The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: australia

Wish You Were Here: In Sydney, Australia – Watching the Tsunami Clouds Roll In

sydney

Clouds loom over the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia. Photo: Richard “Hirst” Hirsty.

Last week, a series of violent storms swept through eastern Australia. Australian photographer Richard Hirst was in position to capture this ‘cloud tsunami’ as it rolled in.

Read more»

We’ll Never Let Anybody Know. And We Stupidly Believed That Would Work. From Tavarua to Nias with Barbarian Days Author William Finnegan. The Third of a Four-Part Interview.

SurferMag25-12

Kevin Naughton on the cover of the 1984 Surfer Magazine issue that revealed Tavarua to the World. Before this, William Finnegan surfed the island in blessed solitude. 

Editor’s Note. Recently, I fired up Skype for a chat with author and longtime New Yorker reporter William Finnegan. In his recently released New York Times bestselling memoir Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life, Finnegan has written a sweeping, engrossing narrative that literally took six decades of living to write. Today, Finnegan talks about stumbling onto what are today among the most famous spots on earth – surfing them completely alone, and the tragedy of the commons that’s unfolded in the years since. All the interview entries are also linked at the end of this one. — CD 

BarbarianDaysCover

Barbarian Days. Well worth 1926 pennies.

Chris Dixon. Something that really struck me, and I’m sure you had this discussion with other surfers who read Barbarian Days, is the scale of your hits in your surf travel. I’m reading the book, and I’m thinking, I’ve been there, I’ve been there, I haven’t been there – but I know about that place. I’m reading the book, and just shaking my head and wondering aloud, was there a point – maybe Tavarua when it was exposed by Surfer – was there a point where you realized, holy shit, I had these experiences in places that would become seminal in surfing; Nias, Tavarua, Grajagan, Jardim do Mar. I’m sure some felt remarkable, like real discoveries, but did you feel some of these would become seminal places in surfing? Does that make sense?

Read more»

Sea Turtles Don Poop-Collecting Wetsuits – for the Sake of Science

swimsuit3

Sea turtle collection in Moreton Bay, Australia for important diet studies. Photograph from University of Queensland News

Researchers at the University of Queensland, have been working from the ‘bottom’ up to figure out what loggerhead sea turtles eat and where that prey is from so improved conservation measures can better protect the endangered species.

When faced with the dilemma of trying to collect feces from extremely heavy sea turtles, UQ researchers Owen Coffee and Carmen da Silva came up with a new way to use the old standby for poop collection – a turtle diaper.

swimsuit harness

The sea turtles customized giant ‘nappy’. Photograph from University of Queensland News

Read more»

“He thought it was Wonderful. I Thought it was Absolutely Horrifying.” Talking Story with Barbarian Days Author William Finnegan, Part II.

DocsGamesII

William Finnegan. Surfing Ocean Beach. Photo from Barbarian Playing Doc’s Games, The New Yorker, 1992. 

Editor’s Note. Last week, I fired up Skype for a chat with author and longtime New Yorker reporter William Finnegan. Finnegan, 62, is a personal hero. He’s a Manhattan-based, hard-nosed, badass, no-bullshit, journalist’s journalist, and surfing’s most accomplished wordsmith. In his recently released New York Times bestselling memoir Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life, Finnegan has written a sweeping, engrossing narrative that literally took six decades of living to write. Earlier this week, we talked about the immorality of surfing hurricane waves. Today, Finnegan discusses how hard it was to write Barbarian Days, his seminal New Yorker article “Playing Doc’s Games,” the drop-knee cutback, and the terror of big Ocean Beach. — CD 

BarbarianDaysCover

Barbarian Days. Well worth 1926 pennies.

Chris Dixon: Ok, let’s talk about Barbarian Days. I’m wondering from your verbal perspective, why did you feel it was time to write a book about your own personal life experience as a surfer when you, aside from “Playing Doc’s Games,” which got somewhat into that – you haven’t written much about your own personal life.

William Finnegan: My other books have all been more journalistic, it’s true – although my first one, Crossing the Line, about teaching at a black high school in South Africa was pretty first-person. Still, I was strongly trying to report on South Africa and what I saw there.

