The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Month: March, 2015

How Wave Photographer Ray Collins Went from Beneath the Coal Mines to Behind the Camera

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“Golden Peak.” Screenshot from “Sea Stills.” Photograph: Ray Collins

Seven years ago, Ray Collins was working a mile deep in the coal mines around Bulli, New South Wales, Australia, when he blew out his knee. It was the end of his career. He took his payout, bought a camera, and has since published a book, Found at Sea (the first edition is sold out, and the second is being printed), and become one of the most prolific wave photographers of our time.

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“I’m after the peak of the wave, or the wave looking like a mountain. …Sometimes it doesn’t even look like liquid, it just looks like solid structure.” “Mountain.” Screenshot from “Sea Stills.” Photograph: Ray Collins

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Watch “The Ballad of Holland Island House,” The Story of a House Falling into the Sea Told Through Clay-on-Glass Animation and Song

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Screenshot from Lynn Tomlinson’s “The Ballad of Holland Island House

Low-lying Holland Island was one of many Victorian-era fishing settlements along the Chesapeake Bay that have tumbled into the sea. Life was all well and good when fish stocks were high and the water was still low. Then as the seas rose, many families disassembled their houses and made sail for higher ground. This one did not.

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Why Are Sea Lions and Seals Taking Oregon River Mouths by Storm?


There are over 2,000 sea lions in a single mooring basin in Astoria, Oregon. Photo: Theresa Tillson/Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A record number of an estimated 300,000 sea lions are lining Oregon’s shores, while down the coast in Southern California pups are washing up dead. What gives?

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Watch the Trailer for “Manos Sucias,” A Story of Narco-Torpedo-Trafficking in Central America

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Screenshot from “Manos Sucias,” written and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka and produced by Spike Lee

“Manos Sucias” is the story of an impressionable young man and a desperate old fishermen who are tasked with trafficking a cocaine-filled submarine and torpedo (known as a “narco-torpedo”) from Colombia to Panama. Apart from the high seas, they navigate military, militias and rival gangs along the way.

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Screenshot from “Manos Sucias,” written and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka and produced by Spike Lee

“I want to make it clear that this film isn’t Scarface; it’s not Blow, it’s not glamorizing Pablo Escobar. This film is about the unseen faces that are sacrificed every day in the drug trade. We are going to shoot in these real places, and put the real people and faces in front of the camera.” — Writer and Director Josef Kubota Wladyka

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A Written Account of the Unbelievable Hardships of Sailing Across the Atlantic in the 18th Century (Part II)

Gottlieb Mittelberger set sail on a passenger ship from Germany in 1750 looking for a better life in the New World. Finding conditions unsuitable for humanity aboard the vessel, Mittelberger realized there was little he could do but try to console the distraught souls and write about the experience as a fair warning for others before they stepped onto a ship. But the terror and anguish of the two to three months at sea didn’t stop once in port. If they had not succumbed to starvation, scurvy or madness, many passengers were sold into slavery upon landing in Philadelphia.

Below is the second part in a series of excerpts we’ll be publishing from Mittelberger’s book, Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754. Read part I here — OJB

On galley fare and sea sickness:

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Incredible Portraits of South Korea’s Freediving Sea Goddesses


Yang Chunja. Photo: Hyung S. Kim/Korean Cultural Service NY

Since well before the advent of neoprene, women in South Korea and Japan have been the breadwinners in the Korea Strait, freediving to support their families. They’re instructed to do so, while the men stay dry, ashore, reasoning that because it is believed women (generally) have a higher percentage of body fat, they’re more fit to endure cold water. Whether or not a little body fat makes a lick of difference when diving in the cold Korea Strait, who’s to say? What’s clear is that these women are certifiably valiant.


Ko Wallja. Photo: Hyung S. Kim/Korean Cultural Service NY

Photographer Hyung S. Kim traveled to the South Korean island provence of Jeju, where for hundreds of years, women have been supporting their families by taking to the deep to hunt and gather everything from lobster to sea urchin. He set up a plain white backdrop just ashore from where women would spend six hours a day diving. Not used to having their pictures taken, you can imagine their consternation as Kim attempted to convince them–just out of the water–to stand in front of a white backdrop for a portrait, ignoring the beautiful coastline around them. But it worked.

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Pirate Radio: A Visual History


Above: Ronan O’Rahilly’s MV Ross Revenge, home of Radio Caroline and her impressive 300-foot “mast,” or radio tower if you like. This was one of the last of Radio Caroline’s ships.

The concept of offshore broadcasting for entertainment was first explored by the Royal Crown in the early 19th century, but decades went by before Radio Caroline established itself and the term “pirate radio” was coined.

But long before there was Ronan O’Rahilly and Radio Caroline in the 1960s, there was the S.S. City of Panama, a cargo ship hired by the Panamanian government to promote U.S. tourism to the country. Instead, it began broadcasting popular music under the call sign “RXKR” off the California coast in 1933. Within just three months, the station was shut down at the request of the U.S. Department of State.

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This Louisiana Couple Is Outfitting a Private Yacht to Save Refugees in the Mediterranean Sea


Above: The Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) makes its first rescue in August 2014. Since, they’ve rescued more than 3,000. Photo: Barcroft Media /Landov

Every day, derelict ships, small wooden boats and even dinghies set out to sea from North Africa carrying refugees who are stuffed together “like sardines.” Record numbers of refugees from Africa and beyond are attempting the perilous passage across the Mediterranean in vessels unfit for the sea, but according to NPR, Amnesty International’s Matteo de Bellis has released a statement saying, “No European country has a search and rescue operation dedicated to saving migrants at sea, something that’s becoming a near daily occurrence.”


Louisiana businessmen, humanitarian, adventurer and MOAS cofounder Christopher Catrambone. Photo: Leila Fadel/NPR

Enter Lake Charles, Louisiana businessman Christopher Catrambone and his Italian wife. Catrambone and wife Regina were cruising the Mediterranean when she spotted a jacket floating eerily in the middle of the sea. Pointing it out to a crew member, she learned that it likely belonged to a refugee who perished during an attempted passage. After further research into the matter, the couple were appalled by the lack of sympathy in Europe for those struggling to escape conflict in Africa and the Middle East.

Since, the couple has relocated to Malta where they have purchased the Phoenix, a 40 meter, $8 million dollar yacht and hired crew to form a vigilante rescue operation, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS). MOAS was only established last summer and it’s likely the only organization of its kind, but alone they’ve already saved thousands.

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