John Christopher Fine

John Christopher Fine

is a marine biologist with two doctoral degrees, has authored 24 books, including award-winning books dealing with ocean pollution. He is a liaison officer of the United Nations Environment Program and the Confederation Mondiale for ocean matters. He is a member of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in honor of his books in the field of education. He has received international recognition for his pioneering work investigating toxic waste contamination of our land and water.

Latest by John Christopher Fine

  • Forty Years of Black Death

    Dr. Nal Oum is the only medical Dr. to survive the Khmer Rouge Holocaust in Cambodia..Photos credit John Christopher Fine 2015

    April 17, 2015 will mark the fortieth anniversary of the Black Death. The Khmer
    Rouge entry into Cambodia’s capitol city of Phnom Penh. The scourge that
    followed will remain a blot on world history forever. Two- perhaps three million
    people were murdered or starved to death by communist criminals inspired by
    their hatred for the United States.

    Americans left Indochina like cowards, tail between their legs. Innocents
    drafted into the war in Vietnam became victim to cheap prostitutes and drugs.
    Soldiers suffered maiming wounds while their commanders lived in luxury mansions
    with fine china, leaded crystal for entertaining. U.S. politicians at home fed
    off the carrion of war. Their pockets lined with contributions from arms, ship,
    aircraft and bomb makers. …

  • Massacre at McCauley Memorial

    The 110' long Canadian built WW II tugboat was sunk as a memorial for Danny McCauley killed in a tragic automobile accident. His parents raised money to acquire and clean the derelict ship and Palm Beach County added funds to establish the reef in 75 feet of water. (John Christopher Fine)

    Danny McCauley was just seventeen years old when the Jeep Wrangler he was
    driving left the road and crashed into a wall and trees off Forest Hill
    Boulevard at the entrance to Okeeheelee Park on February 22, 2012. Danny was
    killed in the accident. One year to the day later his parents and friends saw a
    ship laid down as an artificial reef in his honor in the Atlantic Ocean off
    Palm Beach, Florida.

    The Danny McCauley Memorial Reef is a World War II tug boat that was built in
    Canada in 1944. The vessel had been derelict in the Miami River for 35 years
    before Danny’s parents raised $10,000 and Palm Beach County contributed an
    additional $25,000 to obtain …

  • Men in Black

    Black by definition is “Without any moral light or goodness; evil; wicked;
    caused or marked by ruin or desolation.” Why then are we allowing our police
    officers to wear black. Why do we equip our U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
    agents in black with hob nail black boots. Why do we permit communities to
    organize SWAT teams in black garb.

    These are not questions rather moral imperatives that require correction in a
    democratic society that praises Constitutional safeguards above life itself.
    Patriots died to preserve our liberty. Profiteers pass legislation using that
    name to rape us of those same liberties. These same elected officials
    compromise universal good by enabling legislation that puts weapons of war into
    the hands of municipal …

  • Diving With Sharks

    Scuba Works Dive Shop in Jupiter Florida where Jay and Sandy Cates offer instructional programs and dive trips with Randy Jordan. Myriam Moran copyright 2015

    Randy Jordan was born in Tampa. He didn’t dive until he moved to Miami. In
    1980 he became a scuba instructor and has been diving and teaching diving ever
    since. “I evolved,” he said. He was sitting aboard his 46 foot Burpee dive boat
    moored at the brand new Harbor Side Marina behind a modern shopping mall just
    north of Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida.

    ‘Emerald’ was painted light green. Randy’s logo includes a shamrock. The
    vessel’s bow has a unique imprint. Large jaws appear on both sides of the prow
    above the water line. Sharks are Randy’s hallmark. That and a unique lifestyle
    logging three-tank dives almost every day to the tune of some 600 dives a year.
    Other …

  • Akela Spa Opens in Deadwood

    The Akela Spa Garden is a splendid place to relax. There is a fire pit, two hot tubs and a sauna inside the decorated tipi. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    Deadwood was a pretty rough town in 1875. It was Indian Territory, protected by treaty. The peace was broken when gold was discovered in the Black Hills of the Dakotas. Thousands of miners flocked to the area hoping to strike it rich. What grew rich were service industries that provided tools, opium, prostitutes and other supplies. Winters were harsh. Miners did everything just to stay warm and survive.

