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                                     OCEANS ABOVE AND BELOW
25 years of photography, sailing & Scuba diving around the world.
                                          A Memoir by Ed Vaughan

Around the World Underwater

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manta ray coming at you

Manta ray coming at you!

Getting closer!

manta ray close up

Getting closer!



Whew! He missed you!

manta ray coming at you Whew! He missed you!



This is the U.S. submarine, purposfully sunk in deep water by the U.S. Navy off the coast of Maui, Hawaii for escape training, that brought me to one of the luckiest moments of my life.


It was here, in 1979, while diving down to explore the sub, that I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the school of Spotted Eagle Rays which became the signature photograph of my career.

I turned toward them and started shooting as they silently flew by. Each shot required that I change flash bulb (there were no electronic strobes yet), manually wind the camera (the case had an external lever to do this), refocus and recompose the photograph as quickly as possible. I got five shots off before they dissappeared into the dark. Total time for the five shots was about thirty seconds.

On returning to land, getting the photos developed and looking carefully at them, I saw that only one of them showed the rays wings in the up position as if in a ballet. You can see it HERE.

There were so many diving accidents at the submarine that the U.S. Navy eventually moved it out and dropped it into 10,000 feet of water.

Lisa Amaral
Great Barrier Reef

scuba-with-potato-cod in australia

My daughter, Lisa Amaral, scratching a large Potato Cod under the chin (do fish have chins?) at Lizard Island, the Cod Hole, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

robert-lovenheim scuba-diving on a plane-wreck in rabaul, papua-new-guinea

My longtime friend Robert Lovenheim diving on a WWII Japanese seaplane plane wreck in 110 feet at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.

Arrow Crab

arrow-crab next to a pearl-anenome in the caribbean

Here's that Arrow Crab again in front of a Pearl Anemone in the Carribbean.


"I'm ready for my close up now Mr. DeMille!"

Santa Cruz Island

underwater-cave near santa-cruz-island, california

Another longtime friend, Dr. Michael Kliks, entering a cave on Santa Cruz Island, California.

a crinoid, called umi yuri in Japanese

This is a Crinoid.


These animals look like small bushes. They climb up onto rocks in strong currents and wave their many velcro-like arms in the current to catch passing food.

Costa Rica


Julie Spencer looks for sharks.

hammerhead-sharks near cocos-island, costa-rica

And heeeeeeere they are! Hammerheads at Cocos Island, Costa Rica

The most exhilirating dive



People sometimes ask, "What was the best dive in all those years?".


I can tell you with no reservations that being with this school of 150 Hammerhead Sharks, Cocos Island, Costa Rica, 130 feet down, was the most exhilirating dive I have ever experienced.

To get these shots, I had to enter the school and glide along with them for an entire tank of air.

I am told that they school here very year to eat a certain ray which makes the Hammerheads very docile and non threatening.

Honestly, whether they were stoned or not, I was extatic when I surfaced and even happier when I saw these photos.


Here's Julie again looking into a cave in The Bismark Archipelago, Papua New Guinea. That is a huge and very rare black coral hanging down from the ceiling of the cave.



Julie counts the jelly fish in Jellyfish Lake in Palau in the Western Pacific


The sea is not all danger and mystery. It is full of beauty and grace. This tiny shrimp in his symbiotic and safe home of a Sea Anemone is a perfect example.

Solomon Atoll

solomon-atoll in the chagos-archipelago

Julie Spencer explores Solomon Atoll in The Chagos Archipelago


Finally, we must all return to life above the sea.


We have visited The Carribbean, The Atlantic, The Pacific, The Coral Sea, and the Indian Ocean and as they say, "There is no place like home".

And, remember what Pablo Picasso said about photography, "I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn".

He was a laugh riot, wasn't he?

Thanks so much for visiting this site. Fair winds and follow your bubbles!

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site navigation compass rose Let's Get Back t' the TOP o' This Page wi' ya, Matey Let's Be Gettin' ya Back t' HOME Port, Matey Let's be Movin' On to the Next Port You're not THAT lucky.

A Memoir by Ed Vaughan

25 years of photography, sailing & SCUBA diving around the world.

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If you like any of my photos and would like to own one to display on your wall either at home or business premises, please contact me via this website and I will be happy to assist you with a quotation.

©2017 Ed Vaughan

This website is dedicated to Barry M. Snewin who was my good friend and diving instructor.

Last modified: July 19 2017 13:50:29.