The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: recreational boating

Wish You Were Here: Kayaking Through Abel Tasman National Park, 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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The Cook Strait is a tricky but enchanting body of water. It’s best to get on it early in the morning before the afternoon breeze kicks up. Photo: Owen James Burke.

Find a kayak, shove off the gold sand beach into gin-clear water and weave your way between granite and limestone cliffs. That’s the first thing you have to do when you get to the shores of Abel Tasman National Park. the rest is up to you, but I assure you, there’s no shortage of wonders small or large.

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The Blob: How A Long, Strange Influx of Warm Water is Changing West Coast Ecosystems

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Recreational fishing has had a gangbuster season in San Diego, thanks to the presence of tropical fish not normally found in those waters, like the bluefin tuna shown here. Photo by Point Loma Sportfishing.

Over the last few years, the waters off the West coast have been warming to about 4 to 5 degrees fahrenheit above average. This might seem like a small change, but it can cause major changes in the coastal ecosystems. The warm water, which scientists have nicknamed “the Blob,” formed two years ago near Alaska and has spread down the West Coast and is especially evident in Southern California. With the warmer waters, tiger sharks, hammerheads and even tropical sea snakes have moved northward.

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The map of the West coast “Blob’ shows how much above (red) or below (blue) water temperatures were in 2015 compared to the long-term average from 2003 to 2012. Photo by Nasa. 

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Wish You Were Here: Freshly-Dived Scallops, Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand, living in a house truck 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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New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds might just have the best scallops on the planet. Photo: Owen James Burke.

I forgot my dive fins yesterday, so it was a bit of a strain getting down to scallop depth (25-30 feet), especially in my floaty surfing wetsuit, but I managed to pull up a few, and at least I remembered the lemon.

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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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The Definitive Guide: The Wirecutter’s Best Summer Gear for Sand, Surf, and Sun. From the Crew of The Scuttlefish.


Photo: Quinn Dixon.

A few months ago, I started working with Wirecutter and Scuttlefish founder Brian Lam – and a slew of talented editors and waterpeople – on an update to last year’s Wirecutter Summer Gear Guide.


Photo: Quinn Dixon.

After a serious expenditure of editorial energy – somewhere around 200 combined hours (at least), we’re proud to unveil the work of authors Jaimal Yogis and Mark Lukach, filmmaker Sachi Cunningham, former Outside online editor Joe Spring, fisherman and Scuttlefish writer Owen Burke, surf Divas Nicole Grodesky, Kate Barattini and underwater photographer Abi Mullens. What follows an editorially unbiased and journalistically pursued summertime gear guide that is frankly, like nothing I’ve ever worked on, and nothing I’ve ever seen.

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Thoughts from Life Aboard a Tiny, Hand-Built, Capsized Houseboat: A Scuttlefish Q&A


After being towed to the marina, Dimitri assesses the damages on his tiny floating home, and concocts an idea on how to get it out of the water. Courtesy of Dimitri Cherny.

In September of last year, I had the pleasure to hang out on, photograph, and write about the tiny, handbuilt houseboat Dimitri Cherny was living aboard in Charleston, South Carolina. For me, it set off fantasies of literally sailing into the sunset, or at least dragging a tiny houseboat around in search of the perfect cove.

Sadly in March of this year, the tiny houseboat capsized and was found face down in the Ashley river. Luckily, Dmitri wasn’t aboard and the boat didn’t sink – so there is hope, and perhaps the best is yet to come.

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Meet the Man Who’s Spent Forty Nights atop the Cortes Bank – Alone.

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“I love the desolation [of Cortes],” says Mongeau, “When I’m out there, I’m thinking anything could happen.” Above: Mongeau’s sleeping quarters aboard his skiff; the Cortes buoy; a view of the skiff’s undersea window. Photos: Brad Mongeau

In the current issue (24.2) of The Surfer’s Journal, I wrote a profile of Harrison Ealey, whom I first met while researching my book Ghost Wave. Ealey it seems, is the first guy to have ever surfed the Cortes Bank. After Ghost Wave was published, even more folks contacted me with stories about Cortes. One of the most interesting people I met as a result was a guy named Brad Mongeau. Brad lives in Long Beach, California. He’s a retired aerospace engineer whose life revolves around the islands, kelp forests, and reefs of the outer California Bight. San Nicolas and San Clemente islands are his playgrounds. But to Brad, nowhere is more special than the Cortes Bank. To date, he’s spent 40 nights solo atop the Bank, aboard a 19-foot skiff that he built by hand.

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A South Carolina Sailor Has Been Rescued After 66 Days Lost at Sea


Louis Jordan walks into Norfolk Hospital after 66 days adrift in the Gulf Stream of the Carolina Coast. Photo: WAVY/Liz Palka

Last seen on January 23rd aboard his 35-foot sailboat, the Angel, at a marina in Conway, South Carolina, 37-year-old sailor Louis Jordan was spotted aboard the disabled yacht and rescued by German-flagged cargo vessel the Houston Express 200 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina at around 1:30pm on Thursday, 66 days later.


Photo: WAVY/Liz Palka

The M/V Houston Express put in a call to the US Coast Guard 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, which sent a medevac helicopter to retrieve the sailor and deliver him to Norfolk Hospital. He was suffering from a wounded shoulder which required immediate medical attention, but according to US Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Krystyn Pecora, had managed to survive on fish and collected rainwater.

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