Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cod's End?

Image by Neal Parent

Mark Kurlansky's wonderful book Cod showed how important was the fish in the history of the Atlantic nations.  Today's report - a 77% cut in the permissible catch - signals the end of an era.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Alexandra Shackleton: halfway to South Georgia Island

Wind Chill - Ice boating on Ft. Peck Lake, Montana

Fort Peck Lake is a 141 mile reservoir created by the dam of the same name on the Missouri River in Montana.  Perfect for Iceboating.  If you don't mind - 15F and the wind chill.  Here goes on the aptly named Wingnut 3.  h/t Jess Fradkin

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hunter Island sanctuary -Pelham Bay Park

Hunter Island sanctuary, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx is a regular haunt of mine - a salt marsh, glacial outcroppings, and a protected bay.  Today James and I saw hundreds of ducks swarming and snaking. (click on pix to enlarge and for slideshow)

Shackleton Epic | Stormy Weather

The Shackleton lifeboat replica crew is seasick, tired, wet, and hungry.  And their electricals (radio, AIS) are on the fritz. Blogger Jon Stewart reports from the support vessel Australis.  - gwc
Shackleton Epic | Stormy Weather: "Last night was one of those ‘what the heck am I doing here?’ kind of nights… but I guess 7 metre, stomach churning, swells will do that to you. The stoic crew of the Alexandra Shackleton had to engage in a mighty arm wrestle just to get her to hold her course. But she survived the barrage of waves raining down from all directions to break into the daylight virtually unscathed from the wild weather.

It was a rough night indeed, featuring a rogue wave that picked up our support boat, the Australis, and carelessly tossed her 5 metres sideways – sending Joe French the cameraman from Raw TV careening through the air, smashing face first into the ceiling. "

'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shackleton Epic | Water water everywhere

The Alexandra Shackleton in a modest swell
Shackleton Epic | Water water everywhere:
The first 24 hours are smooth and slow in light air making 1 knot over ground.  Though five in a 22 foot lifeboat loaded with gear for an 800 foot journey is pretty grim.  They are being shadowed by the support vessel Australis.  but the Caird replica has no GPS - its sextant and compass for them.  Expedition Blogger Jo Stewart reports from Australis:

At the moment, their greatest challenge is adapting to the ridiculously confined space below deck. It’s a tiny place (not unlike a children’s cubby house) so accessing food supplies or making your way to the cockpit is a mission that requires great patience and a healthy sense of humour. Stepping on bodies and crawling over each other is something they’ll have to get used to. Getting comfortable is impossible, which also makes resting near impossible and sleeping solidly completely out of the question. Without giving anything away, the Australis is radioing through twice a day to take note of where the AS crew think they are positioned (according to their navigational instruments – a compass, chronometer, sextant and the stars) to compare against their actual position. Today’s reading shows they are only a little off the mark. Nothing to be concerned about at this stage, however the cumulative effect of being ‘a little off the mark’ over 800 nautical miles could become a factor as this expedition unfolds.   

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Alexandra Shackleton departs Elephant Island

The Alexandra Shackleton - replica of the Endurance lifeboat the James Caird - has departed Elephant Island bound for South Georgia Island.  Live tracking HERE

the crew on Elephant Island

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition is one of the greatest survival stories in history and has inspired adventurers across every continent over three generations. Now, in honour of Shackleton’s legendary expedition, a crew of five British and Australian adventurers will join expedition leader Tim Jarvis, AM FRGS, in an attempt to become the first to authentically re-enact Shackleton’s complete ‘double’ voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia and dangerous crossing of its mountainous interior. More…
The Alexandra Shackleton approaches Elephant Island, north of the Antarctic Peninsula
 Alexandra Shackleton crew are waiting out the weather on King George Island.  The crew needs two sets of weather to conspire to allow for the 170nm crossing under tow to Elephant Island – fairer winds for the crossing and good conditions at Elephant Island to allow a landing.  Revised estimated date of departure from  KGI is now Wednesday 23 January (Shetland Islands local time) when winds are predicted to ease to a 5knot southerly with a 1.5m swell (currently 25knot westerlies gusting over 30knots and a 2.5-3.5m swell).
Endurance beset
The James Caird

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inaugural Weekend 2013

Arlington National Cemetery

Segway tour

Korean War Memorial

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The crowd at the mall seen in a monitor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor 

V.P. Biden

President Obama listening to Beyonce

Beyonce Knowles sings the Star Spangled Banner

Washington monument at sunset

Saturday, January 12, 2013

George Snyder - Conservationist (1944 - 2013)

Hey, it's a keeper!  A mackerel landed at George's Harbor, Muscongus  Bay, Maine
George and Sara at Cree and Jakob's wedding
Barbecuing with Jesse at Stones Point

