Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Dear Mother Ocean/The Seven Seas/The Big Blue,
This letter is long overdue, because in all this time I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to say thank you.
Thanks for all the good times. Thanks for all the good waves.
Thanks for being so enthralling and for captivating me ever since I can remember, for being so full of wonder and living up to all of the hype. Thanks for always keeping a little back to keep me guessing though, wondering what’s still hiding beneath the surface.
Thank you for always being there, wherever I go; you’re always there when I look out of the window in the morning and you’re still there at the end of the day and I find your constant presence comforting. It’s so nice of you to give the sun a place to sleep at night.
Thank you for making the “sea air” and the positive ions that blow on the wind, keeping me cheerful.
Thank you for being so floaty.
Thank you for getting me from A to B so often, for allowing me to get around a bit and see other places.
Thanks for being so accepting, supportive and accommodating, but thanks also for scaring me. Whenever I get a bit too big for my boots you’re always there to put me back in my box and keep me humble. Sometimes you terrify me, other times you bounce me off the bottom, hold me under, pull my limbs in wrong directions and disorientate me, but I know that it’s all for my own good. I have enormous respect for you, more than I can articulate here.
When we have a bad day and don’t quite see eye to eye I know that more often than not it’s the wind’s fault, not yours.
Thanks for making my landings soft.
Thanks for dinner the other night, and for all those other times that you’ve provided me with something to eat.
Cheers for letting me wash in your waves. And for being such a good wake-up, I’d rather you than a cup of coffee any day.
I really like the way you’re always cool on a hot day and, most of the time, not as cold as the air in winter. You’re never as extreme in your temperatures and I really like that. On that note, nice one for regulating global temperatures.
Good work absorbing all of the carbon that humans release, I’m sorry that the job has fallen largely on you to do. I’m sorry too, on behalf of the human race, for all of the plastic. For what it’s worth I try to do my bit to remove the bits that I see from in and around you and I know many others do too.
Thank you for being there when I need a bit of quiet time to sit and reflect, for helping me to find the answers that I seek and not passing judgment on me.
Thanks for always being more interesting to watch than TV.
Thanks for all of the beach treasure, the shells and the seaglass and webbles that you make, the flotsam and jetsam that you carry to shore. Thanks for making sand, even though it fills my pockets and always ends up in my bed. It’s a nice little reminder that I always take away with me.
Thank you for delivering messages in bottles.
Thanks for being such a great horizon.
Thank you for giving me focus, drive and purpose. Thank you for giving me so many good memories.
Thanks for being such a good friend.
I appreciate it all more than you know.
- Quiet Sunday afternoon, Playa Garza, Costa Rica
- Under the sea, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii
- Geographe Bay, WA
- School of baitfish, Hawaii
- Serenity, Sri Lanka
- Playing with the waves, Cabarita, Australia
- Sunset at Playa Guiones, Costa Rica
- The infamous "Neptune at Horta" - better than TV.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
"It's not beyond possibility that warming will actually cause sea-level rises which could threaten the centre of London. The stakes are very high. We know these changes are happening – the evidence is incontrovertible – and if they go on, they will have catastrophic effects on the human race."
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
We were out on the boat to take scientific samples of whale sharks. I was fully aware of the amount of sea life swimming around underneath us but I really wasn’t expecting a humpback whale calf to almost jump into the boat.
Friends who I’d spoken to about looking for waves in this part of East Africa wished me luck then told me to take a good thick book and that I’d probably end up in Tofo snorkeling with whale sharks by day and drinking the local moonshine rum by night.
I hadn’t realized that Tofo is centrally placed on a stretch of coastline that’s world renowned for the high concentration of large marine creatures swimming around under the surface there, although it didn’t take me long to work out after spending ten minutes on the headland looking out to sea. No more than twenty seconds would go by without a whale breaching somewhere out in the vast Indian Ocean leaving spray lingering over the Ocean in the distance.
This was how I ended up on a boat with Dr. Pierce and a group of volunteers from All Out Africa helping to collect samples. We’d jump off the boat and snorkel alongside the whale sharks, through and under the various boatloads of bobbing “ocean safari” tourists and then when we’d left them behind, dive down and use a Hawaiian sling to fire a capped spear into the giant fish, collecting a plug of skin as it was pulled free that could be analysed to determine the fish’s diet, and thus, where in the great blue it had been. Another, sturdier, sling is then use to fire a tag into the whale shark that trails a little sonar tracker which allows it’s movements to be followed by satellite. Underwater photos are taken to identify them as each whale shark’s spotted pattern is unique like a fingerprint and they can be logged into an international database and then tracked long-term by various dive operations around the world.
That was it, nature done for the day I thought. Nature wasn’t done though, as on our way back a family of humpbacks surfaced near us; Mum, Dad and a calf who was keen on showing off. The calf was learning how to breach, the acrobatic jumps, slaps and splashes that mature whales use to display their virility, and came up so close to us at one point that it nearly filled my entire viewfinder on my camera. Once he decided we’d seen enough, the family slowly swam off and then a larger lone, slow and ponderous humpback drifted along. Doc Pierce decided that this whale was mellow and slow enough to allow him to do something he’d never done before and jump overboard with a waterproof movie camera to try and film it as it swum past. I don’t think he expected it to dive under, double back and come check him out a second time. The thing was the size of a bus, one slap of its tail would’ve been the end for the curious Kiwi.
Humpback populations worldwide are back from the brink, having been hunted to the brink of extinction there are now about 80,000 individuals. These humpbacks were visiting the tropics to breed and give birth before returning to the Southern Ocean off Antarctica to feed for the summer months.
This was taken by a real nice Aussie guy called Crewe Dixon, a volunteer with All Out Africa. He was on a dive looking for giant rays, looked up and saw this. Wow.
The Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna are looking for two volunteers to assist with their valuable research in Mozambique, a whale shark research and admin assistant and a manta ray research and admin assistant. Check their facebook page for further details on the positions and how to apply.