Invocation to Water

I was wondering what to write that coud accompany this invocation to water, by Shaman’s Dream

Many ideas lapped the shore of my mind.  Like waves, all receded back into the great blue.

So I would like to simply invite you to take a break, close your eyes, and let the invocation run through you. Enjoy.

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Sperm Whale Killed by Plastic

The images say it all. Plastic continues to kill. Single use and disposable plastics that we only need for minutes, hours or days, continue to pullute our planet and kill life for hundreds of years after we “dispose” of them.

In the ocean, the whole food chain is eating plastic. From plankton that eats micro plastics, all the way to sea turtles, sea birds and whales.

To solve this problem we need to remember that plastic pollution is not the result of our bad disposal, but the result of our bad  use of plastic at a global scale. A toxic material that is so durable and light should not be used to make disposable objects. Let’s say no to single use bags, containers, bottles, straws, cups, etc. and enjoy glass, metal, ceramic…  Let’s refuse, reduce and reuse, in that order and support legislation taxing or banning disposables.

Please take a minute to thank this amazing being for giving up her life to show us, without judgment, the reality of our disposable culture.

More details on this story at WildThings.

Photo by Dr. Alexandros Frantzis, Scientific Director at the Pelagos Cetacean Reasearch.

 

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Just one thing to say on Earth Day: Thank you!

On Earth Day -and Oceans day- there is just one thing that emanates from my heart: gratitude.

Thank you mother, thank you father, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you.

On this day I would like to humbly offer this ocean version of the ancient Lakota prayer:

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.

All my relations.

I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer.

To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.

To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.

To the water nation, that held me before my birth and makes up for most of my embodied being, I thank you.

To the plant nation, including seaweed and plankton, that sustains my organs and body, and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.

To the animal nation, including fish and all sealife, that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.

To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.

To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.

To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, and to the ocean currents, I thank you.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. None is more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.

Thank you for this Life.

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The beaches of the future will be made out of plastic

 

The title sadly says it all. And the video drives it home.

 

As Manuel Maqueda writes on the video description:

There are millions of tons of plastics present in our oceans, and these are constantly fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces which are scattered throughout the water column and present, in different densities, throughout all the worlds oceans.

Contrary to what many people believe, there are no visible islands of trash anywhere –even if some areas, the gyres, accumulate higher densities of plastic pollution. In actuality, what is happening is much more complex and scary: our oceans are becoming a planetary soup laced with plastic.

To make thing worse, these tiny pieces of plastic are extremely powerful chemical accumulators for organic persistent pollutants present in ambient sea water such as DDE’s and PCB’s. The whole food chain, from filtering invertebrates to marine mammals are eating plastic and /or other animals who have plastic in them. This means that we are. Like the albatrosses on Midway, we carry the garbage patch inside of us.

Cleaning up this mess is not feasible, technically or economically. Even if all the boats in the world were put to the task somehow, the cleanup would not only remove the plastics but also the plankton, which is the base of the food chain, and is responsible for capturing half of the CO2 of our atmosphere and generating half of the oxygen we need to breathe.

But even if this problem was solved too somehow, the amount of plastic that we could capture, at an immense cost, would be a drop in the bucket as compared to the amount that flows into the ocean every day.

No matter how hard we push, in terms of technology or money, the boulder will be rolling back down the hill, throughout eternity, unless we stop putting more plastics into our environment.

The good news is that we can do this. We can do this now. We need to start a social movement that spreads virally and creates a critical mass of concerned citizens who pledge to move away from our disposable habits, and who raise their voice to reject and reverse a throwaway culture that might be profitable, but whose consequences are intolerable.

See the beach where this video was recorded on BlooSee:

 

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The Fascinating World of Underwater Gliders

I found this post on underwater gliders on the BlooSee Blog and thought I would share it here. Enjoy.

An interview with ocean scientist Laura Rubiano-Gómez

Underwater gliders are revolutionizing ocean research, allowing scientist to get more mileage -literally and figuratively- from their scarce research funds.  Ocean scientist Laura Rubiano-Gómez is responsible for the operation, maintenance and deployment of a fleet of underwater gliders, a type of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) used in the acquisition of data for various federally funded research programs.

BlooSee: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Laura Rubiano-Gómez: I first became interested in oceanography while doing an internship in Venice, Italy during college. It was there that I started learning about the importance of studying our oceans. After graduating college with a degree in environmental engineering, I went off to graduate school to study physical oceanography. In graduate school I learned how to use numerical models to study oceanic features like coastal currents, but it wasn’t until I began working at Oregon State University (OSU) that I began working with underwater gliders. I spent three years as a member of OSU’s glider research groupwhere I participated in the planning, deployment, recovery and piloting of our fleet of gliders in support of projects off the coast of Oregon and Chile.

 

What are underwater gliders? What are these being used for?

An underwater glider is a type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that uses small changes in its buoyancy to propel itself forward as it glides through the water. Gliders follow an up-and-down, sawtooth-like profile through the water, providing different types of data depending on the instruments it carries. The most common instruments measure water temperature, salinity (to calculate density), depth, dissolved oxygen, optical backscatter and chlorophyll fluorescence. The instruments on the glider continuously collect data as it glider through the water and transmits it back to the base-station every time it comes to the surface, which is usually about every six hours.

Gliders are currently used all over the world, from the tropics to the poles, to monitor and study the ocean and its changing properties. They are often used to study climate change, to monitor where pollutants are going, to study red tides, hypoxia and other oceanic features such as upwelling events.

