Friday, July 30, 2010

Infinity Pool

If you fancy a dip in this pool, you'll need a head for heights - it's 55 storeys up. But swimming to the edge won't be quite as risky as it looks. While the water in the infinity pool seems to end in a sheer drop, it actually spills into a catchment area where it is pumped back into the main pool. At three times the length of an Olympic pool and 650ft up, it is the largest outdoor pool in the world at that height. It features in the impressive, boat-shaped 'SkyPark' perched atop the three towers that make up the world's most expensive hotel, the £4billion Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore.

A ‘Remedy’ Turned Catastrophe

If it's not the oil that kills the oysters, the freshwater should finish them off.

"In late April, just days into what has turned out to be the largest oil spill in American history, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, with the support of local parish officials, ordered the opening of giant valves on the Mississippi River, releasing torrents of freshwater that they hoped would push oil back out to sea.

Now, reports indicate that the freshwater diversions have had a catastrophic impact on southeastern Louisiana’s oyster beds that is far in excess of the damage done by oil from the spill.

The Associated Press broke the story of the oyster deaths last week, and local news outlets along the coast are following it as well. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal chimed in with its own in-depth report.

Oysters require saltwater to live, and major infusions of freshwater can quickly kill them. Once dead, the beds can take two to five years to become commercially viable again. "

Head over to the NY Times Green Blog for the rest.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sailfish Drama

Check out this awesome video by Howard Hall. Sailfish Drama was filmed at Isla Mujeres, Mexico in February 2010 with musical accompaniment by Alan William.

Sinking Oil Threatens Historic Gulf Shipwrecks

It seems that the amount of damage that will be caused by the BP oil spill will have a severe effect on our historical sunken artifacts. The oil will make the exploration and documentation of these underwater treasures very hazardous.

"Not just flora and fauna are getting caked in oil. So is the Gulf of Mexico's barnacled history of pirates, sea battles and World War II shipwrecks.

The Gulf is lined with wooden shipwrecks, American-Indian shell midden mounds, World War II casualties, pirate colonies, historic hotels and old fishing villages. Researchers now fear this treasure seeker's dream is threatened by BP PLC's deepwater well blowout.

Within 20 miles of the well, there are several significant shipwrecks — ironically, discovered by oil companies' underwater robots working the depths — and oil is most likely beginning to cascade on them.

"People think of them as being lost, but with the deepsea diving innovations we have today, these shipwrecks are easily accessible," said Steven Anthony, president of the Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society.

"If this oil congeals on the bottom, it will be dangerous for scuba divers to go down there and explore," Anthony said.

Continue reading at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jason Matthias

Neptune's Defenders just met up with the very talented artist Jason Matthias in Isla Morada. Jason, great meeting with you, hoping do do some great work together! Check out Jason's art at his website.

'Super skimmer' a giant bust in Gulf cleanup

The Super skimmer turns out to be a super sucker.

"While its stature is impressive, 'A Whale' (Pictured) is not ideally suited to the needs of this response," Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zunkunft, a federal on-scene coordinator, said in a statement late on Friday.

The vessel will not be deployed as a part of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.

The tanker collected virtually no oil in two weeks of tests, Zunkunft said at a news briefing earlier on Friday.

"All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very ineffective," he said at the briefing."

Read more at msnbc.

The Animal That Can Clone Itself

Check out this amazing article for The Ark In Space. The Ark in Space is a compendium of creatures. This entry is about the sand dollar and it's ability to clone itself.

"This somewhat strange looking specimen is a Sand dollar. It is a sea urchin which burrows and comes from the order Clypeasteroida – and you can see why it gets its name, as it resembles a coin. Some joke that it is the only stable dollar in the world at the moment. Humor aside, it does have one trick up its sleeve that we can only wish would apply to real money. It can clone itself – creating a perfect copy."

Neptune's Defenders Rides Off Into The Sunset

Neptune's Defenders is leaving for its first official business to Key West, Florida. Pictures and details of our success will follow next week. In the mean time enjoy the upcoming posts.

-The Neptune's Defenders Team

For current updates and pics on our Key West trip check out our twitter page.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 Dime-Size Tar Balls Wash Ashore On Beach East of Pensacola

Article via the Sun Sentinel.

"While oily water seeped its way into Pensacola's waterways, the beachside counties to the east have been spared from the worst of the oil plumes from the Gulf, but the currents have started bringing more of the goopy mess toward Navarre Beach and Destin.

On Wednesday, nearly 100 dime- to quarter-size tar balls washed ashore on a stretch of beach on Okaloosa Island, on the outskirts of Destin.

