It All Depends Where You Look

Last month, while on assignment in Cozumel for a story on sponges, I went diving on a beautiful reef. It was stunning – a world of color, dreamlike shapes, and life everywhere I looked. Normally, I would have just swam about, marveled at the pretty nature, and come back to my hotel with a fat […]

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Places

When my husband finished grad school in 2006, we spent a lot of time talking about where we should go next. We knew we wanted to leave the college town in Oregon where we’d lived for the last few years. Should we head to the Cascades, move north along the Willamette River, or go south and west, […]

The Floating World of Jellyfish

In a dark gallery alongside Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a horde of glowy, gelatinous bulbs are drifting. A living lava lamp, someone calls them, and that’s what they are – jellyfish, mesmerizingly lit for the benefit of visitors to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Aquariums have been keeping jellies for years. I first saw them at […]

In Warm Water

Right now the ocean is glorious. In the evenings, even if the day hasn’t been too hot, you can throw yourself into the saltwater and float between the waves for a while without your teeth chattering. This is not normal.

On Eating Whale

Whales are impressive, enormous, beloved animals. Whaling has been banned since the 1980s, but it still goes on in a few pockets of the world. I spent three years of my life in two of those pockets, Norway and Japan, but somehow had never eaten any whale meat. Until this spring. Over the 17th of […]

Dinner Guide to Saving the Ocean

I am that guy. You know the one. When the waiter comes to the table to give the specials, I’m the one who needs to know where the snapper’s from, how the swordfish was caught, and whether the salmon is farm-raised. My brother generally starts apologizing for me as soon as I open my mouth to see […]

Roadies of Science

One of my favorite memories of my high-school friend Pete Dal Ferro is cruising around town with him in his red 1966 Plymouth Valiant. Fun, right? Over the years, I’ve heard bits and pieces about his adventures since—things about SCUBA diving and Antarctica and cruising around in even bigger boats than his sweet high-school ride, […]

Tempest in a Garbage Patch

For decades, the oceans were an overlooked domain when it came to environmental awareness. Extinction, it seemed, was something that happened on land and pollution, primarily anyway, was a fate for air, lakes and rivers. That was observation bias, of course: we spend most of our time on land, breathing air and drinking fresh water, […]