USIA Dry Suits - Waders - Dry Bags

USIA has been supplying dry suits to our military since 1987 and has earned a reputation for quality and product integrity by listening to customer input and adapting our designs and manufacturing techniques accordingly. We will do our best to do our job right so you will have the equipment you need to do yours.

USIA is serious about the research and development of the equipment we build for our public safety agencies, understanding the need to supply the best product for the job in a timely manner. When necessary, USIA will develop a custom solution to an equipment request where previously a product did not exist.

Whatever your outdoor sport, you demand gear that works as hard as you play. Let’s face it, out in the wild you are routinely exposed to extreme conditions. Given such extremes, you can’t afford an equipment failure. You demand gear that lasts. Simply put, we make the gear you need.

USIA Angels: Finn Nobrega

Dear Tripp, Lori, Mandi and USIA team,

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for what you’ve done for our son.

Finn was diagnosed with progressive infantile scoliosis at 6 months of age. Early treatment is crucial with this
condition and involves having a series of casts for the next 1 to 2 years.

We are a family who spends most of our time off by the water, whether it is at one of the many beaches in our home state of RI or spending time at our favorite lake in NH. In May ‘18, Finn’s first cast was applied and my frantic search to find a drysuit that would fit my 15 month old baby began. That’s when I came across your website and I saw that there were children in customized dry suits made by your amazing team. I first spoke with Tripp who explained to me more in detail about the USIA angels… What your company does for these children is absolutely incredible. You’ve given my son and many other children a sense of normalcy and freedom around water they wouldn’t otherwise have.

I want to thank each and every one of you involved in the making of Finn’s drysuit. We are forever grateful for your generosity, hard work, and beautiful craftsmanship.

With all our love and gratitude,

-The Nobrega Family

We Will Rock You: Amazing Rock Formations in the Ocean


Ask any diver and they will tell you that some of the most amazing places to SCUBA are in and around rock formations at the bottom of the sea. Seamount is the official term, a place where an underwater mountain forms all kinds of caves and inlets and other protected places for life to thrive. These same seamounts are the bane of anglers, magnets for snags and lost lures. Whether they are cursed by fishers or praised by divers, there are many marine rock formations around the world (above the waterline) that are worth mentioning. Some you may know, others you may not. Regardless, what follows are some of the world’s most amazing ocean rock formations.

Old Man of Hoy

If you ever want to visit the first rock on our list, then you might want to start making plans now. The Old Man of Hoy, a 450 foot sea stack is Britain’s tallest. But it might not be for long. The stack, formed by countless years of ocean erosion, already had one of its ‘legs’ partially collapse. Now geologists are saying that a large crack has been spotted running down from the top. Someday the whole stack will fall into the sea.


Ball’s Pyramid

If you are into cryptozoology and ancient lost continents, then the second rock on our list might be just for you. Ball’s Pyramid, an 1,800 foot spire, protrudes from the ocean like a gigantic shark. It is what remains of a massive volcano and lies 19 kilometers from  Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Scientists recently discovered Lord Howe Island stick insects (some of the rarest insects in the world) living on what was once considered a lifeless rock.


Kicker Rock

Our next rock on the list is not technically a rock. It’s composed of highly compacted volcanic ash, which isn’t rock. Consequently, Kicker Rock in the Galapagos is known as a tuff cone. It rises an impressive 500 feet above the water line, but what lies beneath has snorkelers giddy. The rock sits in an area of high tidal exchanges, which brings in big influxes of sea life. Simply put, Kicker Rock is a hotspot for sea life.


Giant’s Causeway

This is probably the most interesting place on this list. The Giant’s Causeway, on the north coast of Northern Ireland, looks for all the world like it was forged by the hand of man. It consists of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, most of which are hexagonal and fit together so intricately that it seems impossible that it occurred naturally.


