Monday, October 18, 2010

Angela Pozzi - Ocean Artist and Hero

At the intersection of of art and ocean conservation one name stands out - Angela Pozzi.

This unique piece is taken from plastic left overs, things that washed up onshore, transforming man made garbage into art forms that educate and inspire future generations to change.

Her garbage fish has received rave reviews internationally and she is hoping that artists will imitate her unique vision around the planet.

Not a bad idea and not just limited to second hand oceanic garbage.

Imagine a full scale white shark model made from sharks fin. The dollar value of that single piece of art would have quite an impact and for the public a profound visual understanding of sheer waste that is the shark fin trade.

Kudos to Angela for her two ton masterpiece of garbage art.

Impactful? Yes.

NOAA's Back - So Are The Squids

I was in Newport, Oregon this weekend saying hello to a few of the fine folks from the NOAA fleet who call this place home.

The past year has been a remarkable adventure for me personally with adventures around the planet looking for, and finding, white sharks in remote places.

Oregon is home to a healthy white shark population of its own.

But it wasn't the hunt for Carcharodon carcharias that caught my eye this weekend. Newport is also a thriving commercial fishing hub, and on this day I witnessed an ongoing problem for Oregonian fishermen being offloaded on the docks, the Humboldt Squid - Dosidicus gigas.

If you follow this blog you'll know of the work Scott Cassell and others have been doing with this critter in the Sea of Cortez.

As it turns out these animals are on the move, no longer preyed upon by the once thriving populations of blue sharks, mako, and tuna that kept them in check, they are now found on a regular basis in waters that would traditionally mark their arrival as a generational event - not a season one.

On this day I saw over 30 totes of these critters coming off one commercial vessel. There's really no commercial value for these animals and each tote means lost business, perhaps suggesting ecological imbalance.

Make no bones about it the oceans "canary in a coal mine" has eight razor tipped arms, weighs 160 pounds, and is an indiscriminate killer. A big problem, and one that I was fortunate enough to witness first hand in between meetings, slide shows, and a few cocktails with old friends.

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There's a space on the Internet for "guys only" offering up the best gadgets, dining, hotels, and adventures from around the planet.

It's called Thrillist and last week SharkDiver was front and center talking shark diving to Thrillist members from Miami to San Diego.

Shark Week's about as close as most guys ever get to the beasts, except for those few daredevil divers who ironically can't watch Shark Week, because using a remote requires arms. Just kidding, they're more afraid of you than you are of them!

For proof, check out Shark Diver.

Ready to sea-whisk you 20 hours away to an island 150 miles off the coast of Baja for "guaranteed" Great White swims, Divers is run by an adventure seeking dude who's braved everything from Australian crocodiles, to Peruvian landslides, to Kiwi cyclones, which unlike sharks, don't leave you alone when you poke them in the eye. Anchoring in the 100+ ft visibility-waters near volcanic Isla Guadalupe (the most active white shark spot in the world after that island off South Africa, and...somewhere else), divers'll descend in 4-5 person, 50sqft cages which are air-supplied via surface hoses (eliminating the need for bulky tanks), and've been newly revamped by removing multiple bars for greater visibility, and compacted to "prevent drag", the biggest one of which would be if they improperly removed those bars.

Pricing has also just this season become all-inclusive, with the fee netting you necessities like Mexican dive permits/vessel accommodations/all equipment, and even-more-necessities like unlimited beer and wine (the hard stuff's BYOB), and gourmet eats including dishes like stuffed pork tenderloin w/ balsamic cranberry reduction and vessel-caught, sesame seed-crusted ahi w/ soy/wasabi dressing, and signature desserts like puff pastry stuffed with fresh berries, and a cake they'll bake for special occasions, like "I just emptied my bank account to go shark diving".

If you prefer to be food, they've also just built a non-caged “cinema platform” for more advanced divers/photographers/death-wishers, which's lowered 40ft into the deep blue sea with absolutely no protection for the diver...though it's not like you'd be able to hold on to it for long anyway.