Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts from the ‘REFLECTIONS’ category

Better Vision – New Year Thoughts and Octopus Eyes

[Update in 2021: CLEARLY I had no idea what a globally and colossally crap year 2020 was going to be when I wrote this blog. May the thoughts and information about octopus eyes still provide vision 🙂 ].
Here’s an unlikely combination of introspection and natural history. It’s what results when you bring together a photo of a Giant Pacific Octopus’ eye with the bad word play of “2020 vision” regarding the new year.

Introspection: In a human lifetime, you don’t get to cross the threshold into all too many decades. Like many of you, it makes me take pause . . . wanting to understand where we are and how to move forward with focus. It’s what happens when you want to make sense of a world which appears to have increasing numbers of cartoon-character-like heads of state. It makes me think about the state of heads, and how to find one’s way without despondency, denial and inaction.

I write these words largely to solidify my resolve and vision in this decadal transition but share them here in the hopes that they may be of use to you.

Better vision for better futures:

  1. The paradigm: Realizing why there are forces in the world who would rather flirt with the health of future generations than undertake action that would benefit their own grandchildren. They are those who have benefited the most from lack of equality, fossil-fuel use, rampant consumerism, and use of disposables. Despite the enormity of their power, positive change is happening and in the death throes of the paradigm, the very nature of truth is being challenged. When one shouts loudly, it is not likely they are more correct. It is an attempt to drown out the truth. They are the spasmodic utterances of the entitled. The aims are confusion, distraction, discontent (just keep buying more little girl and happiness will be yours), despondency, overwhelm and (of course) the blunt tool of FEAR. The hope is that we shut down and not notice the steps forward toward a paradigm based on greater equality and sustainability.
  2. Less is more: These are words I have shared so often. Above a true level of need, using less is not about loss. It’s about gain. The more we steer away from the myth that owning more and/or bigger is best or that it equates to “success”, the more liberation we have from being enslaved to $. We do know where true happiness lies. It is where there is greater sense connection, health and time for who and what we love.  What a world it would be if more of us saw that gain and realized just how empowered we are to create change through our consumer and voter action. Using less fossil fuels, dangerous chemicals and disposables positively impacts so many socio-environmental issues.
  3. The way forward: You’ve seen it haven’t you? The uprising, the unblinking truth . . . the power of youth who know the way. How excited I am for power shifting further toward them, their technologies and lifestyles fuelled by values of equality and sustainability. In no way does that mean we stand idle and wait for them to be of the age to vote. For me it is to be in service of them, the next generation. It is to help others see the way, to know their place in nature, to know their power, to find their voice, and to shield them from despondency, and fear.  

And here’s the natural history and marine mystery bit relating to the photo of the octopus’ eye (note that she was in her den and that I used a zoom lens).

Octopus vision:

You see that the pupil’s shape is very different from ours. Their retina is very different too.

Octopuses and other cephalopods have only one kind of photoreceptor cell while we have rod cells and three types of cone cells allowing us to see in colour. So how can cephalopods discern colour when they have only one kind of light receptor in their eyes? And they must be able to discern differences in colour. Consider how they signal with colour and how they camouflage.

Research from 2016* puts forward that their uniquely shaped pupils act like prisms, scattering light into different wavelengths (chromatic aberration), rather than focussing the light into a beam onto the retina.  The hypothesis, tested with computer modelling, is that cephalopods can then focus the different wavelengths onto their retina separately by changing the distance between the lens and the retina, thereby separating the stimuli and discerning colour. Note that the sharpness of their vision is believed to be different for different wavelengths / colours.

Even with their eyes closed, octopuses can detect light with their skin. This is tied to their ability to camouflage with the photoreceptors in their skin responding to specific wavelengths of light (different wavelengths = different colours).

Note too that octopuses do not have eyelids. They have have a ring-shaped muscular fold of skin around the eye that closes in the way of an eyelid (especially when some annoying human is taking photos).

There, I feel much better now. Bring on the New Year.

Here’s to all the colour, marvellous mysteries, clear vision, and solid action ahead.


Katz, I., Shomrat, T., & Nesher, N. (January 01, 2021). Feel the light: sight-independent negative phototactic response in octopus armsThe Journal of Experimental Biology, 224.

Stubbs, A. L., & Stubbs, C. W. (July 19, 2016). Spectral discrimination in color blind animals via chromatic aberration and pupil shapeProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113, 29, 8206-8211.

Dry Land

It’s a rarity as “The Marine Detective”, that I share my photos of land.

But . . . I can’t find the words to express how moved I am by the song “Dry Land” by Joan Armatrading (from 1975).

Overcome by the beauty, depth and poignancy, I’ve attempted to use my above-the-surface photos to express this.

Lyrics include: “Been a long time at sea – and the season of loving – has long awaited me. Tides and waves have kept me – kept me going. I’m longing for the calm . . . .”

Hope you’re overcome too.

All my photos in the slideshow are from coastal British Columbia (NE Vancouver Island, Central Coast and Haida Gwaii).

Lyrics (by Pam Nestor):

Let me sail to the depths of your soul

Let me anchor as near as I can to your shore

I’m coming into dry land

Been a long time at sea

And the season of loving

Has long awaited me


Tides and waves have kept me

Kept me going

I’m longing for the calm

I’m heading for the pastures

I can see on your dry land

Let the sea that once did take me

Bring me back safe to your door

For I long to touch the dry land of your shore

Clear back to land I’m rowing

Clear the deck let me touch your soul

Maybe I’ll bring you back a gift of love

I’ll promise you so much more.


Song can be found at this link on iTunes.



Markus . . . and the Octopus.

Today something extraordinary happened.

It happened when we placed a memorial for a dear departed friend, Markus Kronwitter.

My primary reason for sharing this is for Markus’ family and friends but, I think others will find something here too.

You see, a Giant Pacific Octopus attended and sat right atop the memorial.

Let me recount using photos.

Memorial made by Stephanie Lacasse.


Markus owned and operated North Island Diving in Port Hardy. He was a dear friend and incredibly important to our dive club, the Top Island Econauts. He died more than 3 years ago and the memorial today was to honour him and maybe offer some comfort to his wife Cecelia and his two daughters, Rosie and Jennifer.

The location was Five Fathom Rock just outside Port Hardy.  Part of Markus’ legacy is that he fought for this rocky reef to be recognized as a Rockfish Conservation Area. (More about the significance of that in my eulogy at the end of this blog).

After we shared thoughts about Markus at the surface, down we went to the highest point of the reef. We would wait there till the memorial was carefully descended by Steve Lacasse of Sun Fun Divers using a lift bag and rope.

We wanted to position the memorial there, near a sunken metal beer keg. The keg used to be a mooring float on this site. It was put there by Markus but, by mysterious means, had sunk to the bottom.

As soon as we got to where the memorial was to be placed, I saw a Giant Pacific Octopus, fully out in the open.

You can even see the beer keg right in the background.

After about 5 minutes, he retreated partially into his den, likely because of some annoying underwater photographer with flashing lights.

Note that I do know this was a male Giant Pacific Octopus because the third arm on the right was a “hectocotylus arm”. Only males have the hectocotylus which stores sperm. More on that at this link. (This individual also had an injured arm. It was only about half length but will regrow. Yes, some of the awe that is octopuses, is that they can regenerate limbs.

Giant Pacific Octopus in his den.

But then . . . when Steve arrived with the memorial, the Giant Pacific Octopus darted out of his den, landed right atop the memorial and started flashing white. See the memorial under the octopus in the photos below?

Steve Lacasse with the octopus on the memorial which was still attached to the rope and lift bag.


You can imagine how we marvelled as this unfolded and that some pretty big emotions were felt.

Eventually, the Giant Pacific Octopus moved away. Then, the memorial could be positioned as we had intended, but not before a mature male Wolf Eel also went swimming by.

There’s no photo of that I am afraid. I was a little overwhelmed.

Memorial positioned.


Dive club members from left to right: Dwayne Rudy, Steve Lacasse, Natasha Dickinson, Gord Jenkins and Andy Hanke.

