Brandi Mueller

The Wild Side of Hawaii

December 08, 2016 - 16:00
The story is found: 
on page 20

The idea of Hawaii conjures up images of blue water, white sand, palm trees and soft breezes. One pictures a calm, easy-going, relaxing sort of place where one can recover from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But if one looks hard enough, there is adventure to be found beyond the sun-soaked beaches and mai tai cocktails, and so I went in search of them on both ends of the island chain that make up the Hawaiian archipelago.

The main Hawaiian Islands, which make up this US state, consist of eight islands stretching from the easternmost island of Hawaii, to the westernmost island of Ni’ihau, with Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai in-between (east to west).

Critters of the Muck

September 21, 2016 - 14:14
The story is found: 
on page 19

You just have to do it to understand it. Until you have experienced it, the name itself does not stir the emotions as much as the other types of diving. Once you have experienced the treasure hunt for yourself, you will be hooked. Marketing specialists would agree that it is probably misnamed and they have even tried to rename it, but nothing has stuck the same way as the coined term “muck diving.”

So, what is muck diving? The term can be used to describe several types of diving but usually involves diving in areas you wouldn’t initially think about diving in.

Indonesia's Komodo Island

July 19, 2016 - 12:37
The story is found: 
on page 10

It was one of those diving vacations where the weather was perfect, the seas were calm, the sun was shining, and the waters were warmer than expected, with good visibility and plenty of life. The boat was beautiful, the crew was fantastic, the food was amazing, the coffee hot and the beer cold. And the diving location was like no other. Let me take you to Komodo.

(I will warn you in advance: This story is about one of “those” trips. It might make you green with envy, but it will definitely make you wish you were there, and will probably have you planning your next dive trip to take place in this magical spot.)

To Shark Dive or Not to Shark Dive

June 21, 2016 - 15:05
The story is found: 
on page 61

It was seven in the morning and my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet. The dive guide was giving me a slightly more thorough dive briefing than normal. I wasn’t supposed to wear anything colorful or shiny, and black gloves and a hood were required. Also covered in black neoprene, he was putting on chainmail gloves and told me he’d have a pole with him. He said it was more for the potato cods though, not the sharks.

Taking a giant stride off the back on the boat, the chill of the water snapped me out of my early-morning haze. Below me, the sharks were already there; at least ten were circling below the boat.

Shark Diving: Tips on Photographing Sharks

April 28, 2016 - 16:57
The story is found: 
on page 63

On one of my recent dive trips, a post-dive dinner conversation turned to the topic of capturing epic shark photographs. A magazine photo editor was in our group, and I wanted to know how photographers got those perfectly lit, very close shots of sharks, which are typically quite shy around divers. He told me shark feeds, or using bait to lure the sharks, is one of the only ways to get sharks close enough for those types of photos.

There are a few places in the world where one can see sharks quite close naturally (without divers changing the natural environment with food), such as the sardine run in South Africa where huge bait balls attract sharks.

Japanese Shipwrecks of Kwajalein Atoll

November 29, 2015 - 22:19
The story is found: 
on page 14

Look at a map of the Pacific Ocean and follow a line southwest of Hawaii. Right after crossing the International Date Line, but just before crossing the equator sits the Republic of the Marshall Islands. What could possibly be a map maker’s accidental green spots in the vast pool of blue representing the Pacific Ocean, many have never heard of these tiny islands which are home to fantastic underwater treasures.

The Marshall Islands consist of 29 atolls with a total land mass around 180 square kilometers (70 sq.

Honduras: Roatán

November 29, 2015 - 22:00
The story is found: 
on page 42

It is 7:30 in the morning and I’m on my personal veranda on a small hill looking out over green trees and beyond them to blue water and a bright orange sun emerging from it. My feet are up on the rail and there’s a cup of coffee in my hand. I snap a photo for Instagram—­­better­than­this. And the day’s diving hasn’t even started yet.

I am at Turquoise Bay Dive Resort and it embraces the meaning of tranquillo like no other. Sitting almost right at the center of the northern edge of Roatán, it’s a pleasure to escape the touristy hustle and bustle of the West End.

Solo Diving

November 15, 2015 - 03:53
The story is found: 
on page 0

I have a confession. I’ve gone solo diving before. (Mom, I’m sorry.) I’ve been a scuba instructor for eleven years, diving since I was 15, and have done over 4,000 dives, I believe sometimes I am more comfortable underwater than I am on land (seriously, fish can be much easier to get along with than people).

There is much controversy on this subject, and as my disclaimer, these are my personal thoughts and experiences directly related to my recent trip with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (MBDE).

Australia's Great Barrier Reef

September 17, 2015 - 18:30
The story is found: 
on page 20

If there was a place that inspired me to become a diver and invoked my passion and love for the ocean, it was Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR). As a kid, I could spend hours watching television specials of this blue, fish-filled world that was so different from the Wisconsin farm town I grew up in.

While flying to Australia on my way to dive the GBR for a week with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions (MBDE), I was reading The Reef by Iain McCalman.

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