“A glider, RU-27, completed the transatlantic journey from New Jersey to the western coast of Spain in 221 days”

What are the main advantages of gliders compared to traditional research methods?

Traditionally, oceanographic data is collected by scientists aboard seagoing vessels. Unfortunately, this method results in a very low rate of data acquisition compared to what it costs to obtain the data. The use of gliders is more advantageous. They provide subsurface data on a larger scale and higher frequency than traditional shipboard techniques at a fraction of the cost, and their ability to gather data is not affected by rough weather.

 

Can you share some interesting facts/examples/achievements pertaining to underwater gliders?

After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico gliders were used to monitor the problem and track the spill.

A couple of years ago a team from Rutgers University led the effort to have a glider cross the Atlantic Ocean. A glider, RU-27, completed the transatlantic journey from New Jersey to the western coast of Spain in 221 days.

Do you think it could be useful to allow people to follow these gliders online, and find out more about them on sites like BlooSee.com?

There are several universities in the US and abroad that have gliders in the water collecting data year-round. It would be great for people interested in what is going on in the ocean to be able to check out the realtime data, and look at how properties like water temperature and salinity change seasonally and across oceans and hemispheres.

Thank you so much Laura, keep up the great work!

-Originally posted on the BlooSee Blog .
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First Photos of a Fish Using Tools

Those of us who spend time communing with the ocean and its creatures know that fish are smarter than people think.

We have seen them gazing at us with curiosity, responding to our gestures –even to our intentions.  We have seen their crafty ways to hide, hunt, and interact with their environment.  There is no question that fish feel, and think. They just don’t seem to care much to show it.

Scott Gardner, a professional diver, was diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef when he discovered a blackspot tuskfish with a clam in its mouth. The fish was banging the clam against a rock trying crack it open. With his camera, Scott snapped the first images ever recorded of a fish using tools.

What other secrets do the ocean and its creatures hold?

 

 

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Filming Great White Sharks in IMAX

I have been a fan of underwater filmmaker Howard Hall for a long time. I regularly check his website and vimeo channel. Today I would like to share this “making of…” video showing Howard Hall’s crew operating an underwater IMAX camera while capturing footage of great white sharks.  The location is the North Neptune Islands in Australia, and the expedition operator is the famed Rodney Fox.

The titles in the video give some shocking facts about what shooting underwater IMAX means. In a sense this ‘advanced’ technology takes camera work back to the early years of filmmaking: cumbersome gear, short and expensive film reels, and little room for mistakes or experimentation. Enjoy!

 

 

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Great White Shark Elevator

One day
horses will live in the taverns
and furious ants
will attack the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cattle.
Another day
we’ll witness the resurrection of dead butterflies,
and still walking in a landscape of gray sponges and silent ships,
we’ll see our ring shine and rose spill from our tongue

Thus spoke Spanish poet Lorca in a dazzling poem from his surrealist period.

But even Lorca’s poetry  didn’t prepare me to witness great white sharks in elevators.

The shark elevator is a device being used by the California-based Marine Conservation Science Institute to bring these formidable and elusive creatures to the surface for study.

This contraption consists of a platform that raises from the water and leaves sharks high and dry for about 15 minutes, allowing scientists to take blood samples, measure the shark, and attach a tracking antenna to its dorsal fin.

The shark elevator is a breakthrough in the study of great white sharks. Here’s a video of  the shark elevator  in action, and below a BlooSee map showing where these studies are being conducted.

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The End of the Line

The film The End of the Line can now be viewed on YouTube in its enterity.

The End of the Line is the world’s first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing. It was premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January  2009.

Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act.

All ocean lovers must watch this film  –and spread it far and wide.

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William Trubridge conquers the impossible dive at Dean’s Blue Hole

Photo:Paolo Valenti

Today, at 11:43am local time in the Bahamas, New Zealander William Trubridge dove 100 meters into Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island with a single breath of air and only his hands and feet to propel him down and up.
This historic depth, also known as one hectometer, was first reached in 1980 (the year of Trubridge’s birth) by Jacques Mayol, famous for being portrayed in the movie “The Big Blue.”  However Mayol used a weighted sled to descend and an inflated lift bag to return to the surface.  Trubridge wore no weight for his attempt (just an Orca wetsuit), and swam underwater breaststroke next to a descent line, which he could use as a guide only.  At 100 meters he collected a tag as proof of depth (the depth is also validated by a Suunto depth gauge he wears on his wrist), before swimming back to the surface.

The dive attempt, called Project Hector, was dedicated to the Hector’s Dolphin.  It is the littlest dolphin in the world, and the only one that is endemic to New Zealand, but the species is threatened with extinction.

At 100 meters the pressure exerted by overhead water crushes Trubridge’s lungs to the size of small grapefruit, and the blood vessels inside them swell with blood in order to stop the lungs from imploding.  The heart slows to 25 beats per minute, and Trubridge has to fight the narcotic effects of pressurized carbon dioxide and nitrogen – the so-called ‘rapture of the deep’ that tempts him towards a fateful sleep.  Using yoga and techniques such as visualization and mental programming Trubridge is able to keep his body going even when the mind is ‘not completely there.’  This depth is more than three times the depth limit for recreational scuba diving, and it would be considered suicidal to go this deep breathing from a normal scuba tank of air.

Four years ago it took me three attempts before I set my first world record freediving without fins.  Since then I have come a long way, both in depth (from 80 to 100 meters), and in my confidence and capacity to perform under pressure.  I needed all of that experience today when I made my third attempt at the historic depth of 100 meters.

Wow!

Dean’s Blue Hole on BlooSee:
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