Somewhat dizzied by emotion, we continued with the dive.

Below, I include some photos of what we saw, especially to give Markus’ loved ones a sense of what this site is like and what he fought for.

Mature male Wolf-Eel in his den, very near the memorial.


One of 100s of Black Rockfish at this site (and a Mottled Star).


Male Lingcod guarding an egg mass with 100s of eggs.


Male Ling Cod. The boulders here give an indication of why this is such ideal fish habitat. There are so many crevices to hide in and rocks to lounge upon.


Rose Anemones aka Fish-Eating Telias. Sun shining down from the surface, five fathoms above us.


Tiger Rockfish – longevity can be 116 years WHEN given a chance.


See the male Lingcod under the huge mass of eggs? He’s got a lot to protect!


And then . . . just as we were about to ascend, there he was again – the same Giant Pacific Octopus.

The Giant Pacific Octopus with dive buddy, Natasha Dickinson.


How I wish we could have stayed longer. We had to surface to a far less mysterious world, but with hearts full and so much to tell Cecelia, Jenny and Rosie.

Goodbye Markus.

We’ll be visiting again soon.

Image below is of the memorial 20 months later, October 2020. It has become part of the seascape and it appears a China Rockfish is living very near.

My Eulogy for Markus. 

It’s my great honour to say a few words before we dive on Five Fathom Rock to position Markus’ memorial.

I of course found it excruciating to try to find the words fitting of Markus, because you have to tap into the emotion to find the words.

It’s been more than 3 years since Markus died. Cecelia, Jenny and Rosie you need the words and, even more, you need this place where your thoughts and feelings can be anchored.

In trying to find the words, I dared remember what it felt like to be around Markus. I don’t think that I know anyone else who was quite like him in knowing the right thing to do, no matter how hard it would be and no matter how many injustices he had suffered.

Markus was about making things better and standing up for what was right. He was a man of truth and science. He appeared unflinching in facing reality. He did not suffer fools. He saw through people with crystalline clarity. He walked his own path – in red “holely soles” and multi-coloured pants – and had the wisdom to stop to have Cecelia join to walk beside him.

He made hard decisions.

He . . . was . . . a . . . fighter.

He fought to be here on northern Vancouver Island.

He fought for his girls.

He fought for our dive club.

He fought for the fishes, now flourishing beneath us.

He fought for his life.
[When diagnosed with cancer, he was told he had 2 years to live. He lived for 14 years post diagnosis].

And he has left an extraordinary legacy.

Part of this, is the legacy of Five Fathom Rock.

Markus fought for this to be a Rockfish Conservation Area so that the fish that live here might get a chance to grow bigger, reproduce more, and to thrive.

And there’s success. It’s so beautiful down there Rosie, Jenny and Cecelia. The fishes are thriving – there are clouds of rockfish and it’s so powerful to think that some, like the Tiger Rockfish, might get a chance to live to be more than 100-years-old.

If there were any place where I could picture Markus, it would be here darting around with yellow fins, fish-like himself. Clearly so at home . . . here.

His efforts for Five Fathom included trying to have a mooring here and his creativity was to use a big metal beer keg. It’s down there now, on the highest part of the reef , close to where there are 2 Wolf-Eels. It’s where we’ll attach the memorial.

And how perfect that this will happen at a time when the Lingcod fathers are protecting the next generation, standing guard, not suffering fools, making very clear when you’re trying to get too close without good intent. Fiercely fighting for the next generation, with an extraordinary sense of place.

He loved it here.

It’s impossible to forget him here.

Not that there is any possibility of forgetting Markus or what he stood for.

His legacy of course includes you Rosie, Jenny and Cecelia. He loved you so much and I can’t even imagine how hard he fought wanting to be here still to protect you, to make sure you would always be okay.

Jennifer and Rosie, you are fighters like your Papa Markus.

Jenny – I also think you have his sense of purpose.

Rosie  – I think you have his sense of place.

Cecelia – the love in your eyes makes clear how you carry Markus with you always.

Markus Kronwitter.
It is here on Northern Vancouver Island that he found his wild.
It is with you three, that he found love.









Compilation of photos and video below.


