It was clear and calm—the reason I picked today for a dive trip down the coast.

Northern California: A Dive Off the American Wild West Coast

April 19, 2020 - 14:55
The story is found: 
on page 45

Warm rinse water sloshed in the jug as my car hugged a sharp turn on California’s Pacific Coast Highway. I looked left at the mighty Pacific Ocean, the cliffs tumbling to the sea dotted by rugged pinnacles, stretching farther up the coast than the jam band solo currently playing out of the car speakers. Deep blue, favorable conditions all week, minimal swell, no-wind forecast—only unpredictable visibility could affect the diving today.

The parking lot was empty as we unloaded and set up our gear on a downed redwood tree trunk. Today would be a wetsuit dive, since my dive buddy and I would be doing a lot of swimming. The cool steel 117 (15L) tanks were filled to the max. Ziiiiiip.

The Moon, Tides & Your Dive Trip

January 17, 2018 - 17:59
The story is found: 
on page 52

There are many factors to consider when planning your dive trip, including the marine life, travel logistics, seasonal weather, ocean conditions and distance between dive sites. This is a lot to think about, and likely the reason so many of us, especially photographers, forget to consider one of the ocean’s most important processes when planning a trip—the tides.

We all know that tides are primarily created by the moon’s gravity, raising and lowering the water level at the beach in daily fluctuations as the earth spins. The tides move in a pattern, making them predictable each day and in each season.

Southern California's Market Squid Run

December 29, 2017 - 13:03
The story is found: 
on page 69

Most years, Southern California on the US west coast is the site of a special marine life aggregation, treating locals to one of the most unique dives in the world. Hundreds of thousands of market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) swim into recreational dive depths to mate and lay an expansive canvas of egg baskets (collections of eggs) across the sandy substrate.

The squid run is hard to predict but usually occurs in December. Avid divers surveying the canyons will see indicators of a pending squid run: a lone squid or two during a night dive, solitary egg cases attached to the substrate here and there, and moon phase clues.

Kayak Diving: Between the Boats & Beach

September 28, 2017 - 16:11
The story is found: 
on page 52

The words “dive trip” are enough to make most divers start daydreaming of warm water, great visibility, thin wetsuits and talented guides who can find critter after critter. Change those words to “dive adventure” and you will find a small group of divers who immediately think of kayak diving.

Scuba diving from a kayak is the perfect way to access reefs that are not otherwise accessible from land. The sites may be situated under steep cliffs or too far offshore for a surface swim.

The Excitement of Sea Lion Dives

September 01, 2017 - 18:38
The story is found: 
on page 69

Keep an eye out for these behavior cues to make sure you are in place for the best interactions on your next sea lion dive.

Diving with sea lions is the ocean equivalent to playing with a friendly dog at the park. The pinnipeds are full of energy… or lazily dozing off in the sun. They will bark, swim around in speedy arcs, play with toys, and even perform acrobatic moves that make you think it’s a private show.