Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monster of the Deep

The National Geographic News is reporting today that a Magnapinna squid was photographed by a Shell Oil underwater, remote controlled submersible on November 11. The sub was filming in what is called Perdido, one of the world's deepest oil and gas drilling sites located 200 miles off Houston, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. This creature is rarely seen. Take a look at this monster, will you? It makes me shudder.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whale Shark poo, the mother load

Scientists have filmed a video of a whale shark with its "pants down" defecating, an act rarely seen. First take a look at the whale shark, one of my favorite fish in the sea.

Then get ready to impose upon a shark's privacy, and watch this video:

You can also read the BBC article, Ocean motion caught on camera. This all explains just why this bit of poo is the mother load when it comes to information.

To scientists and other fish enthusiasts, the feeling is kind of like seeing your toddler use the potty chair for the first time. An event for celebration!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Calypso is being resurrected from the dead

Remember Jacques-Yves Cousteau's ship, Calypso? Well, she's not actually dead yet, but in fact, is on her way for a comeback as restoration has begun to transform her into a permanent museum of Cousteau's important contributions to ocean research.

From Wikipedia, here are important facts about Captain Cousteau and the Calypso:

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (June 11, 1910 – June 25, 1997) was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the aqua-lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was commonly known as Jacques Cousteau or Captain Cousteau.

The Calypso is the ship that he outfitted as a special research vessel, state-of-the-art for its time. Together with his crew, Cousteau produced more than 120 television documentaries about the sea.

The Calypso was:
•equipped as a mobile laboratory for field research and was originally a wooden-hulled minesweeper built for the British Royal Navy by the Ballard Marine Railway Company of Seattle, Washington, USA.
•made from Oregon pine.
•became a ferry between Malta and the island of Gozo after World War II.
•purchased in 1950 by the Irish millionaire and former MP Thomas Loel Guinness.
•leased to Cousteau by Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year.
•accidentally rammed by a barge and sunk in the port of Singapore on January 8, 1996.
•later towed to Marseilles, France, where she lay untouched for two years.
•towed to the basin of the Maritime Museum of La Rochelle in 1998, where she was intended to be an exhibit, but family disagreements caused a long series of legal delays on the start of any restoration work.
•transferred to Concarneau on October 11, 2007, where she will be restored at the Piriou Shipyard and transformed into a permanent exhibit.

Here's a tribute to Calypso set to John Denver's 1975 song, "Calypso," which he wrote about the world famous vessel:

More historical information:

Translation of the video description: "Thanks to the association of the Friends of the maritime Museum, two former collaborators of the commander Cousteau came with the La Rochelle to find the team of mativi.fr to speak about Simone Cousteau, the first woman of the man to the red bonnet, which passed most of her life on Calypso. In front of the wreck of the old Jocelyne minesweeper which stagnates in water rochelaises since 1998 de Pass and Jean-Marie France takes you on board in their memories. Report Florent Loiseau, Raphaël Blachère and Jennifer To summon."

Watch a tour of the ship in her present state of disrepair:

Translation of the video's description: "Under the eye of the camera of mativi.fr, Calypso left the port of the La Rochelle where it had stagnated for 9 years, Concarneau direction to be restored there. The event took place on October 11 at 4 o'clock in the morning, one great moment of emotion. The day before, a hundred people had met around the wreck to wish him good voyage. Report Raphaël Blachère and Frederic Fleureau."

See the video clip below of the start of her journey from La Rochelle. Although the video is quite dark, it marks the historic event of her first trip from port in many a year. The old girl can still float!

Keep track of the restoration of the Calypso at the Cousteau Society.

Rescuing Our Coral Reefs

An informative article appeared today on the BBC News site in regard to degrading coral reefs. The article, "Recipe for rescuing our reefs," was written by Dr Rod Salm who is director of The Nature Conservancy's Tropical Marine Conservation Program in the Asia-Pacific region.

You may reach their website here: The Nature Conservancy, which features a beautiful slide show presentation on their homepage entitled, "The Hidden Life of Coral." This organization works to protect our ocean's coral and operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally.