This past fall I started working with sea urchin divers in Southern California to develop a research project that would put my skills to good use and provide valuable information to inform future management efforts for the fishery. Nate Rosser is a Commissioner on the Sea Urchin Commission, an organization that represents California's sea urchin divers, and he was generous enough to invite me out to shadow him on a short fishing trip to the Channel Islands. With gorgeous weather and an opportunity to experience the hookah diving process in depth, I took hundreds of pictures over those two days! I wasn't able to follow him underwater on this trip, but I still captured his entire above-water process - from motoring out, finding a spot, getting geared up, and finally hauling in the harvest. It was a great experience and incredibly informative.
I continue to talk with people involved with the fishery and develop my research project and will share more about this later, so stay tuned. In the meantime, Nate has put my pictures to great use. Over the past couple of weeks, Nate has posted a series of photo collections on Instagram where he takes viewers on a virtual tour of a typical dive trip, as shown by my photos. While his posts still represent just the tip of the iceberg of what goes into his work and the extensive knowledge he and other divers have about sea urchins and the California coast's marine system, they give a beautiful look into the life of an urchin diver!
Check out the #urchindiverforaday hashtag on Instagram to see more photos!