Twenty Years . . .

Twenty years ago today I returned to British Columbia after having taught in the Netherlands for many years. I wanted to learn from Nature and I wanted to make it count.

Forgive the following introspection.

You’ll understand such reflection comes with anniversaries and being perplexed by the passage of time even though it is the one great constant . . . one minute passing into the next, days stacking into years, and years becoming the stories of our lives.

1999 – Photographer unfortunately unknown.

So much has changed. So much has not.

Thank you to the many of you for being part of this path. Thank you for helping show the way forward whereby I continue to learn from Nature and strive to make it count for those who are ultimately my guides, and my bosses . . . children.

There’s something that will never change.


August 2018. You’ll note my ability to point at things has not diminished. 😉 Photo: Captain Kevin Smith, Maple Leaf Adventures.

The Woman Behind the Words . . .

Who is the woman behind the words AND the images?

A beloved friend has advised “Jackie, you need to step into the spotlight more” i.e. making more evident who The Marine Detective is.

For a whole soup of emotions/reasons, I am more comfortable being behind the camera in this role. That’s why I chose for the moniker “The Marine Detective” rather than my name. But okay – here’s an image highly representative of who I am, tutu and all.

Photo: ©Jacqui Engel, September 2018.

I will also share a story that is rather typical regarding there being a bias that leads to misidentifying who the voice is here on TMD.

Here goes . . . I was having lunch in a local restaurant and had one of my calendars on the table. The waitress, a lovely young woman, bounded over, saw the calendar and said: “The Marine Detective! Oh my god, I love him!”. I quietly asked, “Who do you love?” She enthusiastically said, “The Marine Detective! I follow him on social media!” and then very generously provided her views on the value of the work.

I stood up and felt compelled to stand in front of her and said softly, “I am The Marine Detective”.

What I interpret of her reaction is that she could not reconcile that the age, gender and stature of the person in front of her could be the actual force behind what she had described.

Is it important? I have come to understand that it is. That, by simply living out what I perceive to be my calling, I can help shift biases with regard to age and gender.

I am a 55-year-old woman in science who hurls herself into a cold ocean to learn from the life there, who drives a boat, studies whales, speaks from the heart, and who wants for equality in the world for the betterment of all.

That’s that for a while. Going back behind the camera now.

Oh, and why the tutu? If it’s new to you that it’s what I wear when I dive, please see my blog “Life is Hard? Wear a Tutu” at this link.

People’s Choice!

Still shaking my head at my site having won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada’s “2018 People’s Choice Award for Best Canadian Website“. It is a People’s Choice Award so the winning is because of YOU.

Please see below from my interview with Trish Weatherall for the North Island Eagle where I try to express what the award means. Below that interview, I have included a listing of the other sites nominated for the award. Included are their social media links to make it easier to follow these great science resources.

Thank you so much for your support and belief in “The Marine Detective”.

Marine Detective wins People’s Choice
for Canadian science web site

By Trish Weatherall  – North Island Eagle 

The Marine Detective has gone national! In October, Port McNeill’s Jackie Hildering received the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada (SWCC) 2018 People’s Choice award for favourite Canadian science web site, for her site

Article as it appeared in the North Island Eagle. Click to enlarge.

Her reaction to winning the award is, “Stunned euphoria and a great depth of gratitude. I still feel like I have not come close to processing it. The other websites nominated for the award are of such a high calibre and most represent organizations (and even funded ones!) rather than an individual compelled to do this work.” 

The Marine Detective was up against 9 other popular Canadian science web sites: Earth Rangers; Hey Science – Science Sam; Inside the Perimeter; Quebec Science; Research2Reality; Science Alive; Science for the People; The Weather Network – Out of this World; and Tomatosphere – Let’s Talk Science. [Please see links for these sites below.]

Canadians voted online for their favourite site for two weeks beginning Sept. 24. Hildering received an email on Oct. 10 from the SWCC that said, “I’m pleased to tell you that your site blew it out of the water and The Marine Detective is the Winner of SWCC’s 2018 People’s Choice Award for Favourite Canadian Science Site! Your followers and, I suspect, new fans gave your site more than enough love to win. Congratulations!”

