Mass tourism and Chinese diving

Coral Trees or, Thanks Obama

April 15th, 2016, Sanya, China - The sun was already high and hot over our heads when the final Nature Conservancy Scientist arrived at Sunny Bay for China's first extensive coral nursery project. Dr. Phil Kramer, a boisterous and overworked senior scientist on The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Global Oceans team, was already geared up to … Continue reading Coral Trees or, Thanks Obama

Crown of Thorns

How do you create closed-circuit conservation? That is, how can restoration projects not create waste and undue burden on the communities doing the work? Last week, I got a peek at how the TNC’s new restoration project in Sunny Bay systematically alters and aids local coral communities by relying on local communities and infrastructure. Part … Continue reading Crown of Thorns

After Fiji

I leave Fiji and its summer behind. Some days sizzling above 100 degrees F, westerlies would push hot air into your face smelling of dust and sugar. Even the ocean was more than lukewarm when I snorkeled over shallow patches of seagrass or soft coral fields. I leave Fiji and its sorrows behind. They're really … Continue reading After Fiji

After Borneo, or

After Borneo or, What is an Artificial Reef? No, really, what is it?  What does it do? That is to say, what is the goal of constructing an artificial reef? Is it to refurbish destroyed reef ecosystems? Is it to maintain fish stock? To support coral resilience in the face of climate change? To guarantee a good … Continue reading After Borneo, or

No True North

Take a bearing. Confer with some celestial object, then move, and maybe adjust. We know that our movement in some direction will take us North. What is North, and why (in the West) do we consider North to be true?  How do we decide our course of action, in conservation efforts specifically? In my last … Continue reading No True North


Brunei is one of the best places outside of the U.S. for wreck diving. While dive magazines (variably reliable) rarely mention this small equatorial nation, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the abundance and diversity of marine life in the South China Sea. On top of the sea snakes, cuttlefish, and nudibranchs - or, rather, under … Continue reading Wrecked