Haystack Rock

You will instantly recognize it by its shape. A 235 foot stack of hay sitting just off the beach. The world famous Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon, is a tourist attraction and probably one of the most iconic rocks in the world. But did you know the Oregon Coast is home to not one, but TWO haystack rocks? That’s right. Just a 65 miles to the south, in Pacific City, is another monolithic rock shaped like a mound of grass.


Moeraki Boulders

On Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast, you will find some of the most interesting stones in the world. Nature isn’t supposed to make things perfectly round, and these stones aren’t perfect, but they sure look it. Looks like a giant was playing marbles and left his toys laying around. The stones are hugely popular with tourists, for good reason, and are a hit with photographers.


12 Apostles

There might be a little false advertising here. The 12 apostles are actually eight, but who’s counting, anyway, because the sandstone spires climbing 150 feet out of the Southern Ocean, alongside Australia’s famous Great Ocean Road, are nothing less than spectacular.


Villa on Dunbar Rock


If ever there was a place that could be described as a scuba diver’s paradise, this is it. Perched on a private cay off the mainland island of Guanaja, the dive resort gets rave reviews from almost everyone who visits. And for good reason. The place is gorgeous.



Taking Scuba to the Extreme 2: Records Are Falling


Most divers will tell you that going for records isn’t what SCUBA is supposed to be about. Diving is supposed to be a slow, deliberate, even lazy sport. There are some, though, who like to push the envelope, test their limits, and go deeper, further, and faster than anyone else. We call it taking Scuba to the extreme, and though we do not recommend or even condone what some may consider unnecessary risks, some people just feel the need. So let’s just say don’t try this stuff at home (legal requirements).

India: Record set for ‘deepest and fastest scuba cycling undersea’ in the Bay of Bengal
I bet you never knew Scuba Cycling was a thing, huh? Not only is it a thing, it actually is competitive enough to vie for world’s records. Nishant Patel of India became the first Asian recognized by the World Records University to set a record for the ‘Deepest and fastest scuba cycling undersea’ in the Bay of Bengal off Puducherry at a depth of 32.7m (107 feet) in the ocean, cycling a distance of 100m in just 6 minutes 47 seconds.

Success for record Victorian dive attempt
Do you have a dive buddy? Well, these divers have over 350 buddies, and they all got together to set a record that may not be broken for a while. These intrepid Australian divers endured some wild weather and pretty hairy sea conditions to set the world’s record for the longest underwater human chain, which measured more than 270 meters. And in perfect Aussie tradition, they all went to the pub afterwards. When asked why they did it, they said they wanted to show how good diving there is.

Arkansas woman works to set scuba gear world record
Some people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Some make them to be more punctual. Some want to make more money. Not Lindsay Scott. She wanted to do something no one had ever done. When it came to her passions, she knew it had to be something to do with SCUBA and clothing, since she is a fashion model. What did she come up with? A whole new category of record: fastest to put on and take off a wetsuit. Her time: 43.13 seconds. Now try it with all your other SCUBA gear!

New ice dive world record set at Mazinaw Lake
Kevin Brown likes to go where no one else has ever gone. He and his dive team, PTO Exploration, based in Ottawa, travel the world exploring extreme depths in fresh and salt water bodies, and their latest achievement was a record setter. In January of 2018, during a dive at Mazinaw Lake, Brown set the record for deepest ice dive ever documented when he reached 132 meters, 60 meters deeper than the previously held record.

Divers kill 47,000 crown-of-thorns starfish in record-breaking mission
Most starfish are benign little creatures who help to keep their ecosystems balanced. In fact, they are so valuable to their biosphere that when the sea star wasting disease erupted, scientists were frantically trying to find out why and if they could stop it. That goes for most starfish. The Crown of Thorns starfish is different. The spikey little devils just love to eat coral, and that’s a bad thing for an already stressed Great Barrier Reef. Enter Bruce Stobo, who led a group of 25 volunteer divers on a nine-day mission to eradicate as many of the voracious eaters as possible.