    Deadwood legalized gambling in 1989. While Main Street remains its main attraction with old buildings and saloons, the town’s casinos attract lots of headliners to perform and draws visitors that like to gamble. What this thriving community didn’t have was a spa. What it did have was a kangaroo ranch just outside …

  • Underwater Photography: Preventing Backscatter

    Backscatter in underwater photography occurs when particles suspended in the water reflect the strobe’s light. John Christopher Fine copyright 2015

    Digital photography is more forgiving than film. Digital cameras have light gathering abilities and low light capabilities that require less artificial light than film. Computer enhancement techniques can bring out images that otherwise seem buried in darkness. My trusty Made in USA Oceanic underwater strobes sit on a shelf, relegated to antiquity. Their sturdy Electro-Oceanic connectors and cords anachronisms. My Nikonos cameras with optical glass corrected 15 millimeter lenses likewise gather dust. I still have blocks of Kodak Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide film in the refrigerator and that is likely where they will stay until chosen for display by a museum.

    Just as the point-and-shoot camera changed a generation, enabling anyone with a steady hand to take credible pictures, digital …

  • It Could Have Been Fatal

    Shipwrecks offer divers fascination and discovery. Palm Beach County has sunk many derelict vessels as artificial reefs. Attaching organisms and goliath groupers abound and offer fun and discovery. Attention and diver vigilance is necessary so as never to exceed limitations. Environmental awareness is also imperative if there is limited visibility, current, obstructions, fishing gear and lines, fire coral and sharp edges. John Christopher Fine copyright 2014

    I came up from 120-feet. I was enjoying an extended safety stop 20-feet below the surface holding onto thick yellow line the Captain had me tie to a shipwreck below. It was March. The weather in Florida was unseasonably cool. The Atlantic Ocean temperature was in the seventies. Wearing my Pro Mate 7-millimeter wetsuit I felt comfortably warm. With no other chores than to surface, drift away from the large red ball floats at the end of the line and return to ‘Explorer,’ I was in no hurry to return to the dive boat.

    I had an uncomfortable feeling the night before. One of those things some call premonitions. Captain Kevin Metz telephoned me that evening. He said that his …

  • Key Largo, An American Caribbean Adventure

    Dolphins interacting with guest at Dolphins Plus. John Christopher Fine copyright 2015

    “It’s the Caribbean you can drive to. You don’t have to change your currency, you don’t need a passport. This year was the best year for anyone in the Keys. We’ve tapped into a market we’ve never had before. No hurricanes. The Keys are family friendly,” Robert DiGiorgio said. The affable owner of Bayside Grille said it all. In a world of turmoil, when air travel has become an uncivilized hassle, more people are turning to vacations they can drive to without leaving the U.S. Foreign visitors have discovered the America they always dreamed about and Key Largo has become one of the most popular destinations.

    The name will live forever from the classic film ‘Key Largo.’ Humphrey Bogart and …

  • Did You Ever Swim With a Dolphin?

    Dolphins respond to cues in training. Ethan Kleinschmidt is showing young people how dolphins are taught to perform behaviors. Myriam Moran copyright 2015

    Dolphins are protected marine mammals. It is unlawful to capture or injure them in the wild. Among the most intelligent creatures on Earth, dolphins, especially the bottle nose dolphin, are seen by most people to be alluring and adaptable. While it is rare to be able to see them underwater in the wild and encounters are truly special events in the open ocean, programs have been developed that enable human interaction with dolphins.

