Archive for December, 2007

Anti-sea-lion brutality


From the 2007 Quote of the Year

Whales in season

Tom Dexel of the Santa Cruz Rowing Club rows nearshore with a big blue buddy.   Right now the grey whale migration is taking place down the California coast.  We tried our luck, but had no joy trying to spot them from the cliffs of Davenport.

The pirates of the River Mersey


BRITAIN has suffered its first PIRATE attack in nearly 200 years — on the Mersey in Liverpool.

A cargo ship was boarded by two Scousers disguised as deck hands.

But they left with nothing after crew rumbled the pair and chased them off.

The ship’s foreign owner reported the raid to the International Chamber of Commerce’s Maritime Bureau. 

Officials logged it as an “attempted pirate attack”, making it the first recorded incident to hit our coastline since the 1820s.

It means Britain joins notorious piracy hotspots around the world on the ICC’s map of 2007 attacks.

The Liverpool raid — among 110 across the globe this year — was rumbled when the moored ship’s lookout officer saw two men acting suspiciously on the dockside.

When the pair tried to board they were confronted and asked for ID. After failing to produce any, they made off down the gangplank. One was arrested, but his partner escaped.

An ICC source said: “The last real act of piracy on Britain’s shores was so long ago that records are very sketchy.

“In the heyday of piracy — during the late 1700s and early 1800s — it was known for merchant ships to be attacked by particularly daring brigands. But I doubt if anyone would have tried what these two chaps did at that time in history given the reputation of our Royal Navy back then.

 “If a pirate was caught there was very little mercy shown.” The source added: “These guys were hardly from the Captain Blackbeard school of piracy — in fact they were more like Captain Pugwash. They were dressed up as stevedores — deck hands — but the disguises weren’t great and they got rumbled before they’d barely set foot on deck.

Full story via Fark

World’s largest over-water zipline in Haiti

Too much fun.  Via Spluch.

Topless cruising?


Tired of all those dressy evenings on cruise ships? How about a cruise where you don’t have to get dressed at all?

It’s called nude cruising, and it’s alive and well, with clothing-optional tour organizers such as Bare Necessities and Castaways Travel offering quite a few cruise departures for 2008 (as in the past, the firms have chartered mainstream cruise ships to offer the trips).

Why bring this up? Because several of you, dear readers, want to know. I’ve gotten several emails not just about clothing-optional cruises, which still are relatively few and far between, but the general state of topless decks on the ships run by mainstream cruise lines. Readers Terry and Jodi Deer of Stillwater, Okla., for instance, want to know if any line has taken the place of Carnival, which touted topless decks on its ships for years but has phased them out in favor of mini-golf courses and other recreation.

Full story

 Personally, I wouldn’t want to do that and risk being mistaken for a marine mammal. 

Today’s mermaid: 700th post!


Bianca Beauchamp, last seen at NSL atop a kayak, returns as a mermaid for our 700th post.  You might also enjoy Post 200 and Post 500.  Cheers!

Cows on the beach


Today’s mermaids


The Marlins are the first team in Major League Baseball to have a dance/cheer team: The Marlins Mermaids. Debuting in 2003, the “Marlin Mermaids” gained national exposure and have influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.

At least there are a few things left to admire about MLB.



Weeki Wachee mermaids on the state payroll?


Weeki Wachee, Florida – Mermaids have mesmerized tourists at Weeki Wachee Springs for sixty years. And now, those females with tails could soon be on the state payroll.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the attraction are in serious discussions about turning Weeki Wachee Springs into a State Park. On Tuesday, the Florida cabinet was briefed on a letter of intent which outlines the potential takeover. But attraction marketing director John Athanason says there’s still a lot of work to do. “It’s far from a done deal,” Athanason said. “We now need to hash out a lot of the details.”

Over the years everything has not gone swimmingly for Weeki Wachee. It’s suffered financially and has been embroiled in litigation with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, commonly known as Swiftmud, so state involvement could help ensure the attraction’s survival.

Swiftmud owns the property that the attraction leases, so the water management district has a big say in what goes on there. A spokesman says the agency hopes to end some four years of legal wrangling with the attraction and  state involvement could be a step in that direction.