It's the largest sighting to date in Okaloosa County, about 40 miles east of Pensacola. For the past week, there have been occasional sightings of small tar balls speckling the white beaches, but never more than a dozen at a time.

Streams of brown and rusty red oil sheen dotted with floating tar patties could be seen from atop the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on Wednesday. Locals and tourists continued to fish along the quarter-mile long pier, though not much was biting.

"We were out here yesterday and my dad's probably the only person who caught a fish," said Will McCrory, 19, as he held his fishing rod over the wooden pier.

"Today there's been no action," said McCrory, a resident of the nearby town of Niceville. "This is just a disaster. I didn't think it would reach here this fast; it's like summer's been ruined."

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is advising that areas "near and west of Panama City may experience shoreline impacts by Friday."

Along Navarre Beach there have been more than 20 confirmed tar ball sightings, and there have been reports of oil sheen spotted along the county's Santa Rosa Sound, which connects to Pensacola Bay.

On Monday, two 5,000-pound metal marine storage tanks believed to be from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were hauled off Miramar Beach in Walton County, and Panama City Beach in Bay County — the latter more than 300 miles east of the site of the explosion.

The two holding tanks had green and white placards with the BP logo and the term "HORIZ" printed outside, said Mike Gurspan, spokesman for the Walton County Sheriff's Department. The tanks were hauled off to New Orleans, where the oil rig investigation is taking place."

Experts Back Law Banning Shark Fishing

Is it time to put a ban on shark fishing? Many animals have come under the protection of over hunting. Perhaps it is time we look into protecting one of the least most feared.

"A dangerous man-eater, a great source of shark hash or a symbol of human cruelty and the exploitation of the ocean?

The sight of an 11ft tiger shark being chopped up on a Somerset dock this week evoked powerful emotions.

While neighbourhood children jostled to have their pictures taken with the shark, others voiced concerns that an endangered animal had apparently been slaughtered for sport.

Michael Burke, who runs SCUBA firm Blue Water Diving, believes Bermuda should follow in the footsteps of Palau and the Maldives and protect sharks through legislation."

Head over to the Bermuda Sun for the whole article.

China Oil Spill Worse Than Thought

I think we are beginning to see a pattern here.

"There are growing fears that strong winds have dispersed the pollution more widely than previously thought.

The environmental group Greenpeace told the BBC the oil was up to 20cm thick along parts of the coast near the city of Dalian.

Shipments of oil from the north to the industrial belt in the south have been disrupted since the accident.

At least one person has died during the clean-up operation, after being thrown from a ship by waves and drowning in the oil.
Continue reading the main story

The oil spilled into the sea in north-east China after two pipelines exploded on Friday night, resulting in a fierce fire.

Officials say an area of ocean covering 430 sq km (165 sq miles) is now polluted - oil-eating bacteria and oil-skimming vessels are being deployed to remove the slick, which Greenpeace says is China's worst in recent memory. "

Read more.

New Insights Into Volcanic Activity On The Ocean Floor

An interesting article that sheds light on new research corresponding with underwater volcanic activity.

"The Earth's crust is broken into plates that are in constant motion over timescales of millions of years. Plates occasionally collide and fuse, or they can break apart to form new ones. When the latter plates break apart, a plume of hot rock can rise from deep within the Earth's interior, which can cause massive volcanic activity on the surface.

When the present-day continent of North America broke apart from what is now Europe, 54 million years ago, this caused massive volcanic activity along the rift between the two. Prior to today's study, scientists had thought that such activity always occurred along the rifts that form when continents break apart.

However, today's research shows that comparatively little volcanic activity occurred when the present-day sub-continent of India broke away from what is now the Seychelles, 63 million years ago.

Researchers had previously believed that the temperature of the mantle beneath a plate was the key to determining the level of volcanic activity where a rift occurred. The new study reveals that in addition, the prior history of a rift also strongly influences whether or not volcanic activity will occur along it."

Head over to Underwater Times to continue reading.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plastiki Docks in Sydney

An amazing journey in the name of an important cause. The Plastiki made up of mostly plastic bottles ended it's 4 month journey across the pacific today.

"A sailboat largely constructed from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles has completed a 4-month journey across the Pacific Ocean meant to raise awareness about the perils of plastic waste.

The Plastiki, a 60-foot (18-meter) catamaran, and its six crew weathered fierce ocean storms during its 8,000 nautical miles at sea. It left San Francisco on March 20, stopping along the way at various South Pacific island nations including Kiribati and Samoa. It docked Monday in Sydney Harbour.

