Many years ago, when I was at university, I became a certified scuba diver. To be totally honest, it was never something I'd particularly wanted to do but my travel agent talked me into it. Little did I know it at the time but this chance decision would change everything. I remember seeing shark silhouettes swimming above me on my first ever night dive and thinking "This is incredible." This, I think, was the moment I got bitten by the ocean bug (thankfully, not literally!) and I believe is now the reason I'm lucky enough to call myself an ocean writer.
If you've landed on this page, you've probably seen the highlights of my portfolio and are interested in more examples of my work as an ocean writer. So, here you go. These are a few of my favourite articles I've written about our wonderful blue planet...
Crittercams - National Geographic
I love the weird rabbit holes my writing takes me down. In this piece, I heard how researchers attached Crittercams to manta rays and filmed the species' deepest recorded courtship train.
Bioluminescent sea cucumbers - New Scientist
Think it's totally dark at the bottom of the ocean? Think again... Researchers discovered 10 species of sea cucumber can emit light and there may be 200 more bioluminescent species down there. So cool how we're always learning about the underwater world.
Courtship vortex - National Geographic
It always seems to come back to sex, doesn't it?! As an ocean writer, lots of my articles cover cool things we've learned about animals getting jiggy underwater. And this story was no different. In this Nat Geo article, I was excited to write about the first description of a mesmerising 'courtship vortex' in devil rays (although the section on 'piggyback leaping' was rather, um, disturbing...!)
A wildlife first - National Geographic
Writing about wildlife firsts is always exciting - and that's exactly why I loved working on this story for National Geographic about the team at MMF tagging smalleye stingrays in the wild. Very, very cool!
Kelping - National Geographic
I must admit this was a really fun one to write. For Nat Geo, I wrote about the 'kelping' phenomenon - when whales wear seaweed like a hat - how it's more common than previously thought and what might really be going on.
Phantom jellyfish - National Geographic
I hate the cold so am often drawn to tropical climates. But there's also fascinating work going on in the polar regions. Again for Nat Geo, I was excited to cover the rare sighting of a giant phantom jellyfish and how tourism is impacting scientific discoveries.
Pregnant manta rays - National Geographic
I love how new scientific and technological developments are helping us push conservation efforts forward. A great example of this was my Nat Geo article on the Manta Trust's study whiched used contactless ultrasound scanners to more accurately determine pregnancy and maturity in manta rays. The paper confirms scientists have been underestimating the number of mature females in the population, meaning they're more vulnerable than we previously thought.
Kelp restoration - the Guardian
This article was a particularly special one for me. Not only was it the first time I had a commission with the Guardian (hopefully not the only time - let's see how I get on with future pitches!) but, after the piece went out, Steve's project was flooded with support (and about £10k in crowdfunding donations). Such a wonderful reminder that storytelling is SUCH an important part of conservation projects. Plus, it was super interesting to learn about and write, of course!
Nurdle hunters - the Guardian
Sure, you're doing your bit by recycling but what about the plastic pollution being poured into the ocean BEFORE plastic is even made into any products? I wrote about nurdle pollution for The Guardian.
Red handfish rescue - BBC Wildlife
The critically endangered red handfish is a peculiar species so it was really fun to learn more about the operation to 'rescue' 25 of them from the wild to protect them from upcoming marine heatwaves. By debut byline for BBC Wildlife.
Bottom feeding whale sharks - New Scientist
It's amazing that 'regular people' can help scientists discover new things about elusive animals in our ocean. A great is example is in this piece I wrote for New Scientist - a tourism guide spotted some unusual behaviour in a whale shark and managed to get it on film. It was the first time we've ever seen whale sharks (which usually nom on plankton in the water column) feeding from the bottom. Wow!
Hot fish - New Scientist
Changing everything we thought we knew about basking sharks... they might actually be warm blooded! Love that I get to geek out on crazy discoveries like this for New Scientist and call it work.
Sharks on strange shores - Sunday Times
Scientists were amazed when not one but three smalltooth sand tiger sharks washed up on the UK & Irish coastline. For the Sunday Times, I talked to scientists to find out what might have brought this rare species to our shores.
Crown-of-Thorns - Nat Geo
Crown-of-Thorns starfish are stunning... but outbreaks can pose a huge threat to coral reefs. For Nat Geo, I explored the problems of these thorny predators and potential solutions.
Shark buddies - Nat Geo
When two juvenile sharks swam together for 4,000 miles, scientists started wondering what could be going on. Might they be... friends? No, say researchers, but in this Nat Geo article they filled me in on why this finding is so exciting.
Unusual mortality events - Nat Geo
What's going on with mass whale strandings? Could it be anything to do with offshore wind? I spoke to some scientists to find out for Nat Geo.