Hildering, who is also a whale researcher, marine educator, diver, photographer and co-founder of the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS), created the Marine Detective web site in 2010 with a goal of educating the public about life in the Pacific-North ocean through her underwater photography.

“Awards like this, give some sort of measure to what I try to do,” said Hildering. “It lends credibility and recognition and has amplified the reach of what I am trying to achieve as The Marine Detective. But, much more importantly, it has made so clear that there is a large community that believes in the importance of this work. I feel so supported, affirmed, motivated and grateful. To know that people cared enough and believed in the work as they did, this is like jet fuel for me to keep at it. I feel like I have been lifted up by those who voted and moved forward to continue the work.”

The Marine Detective web site uses the tagline ‘Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there’, and includes a blog, her ocean life photos, and the ability to order her prints on canvas, her WILD calendar, and her Find the Fish children’s book.

“I want what I capture in photography to lead to greater interest and connection to the North-East Pacific Ocean and greater conservation actions for the sake of the well-being of future generations,” she said. “There is such a bias toward warmer waters having more life in them and this is highly problematic in too many of us not understanding that it is these dark plankton-rich waters that can sustain giants like the world’s biggest sea star, barnacle, sea lion, whales, etc.”

Hildering is striving to bring this understanding to more Canadians through as many venues as possible. In addition to the web site, she has a Facebook page (with the popular Find the Fish photo on Fridays), holds public information sessions throughout coastal BC, and has been featured on Animal Planet’s Wild Obsession series, and two BBC documentaries.

In early October, she was filmed locally for a PBS documentary on whale evolution.

“An important part of the documentary will be our area and speaking for how we humans can evolve further in our attitudes and actions towards whales and the ecosystems for which they are indicators.”

She is planning on writing more children’s books and a book for adults that will focus on what she has learned in the North Island area and how easy it is to create positive change when fear is replaced by knowledge and when our value systems change.

She has also recently applied for the Sony Alpha Female program for a chance to be one of five women to receive mentorship, training and support through a $25,000 grant and $5,000 in camera equipment.

“I want what I learn and experience in our remarkable area to count for more,” she said. “I want the words and photos to go further to create more socio-environmental good and counter eco-phobia and eco-paralysis where people are overwhelmed thinking that the problems of the world are disparate rather than knowing there are common solutions and that it is about gain in quality of life rather than loss.”

Social media links for the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada
“The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada foster quality science communication, linking science & technology communicators from coast to coast.”

Runners up for the People’s Choice Award:

  • Research2Reality: “Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on Canadian scientists who are engaged in innovative and leading edge research.”

Other Canadian science sites that were nominated: 

  • Earth Rangers: ” Earth Rangers is the kids conservation organization! Our programs inspire over 100 thousand members to learn about the environment and help protect animals.”


Shine Brighter . . .

The following is not a science post. It is an #OceanVoice post = my thoughts about hope, our connection to the environment, and positive action for the sake of greater health and happiness. It is meant to be inspirational and, maybe, empowering.


It’s hard. I know it can be hard. But, it’s the only way forward, and out of the dark.

We live in complicated times where fear is used as a blunt tool.

Fear of the other. Fear of loss. Fear of change. Fear amplified in our not understanding the way forward is the same for most (if not all), socio-environmental problems. Thereby, our light can diminish and even be exhausted whereby . . . we add to the darkness.

So important to realize is: Fear thrives in the dark. Fear masks truth. Fear chokes potential. Fear makes us automatons, marching on, ignoring the reality around us. Fear walks hand-in-hand with disempowerment, the same neurons firing, limiting the way we look at the world and ourselves. And above all, FEAR LOATHES CHANGE.

Thereby, fear is such a powerful tool to be used by those who benefit from things remaining the same.

How to counter fear? Shine the light forward, living lives of connection, empowerment, celebration of human ingenuity (but not as an exit strategy) and understanding that using less is about GAIN, not loss.

Shine on. Show the way out of the dark.

For more #OceanVoice, please see click here. 

