The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: washed up

Life in Salt: Tom Neale – A Look Back at his Sixteen Years on a Deserted Island in the South Pacific


Tom Neale. Image from his book An Island to Oneself.

In 1952, a man left his life of wanderlust to settle down. At fifty years old, it was time to lay some roots. After all, Tom Neale had been traveling the South Pacific for close to thirty years. But his new, domesticated life would be far from typical. Rather than a house in the suburbs and a white picket fence, Neale intentionally ‘stranded’ himself on an uninhabited coral atoll in Suwarrow, Cook Islands. He lived there, on and off for sixteen years.

The idea of living on the deserted Anchorage Island was seeded by an American travel writer, Robert Frisbie whom Neal had met while bouncing around the South Pacific. Frisbie had written extensively about Polynesia and the South Pacific. After years of living in Tahiti and then losing his wife, he and his five children fulfilled his lifelong dream by calling the tiny Anchorage home.

the island

Anchorage Island in the Suwarrows today. Screen grab from the video compilation on the life of Tom Neale. Video by Hajnács Tamás

The family spent a year on the island and their story of surviving a typhoon by lashing themselves to tamanu trees that bend, rather than break, became serialized in The Atlantic Monthly as The Story of an Island: Marooned by Request in 1943 and later in the novel The Island of Desire.


Map of the Cook Islands. Image from World Atlas.

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The ‘Beach Buoy’ These Children Were Photographed Playing Around? An Undetonated WWII Mine.


“My son was touching it and was knocking on it a little bit,” said mother Kelly Gravell. Photo: ABC News/Wales News Service (presumably snapped by Kelly Gravell).

On August 12th, Burry Port, Wales, UK resident Kelly Gravell took her 4 and 6 year old children down the the beach with their boogie boards. Walking across the sand, they noticed a “large object” covered in barnacles, and decided to investigate further.

“We get things washed up all the time,” Gravell told ABC News, “so we thought it was a buoy. We never thought for one second it was a bomb.”

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Acadian Driftwood: The Legend of Actor Charles Coghlan’s Castaway, Homeward-Bound Metal Coffin

The handsome Charles Francis Coghlan, a 19th century French-born Anglo-Irish actor.
(b. France/Canada (?), 1841, d. Galveston, Texas, 1899.)

Things wash ashore over time. Sometimes they’re derelict fishing vessels, sometimes they’re legos. Sometimes they’re messages in bottles, and sometimes they’re caskets carrying the corpses of famous actors.

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Stop. Watch This Now. This is What Happened in Santa Barbara and Will Happen to Your Coast if Proposed Offshore Oil and Gas Proceeds


Reeve Woolpert carries an oil-covered Brown Pelican from Refugio State Beach. Photo from Ventura County Star via Audubon.

On May 19, 2015, more than 100,000 gallons of thick, crude oil poured out of a ruptured pipeline in Santa Barbara County. The pipeline is owned by Plains All American, one of the worst violators of safety and maintenance regulations in the industry, according to a list by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.

The local community, some arguably still scarred from the 1969 Santa Barbara spill, watched in despair as a pool of oil spread and began to wash up onshore over a 10-mile stretch of coast and continues to wash up today.


A day after the pipeline rupture, the oil sheen—and oil-soaked kelp—makes its way toward the shore. Photo by Brian van der Brug/LA Times/Getty via Audubon.

Ironically, members of the UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) were in Alaska, attending a conference about the effects of oil on wildlife, when the real thing happened. OWCN Director Mike Ziccardi, who has experienced more than 50 spills in California and abroad, booked a red-eye flight from Anchorage to Santa Barbara.

“California is the best region in the world for oiled wildlife response,” Ziccardi said in the UC Davis Today article. “Through the UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network, we have over 35 organizations we work with regularly. We train, do drills and exercises; we’ve built 12 facilities throughout the state for oiled wildlife.”

Regardless of the group’s preparedness, no community is truly prepared to witness the devastation a spill can wreak on their beaches and wildlife. The following video shows the impact of the spill’s aftermath to wildlife.

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‘Typically, the number of birds far outweighs the number of marine mammals brought into the wildlife care facilities. With the Santa Barbara spill, the ratio is much less distinct.’ said marine biologist Kyra Mills-Parker with OWCN.

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This Massive, 18 Foot Long Giant Squid Just Washed Up on the Beach in Kaikoura, New Zealand. I Went Down to Take a Look.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand, living in a van (or soon to be) 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


The southern giant squid (Architeuthis sanctipauli), ashore in Kaikoura, New Zealand’s South Bay on May 13, 2015. Photo: Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium.

This week, yet again, a giant squid washed ashore on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. There may be few other places in the world where giant squid have washed ashore so much as they have in New Zealand, but being the first shallow-water pitstop looking north from deep, cool, Antarctic waters, the east coast of the South Island is a likely place for such abyssal oddities to make landfall. But that still leaves the question: why?


Death and decomposition may not feature this strange, gargantuan creature in all of its grandeur, but I assure you, even in an ice cream cooler, it’s something to see. Photo: Owen James Burke.


Yes, those are teeth on their suction cups. Imagine thousands of tiny lampreys planting their jowls into your flesh and you have a vague idea of what it might be like to come under the attack of the giant squid. Photo: Owen James Burke.

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Wish You Were Here: On the Bus in Ibiza, Spain.

Uschi the Party Busoriginal

Air BnB’s coolest destination on Ibiza – Uschi the Bus.

Next stop – Ibiza in the Balearic Islands! Find yourself on this most epic party bus. ‘Uschi’ is a converted 1954 Swiss Postal Bus. It’s perched on a cliff off Cala Comte, with stunning oceanside views and the best sunsets in the islands.

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Life in Salt: Dimitri Cherny. Thoughts from a Tiny Houseboat – Off the Grid and On the Water


Cherny’s tiny houseboat is 17 ft. long by 8 ft. wide and moored in the Ashley River in Charleston, SC.
Photo: Carolyn Sotka

The full moon lit the sky and the stars winked in unison. Reflections off the late summer waves provided the backdrop. It was a perfect night for a skinny dip. With not a soul in sight, Dimitri Cherny climbed to the roof of his tiny houseboat, stripped down and dove in.

Usually, one would have to pay millions for access to such a secluded waterfront. But Cherny didn’t pay much, in fact – close to nothing. With the tiny house craze spreading across the vast lands of the U.S., he has taken the idea to the coastal waterways of South Carolina.

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This Wedding Band Was Lost on the Beach, Found and Returned Two Years Later


While playing football on Goleta Beach, Greg Lindsay chased a football into the surf and didn’t notice that it had slipped off. It wasn’t until later that he and his wife, Sara, noticed it missing. They figured they’d never see it again, and replaced it with a $20 sterling silver ring they found on Amazon.

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