Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Seeing stars again: Naval Academy reinstates celestial navigation - Capital Gazette

USNA Celestial Navigation

My father commanded a 110 foot sub chaser on convoy escort duty in the north Atlantic.  Every day they had to report their noon position - determined by using a sextant like that above.  The advantage of celestial navigation is that it is three dimensional.  It helps you orient yourself in space.  - gwc

Seeing stars again: Naval Academy reinstates celestial navigation - Capital Gazette

by Tim Prudente

The same techniques guided ancient Polynesians in the open Pacific and led Sir Ernest Shackleton to remote Antarctica, then oriented astronauts when the Apollo 12 was disabled by lightning, the techniques of celestial navigation.
A glimmer of the old lore has returned to the Naval Academy.
Officials reinstated brief lessons in celestial navigation this year, nearly two decades after the full class was determined outdated and cut from the curriculum.
That decision, in the late 1990s, made national news and caused a stir among the old guard of navigators.
Maritime nostalgia, however, isn't behind the return.
Rather, it's the escalating threat of cyber attacks that has led the Navy to dust off its tools to measure the angles of stars.
After all, you can't hack a sextant....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Friendship - First Storm - Christmas Week 2015

Maine-built Boat Wins Sydney Hobart Race

Maxi yacht Comanche powers through heavy swells outside Sydney’s harbor during the 71st Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, Australia’s premiere bluewater classic race, on Dec.26, 2015.
Portland Press Herald - East Boothbay- built boat wins 628 mile Sydney-Hobart Race
Comanche - the East Boothbay built maxi - has won the Sydney-Hobart Race.  It was a brutal race in which 29 of 108 starters retired after the first night. At the helm as they crossed the finish line was Aussie lass Kristy Hinze-Clark, wife of owner Jim Clark who founded Netscape.  She was, presumably, wearing foulies, not the suit she chose for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Good and The Bad for Atlantic Menhaden | National Geographic (blogs)

Very interesting perspective on Bunker (as we call them) fishery by Carl Safina, the well known and conscientious conservationist. Basic point: we need Cod food more than cat food, or worthless fish oil at GNC.The Good and The Bad for Atlantic Menhaden | National Geographic (blogs)

by Carl Safina  Co-authored by Elizabeth Brown

On May 5th the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met to make pivotal decisions about the management of Atlantic Menhaden – arguably one of the most important fish in the sea.

Two keys decisions were up for discussion:

1.) What to set the Atlantic Menhaden catch limit at. Or, in other words, how many Menhaden should the fishery be allowed to take from the ocean.

2.) Whether managers should take a “big picture” or ecosystem-based approach to managing Atlantic menhaden. This means taking into account the important ecological role Menhaden play in the ocean as a key food source for many species.

The Menhaden fishing industry was pushing for an increase to the catch limit put in place back in 2012 to rebuild this species. Their reasoning being that the latest population assessment for Menhaden indicates it is in a better state than it was a few years ago, so they should be allowed to take more fish from the sea. The Menhaden fishery is the largest on the U.S. East Coast. The majority of Menhaden (80%) are ground up for use in fish oil dietary supplements, fertilizers, and animal feed. This industry is controlled by a single company, Omega Protein. The remaining 20% of the Menhaden catch is used by commercial fishermen for bait.

Ocean conservationists, recreational anglers, and eco-tourism businesses were more concerned about whether managers would leave enough Menhaden in the ocean to support its vast array of predators. Menhaden provide food for several important recreational and commercial fish, such as striped bass, weakfish, cod, and bluefin tuna, seabirds like osprey and eagles, and whales. Menhaden, along with other small prey fish, are the glue that holds the ocean ecosystem together. More than 10,000 people wrote to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission prior to the meeting pushing for a big picture approach, urging them tonot increase the Menhaden catch limit until they account for the needs of its predators.