Isle of Lewis strandings - Guardian
This was a really tough one to write but I hope it raises awareness of the amazing efforts of the BDMLR volunteers in Scotland who battled against the clock to save 55 stranded pilot whales.
Corals in hot water - Nat Geo
It's no secret that corals don't love hot waters. So what happens when the ocean creeps closer to the temperatures found in a hot tub? When the El Niño was confirmed for 2023, I spoke to some experts to find out for Nat Geo.
Bite force - National Geographic
For this Nat Geo article, I covered attempts to record tiger sharks' bite force and mako sharks' speed. Plus, the article looks at why it's so important for us to learn more about these incredible predators.
Paternal care - National Geographic
This article the first time I covered a new scientific paper for Nat Geo after the lead author approached me with their findings. And the study was super interesting: shedding new light onto the paternal care of bigfin reef squid.
Dolphin friendships - VICE
it's amazing how much we're still learning about the ocean. A while back, scientists discovered that bottlenose dolphins can recognise their friends through the taste of their urine. I found this a fascinating paper to write about for VICE. And, no, I'm not taking the p***!
Shark mortality - Live Science
Writing about the ocean isn't always enjoying learning cool things about fascinating animals. Sometimes (/often) we have to cover the dark / depressing side of the conservation picture. Like this piece I wrote for Live Science about a new study revealing shark mortality from fishing went UP despite anti-finning legislation. But I believe it is important to keep sharing these stories so we can inspire action.
Dorado octopus - New Scientist
I love how much we're STILL discovering about the deep sea. For New Scientist, I covered the new discovery of at least four octopus species - so cool!
Stranded sperm whales - Inkcap Journal
When you think of marine conservation, you might conjour up an image of warm waters lapping white sandy shores. But it can take place at any time and in all weathers. As a trained marine mammal medic, I was intrigued by this account of a sperm whale stranding one Christmas Eve in the UK. I covered the story for Inkcap Journal.
Basking sharks - National Geographic
Their scientific name might mean something along the lines of “great-nosed sea monster” but basking sharks are harmless to humans and face significant threats from us. I really enjoyed writing about these placid sharks for Nat Geo.
Squid - National Geographic
For many people, there's a reason why squid inspired the legends of terrifying sea creatures that caused ships to vanish without a trace Personally, I think they're kinda cool. So this reference piece was another fun opportunity for me to geek out for Nat Geo.
Thresher sharks - National Geographic
Have you ever seen a thresher shark? No? OK, well imagine you asked a toddler to draw a cartoon of a shy, slightly anxious shark with a REALLY long tail (nope, a bit longer than that) and you're pretty much there. You can probably tell that I loved writing about this fascinating species for this Nat Geo reference piece.
Heat resistant corals - Independent
Firstly, corals ARE animals (not plants or rocks). When I can't go diving to see coral reefs in real life, I love to write about them. This was an interesting piece looking at how heat resistant corals could help coral reefs in the face of a warming ocean.
Whale myths - National Geographic
Ever wondered what's in that spout that comes out of a whales' blowhole when the come to the surface? 🐳 It's not (just) water... This was one of my early articles for Nat Geo but still one I'm really fond of.
Swallowed by a whale - National Geographic
Throwback to my first ever article with Nat Geo. Basically, I got really cross about a story going viral at the time where a fisherman had allegedly been swallowed by a humpback whale. Spoiler: he somehow ended up in its mouth, sure, but he wasn't 'swallowed'. So I chatted to a few scientists to get the lowdown on whether a whale could ever swallow a human. Enjoy!
Stranded whales - Footprint magazine
Do you know what you'd do if you came across a stranded whale, dolphin or porpoise? Your action could save their life. But, remember, trying to put it back in the water could do more harm than good. I walked Footprint magazine through what you should do...
Greenland shark - National Geographic
Finding out the meaning behind an animals' scientific name is one of my favourite parts of writing about the ocean. "Sleepy small head" is no exception, which is just one of the many reasons I enjoyed writing this reference piece about the Greenland shark.
Marine life rescue - Reader's Digest
"What would I do if I found a stranded porpoise, dolphin or whale on my beach walk?", you ask? Wonder no more...! Here are some top tips I wrote for Reader's Digest on what you should - and shouldn't! - do.
The pandemic and the ocean - Scuba Diving
For scuba diving, I explored the ways in which the pandemic helped the ocean. The question, now, is whether we learned from that time and moved forward in the right way.
Cuttlefish - National Geographic
Have you ever heard of the marshmallow test? Basically, it's a way of testing if you can show self-control (by offering you one marshmallow now or more if you can wait until later). Now, I'm not sure I'd always pass the marshmallow test so it's pretty impressive that cuttlefish will skip a snack if they know researchers will reward them with their favourite treat if they wait. Another really interesting subject for my Nat Geo reference piece on cuttlefish.
Beached whales - National Geographic
If you've ever wondered why a whale might become beached, check out my piece for Nat Geo exploring the many different reasons a whale might find itself where it's not supposed to be... on land.
Returning to travel - Fodors
The relationship between tourism and conservation is a complex one. Unmanaged tourism can have a hugely negative impact on ecosystems and communities - but what benefits does tourism bring? I had a think about this a while back for Fodors - I hope you find it interesting!
Protecting coral reefs - Ecophiles
For Ecophiles, I wrote a piece explaining the simple ways you can protect coral reefs when scuba diving or snorkelling.
Leaky shipwrecks - the Daily Beast
What's the scariest thing you can think of under the sea? Sharks? Sea monsters? Haunted pirate ships?! How about slowly degrading WWII shipwrecks that could be on the brink of leaking oil and devastating the ocean ecosystem? I wrote about these ticking time bombs a while back for the Daily Beast.
Fluorescence diving - Diver
If you can imagine the wild bright colours and UV-vibe of a rave, add a dash of Avatar and then put that whole picture underwater at night, you've got a pretty good idea of what it's like to go on a fluo dive. If this sounds utterly bonkers and you can't imagine it at all, check out my Diver magazine article about going on a fluo dive in Madagascar.
World's first triple-amputee Rescue Diver - Diver
“I’m down in a black wetsuit”. I’m four foot six because I’ve got no legs on. I look like a seal. Well, what do sharks eat? Seals. That’s what’s going through my head.” What a great opening quote from Josh Boggi who I interviewed back in 2019 when he became the world’s first triple-amputee Rescue Diver. The rest of the article doesn't disappoint either - enjoy!
Shocking finding - New Scientist
In a scientific first, researchers were able to induce gene transfer using all natural organisms for the first time. For New Scientist, I covered this study where researchers used electric eel electricity to successfully transfer a fluorescent marker into zebrafish larvae.
Mega pregnancy - New Scientist
Megamouth sharks are an incredibly rare deep sea species. So, it was a huge surprise when a female pregnant with seven pups washed up in the Philippines - the first recorded pregnancy in the species. I covered the discovery for New Scientist.
Jet propelled midwives - Diver
If the headline 'Meet the jet propelled midwives' isn't enough to intrigue you to read my old Diver article from 2019, I don't know what is!
Freediving with sharks - Sidetracked
The cool thing about my work is that I get to chat to cool conservationists doing exciting things like freediving with sharks, which is exactly what I did for this Sidetracked magazine article.
Whale sharks and rays - The Daily Beast
In this Daily Beast article, I talked about one of the many reasons I love Mozambique: its epic wildlife.
Queen of Mantas - World Footprint
I've admired MMF's Andrea Marshall since I met her back in 2018 - if you haven't heard of Andrea, check out the documentary 'Queen of Mantas' to find out more about her incredible work to protect manta rays. Or have a cheeky read of this article I wrote about her work a while back...
Ocean Guardians - Adventure.com
Meet the Ocean Guardians: the amazing instructors giving life-saving swimming lessons in Mozambique. Another piece from the archives and makes me miss that amazing year (almost) when I was based in Moz and volunteering with MMF.
Whale shark tourism - World Footprints
For World Footprints, I wrote about how to travel sustainably and follow the Code of Conduct for responsible interactions when visiting countries to see iconic or endangered species like Madagascar's whale sharks.
Where the whale sharks are - Diver
Back in 2018, I wrote this piece exploring where the whale sharks are and how one woman is dedicating her life to protecting them. Fast forward to today and I'm still protecting the Madagascar Whale Shark Project Foundation (and Stella is still smashing it with her conservation work).
Shark freediving - Diver
Let's be honest, sharks can get a pretty bad rap. So it's always cool to hear about people like Lukas, who I wrote about for Diver magazine, who are working to protect these magnificent creatures.
Whale sharks - Ecophiles
For Ecophiles, I pulled together a roundup of fun facts about the world's biggest fish: the whale shark.
Zebra sharks - National Geographic
Zebras are cool. Sharks are cooler. So zebra sharks are doubly cool, right? I'm not going to say these are my favourite type of shark (for once - I mean, they're no thresher shark! 😉 ) BUT I did really enjoy writing this Nat Geo reference piece all the same. I hope you find it interesting to read too.
Conservation in Mozambique - Family Traveller
People often ask how I got into marine conservation and I usually say "I couldn't help myself". But it also involved quitting my job and relocating to Mozambique for a bit. I wrote about it for Family Traveller.