The World’s Weirdest Water Rescues

Ask any SAR volunteer of professional: Rescuing a person or animal is no laughing matter. When every second counts, when lives are teetering on the precipice, rescue personnel put their safety on the line and revert to their training in order to persevere. And while every rescue is a serious matter, there are some times when the target of the rescue is, shall we say, not exactly what the emergency personnel had expected. Read further for some of the world’s weirdest water rescues…

Coastguard investigates mysterious underwater light

Imagine the scene: it’s dark and late at night. You are walking along a windswept beach and out of the corner of your eye you spot something. A flash of light. From under the waves! What  could it be? A person drowning? The Coastguard was called and a search crew was scrambled. After an exhausting search, the source of the flashing light was discovered: a cell phone. Geez, I knew smartphones were getting pricey, but that’s ridiculous!

Divers “rescue” inflatable doll from sea

It was an honest mistake. When residents spotted a woman’s body floating in the Red Seas, it was only natural that the sight set off a panic. Local officials were called and a rescue was underway. Only one problem. Their supposed victim wasn’t a woman at all. Well, it was a sort of a woman. What they ended up rescuing was a pleasure doll. You know, wink, wink. Seems somebody has lost their friend. Wonder if the owner ever came forward to claim his (or her) property.

This is amazing. Bunny the brown lab is learning how to swim, and her owner is learning that Bunny can hold her breath. Not only that, she can retrieve things underwater. Here’s Bunny ‘rescuing’ a rubber chicken. Maybe in the future, Bunny will be able to assist actual SAR teams on a real rescue, but for now she has to be content with her toy.

Fisherman Saves Suicidal Jumpers for the 26th Time

Fisherman Renato Grbic has a problem with suicide. No, not his own. You see, his honey hole, the place where he loves to fish the most, is also situated right under a bridge where many locals have gone to end it all. While suicide is definitely not a laughing matter, Grbic has a sense of humor about it after saving the life of his 26th potential suicide victim. “Whatever your disappointment with life, things will get better,” he says. “Don’t do this because you are not just hurting yourself, but your loved ones. You are also scaring my fish!”

Divers’ amazing discovery after wakeboarder loses arm in Bay of Islands; ‘Slipped off’


Conquest of the Mermaids

Photo: Andy Parsons

It’s an invasion, pure and simple. We at USIA blog like to keep tabs on trends, news and events that might affect those who love to play in the water. The Sea Star Wasting disease. The increase in Sea Jelly population. Ocean acidification and sea level rise. Those are all examples of the serious topics we report on. The Conquest of the Mermaids might be the most alarming of them all. Of course we’re joking, but it really seems odd that there are so many people (men and women) who have chosen the way of the siren. Is it that all the kids who were little when The Little Mermaid first came out are now adults seeking their dreams? Is it that weird Animal Planet special Mermaids: The Body Found? Who knows what’s to blame. Fact is, mermaids are here. Want proof? Read on…


Woman Makes Her Living As A Real Life Mermaid

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dinosaur. I would make my arms short and chase the neighborhood cats and I growled and I roared. Then one day my dad said to me, “Son, you’re 18. Stop that Dinosaur crap and grow up!” Well, Melanie Long never had that conversation from her father. No, she didn’t want to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. She wanted to be Disney’s Ariel. She didn’t start out as a mermaid. She started as a diving instructor, a natural fit. The job got her in touch with a children’s charity who were putting on a fundraiser and they needed someone to play the part of a mermaid. After that it was all history.


Dozens Of Hopefuls Brave Cold During Weeki Wachee Mermaid Auditions

Probably when the event was scheduled in early January, the organizers thought, “oh, it’s Florida. It’ll be warm enough for a mermaid tryout.” They didn’t plan on one of the worst cold snaps in years to hit their state. Frigid temps or no, dozens of women braved the cold for the first part of tryouts for the world-famous mermaid squad at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. It is clear from the number of enthusiastic hopefuls that dreaming to be a mermaid is really a thing with girls and women alike (and some men too).


