Why did you take the marine environments of Cape Cod as a subject?

What is interesting here? What inspired you to create this book? The largest influence in the evolution of Under Cape Cod Waters was a book that has been in my family’s house for 30 years, Shallow Waters written by Bill Sargent. The book follows a full year of marine ecology of Pleasant Bay. Reading about what was going on under the waters just a stones throw from my grandmother’s house was incredibly influential. It woke me up to the fact that there was mystery in the bay, found just below the waterline. I was entranced by the knowledge that all these strange creatures, from microscopic zooplankton to large schools of bluefish, went about their lives, living, reproducing and dying, amidst a world so different from yet intimately tied to our own.

Do you remember your first dive off the Cape? When was it?

My first snorkeling experience took place in Pilgrim Lake, only a few minutes walk from my grandmother’s house on Mayflower Point in Orleans. Even with ill-fitting mask, snorkel, and fins it was an eye-opening experience. I spent hours exploring the lake’s beautiful shallows and was completely waterlogged by the time I dragged myself back to the beach. My memory of the snorkel is fairly keen but the thing I remember most was exiting the water. People were staring at me. The lifeguard on the beach ran up to me and began pointing out a few sluggish-looking blobs on my legs and arms. In the end, I remember the lifeguard counting over 50 leeches stuck to my body, slowly sucking nutrients from me. Needless to say, it took a while for me to get back in to that lake.

Ethan Daniels is the author of Under Cape Cod Waters and was recently featured in AlertDiver Magazine. Books are available at your local independent bookstore, Barnes and Noble and Borders, and on Amazon.com.