The Press Democrat reports the death of Cree and Jesse's Dad - and our friend - George Snyder.

by Chris Smith

George Snyder, a newspaperman, conservationist and outdoorsman whose endeavors reflected his Native American heritage and his spiritual connection to nature, died Thursday. He was 68.
Snyder was a 33-year resident of Occidental and a striking character: a tall, black man who typically wore cowboy duds and a broad smile.
He was battling pancreatic cancer when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors honored him last fall with a Gold Resolution recognizing his decades of commitment to the preservation of wild and open spaces and protection of the environment.
He had served for 10 years on the county Fish and Wildlife Commission and contributed to the founding of the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, LandPaths and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.
Snyder told the board and the family members and friends present in the supervisors' chambers last September, “A lot of people have made a lot of money in this county, and some of it has been hard on nature. We're all hard on nature.
“But many of us also have other riches that we find in working with Mother Earth and the natural world.”
Caryl Hart, the county's director of regional parks and a close friend of Snyder and his wife, Sara Peyton, praised him as “one of these rare people who had such a depth of knowledge about the outdoors and the natural world, and who was also such a family man. He managed to be both.”
Friend and fellow retired journalist Bob Klose of Sebastopol said, “If you were active in the North Bay the past 30 years or so and didn't know George Snyder, you weren't paying attention.”
In addition to Sara Peyton, his wife of 33 years in Occidental, Snyder is survived by his children, Tobias Snyder of San Francisco, Samuel Snyder of Carlsbad, Jesse Snyder of New York City and Cree Welch Snyder Schmidt of Beder, Denmark; brothers Edd Snyder and Andre Snyder, both of Michigan, and six grandchildren.
A memorial service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Occidental.
Snyder's family suggests memorial contributions to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, 2300 County Center Dr., Suite 120A, Santa Rosa, CA 95403.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vendee: Day 59 - 5 Around the Horn - Stamm to refuel at sea

START 2409On day 59, five of the Vendee Globe solo sailors have rounded Cape Horn.  Bernard Stamm = whose hydrogenerator broke in the Indian Ocean = is 250 miles from the Horn.  Down to 5% of his fuel he is in survival mode, running dark without electronics, and without auto-helm.  He will refuel at sea - and be disqualified for receiving outside assistance.  -gwc
Bernard Stamm and his Team Cheminées Poujoulat announced today that the elected to solution to get more fuel onboard his Open 60 Cheminées Poujoulat will be to refuel at sea, boat-to-boat.
This solution ensures the safety for the sailor and his monohull, because approaching a port without means of propulsion, or navigation data could be dangerous. With less than 5% of fuel left onboard, energy is severely rationed, and allows Stamm only one communication per day with his team.
On dry land, plans have been organized to respond quickly to his requirement when he arrives.  Stamm is 250 miles away from the Cape Horn and has some way to go before he can receive the fuel. According to Cheminées Poujoulat’s speed and the weather conditions, the re-fueling area should be reached somewhere between Wednesday 9 January and Thursday 10 Jaunary. The boat to provide diesel oil to Bernard Stamm is none other than his friend, Unai Bazurko, Pakea Bizcaia, who Stamm raced against in the Velux 5 Oceans and also competed in the last edition of the Vendée Globe. Biskaean Bazurko is in Ushuaia undertaking an environmental expedition and he offered his help. Meanwhile, Bernard Stamm, yesterday, during a brief communication with his team, said that he is extremely tired because of the long hours spent at the helm, but is making good progress to Cape Horn.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Why? Winter Crossing of Antarctica

Map Of Route - October 2012Why would you do it? Cross Antarctica in winter when everything freezes and the air is too cold to breathe?  The usual Brit rationale - "science", which ended up with Robert Falcon Scott dead and Shackleton a hero for saving the lives of his teammates.  Edward J. Larson explores that history in his excellent An Empire of Ice, `Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science'.  I love the Shackleton story but prefer the Amundsen approach - get there and get back.  The great Norwegian got to the South Pole and sailed the northwest passage.
So now the great British expeditionist Sir Ranulph Fiennes has organized a mission to cross the continent in winter.  The Vendee Glove reminds me that everything breaks.  And when it breaks in the Antarctic in winter what do you do?  The Coldest Journey tells the story.  And the expedition blog will chronicle it.  the fun starts now.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Restored Bronx Marsh Destroyed by Sandy

A marsh restoration project just north of North Brothers island has been destroyed by hurricane Sandy's 13 foot tidal surge.

And now

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Shanghai's New Year's Light Show

Shanghai's spectacular New Year's Eve light show.  China invented gunpowder and fireworks.  Today the pyrotechnics are done digitally.  It takes place on The Bund - the river walk in downtown Shanghai.  And yes, there's a countdown!