    One of the oldest dolphin swim programs is Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida. Captured dolphins breed in captivity. In many cases they were owned by trainers before the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed and were considered pre-act animals. Their use in swim programs in protected …

  • Sunsets and Savory Food at Bayside Grille

    Bayside Grille owner Robert DiGiorgio (black shirt) with General Manager John Brehm serving from the open kitchen in the upstairs restaurant. Myriam Moran copyright 2015

    Soft music drifted across the bay. The vocalist sounded every bit as good as Jimmy Buffett. His songs added to the mood of Bayside Grille’s sandy terrace and long pier that juts out into the water. The sun was still yellow as it slowly began its nightly parade. By evening the bay is usually calm and there is no wind. Sailboats rode placidly at their moorings. A distant island was green with trees. Coconut palms on the beach added to the tropical setting. It was not a far away Caribbean island, the setting was off Mile Marker 99.5 in Key Largo, Florida. A place to take time to walk out on the pier at sunset. A wonderful spot to snap …

  • D-Hooker: That’s a Funny Name for a Restaurant

    D-Hooker Restaurant offers fresh fish every day. Myriam Moran copyright 2015

    “D-Hooker.” Restaurant owner Steve Bencomo laughed when he explained it. “There’s a kind of tool fishermen use when a hook is buried deep in a fish’s mouth to get it out. It is like long nosed pliers, called a dehooker.” The restaurant’s red neon sign at Mile Marker 102 along U.S. 1 on the bay side in Key Largo, Florida, certainly arrests the eye. A Mahi Mahi in bright neon relief accentuates the logo. They specialize in locally caught fish.

    “We buy it fresh from fishermen in Key Largo. We get Mahi Mahi, yellowtail snapper and hog fish. We are the only fresh fish restaurant with a sports bar. We have an NFL package so get all the games, all …

  • Red Bone Alley Restaurant

    Red Bone Alley Restaurant was named for the owner’s Red Bone Coon Dog. The red neon sign above the restaurant wags its tail in welcome. Myriam Moran copyright 2015

    The place brings a smile to your face. There’s a big Red Bone Coon dog with wagging tail in red neon outside. The name itself is unusual. “Dale Barth, the owner, named it after his favorite Red Bone Coon dog,” Holly Beaumier said. Holly moved to Florence, South Carolina from Erie, Pennsylvania by way of Taiwan and loves the city. Red Bone Alley is one of her favorite local restaurants.

    We got off I 95 at exit 160 A for Florence. It was mid-way in our journey from New York to Florida. It had snowed in New York and the trip was through pretty dismal and cold weather until we reached South Carolina. Balmy breezes made it comfortable to be …

  • Penmanship … Blot, Blot, Blot

    Penmanship is learned in school. The use of computers has created a cult of sloppy writers. A fine hand and elegant penmanship is a sign of pride. Parker pens have been used for generations. The Parker Blue Diamond pen set in its satin lined box has a lifetime contract with the owner. The pen set was considered the ultimate luxury in its day and is, even today, the ultimate legacy. The new Parker Premium black and gold fountain pen will serve new generations that respect fine writing instruments and use their handwriting to make a statement about who they are. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    When I went to French school ink wells were built into the right corner of student desks. We had handwriting class and were given pens with steel nibs. Thus at a very early age I was taught to form letters in the character of artful European script. My interest was less in penmanship than dipping the long pigtails of the girl that sat in front of me into my inkwell.

    Throughout college and graduate schools my handwriting didn’t improve. It became an almost illegible scrawl as I cribbed notes, writing fast to keep up with my professors’ words of wisdom.

    It was only when I decided to take up the advantage of typing my graduate school examinations, in a room …

  • Florence, South Carolina: Home of the Swamp Fox

    The Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, South Carolina is a traveler’s respite. Their salt water pool and hot tub are welcome. Just off I 95 the hotel is convenient and their home cooked breakfasts and buffets a delight. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    Florence, South Carolina is a modern, progressive city of some 38,000 people. The surrounding Florence County’s population is 138,000 making it a destination that supports culture and the arts, fine dining, museums, convention venues and a revitalized downtown that maintains the flavor of this beautiful city. There are hiking and river paddling trails that venture into majestic wilderness areas of cypress swamps with live oak trees hung with Spanish moss.

    Pee Dee Indians inhabited the land before white settlers began developing agriculture in the region. Rivers made the area a convenient transportation hub. Plantations were started to export cotton, tobacco and rice. By about 1853 railroads converged in Florence creating a center of commerce at their junction. Likely called James …

  • The Art of Cooking Great Seafood

    Devon Restaurant’s interior is modern and comfortable. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    Hershey, Pennsylvania is not near a fishing port. While it would seem an unlikely place to build a restaurant that specializes in seafood, Devon Seafood Grill, on Chocolate Avenue downtown, has established a network of suppliers that fly fresh fish in from around the world. The secret to preparing good seafood is ocean fresh and culinary skill.

