The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: artic

Rising Sea Levels: Kiribatian President Anote Tong’s Call to Action, and the University of California’s New CO2-Scrubbing Micromotor

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“What I would like people to be is to be human beings, to be moral human beings, and to be able to understand that what they do might be negative to those people on the other side of the world. And if they have the capacity, then they have the obligation to do something about it.” – Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, in the Arctic. Screenshot from Greenpeace’s video (below).

As sea level rises, some communities find themselves facing more imminent threats than others. And while many communities are at threat, Kiribati, a low-lying Pacific island nation, is on the shortlist of those who’ll be among the first to disappear beneath the waves.

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Do Humans Have a Future in Deep Sea Exploration? My Newest Story in The New York Times Story Poses the Question.


Terry Kerby, the head of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, peers through the porthole of a Pisces V research submarine. Photo: Kent Nishimura for The New York Times. 

This past Spring, I was honored to spend some time with a most remarkable oceanographer. Terry Kerby is the director of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. The admiral of HURL’s Pisces deep-sea submersible program, Kerby is arguably the most experienced submariner the face of the earth. The discoveries he and his crew have made with the help of the of bug-eyed, mantis-armed Pisces submarines, have re-written the very history of World War II and changed our very understanding of the life on earth. Yet the future of Kerby’s operation is uncertain, thanks to budget cuts – and robots.

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Wish You Were Here: Filming Icebergs on Bartlett’s Greenland Expedition, C. 1939


Above: A relatively scantily clad crewman on Bartlett’s Greenland Expedition films an iceberg aboard the Effie M. Morrissey in 1939. Photo via Sail Dream.

Why is it that in so many pre-WWII expedition photos the crewmen appear to be wearing so little–and looking quite comfortable, I must add–in the world’s harsh climes?

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This 13-year-old Girl Will Become The First “Child” to Scuba Dive Between Tectonic Plates in Iceland


Does confidence come any cooler?

Charlotte Burns of Bromley, England may be just 13 years old, but with over 130 dives under her belt and 25 diving certifications–including the PADI Junior Master Scuba Diver rating, which she obtained two days after turning 12–she’s as ready as anyone to undertake her most intricate dive to date.


Up or down? Photo: /Interesting World Facts 4 U.

While there already lies a great deal of danger in the technicality of the dive, which can induce claustrophobia and disorientation, these are also some of the world’s coldest waters, where a scuba diver is entirely at the mercy of a frighteningly long list of necessary equipment.


This is the mesmerizing maze of bedrock and H2O Charlotte will face in the Silfra Tectonic Fissure, outside Reykjavik in Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park (inside the Arctic Circle).

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The Scuttlefish Travels to England. Welcome Aboard the Ship that Launched D-Day and Rendered Big Naval Gunships (Like Herself) Obsolete: HMS Belfast.


The HMS Belfast – a massive incongruity, floating on the muddy Thames right across from the Tower of London. Her history – from literally firing the opening shots on the D-Day invasion, to the sinking of one Germany’s most fearsome ships – is both heroic and tragic. Photo: Chris Dixon

Editor’s Note:
My family and I spent much of June trekking through England. We passed a week in London and the rest of a working vacation navigating a little camper through the verdant midlands and breathtaking coastline of my distant ancestral motherland. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll share a little of what we found on this island most fair.

Today, the incredible HMS Belfast, the last surviving heavy gunship in Her Majesty’s fleet.

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Life in Salt: How California Surf Photographer Chris Burkard Finds Joy Beating the Crowds on His Frigid, Far-Flug Adventures

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“…if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s that any career, even one as seemingly glamorous as surf photography, has the danger of becoming monotonous.” “Hofn Beach”, Iceland. Photo: Chris Burkard.

Chris Burkard is a self-taught award-winning photojournalist and photographer from Central California with a proclivity for harsh, cold climes and wide open landscapes. But it wasn’t always that way. Burkard began his career following the best of the best in surfing to tropical destinations that usually dominate the covers of surfing magazines but endless, palm-fringed reef pass barrels can make even the life of a surf photographer seem routine.

“The more time I spent traveling to these exotic locations,” Burkard mused in a recent TED talk (see below), “the less gratifying it seemed to be.” The trappings of the digital world come along with you when you visit Tahiti, Fiji, or take a yacht to the Maldives, but they’re nowhere to be found in Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, Alaska’s vast coastal outback or even wild, ice-glazed north Atlantic shores.

In the following paragraphs, he shares a few of his mind-blowing images, philosophies on work and life – and few pieces of must-have gear.

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“All this shivering taught me something: in life, there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything worth pursuing requires us to suffer just a tiny bit.” Chris Burkard, Lofoten Islands, Norway, Arctic Circle. Photo: Chris Burkard.

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Watch as Greenpeace Destroys Historic Artwork to Protest Shell’s Deep Sea Drilling in the Arctic

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William Bradford’s “An Arctic Summer: Boring Through the Pack in Melville Bay”, up in smoke. Screenshot from Greenpeace’s YouTube video, “A Song of Oil, Ice and Fire”.

The imagery is of chaos, doom and gloom, but the message is clear. Shell is now within weeks of beginning their exploits in the Arctic Circle, and as protests like last week’s “kayaktivist” blockade in Seattle take place, Greenpeace hopes this video will help fuel the spirit of resistance.

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Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, charred. Screenshot from Greenpeace’s YouTube video, “A Song of Oil, Ice and Fire”.

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As Non-Native King Crabs Invade Northern Europe, Recreational Divers Take Matters into Their Own Hands


Thomas Richardsen Hansen holds up an invasive red king crab which he found beneath the ice in Berlevåg, Finnmark, Norway. King crab pincers are strong enough to bend titanium and could easily snip off a thumb. Photo: Stig Brondbo

The red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) is only native to the Bering Sea, the Japan Sea and the northern Pacific waters between them, but in 1961, a group of Soviet scientists brought 7 specimens–yes, just SEVEN–to the Barents Sea in an attempt to stimulate the Soviet fishery. Each mating season, a female may give birth to some 10,000 surviving offspring. By the early 2000s, the population had grown so much that it could sustain a commercially viable fishery, and today there are an estimated 20 million king crab in this small pocket of Northern European ocean, and there’s nothing to stop them from reaching Southern Europe.


Endemic to nearby waters (see in yellow above), red king crabs are all too fit for the waters of Northern Europe (red). Graphic via GRID

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