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

In the mid 1980's, when all I knew how to do was work, I dreamed of sailing my own boat around the world from California to Spain. I wanted to stop and photograph all the great oceans using my own camera gear, my own SCUBA gear and my own compressor. In a way, I wanted to travel.........

Around the World...Underwater

Part 1 of 2 | Part 2 of 2

sally-underwater-ballet in hawaii


These are some of my first underwater photos


I flew to French Polynesia with my friend Sally in the early '70's.

We stayed in a tiny tent on a public beach where baguettes, cheese and wine were delivered by small truck every morning.

This shot, at left, and the third shot down this page were made in the lagoon on the island of Bora Bora.

Maui, Hawaii

scuba-diving next to submarine wreck 180ft.

A mile off the island of Maui, Hawaii, 180 feet down. 1979.


A U.S. Navy submarine sunk off the coast for emergency ascent training for the U.S. Navy.

It was on this dive, which lasted about 7 minutes, that I made the photo of the Spotted Eagle Rays which you see on the "The Photography" page.

It was a Once In A Lifetime dive and a Once In A Lifetime shot.


I began SCUBA diving and underwater photography long before I learned to sail.



In 1987 I made the decision to quit my job. I was a T.V. Producer


I put my things in storage, untied the dock lines and sailed out to see how far I could go.

As an added challenge, I asssigned myself the goal of photographing the world....underwater. I had no time schedule and no income, so I returned to Los Angeles, by air, several times during the 6 years of sailing and worked to fill the sailing kitty. The kitty was ALWAYS hungry, believe me. By the fourth return no one in Hollywood remembered who I was, so I worked "In the field" which means I did anything I could to earn enough to keep sailing and keep shooting.

Specifically, I sold photographs to sailing and diving magazines and gave talks on finding work in film production in Hollywood. In Durban, South Africa, I directed a short documentary film about the city of Durban. And, in 1990, in The Seychelles, I was hired by the Seychelles governmant, Communist at the time, to produce television shows.

I created and produced two shows for them. One was a morning excercise show and the other was a kids show called "The Story Lady". I worked there for about four months. The shows were very popular. All 3500 TVs were tuned in to them!

waterfall-bay, banks-island


Just before I left on the first trip around the world, in 1987, I was lucky enough to meet Julie Spencer (pictured here) who you will see more of later in these pages.


Julie was an enormous help in the sail around the world. It took 6 years, during which time she helped create almost all the photos that follow. I am so grateful to her.

Here, Julie is standing on shore in Waterfall Bay, Banks Islands. The Banks Islands are just north of Vanuatu in the Central Pacific. The locals call this place "Sasara" which means "On Beautiful Water" in their language. The waterfall is 10 yards from the ocean.

Mas Alegre

yacht-standfast-40ft. blueprint-plan

Mas Alegre is a Standfast 40 designed and built by Franz Maas in Breskens, Holland and is a perfect vessel for a least in my price range.

sailing-to-windward in tonga

Sailing to windward in Tonga.

Angler Fish

angler-fish bonaire central-caribbean

The Angler Fish is probably another Angler Fish.

This one was off the coast of Bonaire in the Central Carribbean.


This is a rare photograph I made years ago in about 100 feet of water off the backside of Catalina Island in Southern California.


It is rare because the fish, a Sculpin, is sitting on a bed of California Purple Coral which is the only coral known to grow in the dark, cold, deep waters off Southern California on the West Coast of the United States.

I have not seen it photographed before, although I'm sure it has been.

Sea Anemone

shrimp-on-sea-anenome martinique caribbean

If you look closely at the center of this photo you will see a tiny shrimp sitting on his friend the Sea Anemone.
If you listen, you might hear him saying, "I'm having a wonderful day!".

This was off the coast of Martinique in the Carribbean.

octopus malibu california

I love octopuses!
When I see an octopus like this one off a sandy bottom in front of Malibu, California
I have respect.
They are smart, fast, and able to change color and texture instantly depending on their surroundings.

Barrel Sponge


I liked the subtle colors and textures of this large barrel sponge, about 18 inches in diameter, growing in the central Carribbean on Bonaire.

tube worm

You are looking straight down the throat of a worm.


This species lives in the sand and eats by putting out this beautiful fanlike device which catches tiny particles of food floating by in the current.
I have never seen one that looks overweight!

Scuba Police

saint-helena island scuba-police

The man in the background is an undercover policeman on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic off the coast of South Africa.


After this dive, he arrested both Julie and me for illegal SCUBA diving! That is, diving with equipment which we did not give to the police upon arrival. He had invited us on this dive.

Our passports were confiscated and we were told we could not leave the anchorage.

We spent the next 48 hours begging to have our passports returned and finally were granted our wish and told to sail out in 24 hours or less. We left in one hour.

Truthfully, "We" didn't go into town and beg for our passports.

Julie went into town and begged and I stayed on the boat. She came back to the boat with our passports and we left imediately. THAT is what I call excellent crew!



Jellyfish Lake

jellyfish lake in palau (belau)

These are the two species of jellyfish that inhabit Jelly Fish Lake


... an inland body of salt water, on the Pacific island of Palau. They are harmless and graceful and you will see more of them on these pages. Their ancestors were dangerously poisonous to touch, but with no predators for millions of years, they have become safe with which to swim.

arrow-crab in martinique

You are being checked out by an Arrow Crab who is hiding behind a large sea anemone offshore near Martinique.



This beautiful plant is not a plant at all.


It is a Gorgonian which is a collection of tiny red corals who all agree to live together to form a structure like this. I believe the idea for the original Condominium came from here. Didn't it?


Our "accomodations" on Bora Bora's only public beach in the 1970's were our tiny tent (right, under the thatched lanai) and a local food truck which arrived every morning to sell us baguettes, cheese and wine for the day.

We stayed for a month.

Sailing Around The World Underwater Page Two.

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 17 2017 13:42:02.