"This is the hardest part of the journey so far — getting it in!" expedition leader David de Rothschild yelled from the boat as the crew struggled to maneuver the notoriously tough-to-steer vessel into port outside the Australian National Maritime Museum.

A crowd of about 100 erupted into cheers after the Plastiki finally docked. De Rothschild — a descendant of the well-known British banking family — exchanged high fives and hugs with his crew, pumping his fists into the air in victory.

"It has been an extraordinary adventure," he said."

Continue over at NPR.

Marine ‘Red List’ Published in Japan

Japan has finally recognized the importance of sustainable fishing and is now part of 13 other countries to issue a 'Red List'.

"Greenpeace Japan published its ‘red list' on July 21: the booklet contains information about endangered or under-threat species being stocked in supermarkets or served at restaurants.

Greenpeace Japan launched its first seafood ranking guide ‘red listing' in a bid to force Japanese supermarkets to remove stocks of endangered fish species from their shelves.

The Japanese version of the ‘red listing' names 15 different species of fish, including five different types of tuna, which Greenpeace believes should not be sold or consumed. On average the Japanese consume around 25 percent of the world's tuna and 45 percent of the endangered Blue Fin Tuna. Greenpeace hopes that the publication of the ‘red list' will encourage consumers and retailers to remove stocks of these fish from their plates and shelves. "

Continue the article over at The Independent.

Jeff Greene's Yacht Causes $1.87 Million In Damage to Coral Reef

People need to be held accountable for their actions. Whether Greene or his captain are at fault remains to be determined. Simply saying it never happened and hightailing it out of Belize is not the way to handle this situation.

"On a Tuesday morning five years ago, Summerwind, a three-story, 145-foot luxury yacht, maneuvered above the celebrated barrier reef that lines the coast of Belize.

There it dropped anchor — and plunged into controversy over severe damage to a coral reef system officially recognized by the United Nations as one of the world's most magnificent and irreplaceable treasures.

"The guys from the area told me they were beside the boat before it dropped anchor, and they were yelling and waving their hands, shouting, 'No! No, don't drop here,' '' recounted Melanie McField, a marine scientist with the Smithsonian Institution who surveyed the Central American reef shortly after the incident. "It was bad. There was a lot of damage."

The owner of that yacht? Billionaire Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene."

Continue reading.

Diver Spears Warsaw Grouper

John Ciulla versus the beast.

"Saturday, in 200 feet of water off Jupiter Inlet, John Ciulla couldn’t believe his eyes. As he looked on, he saw dive buddy Louie Devaliex spear a 20-pound amberjack near the reef about 140 feet from the surface.

Competing in the third annual Big Bang Open spearfishing tournament, the jack wasn’t a remarkable score. But what happened next took both men entirely by surprise.

As Devaliex’s fish began to battle deeper against the reel on his speargun, a hulking warsaw grouper emerged from behind a ledge on the reef and swallowed the speared jack.

“It was insane,” said Ciulla who had never seen a warsaw grouper before Saturday’s dive. “To see how big the grouper was, it was huge.”

Ciulla knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to shoot the grouper. But what diver in his right mind, diving at a depth that was his physical limit, would think he could win a tug of war with a 100-pound class reef fish on its home turf.

Ciulla did."

The tug of war continues here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

UNF Baseball Player Bitten By Shark

Interesting article out of Jacksonville, Florida. Although tragic keep in mind you're more likely to be struck by lightning twice then to be bit by a shark. Millions of people a year swim in the ocean. There has only been 936 documented shark bites and 25 fatalities in the United States since 1959.

"A University of North Florida baseball player was hospitalized after being bitten by a powerful fish Friday at Jacksonville Beach. "All I really felt was teeth and tearing," Clayton Schulz said today from a patient room at Shands Jacksonville hospital. "I'm lucky. I still have a foot, and they expect me to hopefully make close to a 100 percent recovery."

Schulz, a 20-year-old business management major, said he had been surfing near Sixth Avenue South about 4:30 p.m. when his left foot was snatched. "I was hopping back on my board and the shark came up and grabbed my foot and shook it around a little it and let go," he said. "I popped right up and got on my board and lifted my foot out of the water. ... It was torn up real good."

More than 300 stitches were needed to repair the damage, said Peter Schulz, the pitcher's father. Schulz, a left-handed pitcher for the Ospreys, is entering his junior year at UNF.

Reports of shark attacks are relatively rare in Jacksonville. By last year, only 19 "unprovoked" attacks had been logged in Duval County since the 1880s."

For the full article go here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

BP Tries To Limit Release of Oil Spill Research

This article illustrates why there is a need to have organizations and scientist out there that will expose the truth. This is a must read. Why do the findings need to be hidden for 3 years BP??? Are you hoping people and their short term memories forget about this fiasco???