Becoming A Professional Mermaid Helps Woman Overcome Her Self-Esteem Struggles

We might poke a little fun at this whole mermaid dreams thing. However, for some it is a serious endeavor with real world benefits. For Kari Roberts of Hawaii, taking on the persona of a mermaid has allowed her to make some serious strides in her personal development. You might even say that becoming a mermaid is a form of therapy. If it works for you, then good for you.


This Londoner Works As A Professional Mermaid

It’s great work if you can get it. Children’s pool parties. Pirate theme parties. Corporate events. Samantha Smallwood has made a small industry out of mermaiding (I think I coined a term here). Who would have thought the city of London would have enough work for a full time mermaid? But, as it seems, London is a great place to be a mermaid.

Malaysia: 50-yr-old mermaid’s dream comes true

At 51, while most people are planning for retirement, this intrepid soul is embarking on a whole new life. Shureena Ng has dreamed of mermaids ever since she was seven years old. By my count, that means she was bitten by the mermaid bug way before “The Little Mermaid” was released. Still, she was inspired by TV and movies of the time, saying she used to sit by the shore and watch the water, hoping that she would see a mermaid rise from the waves.

Beijing woman dreams to be lifelong mermaid

Liu Yan has been captivated by the sea ever since she was a little girl visiting her aunt in a seaport village in China. As an adult, she worked to obtain certifications for swimming coach and lifeguard. She also earned her CMAS 2 Star Diver certificate issued by the World Underwater Federation after testing skills in first aid, CPR and dealing with underwater issues. All of these skill set the stage for her to land a job as the first mermaid of Beijing Pacific Underwater World.

This Couple Had A Real-Life Mermaid Wedding

Some people just need their wedding to be unique, to make memories that will more than just last a lifetime but inspire and invigorate. Susana and Jovany Zamos have take their passion for the sea just a little bit further than most of us by taking the plunge….literally. It’s not like SCUBA weddings aren’t a thing. It’s just that we have never heard of a Mermaid Wedding yet, so bravo!


Here Comes Scuba Santa

It’s that time of year again. You know, when the days grow shorter and you start seeing your breath. When people’s cheeks are rosy and there’s a sparkle in children’s eyes. It’s a time when we start getting glimpses of our favorite jolly old elf in department stores and on TV commercials. Santa’s big scene. He’s on sweaters and T-shirts. Coffee mugs and greeting cards. And if you are lucky, you’ll even see him in person. But who wants to go to a boring mall and sit on Santa’s lap? How about visiting Santa as he does something a little less traditional? How about seeing a Scuba Santa? Here’s a list of some of the aquatic elf’s appearances:

Scuba-diving Santa swims with the sharks at Norwalk aquarium

On Thursdays and weekends remaining in December, Santa will visit with the sharks at 12:15 and at 2:15 p.m. “to demonstrate that sharks aren’t the blood-thirsty killers of myth,” according to Dave Sigworth, spokesman. Sigworth suggested that folks check “Today’s Events” on its website. to be certain of the schedule.


November 24 – December 31
Daily from 10am – 6pm*

Newport Aquarium invites the public to experience a Cincinnati holiday tradition under the sea Nov. 24 – Dec. 31 at Scuba Santa’s Water Wonderland. Join the fun as Scuba Santa fills his air tank with magic bubbles – and sends them throughout the Aquarium creating an enchanted Water Wonderland. The all-new Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa is a truly wondrous experience where families connect and interact with the magic of an undersea holiday celebration.

Scuba Santa Dives Into the Northland

Santa Claus came all the way from the North Pole and made a stop at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. This is the first year the Aquarium has featured something like this. It’s a community effort, because volunteers from all over the state help make this possible. In order to scuba dive, Santa must have cold water experience. The kids seemed to love it high fiving scuba Santa.

Scuba Santa makes a splash at YVR

Scuba Claus from Vancouver Aquarium made a splash on Dec. 13 as he fed the fish in the big aquarium at the Vancouver Airport’s International Terminal. The Aquarium said Scuba Claus will be back at the airport Dec. 20, where he’ll swim with the creatures and entertain visitors.

