The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

This Is What the Migration of 120 Million Red Crabs Looks Like

by Owen James Burke

Screen Shot 2014 12 18 at 1.03.41 PM 640x314 This Is What the Migration of 120 Million Red Crabs Looks Like

Photo: Gary Tindale via Hungeree

Each year on Christmas Island, red crabs emerge from their jungle burrows by the millions — some say up to 120 million — for the coast, where they’ll mate alongside the shore. The event lasts for weeks, while many roads, trails and beaches are closed off to human traffic to allow for the crimson crustaceans to make their passage. Read more »

Wish You Were Here: Empty Waves and Immaculate Beach, Castlepoint, New Zealand

by Owen James Burke

DSC 04851 640x459 Wish You Were Here: Empty Waves and Immaculate Beach, Castlepoint, New Zealand

Created undersea 2.4 million years ago, Castlepoint was named — after it took its first breath of air — by Captain James Cook in 1770, above sea. The rock itself was larger and wider until a recent earthquake sent the top of it sliding back into the sea. Photo: Owen James Burke

At the edge of a little fishing settlement on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island lies a 2.4-million-year-old, 530-foot-tall seamount made mostly of scallop shells and other sediment which was once buried beneath the waves.

There you’ll find no traffic, no stop signs, and not much business of any kind, save for the local fishing fleet a couple of B&B’s and the obligatory couple of sheep farms. It’s a quote pace of life for the 1700 or so residents of Castlepoint, and a bohemian’s paradise.

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Susan Middleton’s Spineless Shows Us Why Invertebrates Are the Backbone of the Sea

by Owen James Burke

Screen Shot 2014 12 17 at 8.43.08 AM 503x640 Susan Middletons <i/>Spineless</i> Shows Us Why Invertebrates Are the Backbone of the Sea

Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini). Photo: Susan Middleton, cover of Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life

By land or by sea, cute fuzzy mammals get all the attention, but here’s an ode to the spineless creatures of the deep, the basis of the food chain and “the backbone of life,” as photographer Susan Middleton writes. And really, you’d have to be heartless not to want to cuddle that wriggly little octopus on the cover

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How to Rid Your Ship of Rats and Other Vermin. From the Charleston City Gazette, December 5, 1795.

by Chris Dixon

City Gazette 1 640x249 How to Rid Your Ship of Rats and Other Vermin. From the Charleston City Gazette, December 5, 1795.

Thanks to Josephine Humphreys, curator of the Charleston History Before 1845 Facebook Group for transcribing a fascinating short read. –CD

How to Clean a Ship.

Method of purifying vessels, and destroying the rats, and other vermin on board:

norwayratsonaship How to Rid Your Ship of Rats and Other Vermin. From the Charleston City Gazette, December 5, 1795.

There are three methods practiced for purifying vessels after the men have been removed out of them. The first by burning of tobacco. A quantity of tobacco is spread on several fires, made with such pieces of ropes as are called Junk. These are dispersed in different parts of the ship, and their heat and smoke afterwards closely confined below for a considerable time.

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Meet the Most Isolated Weatherman on the Face of the Earth

by Owen James Burke

Screen Shot 2014 12 16 at 11.31.28 AM 640x413 Meet the Most Isolated Weatherman on the Face of the Earth

Vyacheslav Korotki measures water depth in the Barents Sea, alone as anyone can be. (Photo: Evgenia Arbugaeva/The New Yorker)

Vyacheslav Korotki is a Polyarnik, a north pole meteorologist who lives and works alone on a tiny peninsula in Russia’s far-flung Khodovarikha, an Arctic outpost, where he measures and collects wind, temperature and snowfall data by hand. The nearest town by any means is an hour helicopter ride away.

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Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean 3D, Narrated by Dr. Sylvia Earle

by Owen James Burke

Screen Shot 2014 12 15 at 5.04.04 PM 640x360 <i>Jean Michel Cousteaus Secret Ocean 3D</i>, Narrated by Dr. Sylvia Earle

Screenshot from Secret Ocean 3D

The ocean is coming to 3D theaters, thanks to new technology developed just for this film, and who better to bring it to us than Jean-Michel Cousteau and Dr. Sylvia Earle with their new state-of-the-art documentary film, Secret Ocean 3D?

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Wanted Alive: $25,000 Bounty for the Person or Those Responsible in the Death of Hawaiian Monk Seal RF58

by Carolyn Sotka

RF58 Post Mortem Jamie Thompton NOAA JPG 640x480 Wanted Alive: $25,000 Bounty for the Person or Those Responsible in the Death of Hawaiian Monk Seal RF58

Photo by Jamie Norton/NOAA from The Garden Island story.

Back in early October, I posted a story on The Scuttlefish about the recovery of the monk seal in the Hawaiian Islands.  As the most endangered seal in the world and only one of two endemic mammals in the island chain, intensive efforts have been directed at saving the population through rescue and rehabilitation programs.

I included in the title, ‘saving…one monk seal at a time’ because they are so vulnerable that each and every seal is a step closer to sustaining a healthy population. Today, there is one less. The young seal known as RF58, born in June earlier this year, was found dead at a beach in Anahola at the end of November. RF58 didn’t die from disease, or fishing gear entanglement or ocean trash. RF58 died of blunt force trauma – to the head.

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A Spiky New Punk Rock Snail Named After The Clash’s Joe Strummer

by Owen James Burke

strummersnail A Spiky New Punk Rock Snail Named After The Clashs Joe Strummer

Photo: Shannon Johnson/MBARI

If you were a marine scientist and you came across a deep sea snail living — and thriving — around scorching, acidic hydrothermal vents, what name might you give it? Shannon Johnson and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) decided on A. strummeri, after the late, great Joe Strummer of The Clash fame (and much, much more).

“Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and they have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment,” says Johnson, “we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon.”

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