My 1,000th Dive – Fishes, Friends and . . . So Much More

Yesterday (February 25, 2017), I completed dives number 1,000 and 1001.

This is not a big deal if you are a warm water diver where it is common to do 3 or more dives a day.

But, for me at least, I feel it is important to reflect upon this milestone. How did I get here? The equivalent of ~31 days spent underwater over the last 17 years, almost all in the cold, dark NE Pacific off northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia?

And, where am I going?

Younger me on January 9th, 2000 in a wet suit before I had even done a dive from a boat. Now am on to my 2nd battered dry suit and am most often on the other side of a camera.

Younger me on January 9th, 2000 in a wet suit before I had even done a dive from a boat. Now, I’m much greyer; on to my 2nd battered dry suit; and am most often on the other side of a camera.

I was 36 when I started diving. (I’ll save you doing the math – yes, that means I am 53 now). It was a year of some very big life decisions including leaving solid ground when it came to employment and what many would have considered “a career”. I let go. I followed my internal compass knowing only that I needed to learn from Nature again.

Learning to dive did not feel like one of the big decisions. Looking back, it seemed almost like a flirtation; a “sure, why not?”. Maybe that’s the way it works with the big things in life. There were some pretty big clues that it should be on my path though. For example, back when I worked in the Netherlands, I had hung all kinds of marine animals from the ceiling of my shower. Clearly I wanted to feel like I was under the Ocean. Also, my most crystalline, happy childhood memories are of spending seemingly endless hours exploring the beach when we lived in Chemainus (southern Vancouver Island).

Adrift with so many rockfish during yesterday's dives. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Adrift with so many rockfish during yesterday’s dives. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

But know that while saying “yes” to taking a dive course was easy, diving has not come easily to me. I’ll spare you the details of how encumbered the instruction was; that I even inflicted injuries upon myself; and how the learning never stops. (If you would like to see what mask squeeze looks like, click here.) I remember feeling that achieving my Dive Masters was bigger than anything I had achieved in university.

But when I saw that first sea star underwater, it was like a lightning bolt went through me. I knew. It was as if I heard a click, as if a puzzle piece fell into place. This was going to be important. But I could never have known how important.

Lone Mottled Star. Yes, the sea stars are still in trouble. An example of how the Ocean may be testifying to environment issues. See here for more. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Lone Mottled Star. Yes, the sea stars are still in trouble – an example of how the Ocean may be testifying to environment issues but because this reality is hidden, too few of us notice and take heed. More information at this link. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

It felt like a lot of puzzle pieces clicked into place that year. Since then, some have fallen out of place leaving an odd shaped hole. This is certainly how life works. Some pieces never were a good fit or were only part of the big picture for a brief while. Okay, enough already of that puzzle metaphor and about what has come and gone, but was once essential in getting to where I am now.

Now . . . 1,000 dives completed.

Now . . .  the extraordinary privilege of knowing one small part of the planet from individual fish to individual whales. “Knowing”? Correction  . .  I am learning from the life in these cold, dark waters.

Now . . .  “The Marine Detective”.  It’s a handle that I hope captures the mystery and the correct humility. I am a student of the Ocean and, in recognizing that privilege and importance, I want it to count.

The Ocean. Mother Ocean. The ultimate teacher. It’s where life began and upon which life depends. It’s often where the impacts of our disconnect and misguided value systems appear first. It’s our opportunity to have the humility to realize how little we know. It’s our opportunity to connect and to heal and to know how little we are.

Leaving solid ground. Being adrift. Better knowing when and how to fight the current. Learning so many lessons about the life around me and, about myself.

What lies ahead? Another 1,000 dives. More lessons. More puzzle pieces. More trying to make it count.

I am so grateful for it all – to have the health that makes this possible; to being able to live where I do; to my dive buddies; and to you who care enough to read these words, making the effort so worthwhile.

From the depths – thank you.

Here is a past reflection on diving. I wrote this poem after my 600th dive.  It still all applies.

Constricted by my dry suit,
Thirty pounds bound to my waist,
Hunchbacked by my cylinder,
A mask suctioned to my face,

I leave the world we’ve cultivated,
To attempt to meet our every whim,
To where Nature’s voice can still be heard,
Far above civilization’s din.