Santa Claus and his crew swim with the sharks at Henry Doorly Zoo

The zoo has invited Santa to swim with the sharks for more than 20 years, said Mitch Carl, curator of aquatics. “It’s just really fun for the kids,” he said. “It seems like it grows every year — it’s a pretty popular event.”

Santa Claus makes an early appearance in Somerset

140 people dressed as the man himself braved freezing temperatures for a mass scuba dive in Vobster near Radstock. It’s the 10th year the event has taken place with all the money raised going to charity.

Scuba Claus and his elves dive into the S.C. Aquarium this December

Starting Fri. Dec. 1 you can catch either Scuba Claus or his elves in the aquarium’s Great Tank, diving each day at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with Scuba Claus showing up for weekend shows, and elves appearing on weekdays. In addition to these special dive shows, the aquarium hosts photos with Santa on select Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Santa sightings in San Diego

Over at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, Scuba Santa will be diving in the Giant Kelp Forest tank to swim with the garibaldi, moray eels, and leopard sharks, and wave to girls and boys watching through the glass during the Seas ’n’ Greetings seasonal event. “From December 1 to 31, Birch Aquarium is transformed into a holiday wonderland,” their website promises. But please note: “There will be no holiday dive shows December 24 or 31 and only elves will appear in the dive shows from December 26 to 30 — Scuba Santa needs some rest.”




The Forbidden Dives


Visit any outdoor adventure blog and you’ll find a wealth of articles and posts suggesting all kinds of places to go diving. USIA Blog is no exception. From local treasures where you can dive in warm water even in winter to far flung destinations with exotic underwater sights, if it’s a popular dive locale, it will have a web page devoted to it. However, from time to time here at USIA blog we like to strive for the unusual. Sure, we could tell you about some great dive site where tons of people have already been. Where’s the fun in that? What about some of the lesser known dives? What about the Forbidden Dives?


Diving Dorothea

Divers have been warned, and still they come. In North Wales, UK, a “deep, dark & dangerous” abandoned slate quarry known as Dorothea draws them in like moths to a flame despite an unofficial ban by local training agencies. Maybe it’s the ban that makes them come. Maybe it’s the rawness, the sheer walls and underwater cliff faces, the rusty machinery that was left behind or the flooded petrified forest. The unique atmosphere and depth of Dorothea are what puts her on this list. It’s a place where divers are tempted to push themselves beyond their limits, which makes it a forbidden dive.


USS Arizona

It’s one of America’s most sacred places in the world, and though visitors of the monument can view a small portion of it from topside, most of it still lay under the waves. The USS Arizona is one most restricted dive locations in the United States. And for good reason. It not only is a permanent tomb to the sailors who perished there on December 7, 1941, it also serves as a final resting place for many sailors who died later and chose to be buried at sea with their shipmates. Only a few select individuals get the privilege of diving the Arizona, making it a natural for our forbidden dive list.


Diving the Forbidden Island of Ni’ihau

Back in grade school I knew a girl who was a native of the Hawaiian Islands. She used to mesmerize me with stories of warm breezes and blue waters. One of her favorite tales was about the forbidden island, where only natives get to tread and the “haole” must stay away. That island is Ni‘ihau, and it is true that visitors are not allowed on the island. Not because of some ancient tribal law or anything like that. Ni‘ihau is simply a privately owned island, which makes setting foot on land forbidden. Diving in the waters surrounding the island is permitted, however.


Austria’s Green Lake

Sometimes social media is too powerful. Sometimes a dive locale can become too popular. That’s what happened in Austria with Green Lake. The place was a kind of social media star, a Pinterest Queen, if you will. Divers who visit the popular website know what I mean. Images from the place look like scenes from a dream: lush underwater gardens complete with park benches and meandering walking trails. It’s like Alice in Wonderland underwater.  With visibility up to 150 feet, it was a magical place to dive. Unfortunately that magic drew in too many people. Too much diving meant too much silt and other pollution. Local authorities feared the changes would spoil the natural beauty and banned diving indefinitely.

