The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: mexico

“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»

How to Farm Fish Without Killing the Planet

aquapod_fish-farm1

Photo: Ocean Farm Technologies.

Aquaculture has been the world’s fastest-growing food sector for several decades, and some argue it is the only feasible answer to the predicament of trying to feed a growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

And they have a point. Since the 1970s, roughly half of the world’s fish and seafood harvested for human consumption has been farmed, and in 2011, aquaculture exceeded global beef production for the first time in history.

But how can it be done without introducing pathogens (as well has hormones and potential toxins, like antibiotics) and depleting the ocean of precious oxygen and nutrients?

While there appears to be plenty of space in the ocean for the industry to expand, many, if not most of these farms lie in lakes and near-coastal waterways where, if not properly managed, they pose a serious threat to the surrounding environment.

Risks_aquaculture_550

Graphic: Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis.

Read more»

Invasion of the Red Crabs: El Niño Conditions Bring Hoards of Fiery Beasties to the Channel Islands

RedCrabs

Screen grab from video below of pelagic red crabs in the Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary

This year’s El Niño is predicted to be of one the strongest in recent history, bringing with it torrid waters from the equator and drenching the west coast and southern parts of the U.S. with torrential rains.

The effects of this Godzilla El Nino are already being felt along the Channel Islands, off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in California, where thousands of pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) have the invaded the waters around the islands.

Read more»

The Subterranean Scuba-Diving Drug Mules of Mexicali

tunnel2.pg

Photos: AP/Daily Mail.

Back in April, 28-year-old Honduran Evelio Padilla was apprehended east of Calexico, California in the All-American Canal wearing a wetsuit and carrying 55 pounds of cocaine. His discovery led authorities to the mouth of this 150 foot long underground tunnel, through which he had scuba-dived (using a rebreather) from beneath a house in Mexicali, Mexico.

aptunnel

Photo: AP/U.S. Border Patrol.

Read more»

16,000 Pounds of Cocaine in a Homemade Submarine and the Biggest Drug Bust in USCG History

150805-coast-guard-submarine-mn-2005_fe70c52d7624a74558bc5f29c815a8bb.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton approach the suspected vessel on July 19th. Photo: Lanola Stone/Coast Guard via AFP – Getty Images.

$181 million dollars is the estimated value of the 300+ bales–16,000 pounds–of cocaine seized by the United States Coast Guard 200 miles off the coast of Mexico last month, what is apparently the largest confiscation of illicit drugs in the force’s history.

Read more»

Here’s What You Should Know About the Littlest Porpoise and What You Can Do to Help Them.

natgeovaq.jpg

Above: The vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Photo: Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures/Corbis.

The vaquita is a tiny endangered porpoise that exists within a narrow 1,500-square-mile patch of the Pacific Ocean around Baja, California with a dwindling population of less than 100 as of late 2014.

As is the case with many cetaceans that find themselves fouled in fishing nets, they’re not the target species. Oriental interest in the swim bladder of another endangered specimen, the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), has fishermen in Mexico setting nets in waters shared by the vaquita.

Read more»

100 Feet Deep in a Mexican Sinkhole, This Incredible Scotch Ad Nods to a Dying Chinese Tradition

ballantines-underwater-river-hed-2015

“What really works in an image is when people cannot tell what’s real, and those lines get blurred.” – Photographer Benjamin Von Wong.

A photographer, a veteran freediver, and a team of 13 divers convened 100 feet deep in a cenote (sinkhole) near Tulum, Mexico to shoot what will likely go down in history as the world’s coolest booze ad.

100 feet, or 30 meters down, below the aqua-blue, gin-clear waters of the cenote lies a deadly layer of hydrogen sulfide, which happens to give off the visual effect that the water above it is pure O2.

The photograph, which is for scotch producer Ballentine’s, pays tribute to the dying culture of the Chinese cormorant fisherman. This ancient fishing method involves the fisherman tying a noose-like knot around the bird’s neck and sending it down to dive for small fish. When the bird surfaces, the fisherman deftly yanks the line and loop tight, pulling the bird back in before it has a chance to swallow its catch. He’ll repeat this until the boat’s full, and then the cormorant gets its meal. Cruel? Yes. But, effective and ingenious? You betcha.

Read more»