The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: quotes

“Just Keep Playing.” Surfer and #VanLife Enthusiast Daniel Norris, Our Favorite MLB Pitcher, Has Thyroid Cancer.


Photo: Grind TV.

The Detroit Tigers pitcher, who preps himself for spring training by surfing his way down the east coast and parking his VW camper at Wal Mart at night, made the announcement (below) on Monday.

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The World Loses a Formidable Force for Protection of West Coast Fisheries: Zeke Grader, Dies at 68.


Zeke Grader. Photo: PCFFA and courtesy of Sara Randall.

“There are many good fishermen and great ones. But there is only you.” I couldn’t image a better quote than this, from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”, to capture the spirit and incomparable nature of Zeke Grader. Grader, the former executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) and the Institute of Fisheries Resources (IFR), died September 7th, next to his beloved San Francisco Bay, after a long illness.

In the world of protecting fish and the communities that depend on healthy ocean ecosystems, very few have been able to navigate the tricky waters of  sustainable fishing, as well as Zeke has. As a lawyer and fisherman hybrid, Zeke moved easily amongst all the players, from radical conservationists to salty, old-timer fishermen. I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. When I first met Zeke over fifteen years ago at a sustainable seafood meeting, he initially gave me the party line of PCFFA. But after I recounted my over 180 days at sea as a fisheries observer, my ‘sea legs’ cred rose and we became fast friends and colleagues.

Zeke’s mission was to protect fish, fishery habitat and fishing heritage along the West Coast. Coming from a multi- generational fishing family, he believed in the importance and contribution of commercial fishing to coastal culture and economies. But he wasn’t just saving the fish for the fishermen or the consumer. He was saving the fish for the bear up the river that needs fish to feed her cubs, for the birds that depend on fish roe for survival, and for the river that allows all life to flow and thrive.

sutton zeke

Zeke, seen here with former NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, IFR president Pietro Parravano, Sara Randall and Paul Johnson. Zeke received many awards over the years including the Environmental Hero Award from NOAA. Photo courtesy of Michael Sutton – former president, California Fish & Game Commission.

One of my graduate school friends, Natasha Benjamin, had the privilege of working with Zeke as a former program director of IFR, and she contributed to this story. Natasha joined the team in 1999 and together they helped IFR expand their portfolio from projects based just in California, to protection of salmon habitat and other fisheries along the entire West Coast. Also, they worked on environmental standards for aquaculture and legislation for seafood labeling.

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We Asked Famed Yacht Designer Phillippe Briand to Weigh in on the Fantastically Unseaworthy Designs of Lujac Desautel


Above: “Glass.” If a Great Lake were planning to install a new Museum of Modern Art, perhaps Lujac Desautel’s conceptual vessel, Glass (above) could find a relatively safe home. On second thought, remember the Edmund Fitgerald. Images: Lujac Desautel.

A few months ago, we were intrigued by a Wired story on the beautiful ‘sculpture yachts’ of a young French designer named Lujac Desautel. In A Yacht That Doesn’t Get in the Way of Your Ocean Views, Desautel said he took inspiration from places like Philip Johnson’s Connecticut Glass House. “There’s something so simple and powerful in its raw connection from the exterior to interior,” Desautel said. “I thought, what if I just took this idea and placed it on the boat?”

We were bowled over, but skeptical. Indeed, they are beautiful, revolutionary designs, but we just couldn’t see these things actually underway in the open ocean. In short, they looked unseaworthy. Perhaps dangerously so.


“Think Wrong, Be Bold, Move Fast.” – architect Lujac Desautel.
Above: “Salt”, a beautifully modernistic floating deathtrap.

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Behold the Elusive Feegee Mermaid. “The Very Perfection of Art, Imitating Nature.”


Throughout the mid to late 1800’s, P.T. Barnum’s traveling sideshows grew notorious through the showcase of ‘freaks’ of nature, curiosities and other oddities. Some of the human ‘live’ exhibits like Siamese twins, Tom Thumb, the bearded lady and the human skeleton were indeed caused by real mutations and deformities. Most though, were completely fabricated, constructed in imagination and held together by glue, smoke and mirrors.

One exhibit that drew thousands to the sideshow was the Feegee Mermaid, a grotesque mummified skeleton of a supposed half mammal and half fish version of a mermaid. Nothing like beautiful sirens in typically portrayed in ocean folklore, this thing looked like a mini monster that would happily eat your face.


P.T. Barnum’s feegee mermaid from 1842. Originally published in: The New York Herald

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Big Wave Surfer Greg Long Pens a Poignant Ode to Late, Great Free Climber and Wingsuit Legend Dean Potter.

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Above: A harness-free Dean Potter slacklines over Yosemite. Photo via @gerglong.

Big wave surfer Greg Long and free climber Dean Potter may not have had much in common professionally, but if there’s one sentiment they both knew and shared, it was fear. With the passing of the 43-year-old maverick climber in Yosemite National Park over the weekend, Long composed a heartfelt tribute to the man who may have inspired him to continue his big wave pursuits after a close call left him questioning his lot in life:

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“I Need the Sea Because It Teaches Me” – Pablo Neruda’s Collected Poems of the Sea


Pablo Neruda wall in Santiago, Chile. 

The beloved poet Pablo Neruda spent much of his life by the sea, and his final years overlooking the Pacific from the cliffs of Isla Negra in Chile. To commemorate the centennial of Neruda’s birth in 2004, his favored translator Alastair Reid and artist-friend Mary Heebner published ‘On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea’, a collection of twelve poems and reflections on the ocean. The sea had always been a metaphor for Neruda’s life, the ebb and flow of surf and foam; the life and death that each day and night brings. Here is a selected poem ‘It is Born (Nace)’ from the collection, and other works below.

Here I came to the very edge
where nothing at all needs saying,
everything is absorbed through weather and the sea,
and the moon swam back.
its rays all silvered,
and time and time again, the darkness would be broken
by the crash of a wave,
and every day on the balcony of the sea,
wings open, fire is born,
and everything is blue again like morning.


The compilation ‘On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea’, is bilingual in Spanish with English translations and features 15 paintings by California artist Heebner


Neruda at his Isla Negra house.

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Capt. Paul Watson Pens Questionable HuffPo Story on Rising Number of Shark Attacks; Marine Biologist David Shiffman Bites Back


“Shark attacks are on the rise and the reason for this is entirely the fault of humanity.” — Captain Paul Watson. …huh? Photo: Shutterstock via The Huffington Post

“Kudos to Sea Shepherd, possibly the only conservation organization on Earth who can manage to offend both Jews and Muslims (separately, not even with the same statement) in a short article about sharks that also contains an enormous amount of misinformation about shark behavior,” writes Marine Biologist Dr. David Shiffman, fuming in response to a recent Huffington Post article written by the the king of high-sea monkey wrench business himself, Captain Paul Watson.


Photo: Paul Watson’s twitter page

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The History and Lore Behind the Adage, ‘Red Sky in Morning’


‘Scarlet Sunrise’ Folly Island, South Carolina. WanderSea Photography by Carolyn Sotka, October 7, 2014

‘Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.’

One of the first known accounts of this old adage can be found in the Bible’s Gospel of Matthew, likely written between 50 – 90 A.D. According to the disciple Matthew, Jesus was approached by the ruling class of Israel, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who asked for a sign from God. Jesus was in continuous conflict with these groups, and that ultimately led to his crucification and death.

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