USIA Now Offers BOGS Dive Boots

USIA is proud to announce, through a long-standing working relationship with BOGS Footwear, we now offer a dive rated BOGS boot for our surface and diving drysuits. These high quality boots are available exclusively through USIA and are specifically designed to be professionally installed on just about any drysuit.

USIA Wader customers already know firsthand the quality and durability of the BOGS brand. Now our SCUBA, rescue, and watersports customers can also enjoy the benefits of BOGS on their drysuits. The footwear company, based in Portland Oregon, is well known for making tough waterproof boots that have a reputation of lasting through many years of punishment. Each BOGS boot is designed with high-quality materials that ensure exceptional protection from the elements. Durable, high-performance rubber seals out water, keeping feet safeguarded in challenging conditions. Neo-Tech™ insulation provides comfortable warmth in temperate to sub-zero climates. Finally, the non-slip rubber outsole offers reliable traction over wet and dry surfaces.
These BOGS Dive Boots are especially made for USIA drysuits. Engineers at both USIA and BOGS have collaborated on the design and, through lengthy research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) perfected what we think is the best dive boot on the market.

USIA BOGS Dive Boots are available to all drysuit manufacturers exclusively through USIA.

Nature Tech: Sea Animals That Inspire Innovation

Tiergarten Schönbrunn

You might have heard about the story of how Velcro was invented. George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, was fascinated at the burrs which kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur when walking in the Alps. Taking a closer look at the mechanics behind the burrs, he developed the famous hook and loop design. And the rest was history. That scenario is played out again and again in the world of technology. It seems nature is the best inventor, and we humans are merely playing catch up. Some of the most intriguing naturally inspired innovations come from sea creatures. Here are just a few:


Scientists Made the Perfect Underwater Glue By Stealing an Idea From Shellfish

Everyone who has ever tried to superglue something that is exposed to the elements knows that water pretty much ruins it. Even the toughest, strongest glues do not stand up to moisture. So how the heck do mussels stay attached to rocks even with strong storm surges crashing on them relentlessly? Scientists recently discovered their secret, and in the process invented probably the toughest glue ever made by man. It’s a bold claim, but the science behind it is irrefutable.

Navy Seals As You’ve Never Seen Them Before: Warships SetTo Use Hi Tech Sensors Based On The Animal’s Whiskers

Could you imagine seeing a navy warship with whiskers attached to the hull? If military researchers have their way, we might just witness such an unlikely sight. As scientists already know, when a tasty fish swims by, a seal can detect its presence by utilizing sensory organs in its whiskers. Not only that, the seal can detect what type of fish it is, where it’s going and how fast. Scientists want this technology for the Navy, and they are reverse engineering seal whiskers to do just that.

Jellyfish Skin Inspires New Encrypted Messaging Materials

Ever seen a jellyfish that can change its coloring to match its environment? That type of biological camouflage is essential for the survival of some species. Soon it may be essential tools for spies and smartphones. Using the stretchy skin, engineers have found a way to make messages disappear permanently. Also, because of the light refraction abilities, the material would work great for reducing glare on smartphone screens. Something tells me that won’t be the end of the innovations from jellyfish skin.

Plankton-Mimicking Robots Reveal Secrets Of How MarineLife Ride Ocean Currents

Red tides are a mystery that science has been pondering for quite some time. How does it form and why? Researchers  at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego decided  they would find out. To do so, they knew they had to mimic nature. More precisely, they knew they had to develop some synthetic plankton, the organisms that make up red tides. And that’s just what they did. By inventing and deploying an army of fake plankton, the scientists have been able to learn much about ocean currents, opening up a whole new realm of ocean exploration.

