The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

This NFL Draftee Didn’t Sign a $20 Million Contract Because He Wants to Go Surfing

by Owen James Burke

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Photo: Surfing Magazine.

Marcus Mariota, a rookie quarterback for the Tennessee Titans and this year’s only unsigned first-round draft pick (2nd overall), just turned down a $20 million dollar contract because, well, he wants to surf, and the NFL franchise has included a clause in the arrangement that bars him from surfing because they believe it’s too dangerous. (I could write an endless diatribe regarding the absurdity of this matter, but I’ll spare you, and myself, from what could quite possibly end in convulsion.)

You can just imagine the soliloquy–“to sign, or not to sign…and surf”–that might have played out behind closed doors in Mariota’s bedroom before he decided to reject the Tennessee Titans’ initial offer. There are a million reasons why professional athletes refuse to sign contracts, and while I don’t have the statistics at hand, but I’d put my last surfboard down that greed can be attributed to the majority of these decisions.

Then there’s the anomaly of Marcus Mariota, an anomaly, a rogue.

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Marcus Mariota, laid with his 2014 Heisman Trophy, which he earned with the Oregon Ducks. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images.

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This Week in Dramatic Maritime Rescues, The USCG Frees a Pair of Turtles from the Gallows and a Whale Is Saved at a Billabong Pro Surf Contest in South Africa

by Owen James Burke

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Still frame from Go Coast Guard’s video.

The United States Coast Guard–and most any Coast Guard around the world–does a lot more than save seamen and obliterate drug-running vessels; they are saviors of all life at sea, and true stewards of our delicate blue planet.

Offshore of the United States’ southeast coast, two turtles were found helplessly tangled in what looked to be a makeshift driftnet on Monday. The United States Coast Guard hurried to the scene with, in all seriousness, probably minutes to spare.

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Still frame from Go Coast Guard’s video.

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We Asked Famed Yacht Designer Phillippe Briand to Weigh in on the Fantastically Unseaworthy Designs of Lujac Desautel

by Owen James Burke

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Above: “Glass.” If a Great Lake were planning to install a new Museum of Modern Art, perhaps Lujac Desautel’s conceptual vessel, Glass (above) could find a relatively safe home. On second thought, remember the Edmund Fitgerald. Images: Lujac Desautel.

A few months ago, we were intrigued by a Wired story on the beautiful ‘sculpture yachts’ of a young French designer named Lujac Desautel. In A Yacht That Doesn’t Get in the Way of Your Ocean Views, Desautel said he took inspiration from places like Philip Johnson’s Connecticut Glass House. “There’s something so simple and powerful in its raw connection from the exterior to interior,” Desautel said. “I thought, what if I just took this idea and placed it on the boat?”

We were bowled over, but skeptical. Indeed, they are beautiful, revolutionary designs, but we just couldn’t see these things actually underway in the open ocean. In short, they looked unseaworthy. Perhaps dangerously so.

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“Think Wrong, Be Bold, Move Fast.” – architect Lujac Desautel.
Above: “Salt”, a beautifully modernistic floating deathtrap. Read more »

The Astonishing Rise of the China’s Reef-Destroying Military Islands In High Resolution

by Chris Dixon

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Subi Reef – This reef has changed dramatically in recent months. The southern, western, and northern edges of the reef have been reclaimed and an access channel to the inner harbor cut out. Dredgers continued to operate here in June. Two cement plants are being built along the western bank. Image: Washington Post/AMTI. 

In April, we ran a story that tracked some of the troubling destruction China is wreaking on reefs in the South China Sea in the pursuit of miltary and commercial bases. They’re actually building islands out of atolls. 

Today The Washington Post published a stunning series of images collected by the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute that lays out in depressing detail, the level of destruction and the scale of construction that China is bringing to what otherwise once appeared to be beautiful, blue atolls in the South China Sea.

Can we do a damn thing about it? No, not really. Will the future conflicts sure to erupt over these disputed territorial waters one day bring war back to South Asia? That remains to be seen.

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How the Scientific Legacy of Inventor of the Aquarium Lies Lost on the Ocean Floor

by Carolyn Sotka

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Jeanne Villepreux-Power one of the world’s first female biologists, by Anne-Lan, from WomenRockScience

Most people don’t know the history behind modern day aquariums, either for use in our homes or for spectacular display at places such as the Charleston and Monterey Bay Aquariums. This simple device – something we today wholly take for granted – as always having been there, was devised by one of the first-noted female marine biologists, Jeanne Villepreux-Power.

After moving to Sicily, Italy with her new husband in 1818, 22-year old Villepreux-Power abandoned her career as a seamstress to intensely study the natural history of her new home. Entirely self-taught with no formal education beyond reading and writing, she observed the flora and fauna of the island. She was most drawn to the life beneath the sea, and through her interest in marine mollusks, she created what is thought to be the first aquarium in 1832. It’s surely one of the greatest contributions to the study of marine biology.

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Reunion Island Surfers Test Sharky Waters in Wake of Tragedies

by Owen James Burke

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A Reunion surfer, with friend in tow. Reunion Island may be home the single-most sharky shores in the world, but not even the government will keep surfers out of the water. Photo: Swellbrains.

We’ve all been swimming and surfing with sharks, whether we like to accept it or not. It’s not something most of us dwell on, and it’s not something we’d like to encourage our readers to dwell on either–it’s not worth it. But, Reunion Island is just one of those shark feeding hubs where there have been at least 14 shark attacks in the past 4 years–7 of them deadly.

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Reunion Island also happens to be home to some of the world’s best surf. Photo: Raphael Fredefon/Surfline

In July 2013, Government officials closed the island to surfing because the attacks were becoming so frequent, but the ban is almost entirely ineffective, according to teenage local Damien Ferrere, who lives on the south end of the island:

“I think it’s stupid. I’m shocked they banned surfing in the area. …If we want to surf, we risk 38€ and possible prison time. If I want to surf, I will.”

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Last Month, California Academy of Science Researchers Discovered 100 New, Otherworldly Species off The Philippines

by Owen James Burke

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Above: A slug of some sort, or so scientists say. “It was like an underwater Easter egg hunt”, said Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences principal investigator on the expedition. “It was one of the most exciting scientific dives of my 50-year career.” Photo credit: California Academy of Sciences.

Over the past several weeks, researchers from the California Academy of Sciences have been gathering unnamed specimens while on expedition in the Philippines, and this past week, they announced the discovery of 100 new species, some of which look as though they were pried from the walls of modern art museums rather than the bottom of the sea.

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Divers collect curious fish specimens in the twilight zone, 150-500 feet beneath the surface. Photo credit: California Academy of Sciences.

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Wish You Were Here: The Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, “Europe’s Southernmost Fjord”

by Owen James Burke

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Photo: Alexander Matyukhin/Shutterstock.

Often referred to as Europe’s southernmost Fjord, The Boka Bay, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is in fact a “drowned” river canyon around which the mountains not only build a unique landscape, but an enticing microclimate.

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The bay is protected virtually 360° by wind and weather, but also happens to be one of the wettest places in Europe. Photo: Porto Montenegro.

North of the Mediterranean’s subtropical zone, the bay is heavily protected from winter weather by the mountains to the north, allowing for an abundance of Mediterranean vegetation not typically able to grow so far north.

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“Our Lady on the Rocks”. Every year on July 22nd at sunset, locals sail out to deposit more rocks at the base of the manmade islet. Photo: Photo: Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock.

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