"Faced with hundreds of lawsuits and a deep need for experts, BP has been offering some Gulf Coast scientists lucrative consulting contracts that bar them from releasing their findings on the company's massive oil spill for three years.

Some scientists say the contracts constrain academic freedom. A few signed the agreements, then changed their minds. "I personally wouldn't care to have my research limited, but if I wanted to do work on the spill and this was the only way I could get out there and get working on it, I don't think there's a lot of alternatives," said Chris D'Elia, dean of the Louisiana State University School of the Coast and Environment.

Many scientists are turning down these contracts because they feel this research needs to be shared with the public, it needs to be shared with the government," said Nelson, whose group represents about 48,000 academics."

The rest of the article can be found here.

Reporters First Hand Account of Swimming In The Oil Spill

Here is a first hand account and pictures to go with it of AP reporter Rich Mathews swimming in the oil spill. Nice work Rick! To see the full story check it out at the AP.

"Some 40 miles out into the Gulf Of Mexico, I jump off the boat into the thickest patch of red oil I've ever seen. I open my eyes and realize my mask is already smeared. I can't see anything and we're just five seconds into the dive.
Dropping beneath the surface the only thing I see is oil. To the left, right, up and down _ it sits on top of the water in giant pools, and hangs suspended fifteen feet beneath the surface in softball sized blobs. There is nothing alive under the slick, although I see a dead jellyfish and handful of small bait fish.

I'm alone because the other divers with me wouldn't get in the water without Hazmat suits on, and with my mask oiled over and the water already dark, I don't dive deep. It's quiet, and to be honest scary, extremely low visibility. I spend just 10 minutes swimming around taking pictures, taking video.

I make my way to the back of the boat unaware of just how covered I am. The oil is so thick and sticky, almost like a cake batter. It does not wipe off. You have to scrape it off, in layers until you finally get close to the skin. Then you pour on some Dawn dishwashing soap and scrub. I think to myself: No fish, no bird, no turtle would ever be able to clean this off of themselves. If any animal, any were to end up in this same puddle there is almost no way they could escape. The cleaning process goes on for half an hour before the captain will even think about letting me back in the boat."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coral Bleaching

Warm ocean temperatures could be responsible for making this one of the worst years ever in coral bleaching.

"The phenomenon, known as coral bleaching because the reefs turn bone white when the colourful algae that give the coral its colour and food is lost, has been reported throughout south east Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.

High ocean temperatures this year are being blamed for the bleaching, which experts fear could be worse than a similar event in 1998 which saw an estimated 16 per cent of the world's reefs being destroyed.

Coral reefs provide refuge and food to nearly a quarter of all marine species, making them among the most biologically diverse habitats on the planet. Bleaching can also rob fish and other species of important shelter and food sources."

Read more.

Beware Jumping Whales

Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner of Cape Town Sailing Academy in South Africa are old hats when it comes to expeditions on the open seas. But there's no way they could have anticipated Sunday's wildlife encounterwhen they set out for a routine sail near Robben Island: A 40-ton whale leaped out of the sea and landed on the deck of their boat, the London Daily Telegraph reports. Luckily, Mothes and Werner both came away alive, as did the whale.

See more pictures over at yahoo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tarp Surfing

New Marine Policy Would Establish Coordinated Management Structure for Oceans, Coasts and Great Lakes

This could be a huge step into the right direction.

"In 2003 and 2004, reports issued by the Pew Oceans Commission and the US Commission on Ocean Policy, respectively, warned that poor management and lack of coordination among federal agencies were threatening the health and economic productivity of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.

The new policy would be implemented through a newly established National Ocean Council that would coordinate management activities for US ocean waters, coastal zones and Great Lakes. Marine management under this policy would be “ecosystem-based,” meaning regulation of specific activities, such as oil and gas development, would take into account impacts on the broader ecosystems that could be affected. The policy would also for the first time employ “marine spatial planning,” which would protect ocean ecosystems and minimize conflicts between new and existing ocean uses through science-based decision making and the involvement of stakeholders and the public."

Read the full article.

Florida Lobster Season Approaching

Lobster season in Florida is almost upon us! Do yourself a favor and follow the rules they are strictly enforced. Make sure your boat is ready to go. The Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have a heavy presence and inspections are common. Going "Bugging" is an experience like no other and we highly recommend you take in some of the action. Rules and regulations posted below:

Personnel from the Coast Guard, National Marine Fisheries Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will patrol the waters surrounding South Florida to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.