Solving how fish swim so well may help design underwater robots

MantaDroid, an underwater robot inspired by manta ray fish

Mantis shrimp the muse for camera that may allow better underwater navigation

The Best Commutes Are on the Water

Do you drive to work? Silly question, huh? Most of us are slaves to our cars, stuck in that ever lingering traveler twilight zone hovering somewhere between life and not quite life. It’s a necessary evil, one that literally drives some of us temporarily insane. Sometimes the drive to and from work can be more stressful than the actual job itself. In that case, it may be time to seek alternative forms of transportation. We all dream of escaping the gridlock grind by pressing a button on the dashboard and soaring into the blue in our flying car. Until those are available, the next best thing may be on the water. Here are a few lucky souls who have found their commuter nirvana.


Stressed by the Daily Commute? Try ‘canuting’ – and Travel By Canoe

Well, it seems we have coined a new phrase. “Canuting.” It sounds strange but the end result is nothing short of inspiring. Peter Kimpton used to cycle to work through the hectic London traffic. Now he’s traded in those pedals for a paddle, and his commute couldn’t be any less stressful. He competes with swans, geese, herons, ducks, and coots for space on the river ways instead of with cars and busses. He passes houseboats instead of concrete jungles. Needless to say, his ride to work is the highlight of his day.


The Best Commute Ever

How would you describe one of your typical commutes? Fast-paced? Stressful? How about the way others drive? Aggressive? Even reckless? Think about that for a moment and then take a gander at how Stephen Linaweaver describes his daily commute: “Conditions: sunny and absolutely bluebird. Number of seals spotted: 8. Amount of road rage experienced: none. Number of waves surfed: about five.” You see, Stephen is a San Francisco Bay area professional who has shed car in favor of a kayak, which he steadfastly paddles across the bay each day to work.


Commuting in the Liquid Lane

San Francisco is a great place, but it has nothing on Seattle as far as inventive commuters. Imagine sitting on a boat in Puget Sound and along comes a mature-looking professional gentleman wearing a three-piece suit—riding a jetski! Now imagine that the Sound doesn’t just have one snappily dressed hydro commuter—it has two. At least. Nat Hong and Bob Barrett both ride PWCs to work, and they will never go back. As Hong says, “the long drive didn’t make sense.”


Sailors Smile All The Way To Work / Commuting by Boat Best Way Across Bay

It seems the Bay Area is a popular place for alternative commuting, and if they aren’t doing it by kayak or PWC, they are hitting the waves in their boats. Robert Noyer navigates his Boston Whaler through the busy waterways choked with ferries, tankers and container ships. He says it takes him about 15 minutes to make  the jaunt across the bay, a commute friend of his who make three times more money are jealous of.  “There’s no better feeling than getting on your boat and cruising to work,” Noyer says.

Are Two Heads Better Than One?

Photograph courtesy Christopher Johnston

Should we be concerned? It seems mysterious mutated animal life is cropping up seemingly around every corner, with two headed creatures topping the list of weirdness. Is it radiation from a certain meltdown across the Pacific? Is it pressure from over fishing? Is it something more benign like Mother Nature doing her own form of crazy lab experimentation? Whatever the cause, fishermen and outdoor sports enthusiasts are coming across these genetic wonders with ever increased frequency. It prompts us to ask, are two heads better than one? Read on and you may come to your own conclusion.


Two-Headed Sharks Keep Popping Up—No One Knows Why

You may not have heard this, but sharks with two heads are a thing. Not just special effects in a Hollywood movie, but a real thing. And here’s the real puzzling aspect—two headed sharks are being discovered more and more. So much so that National Geographic ran a story on their website explaining the phenomenon. Not the National Enquirer, but National Geographic. When a reputable publication like that devotes space to a story, you can bet it’s serious. An interesting read, and it delves into some of the suspected causes of such a strange trend.