    Hershey is the town that chocolate built. Devon is just a driveway away from the Hershey Story. There is Hershey Park, ZooAmerica and world famous The Hotel Hershey all within a stone’s throw of fine dining. Visitors are enthralled by the history of the town built by Milton S. Hershey to support his chocolate factory workers. Hershey turned failure into success and the …

  • Featured Chefs and Fine Cuisine

    The Fountain Lobby in the Hotel Hershey is in the Mediterranean style. Restaurants off the lobby offer different dining experiences. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    Ken Gladysz was born in Pawpaw, Michigan. His parents owned a local bar and restaurant. The area was mostly agricultural, known for fresh fruits and vegetables. He graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in accounting. Summers Ken made good money working for a construction company. As he tells the story his employers bid on and got a contract to do bridge repair in Florida. It was Ken’s first real opportunity to travel so he went to Florida to work on the bridge project. When the company he worked for was terminated he was left with the choice of returning home to the family business or get a job.

    “I had $13 to my name,” Ken Gladysz recalled. He …

  • Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Sweetest Place on Earth

    Milton and Caherine Hershey make a handsome couple. Courtesy Hershey Foundation.

    Born on a farm in central Pennsylvania in 1857, Milton S. Hershey did not seem destined for great things. His father attempted many business ventures. He became estranged from his Mennonite wife and traveled seeking to make a living. Milton’s early childhood saw him in school in Derry Church, then in Lancaster. He never graduated and likely never had more than a fourth grade education. He spoke Pennsylvania Dutch, the popular regional dialect of German and German Swiss, at home. He was apprenticed to the editor of a German language newspaper.

    Fired for dropping his straw hat into the printing press, young Milton was next apprenticed to a candy maker in Lancaster. That he liked. He even set up his …

  • Wall Drug, the Fourth Generation

    There are about 200 billboard signs that proclaim Wall Drug along South Dakota highways. This one mimics the very first sign Dr. Ted Hustead put up at the suggestion of his wife Dorothy in 1936. It offered thirsty travelers free ice water. The tradition continues and coffee is still five cents. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    When South Dakota became a state in 1889, the West was still a vast wilderness. Dakota Territory was a land of rolling prairies, magnificent mountains in the Black Hills and home to many tribal nations that comprised the first peoples of the area. Many homesteaders planted their roots, their hopes and aspirations in the land. The 1875 gold rush into the Black Hills was over, miners left or took jobs with the big, hard rock mining companies that used machinery to extract gold from deep tunnels into the earth. Farmers came from Europe to make their lives in this harsh environment. There were freezing cold winters, floods and droughts, plagues of locusts and hardships. The hardy proved up their claims …

  • Yikes, Snakes

    Reptile Gardens just outside Rapid City, South Dakota. Myriam Moran copyright 2014

    Terry Philip is the snake expert at Reptile Gardens just outside Rapid City, South Dakota. He handles the most dangerous snakes in the world. Two questions he gets asked a lot are: Have you ever been bitten? and What does it feel like? Terry answers yes to the first question. He was once bitten by a rattlesnake. To the second question he explains, “It’s like putting your hand in fire and every time your heart beats it’s like hitting your hand with a hammer to put the fire out.”

    It would at first seem that a place like Reptile Gardens would be more appropriately situated in a tropic environment rather than in South Dakota’s Black Hills. There is a relatively …

  • Merry Christmas, Buy More Chinese Junk

    Nobody is going to war with China. Not even the idiots that advise policy makers in Washington. Military technology U.S. defense contractors sent to China to make into parts has been funneled into Chinese Communist military illegally. But that is not the right word. Legal or illegal means nothing to Chinese Communists. In fact they have no moral scruples. Secret and proprietary information do not exist. Contracts made with them not to steal U.S. military technology are worthless. Try to enforce anything in China, especially with the Communists in power. Enemies will be looking down gun barrels of the mightiest military power in the world. All modernization stolen, compliments of the United States government.

    Now a little lesson in economics. …