The state of Florida has a 2-day lobster mini-season. This year the dates are July 29 & 30. The regular season begins August 6 and continues until March 31.

The mini-season bag limit is 6 lobsters per personper day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person in the rest of the state. The regular-season daily bag limit is six (6) lobsters per person.

Only daytime diving is permitted in Monroe County; night diving (from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise) is prohibited.

Carapace of lobster must be greater than three inches in length before they are taken into possession. Lobsters in catch-bags are considered being in possession.

Anyone lobstering between the ages of 16-65 is required to have a valid state saltwater fishing license and crawfish permit.

Lobsters may not be taken with a spear, gaff or anything else that may injure the lobster by penetrating its shell. Use of a bully net or hoop is permitted.

Lobsters must remain in whole condition while harvesters are on the water.

Obstructing any navigable waterway or marked channel is prohibited.

The following areas are off limits:
Lobstering in the waters of the Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary is prohibited year-round, as well as lobstering in the Legare Anchorage, east of Sands Key. Here is a map of Biscayne Bay in PDF format showing the boundaries. John Pennekamp State Park, Fort Jefferson National Park and Everglades National Park are also prohibited.

To report lobster violations, call Wildlife Alert at (888) 404-FWCC (3922).

Article provided by the Examiner.

Storm Halts Gulf Oil Well Work

Informative story hot off the AP wire. Let's hope this system calms down and and the disruption is minimal.

"A storm brewing in the Caribbean brought the deep-sea effort to plug the ruptured oil well to a near standstill Wednesday just as BP was getting tantalizingly close to going in for the kill.

Work on the relief well - now just days from completion - was suspended, and the cap that has been keeping the oil bottled up since last week may have to be reopened, allowing crude to gush into the sea again for days, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man on the crisis.

The cluster of thunderstorms passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, and forecasters said the system would probably move into the Gulf over the weekend. They gave it a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm by Friday.

Crews had planned to spend Wednesday and Thursday reinforcing with cement the last few feet of the relief tunnel that they hope to use to pump mud into the gusher and kill it once and for all. But BP put the task on hold and instead placed a temporary plug called a storm packer deep inside the tunnel, in case it has to be abandoned until the storm passes.

If the work crews are evacuated, it could be two weeks before they can resume the effort to kill the well. That would upset BP's timetable, which called for finishing the relief tunnel by the end of July and plugging the blown-out well by early August.

Even if the storm does not hit the area directly, it could affect the effort to contain the oil and clean it up. Hurricane Alex stayed 500 miles away last month, yet skimming in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida was curtailed for nearly a week.

The relief tunnel extends about two miles under the seabed and is about 50 to 60 feet vertically and four feet horizontally from the ruptured well. BP plans to insert a final string of casing, or drilling pipe, cement it into place, and give it up to a week to set, before attempting to punch through to the blown-out well and kill it."

To read the full story go to

Best Beaches Of 2010

Check out the the 2010 top 10 beaches in America. This guy, Dr. Stephen Leatherman AKA "Dr. Beach"pretty much has the coolest job ever. If you need some assistance in putting this list together for 2011 please feel free to reach out to us Dr. Beach.
Siesta Beach
As “Dr. Beach,” Leatherman has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty criteria are used to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and environmental management. Dr. Leatherman is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published 16 books and hundreds of scientific articles about storm impacts, erosion, and ways to improve beach health and safety.

1. Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York (NATIONAL WINNER)

2. Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida

3. Coronado Beach in San Diego, California

4. Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks of North Carolina

5. Main Beach in East Hampton, New York

6. Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

7. Coast Guard Beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

8. Beachwalker Park in Kiawah Island, South Carolina

9. Hamoa Beach in Maui, Hawaii

10. Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, Florida

To read more about these locations and find out the criteria used to judge them check out Dr. Beach's site.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Super Bugs In The Fish We Eat

This is a great article contributed by our friend and amazing student fellow at the Smithsonian Institute, Brian Davidson. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are starting to make their way into the fish we eat.

"Antibiotics are ubiquitous in today's world, used to control infections in our bodies and tamp down bacterial growth in our food supply. But the chemicals are also leaking into rivers, lakes, and our oceans, where their effects have mostly been ignored.

A team of researchers led by Jason Blackburn of the University of Florida sampled 134 fish living in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Belize, and Massachusetts. They then tested the samples for signs of drug-resistant bacteria, using a suite of twelve common antibiotics.

Resistance was found everywhere they looked, to varying degrees. Pronounced resistance to an array of drugs was found in sharks in Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys, for example. Samples from redfish off the coast of Louisiana showed signs of shrugging off the drugs, too."

Head over to Discovery to read the article.