Rare two-headed sea creature caught by Dutch fishermen

While it may be much more rare that a two-headed shark, this creature is no less intriguing. It’s sometimes a tossup what a fisherman might drag up from the bottom of the ocean, and while some animals might be stranger than others, these fishers reeled in a catch for the books. Quite possibly no one in the world has ever seen a two-headed harbor porpoise. Until now. Researchers are calling it a one in a billion catch.


Two-headed Trout Raises Eyebrows in Idaho

Here’s a real head scratcher. A major mining company in Idaho admitted freely that a recent find of a two-headed trout was directly linked to selenium pollution coming from one of their mines. Then the same company announced that the levels of selenium were safe. Tell that to the trout. Researchers say they find fish with mutations quite frequently—but never with two heads. They say it is a disturbing trend that needs to be watched carefully. Excess selenium has been linked to all kinds of terrible defects in aquatic animals, including missing eyes and protruding brains. Not good.



I included this video because, well, it was plain fun. This picture started circulating around on the internet in late 2016/early 2017. At first there was wild speculation that the little fish was caught in radioactive waters near Chernobyl. However, those claims have never been satisfactorily confirmed. Also, there is no real need to try to confirm this picture’s authenticity. Quite simply, there is no way this photo is real. It doesn’t take an especially trained photoshopper’s eye to spot the digital deception at play here. Just look at the two halves of the fish and see the similarities? They are exact matches. Perfect symmetry, which doesn’t occur in nature. Fake.

Shipwreck Food & Drink: Still Edible After All These Years

Lars Einarsson/Kalmar County Museum

Divers are renowned for finding strange things at the bottom of the sea. From ancient machinery to mysterious underwater structures to new and exciting species, we can be in the middle of it all. However, some of the most interesting discoveries have to do with so-called perishable items. While stone and metal can last for centuries, food is not supposed to stand up to the test of time. Or is it? I’m not talking about Twinkies, here. I mean real food that real people ate centuries ago. Food that is still edible today. Take a look…


170-Year-Old Shipwreck Beer Smells Gross

Ever seen those “Born On” dates on beer bottles? Can you imagine one that says “Born in the 19th Century?” That’s what divers found when they discovered a nearly 200 year old shipwreck off the coast of Finland’s Adland Islands. Maybe the bottle didn’t say exactly what date it was made, but the 150 bottle of brew contained enough of their original contents that researchers could tell that the beer once tasted much like the modern stuff. After so long under the sea, some water seeped in, creating an overall unpleasant smell, yet the brew was still technically drinkable.


170-Year-Old Champagne Recovered from the Bottom of the Sea

The divers who discovered the preserved beer in Finland also found some pretty incredible wine. Sparkling wine, as a matter of fact. 168 bottles of the ancient bubbly was found, and more incredible than that, the libation was actually well preserved. In fact, researchers were amazed to find the champagne so well preserved while resting at a depth of more than 160 feet. The wine had a leathery, flowery taste, and had remarkable low acidic levels. Since the discovery, many winemakers have begun experimenting with aging wine underwater.


Divers Discover 340-Year-Old Dairy Product in Shipwreck

Usually milk will last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Cheese a little longer. But not much more than that. Can you imagine some cheese from 340 years ago actually still within its sell by date? That’s what researchers found in 1980 with the Swedish royal vessel Kronan. The warship had been sitting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea since 1676, and ever since researchers found it, relics have been turning up regularly. Then one day divers found a black tin can. When they opened it, the smell hit them. Cheese from the 1600s that’s still edible? Pass the crackers!


Divers discover 2,000-year-old Roman shipwreck that is so well preserved even the FOOD is intact

Modern day canners and food preservers could learn a thing or two from ancient Rome. We know this from the wreck found off the Italian coast. Resting in about 200 feet of water, the shipwreck had been mystifying local fishermen for years as they kept reeling in clay pot fragments. When divers finally found the wreck, they realized it contained over 200 amphora which were well sealed. So well sealed that researchers believe much of the food inside is still intact. Pickled fish for making oil, grain, wine and oil are all believed to be on the wreck.