The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: france

Wish You Were Here: Sipping Espresso Aboard Jacques Cousteau’s Old Ship, Physalie (Now Espresso Ship), Port Tarakohe, New Zealand

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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I was convinced this was a gimmick, and you might imagine my immediate disbelief after haphazardly stumbling upon Cousteau’s old ship amidst this craggy, rusty old shipyard in–for all intents and purposes–the middle of nowhere. Photo: Owen James Burke.

The other morning, I was driving along a coastal road in New Zealand’s Golden Bay looking for a place to sit by the water and have an espresso. Coming out of a hairpin turn through a cave-tunnel in the road, I saw a sign for the “Espresso Ship”. Perfect, I thought. Plainly and simply rhapsodic. Those may well be the two things I love and covet most in this world.

Little did I know, as I would soon come to learn, this floating cafe formerly belonged to my late hero: a French naval officer, scientist and explorer by the name of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

How had I never heard of this boat?

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

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Wish You Were Here: Diving with Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau, Sanary-sur-Mer, France, 1953


Above, Jacques-Yves Cousteau adjusts 10-year-old son Jean-Michel’s aqualung before a dive into the Mediterranean Sea off Sanary-sur-Mer, France in 953. Photographer unknown. Photo via MotW.

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” — Jacques Cousteau.

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The CIA Just Tweeted That Julia Child Helped Develop the First Shark Repellent


In honor of Shark Week, the CIA just dropped a story and a half about the American icon. (Who know the CIA had a Twitter account?) Photo/Art: CIA.

Julia Child: legendary American chef, author, and . . . CIA agent? Well, sort of. Back in 1942 at the age of 29 or 30, following a brief stint in copywriting and advertising after graduating from Smith College, Child (then Julia McWilliams) went to work as a typist for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which would go on to become the CIA. She had wanted to join the women’s Army Corps or the U.S. Navy’s WAVES, but towering at 6’2″, she was too tall to enlist.

At OSS HQ in Washington, D.C., she climbed the ladder fast. It seemed she had an early knack for complex concoctions, and the OSS recognized this. She went on to become a research assistant for Special Intelligence and assigned to work on developing a shark repellent, what was to become “Shark Chaser” (read more about that here). But at the time, rather than to protect soldiers, it was intended to keep curious sharks from detonating ordnances meant for blowing German U-Boats out of the water.

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An Astonishing Day of Waves From Europe to Lake Tahoe

Antonio Silva. Praia do Norte, Nazaré, Portugal. December 11, 2014. Screen Grab: Humberto Santos/ASP/XXL 

It’s probably not escaped your your attention that there are currently two major storms lashing the western coasts of North America, where a big dent is being made in the worst California drought in at least 1200 yearsand Europe, where England and Scotland are being blitzed by one of the mightiest North Atlantic storms ever. The United Kingdom and Ireland have been raked by 80 mile per hour winds while Scotland’s remote St. Kilda Islands reported a gust of 144 miles per hour. The equivalent of a strong category 4 hurricane.

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Wipeout of the Year? We Think So.


Screen Grab From Jamie Mitchell’s Epic Fall From the Sky. Image: Vincent Kardasik, ‪#‎quiksurf‬

This past January, Australian Jamie Mitchell attempted to paddle into a Jurassic Park sized wave at Belharra, on France’s west coast. At Belharra, giant north Atlantic swells are tripped up by a submerged reef that lies a few miles offshore. Because the water is so deep right off the reef, boats can sit in seemingly suicidal proximity to the breaking waves in relative safety. When a huge swell jacks up on Belharra’s reef, it climbs to the sky, cascades down like an avalanche for awhile and then disappears back into the depths before rising back up and crashing onshore a few minutes later.

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The Salema Porgy, Hallucinogenic Delight of The Roman Empire


Consuming this Salema porgy, or sea bream, can leave you hallucinating for several days. (Photo: Brian Gratwicke/Wikipedia)

The Salema porgy (Sarpa salpa), a species of sea bream known in the Arabic world as “the fish that makes dreams,” has been used recreationally throughout history, and might contain the hallucinogenic toxin DMT (a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family).

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‘The Real Local’ and Other Entries from National Geographic’s 2014 Nature Photography Contest

National Geographic’s annual photography contest is underway and you are invited! Browse through NatGeo’s online galleries to judge for yourself or enter to win. Here are a few of our favorites, from the thousands submitted this year by amateur and professional photographers from around the world.

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‘The Real Local’ – Photo and caption by Adam Burke

“New Zealand fur seal giving me a lesson on how to surf. Shot was taken at Waitpinga Beach, South Australia. The seal wasn’t just surfing for the fun of it, there was a school of Australian salmon schooled up in a small gutter in front of this wave, the seal would take off on the wave and then with speed, fly straight into the school and grab a quick feed. Amazing to watch.”

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Wish You Were Here: Saint Jean Cap Ferrat


We just received a postcard from a friend of Scuttlefish Commodore Brian Lam’s named Leila Peterson.  Seems she’s found herself along the shores of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat a tiny, forested outpost along France’s Provençal coast.

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