Mantis shrimp - National Geographic
It's not a peacock, a preying mantis OR a shrimp... so what the devil is a peacock mantis shrimp? Get ready to be clobbered with some fun ocean facts in another of my Nat Geo reference pieces.
Whale sharks - Oceanographic
For Oceanographic, I wrote up an interview with the Madagascar Whale Shark Project Foundation's Stella Diamant about her important conservation work.
Galapagos whale sharks - Oceanographic
Again for Oceanographic, I covered the mysteries of pregnancy in the world's largest fish.
Whale sharks - Ecophiles
If you're ever lucky enough to swim with a whale shark, please make sure it's a responsible encounter by following the whale shark Code of Conduct. I interviewed Madagascar Whale Shark's Stelle Diamant for Ecophiles to get more details on what you should and shouldn't do as a responsible tourist.
Tobago - Diver
Is the diving in Tobago better on the East side than the West side? The only way to find out... dive both! I wrote a review of the island's underwater world for Diver magazine.
Japan - Diver
If I told you I did some great scuba dives in Japan, you'd probably assume I'd visited Okinawa (right?). But did you know there are some great critters to be found off the coast of mainland Japan? I visited Wakayama to check out its macro delights and wrote a destination review for Diver magazine.
Malapascua, Philippines - Diver
I've never been a fan of an early morning BUT if there's a chance of shark sightings before breakfast, you can probably persuade me! That's exactly what I was lucky enough to experience in Malapascua, the Philippines, which I wrote about for Diver magazine. And I still remember those dives vividly today.
Black eyes - Diver
"Isn't it dangerous?" is a question I get a lot when people find out I'm a scuba diver. Yes, it has its risks (but that's why we learn what to do in case something goes wrong). When there have been mishaps underwater, the instructors' responses have always made me feel safer - if you're with a good dive shop, their dive professionals really know what they're doing! But there wasn't much I could do when I accidentally gave myself a double black eye while diving in the Caribbean. I wrote about it for Diver magazine.
Dolphins and manatees - Live Science
For Live Science, I covered a new study which documented dolphins acting 'like jerks' and attacking baby manatees. Yikes.
The Meg - Live Science
A new study suggested that the Meg may have been more slender than scientists previously thought and might not look like a mega great white. Could this be true? I looked into it for Live Science.
Baby shark - Live Science
In what's been described as one of the holy grails of shark science, researchers think they've finally seen a newborn great white for the first time. And I got to dive into it for Live Science.
New isopod - Live Science
Deep sea explorers discovered a weird new roly poly bug. It was white and see-through so they could even see its guts through its body. I love covering the deep sea so this was a fun one to write for Live Science.
Protecting coral reefs - Earth.org
I wrote this piece for Earth.org, about how effective conservation and management measures can help protect coral reefs from the threats they face globally.
Mission 2020 - Earth.org
In this article, I explored Mission 2020 and how organisations around the world are rallying against the plastic pollution crisis.
The bends at Aliwal Shoal - Diver
My first ever published article was all about sharks, seasickness and the bends in South Africa - it even made the magazine's front cover!
Alternative livelihoods - Curiosity
For Curiosity magazine, I looked at how alternative livelihoods to fishing are helping both marine life and local communities in Mozambique.
Whale sharks - Fodors
In this article for Fodors, I shared a roundup of destinations around the world where you can see endangered whale sharks.
Mafia Island - Ecophiles
In this travel piece for Ecophiles, I highlighted the great things you can do on Mafia Island, Tanzania - including swimming with whale sharks and scuba diving.
Sharks - AFAR
In this piece for AFAR, I spoke to a range of scientists for their tips on the best places around the world where you can see sharks (responsibly).
Tofo, Mozambique - Lonely Planet
In this travel article for Lonely Planet, I wrote a guide on all the things to see and do in Tofo Beach, Mozambique.
Artificial reefs - Ecophiles
In this piece, I wrote a roundup of interesting artificial reefs that divers and snorkellers can visit.
Helping sharks - Ecophiles
Ever wondered how you can help sharks? I shared a few ways in this article where I interviewed a bunch of shark scientists for Ecophiles.
Protecting the ocean - Ecophiles
As a scuba diver, I'm passionate about protecting the ocean. But you don't need to be a diver to make a difference. In this article, I share a few ways you can make a difference even if you're not a diver.
Diving and conservation - Ecophiles
I wrote an article for Ecophiles about the pristine dive spots which are focused on protecting the marine ecosystem.
CSI of the Sea - Fodors
Meet the CSI of the Sea in this article I wrote about the guy trying to solve a string of mysterious deaths off the coast of the UK...