The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Month: April, 2015

A Goliath Grouper Was Just Caught on Sanibel Island, Florida…from the Beach

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A rare sight: An Atlantic Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara), on a beach. Screenshot from WFMyNews2’s video

Search “goliath grouper” or their slightly outdated, racier name “jewfish” on Youtube and you’ll come across hundreds of videos of fishermen pulling these 3- 4- 500-pound behemoths in beside a bridge piling, dock or some other large underwater structure. What you won’t find (at least, what I can’t find) is someone hauling a goliath grouper in from the surf. What this particular fish was doing anywhere near the beach, unless there’s a wreck or flourishing reef within a hundred yards of that sandy shoreline, is a complete mystery.

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Across the Strait from Where I Was Spearfishing Last Week, A White Shark Opens Up On a Discovery Channel Film Crew

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Somewhere off Steward Island, New Zealand, Discovery Channel camera crew find themselves in exactly the compromising position one wants to be in when a 3-meter white shark has a go at their 2.5-meter boat. Meanwhile, completely unaware of this drama, I was swimming nearby with dead fish strapped to my waist. Screenshot from “Little Bitty Boats and Big Sharks Don’t Mix”.

Recently on Foveaux Strait off Stewart Island, New Zealand, right across from where I was spearfishing in Bluff, an imbecilic film crew decided to seek out white sharks from a dinghy that could just as easily be mistaken for a portable bathtub. How do we suppose they attracted the suspected 20-foot shark? A big hunk of bleeding meat, as always, only this time hanging within feet of what surely appears to be an inflatable rubber raft.

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Screenshot from “Little Bitty Boats and Big Sharks Don’t Mix”.

And get this: these guys were hoping that the 20-foot shark would lead them to the nocturnal feeding grounds of a supposedly larger “mega shark,” which of course, like the fabled subjects of many a Discovery Channel docudrama, has eluded mankind to date.

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Screenshot from “Little Bitty Boats and Big Sharks Don’t Mix”.

You don’t have to have seen or read “Jaws or any fake Discovery documentary to know this wasn’t a good idea. Just listen to the voice of one of Discovery’s film crew in the video below. For this show, Discovery won’t have to trade science-free melodrama for attention. Still, never underestimate Discovery’s ability to botch or contort a good story. We still have a few months till Shark Week yet.

Now about that spearfishing I was just referring to.

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Somewhere between those two islands on the not-so-far-off horizon, a pair of Discovery Channel dopes were getting the thrill of their lives. Photo courtesy of Owen James Burke.

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Hawaiian Canoe Hōkūleʻa Preps for the Tasman Sea, Continues Round-the-World Voyage

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The crew of the Hōkūleʻa prepare to cross “the ditch”–the Tasman Sea as winter falls on the southern hemisphere. Photo: ‘Ōiwi TV/Maui Tauotaha.

Having turned back from Auckland for Hawaii, Hikianalia (Hōkūleʻa’s sister ship), Hōkūleʻa is now preparing to cross the Tasman Sea alone.

The Tasman Sea is known for relentless swells, and the last few weeks have been particularly rough (I should know, I’m here), but it looks like a good weather window for the next few days, and yesterday, for the first time in her 40-year lifetime, Hōkūleʻa was due to set sail beyond the Pacific.

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Stan Rogers, “Barrett’s Privateers,” and the 20th Century Sea Shanty

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Photo via StanRogers.net.

Stan Rogers was a Canadian folk singer whose roots lay in music and the Canadian Maritime provinces, though he wasn’t from there. While Rogers took interest in hearing and playing rock & roll music while growing up with his contemporaries, but he also took a shining to traditional folk music–particularly in the sea shanties he would overhear while spending his summers in Nova Scotia. Rogers, who was singing just as soon as he was speaking, appreciated the melodic power of sea shanties, which, fortunately for him, paired immaculately with his sturdy and booming baritone voice.

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Watch a Sailboat’s Incredible Voyage to Antarctica, from Above

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Screenshot from “Antarctica” by 

If you’re planning–or have ever considered–a trip to Antarctica from South America by sail, the infamously feared and revered stretch across Drake Passage from Cape Horn and back is probably the first thing that comes to mind. What many of us don’t consider, and what is shown in the montage below, are the miles upon nautical miles of stunningly still, breezeless serenity created by an amphitheater of icebergs, glaciers and mountains–through much of which you may have to drop sail and motor-cruise.

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Screenshot from “Antarctica” by 

I don’t know if it’s the musical accompaniment, the tranquility of the setting or the gracefulness of the whales, but there seems to be something utterly relaxing about the voyage (at least, what’s shown)–a sentiment I wouldn’t expect to have when surrounded by hull-crushing icebergs and marrow-chilling seas, even with the temperamental winds of the roaring 40s (the latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees South) aside.

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Our Favorite Nautical Prints from Alternate Histories: Where the Past Comes Monstrously to Life

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“Woe betide the sailor or shipping merchant who failed to heed the warnings of Bessie, the South Bay Behemoth. This overhead map kindly shows the usual location of the mighty Bessie in a vividly rendered re-enactment of the great Water Monster wreaking havoc with the shipping industry, a major problem for commerce in the growing city.” Description and digital print from: Alternate Histories on ETSY.

Alternate Histories of the World by Mathew Buchholz is a fascinating collection of maps, photographs, engravings and paintings from the early ages to modern day, providing a stunning new look at the world as defined by our struggles and alliances with mythical monsters and supernatural creatures.

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“What a fine, multicolored lithographic map of Charleston, South Carolina! Dating from 1872, this map includes a full view of the Harbor Horror, aka the Cooper River Creature, aka the Creeping Terror of Charleston, aka the Scourge of South Carolina, aka the Unholy Horror, aka the Colossus of the Citadel, and many, many more.” Description and digital print from: Alternate Histories on ETSY.

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England’s Victorian Era Sea Forts Are Being Made into Exclusive Offshore Retreats

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Spitbank Fort, Solent, Great Britain. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Built to protect Portsmouth Harbor from the army of Napoleon III, four Victorian-era military bunkers lie between mainland England and the Isle of White, decommissioned since World War II. Now they’re being remodeled in festive, luxuriant splendor to suit the needs of any party, however lavish and/or debauched.

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What island fort would be complete without its own contained water feature? Photo: Anna Kunst.

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Spitbank Fort has 8 bedrooms accommodating 18 in all. If you do make it out to the fort for a soiree, the 15-foot-thick walls will give you no trouble sleeping off the night’s festivities. Photo: Charlie Dave/flickr.

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Wish You Were Here: Lounging Underwater in Your Private Room off Zanzibar

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Photo from The Manta Resort.

My favorite place on earth, now has what hopefully one day, will be my favorite hotel room. Last year,  The Manta Resort added a submerged hotel room to its ‘property’. Located on the remote island of Pemba – an island part of the Zanzibar archipelago just off the coast of Tanzania, the floating structure is Swedish engineered and provides three levels, each an experience in itself.  This is privacy at its finest and from your own bed, you can watch the fish swim by and fall asleep to a real underwater dreamscape.

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Photo from The Manta Resort.

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