Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Congratulations To My Wife, Kathryn Britnell!

Kathryn has been welcomed into the illustrious ranks of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association as a Regular Member.

Founded in 1956, the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) strives to be a gathering point and resource base for an active membership composed of professionals engaged in the food, wine and travel industries. The association's membership includes professionals in culinary arts and sciences, the wine growing and production industry, destination travel, and in the hotel and hospitality management industries.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Eye Of The Octopus.

Octopuses have highly complex eyes that compare to human visual acuity. Focusing is done by moving the lens in and out, rather than by changing its shape as the human eye does. A unique characteristic of the octopus eye is its rotational ability and its consistent orientation in relation to gravity. Using their statocyst, (a balance organ common to many invertebrates), octopus always maintain their slit-shaped pupils in a horizontal position. Hence, their brains can always safely interpret visual information on the basis that the eyes are horizontally aligned, though the body may be at any angle in the three-dimensional water column.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Dives - An Evening In The Depths WIth Jett & Kathryn Britnell

As part of the UASBC Vancouver Meeting “Sea Explorers” Speaker Series, Jett and Kathryn Britnell will be presenting their show, “Crazy, Stupid, Dives - An Evening In The Depths.” Divers are known to travel far and wide in search of adventure. The Britnell’s will share some of their undersea experiences from around the globe with sharks, shipwrecks and remote reefs, oh my!
The Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia (UASBC), is a non-profit group, who have worked systematically since 1975 to search for, locate, identify, survey, and protect many historic shipwrecks, and other historic resources, for the benefit of future generations.

Date:     November 30, 2011
Time:     7:30PM
Vancouver Maritime Museum 
1905 Ogden Avenue
Vancouver BC
    V6J 1A3

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Keep Close To Nature’s Heart: Alberta’s National Parks

Icefields Parkway, Alberta
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
Over the last few days of August and into the early days of September, Kathryn, Alex, and I took off for 5 day road trip to visit Banff & Jasper, Alberta and numerous points of interest along the way. We journeyed from Banff to Jasper via the spectacular Icefields Parkway and saw many beautiful sights and even drank some glacier water while standing atop the Athabasca Glacier. 
Established in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park in the Rocky Mountains, whereas Jasper National Park (est. 1907) is the largest national parks in the Canadian Rockies. Both parks are comprised of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. Wildlife in the park includes elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, beaver, pika, hoary marmot, grey wolf, mountain lion and wolverine.  
As much as I love the sea, there is also something spiritual about being in the panoramic heart of the Canadian Rockies. It does, indeed, wash your spirit clean. 

 Peyto Lake, Alberta
 Peyto Lake Snowman, Alberta
     Athabasca Glacier Ice Bus
 Kathryn and Alex atop Athabasca Glacier
Jett and Kathryn Britnell atop Athabasca Glacier
 Castle Mountain, Alberta
View from Bow Valley Parkway, Alberta
Moraine Lake, Alberta
Athabasca Falls, Alberta
 Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Bow Valley Summit, Alberta
Mistaya Canyon, Alberta
Mistaya Canyon, Alberta

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bravo! Florida Bans Killing Of Tiger Sharks and Hammerhead Sharks.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved a ban to prohibit the killing of tiger sharks, great hammerheads, scalloped hammerheads and smooth hammerheads as a measure to protect predators that have suffered from overfishing. Unfortunately, catch and release fishing will still be permitted.
Over the past 20 years shark populations worldwide have sharply declined due to shark finning, a despicable practice now illegal in U.S. waters in which the valuable fins are cut from the living shark, which is then tossed back into the ocean to die. China and other East Asian countries fuel the senseless demand for shark fin soup, a delicacy that has generated a lucrative market for shark fins.
“Florida has been recognized as a pioneer and a leader in shark management efforts for nearly 20 years,” said the wildlife commission’s chairwoman Kathy Barco, in a written statement. “We recognize that maintaining healthy shark populations is critical to the sustainability of our marine ecosystem. The additional protections we are proposing would help preserve Florida’s valuable marine resources."
Way to go, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission!