No governments, no borders,
Nor economies present.
When down here, I’m reminded,
Of life’s depth and true intent.

I’m an awkward and brief visitor,
In this world of colour and perfection.
I fill with humility, wonder,
Passion and quiet introspection.

For Mother Ocean is home to life,
Older than mammals can comprehend.
I’m grateful that I may learn from her,
Leaving solid ground when I descend.

Diving brought me greater purpose,
Love, vision and camaraderie.
I think that what some find in a church,
I find . . . deep . . . within the sea.

Below, additional photos from yesterday’s dives shared with fishes, friends, and so much more.

One of yesterday's dives was a Lingcod Egg Mass survey. That's buddy Natasha Dickinson recording depth, size, etc. The males guard the egg masses to ensure their kind has a better chance of survival. More information here. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

The purpose of one of yesterday’s dives was to do a Lingcod Egg Mass Survey. That’s buddy Natasha Dickinson recording depth, size, etc. The males guard the egg masses to ensure their kind has a better chance of survival. More information on “Lingcod – Fastidious, Fanged Fathers” at this link. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Dive buddy Natasha examining an unguarded egg mass for the Ling Cod Egg Mass survey. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Dive buddy Natasha examining an unguarded egg mass for the Ling Cod Egg Mass Survey. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Oops - got distracted from the survey by a mature male Wolf Eel. How could I not?! More on this remarkable species here. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Oops – got distracted from the survey by a mature male Wolf Eel. How could I not?! More on this remarkable species at this link. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Swimming with the fishes . . . so many fishes and testament to Rock Fish Conservation Areas being so important. Our dive club has been monitoring this site for over 20 years. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Swimming with the fishes . . . so many fishes and testament to Rockfish Conservation Areas being so important. Our dive club has been monitoring this site near Port Hardy for over 20 years. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Another "distraction" - mature male Wolf Eel. Intriguing that this one had many juvenile rockfish swimming around his head. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Another “distraction” – mature male Wolf Eel. Intriguing that this one had many juvenile rockfish swimming around his head. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Oregon Tritons (marine snail species) feeding on an unguarded Lingcod Egg Mass. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Oregon Tritons (marine snail species) feeding on an unguarded Lingcod Egg Mass. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


Dive buddies . . . could not do it without them. Here, Natasha Dickinson and Alexandra Spicer. Dear dive buddy Jacqui Engel was unable to join due to the flu but her name absolutely needs to appear on this post where I am reflecting on 1,000 dives and how I got here. ©2017 Jackie Hildering.

Dive buddies . . . could not do it without them. Here – Natasha Dickinson (left) and Alexandra Spicer (right). Dear dive buddy Jacqui Engel was unable to join yesterday due to the flu but her name absolutely needs to appear anywhere where I am reflecting on the importance of diving in my life and how I got here. [P.S. it was 5.5°C!] ©2017 Jackie Hildering.


May There Be Depth . . .

It’s a time of year of excesses and absences; of light and dark; of warmth and cold; of celebration and elation . . . but also often of freneticism and vacuity.

My wish for you and for myself is that within it all, we find depth – abundant depth of emotion, and connection, and meaning.

My depth of gratitude to all of you who contribute to that for me – the sense of shared values and common goals and the abundant motivation.

Be merry. Be bright. Feel the wonder. Add to the light.


White-Spotted Rose Anemone. I've known this individual for about 8 years. ©2016 Jackie Hildering.

White-Spotted Rose Anemone. I’ve known this individual for about 8 years. ©2016 Jackie Hildering.

Dry Land . . .

Just to put some beauty and love into the world . . . for you, here are my above-the-surface photos coupled with the hauntingly beautiful and poignant song “Dry Land” by Joan Armatrading (1975).

All photos are from around NE Vancouver, the area so close to my heart and home to my efforts as The Marine Detective.

Lyrics include:
“Been a long time at sea – and the season of loving – has long awaited me. Tides and waves have kept me – kept me going. I’m longing for the calm . . . .”

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