CrossingTheLine

I didn’t recently decide it was time to write this book (Barbarian Days). It was twenty-something years in the making. It just finally got done now. It started with that piece in The New Yorker in ‘92 – “Playing Doc’s Games” – which in itself took 7 years to write. So really this is a long, old project.

The genesis. I was living in San Francisco, freelancing. I sent a short political piece over the transom to The New Yorker and someone in the editor’s office said, “If you want to write longer pieces, this would be a good time to submit something to the editor – you’ve got his attention.”

So I felt like I needed to come up with something in five minutes – right now. And I didn’t have any ideas. So I just sort of looked around and proposed a profile of Mark Renneker. I was surfing with him at Ocean Beach at the time – and he was this big colorful character that struck me as a John McPhee type hero. Not that I’m John McPhee, but I could see Mark in The New Yorker. Perhaps under someone else’s byline!

Read more»

Life In Salt. Talking Story with Barbarian Days Author William Finnegan, Part I. Joaquin and the Indefensible Lust for Hurricane Surf.

YoungBillFinn
William Finnegan. Portrait of the author as a young man. Photo from Barbarian Days, courtesy: William Finnegan.

Editor’s Note. Last week, I fired up Skype for a chat with author and longtime New Yorker reporter William Finnegan. Finnegan, 62, is a personal hero. He’s a Manhattan-based, hard-nosed, badass, no-bullshit, journalist’s journalist, and surfing’s most accomplished wordsmith. In his recently released New York Times bestselling memoir Barbarian Days, A Surfing Life, Finnegan has written a sweeping, engrossing narrative that literally took six decades to write.

BarbarianDaysCover
Barbarian Days. Well worth 1926 pennies.

Finnegan and I planned to spend fifteen, maybe twenty minutes talking about the book. But by the time we wrapped it up, we’d had a two hour long discussion on the the state of the world, climate armageddon, fatherhood, surfing, relationships, youthful selfishness, growing older and hopefully wiser, and, oh yeah, the book.

Over the next several days, I’ll run excerpts from our talk in installments. First, the glory, frustration and indefensible immorality of lusting after, and chasing hurricane waves.

Read more»

Watch an Ocean Sinkhole Swallow a Beautiful Campsite, Car and Trailers on Australia’s Sunshine Coast

sinkhole2

Devastation of the campground lost into the sea by a sinkhole, which forced the evacuation of over 300 campers and staff. Photo by Kieren Hudson.

Earlier this week, a major sinkhole occurred at the Inskip Point Campgrounds on Australia’s Sunshine coast. Luckily no one was injured but according to Clayton Towing, campers ” Heard a noise like a storm. On looking they realized the sand was rapidly disappearing into the ocean at an amazing speed. They only just got their 4wds and caravans out with seconds to spare, as their campsite disappeared 3 metres down into the ocean. A 4wd, large caravan, camper trailer, and tents on the site next to them were all swallowed into the ocean.”

Sinkholes are caused by the collapse of underground caves or other cavities due to heavy rain, flooding, or earthquakes, which can destabilize the rocks beneath Earth’s surface.

“This area has a history where sinkholes occur regularly, it has something to do with the way sediments are formed and the way water moves through the Earth over millions of years or thousands of years,” geotechnical engineer Allison Golsby from consulting company ConsultMine told the ABC.

Check out the dashcam footage of the chaos that ensued below. The sh** gets real at about 8 minutes in.

Read more»

This Is How Adult Great Whites Assert Dominance When Juveniles Step Out of Line

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.59.01 AM

Screenshot from Agnes Yip-Fa’s 2013 video footage taken off the Neptune Islands off South Australia.

I always imagined that the rugged scars on white sharks were the results of the no-holds-barred ambushes with which they have no choice but to mount on their prey–often formidable beasts in their own rights, with spines, claws, teeth and powerful jaws.

But then, as with many of earth’s sentient beings, there’s a pecking order within the species, one which is distinguished, if not inherently by age or size, by force.

“The very basic behaviour of ‘stay away from anyone bigger than me’ is just as advantageous to white sharks as it is to marching band members,” says predator-prey ecologist Michelle Jewell.

Read more»

Wish You Were Here: Somewhere off Australia’s East Coast

Once leased by late global surfing ambassador Peter Troy, this little tropical cay–which we’re not at liberty to name–produces world class surf, apparently on both sides, when the swell direction is right.

Read more»