Where Were You When Taylor Swift Left Vancouver Awestruck?

September 11, 2011: I have enjoyed the opportunity to see many performers since I was a teenager, but I must confess that Country superstar, Taylor Swift, in concert ranks as probably one of the top three concerts I have ever seen. The other top two would be the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan whom I have both seen maybe 9 or 10 times. Yes, Miss Swift’s Vancouver “Speak Now” concert tour is definitely a must see!
At the tender age of 21, Grammy Award winning artist, Taylor Swift, is clearly at the top of her game. We have never attended a concert where the audience sang along to some of the tunes with the fervor that Swift’s fans did. A role model for young teen girls, her wholesome demeanor is endearing. Her greatest songs were inspired by her unrequited love with some very high profile celebrity romances. She is a brilliant songwriter, classy and talented performer. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, my wife and I were enchanted to be thoroughly entertained by Taylor Swift.  She’s the real deal! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

WTF!? Japan Hunts 195 Whales In Northwest Pacific Ocean.

(AP) TOKYO September 15, 2011 10:51 AM — Japan says it has caught 195 whales in the Pacific Ocean this season under a research program opposed by activists who call it commercial whaling in disguise. Japan's Fisheries Agency said Thursday that the fleet harvested 49 minke, 95 sei and 50 Bryde's whales and one sperm whale during its three-month Pacific expedition. 

I'm sure there a good people in Japan who are opposed to slaughtering whales. We could use more of them.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

“It is meat and drink to me to see a clown" ~ William Shakespeare.

The Pink Clownfish is pinkish-orange with a white bar down either side of the face, and a white stripe along the back. It has a white caudal fin and is found on coral reefs at depths from 3m to 30m.  Usually associated with the anemone, Heteractis magnifica, this fish feeds on benthic algae and zooplankton and inhabits tropical marine waters of the Western Central Pacific, from the Philippine Islands, north to Japan, throughout Micronesia, south to Australia and east to the Samoan Islands.  This particular image was shot somewhere in Southern Leyte, Philippines.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

California Wins One For The Sharks!

Bravo California! Assembly Bill 376 passed by a vote of 25-9 which effectively prohibits the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins within the state and effectively shuts down one of the biggest markets for shark fins outside of Asia. Good times!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dive News Network Published Our Story: Bahamas Shark Diving.

Dive News Network just published our story, “Bahamas Shark Diving Safari” in two of their September 2011 editions (Northeast Dive News & Midwest Dive News). I was surprised to learn my images graced the covers of these two issues. The story is from a 10 Day Bahamas shark diving trip organized by Eric Cheng of Wetpixel ( with Jim Abernethy’s dive operation ( in West Palm Beach Florida. If you’re a shark photography fanatic, Abernethy knows all the best shark diving sites…and then some. Both highly recommended!

Prowfish: Alaska's Rarely Photographed Fish?

Seldom seen as adults, and rarely photographed in the wild, Prowfish were once thought to be an exclusively deep-water species that inhabited ocean depths between 300 to 650 feet. However, in Southeastern Alaska, they are increasingly becoming a common sight for cold water adventure divers who are diving aboard Mike Lever’s Nautilus Swell.
Initially, Prowfish were seen fairly often at depths of approximately 115 feet on the Princess Sophia shipwreck. The images posted here are some that I shot of these fish on this amazing shipwreck in April 2011. However, divers are now discovering these fish at numerous other dive sites as mentioned in this weblink:  Alaskan Prowfish

There is only one species of Prowfish (Zaprora silenus). They range along the Pacific coast of North America from the Gulf of Alaska to Monterey Bay, California, and also to Japan. Greyish in color with a blunt, rounded head with numerous large sensory pores that look like dots, Prowfish measure about two feet long and have no apparent scales. Their diet consists of gelatinous zooplankton and jellyfish, of which we saw many drifting in the water column.