Hernando County also wants a say in the attraction’s future. On Tuesday, commissioners directed the county administrator to contact Swiftmud and explore entering the court-ordered mediation process. “I think what’s important is that we be included in the talks right now,” said Commissioner Diane Rowden.

With so many parties involved and so many details yet to be agreed upon, the future of Weeki Wachee is not as clear as its spring water.

For more information on Weeki Wachee Springs, click on the following link:

source with video, via Fark

Grassroots Kaua’i: manufacturing an outrigger canoe

A handmade koa canoe, believed to be the first constructed on Kaua’i in nearly two centuries, has set sail after a fervent four months of labor by a group of native Hawaiians and some expert canoe builders from Ifilik, an atoll in Micronesia.

The idea came from Santos Wichimai of Anahola, an expert canoe builder who missed his home island of Ifilik and wanted to share its culture with Kauaians.

Three men from the Micronesian atoll came to Kauai to work on the project, and once a full group was assembled, they passed up power tools, constructing handmade adzes to remove the bark and gouge away at the wood. Following ancient Polynesian practice, they used their fingers, hands, arms, feet and legs for measurement. String made from coconut husks helped hold the craft together.

And after months of six-days-a-week work, the job was done, and the 16-foot-long outrigger canoe was launched at Hanalei Bay.

It’s the first handmade koa canoe built here since the death of King Kaumuali’i in 1824 and thanks to Rachel Pa we had the honor to take a ride with.

The canoe being built in this short documentary is the second one and it won’t be the last…

Joost: Boats on TV


Joost is a new free video-over-IP service now available in beta.  You need to download their free player application, which works as a peer-to-peer client, which is good for on-demand bandwidth, though some might worry about the security issues.  The thousands of available shows are organized into “channels”, and I’ve been having fun working my way through the shows on “Boats on TV”.  There are hundred of other channels as well.

Links:  Joost home, Boats on TV channel

Shows available at present:

  • Into the Eye of the Storm (Sydney-Hobart Race)
  • Bang the Corner (Volvo around-the-world)
  • Rolex TP52 World Championship
  • The Record Stands
  • Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
  • Sardinia Rolex Cup
  • Sailing in St Maarten
  • Scott’s Knots
  • The Life of Brunel
  • Multihulls To Mexico
  • Spinnaker Sailing
  • The Basics of Boating

Kailua Kanu

Here’s one I managed to miss last year when I was looking for a car-topable non-kayak that would be easier to launch and manage single handed than my Norseboat and to explore some areas that do not have ramps.  Kailua Kanu in Kailua, Hawaii, makes a nice sixteen footer that weighs only 80 lbs and costs only $3800.  It even has an available sail kit! 

The pictures are caps from the flash movie on the site’s homepage, which otherwise go by too fast to see.  Looks like a good choice if you don’t have the time to build an Ulua!

Today’s mermaid


Because nothing says “cabana boy” like matching cabana shorts.

Captain Kidd’s ship discovered?


Divers believe they have discovered the 300-year-old remains of a ship once captained by the notorious British pirate Captain Kidd.

Complete with cannons and anchors, the wreckage of the 400-ton Quedagh Merchant has lain untouched and undiscovered off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic.For centuries treasure hunters have sought the ship, but it has now been stumbled across by a local scuba diver.

The wreckage, found in shallow waters only 10ft from the surface and only 70ft from the coastline, is likely to provide vital clues and information about the notorious Kidd, who was hanged in London for piracy in 1701.

Researchers from Indiana University have been sent down to protect the remains from scavengers and turn the area into an underwater preserve.

Charles Beeker, a scuba-diving archaeologist who teaches at Indiana University, said: “When I first looked down and saw it, I couldn’t believe everybody missed it for 300 years. I’ve been on thousands of wrecks and this is one of the first where it’s been untouched by looters.   
Captain Kidd was one of the most notorious pirates of his generation

“We’ve got a shipwreck in crystal clear, pristine water that’s amazingly untouched. We want to keep it that way.”

Full story, via Spluch