Archive for 12/08/2011

This is Bath new –

The RNLI is challenging hundreds of Santas to take an icy plunge in Somerset to raise funds for the charity.

Hundreds of scuba divers dressed in the festive costume will be entering the water at the Vobster Quay dive site near Radstock on December 18 for the annual Santa dive.

The event hosted by the RNLI will begin the countdown to the annual SOS Day on January 27, 2012, which sees schools, workers and others across the country fundraising to support its work.

The 2010 event raised £5,000 for the lifeboat charity and January’s event is hoped to be a similar success. according to Frances Warren, the charity’s community fundraising manager.

She said: “Vobster Quay has built up a huge following of Santas all ready to get into their dive gear and brave the freezing water.

It’s a truly amazing sight to see a swarm of red outfits and a mass of fluffy white beards.”

This year’s dive is in aid of the RNLI’s lifejacket campaign, which is raising funds to provide the 35 lifeboat stations in the South West with new state-of-the-art lifejackets.

Ms Warren said the money raised will help to provide jackets worn on all-weather lifeboats, which cost £350, and a jacket worn by a crew member on an inshore lifeboat, costing £330.

She added: “Both are really achievable targets for both individuals and groups of fundraisers and we hope will inspire more scuba diving Santas to get involved.”

The diving Santas will get a fundraising boost from Vobster Quay which has pledged to donate an extra 50p for every £1 raised through sponsorship, up to a maximum of £1,500.

Full story…

WhySharksMatter –

The influence that Star Trek has had on our society, from cell phones to the name of the first space shuttle orbiter to providing hope of a better future to victims of ethnic cleansing, has been well documented.

However, what does Star Trek have to do with saving the oceans ?

As it turns out, quite a lot, and I’m not just talking about the plot of Star Trek IV (in which Kirk and company have to go back in time to rescue a whale whose species was driven extinct by human exploitation).

Star Trek is fundamentally about curiosity, exploration, and respect for all forms of life.

This can be found from the Enterprise’s stated mission (“to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before*) to the Vulcan code of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and you’d be hard-pressed to find a popular television series that portrays scientists better.

The ideals of Star Trek have quite a bit to do with saving the oceans, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I recently had the honor of meeting Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Rod loves the ocean, and in addition to working as a producer for science fiction movies and TV shows, he runs the Roddenberry Dive Team.

When he founded RDT in 2009, Rod said: “I have found the world beneath the sea to be one of the most exotic and magical places on Earth.

For me, diving is a unique experience that quenches my thirst for adventure and discovery. To take a page out of Star Trek, I love exploring strange new worlds and seeking out new life in our oceans.”

Hank Schouten – 

Eric De Vries died doing what he loved, which was heading out to the water as often as he could to go free-diving.

His death at the weekend while spear-fishing off Pukerua Bay has left his family, friends and colleagues in shock, with many paying tribute to the man who touched their lives with his passion.

Mr De Vries, 52, got into difficulties on Saturday and apparently passed out as he was coming to the surface pulling up a kingfish he speared on Hunter’s Bank, about 10 kilometres offshore, between Kapiti and Mana islands.

He was a well-known member of Wellington’s small free-diving community who prefer to snorkel, holding their breath, than use scuba diving gear.

Yesterday, his “safe and cautious” approach to diving drew praise from fellow divers, and his colleagues spoke of his talents and love for his family.

Mr De Vries was married to Joanne and they had three children Rose, 24, Jules, 17, and Alexander, 14. Born in the Netherlands, Mr De Vries came to New Zealand when he was 21 and worked as a typographer and graphic designer in Wellington for the past 30 years.

Saatchi & Saatchi general manager Livia Esterhazy said staff were devastated because he had been such a huge part of the team at the agency for 27 years.

“Eric was an amazing guy, one of the last true gentlemen, hugely talented and passionate about his work, his family and his diving,”she said.

Colleague Leon Ramakers said he was tremendously talented and won awards for his typography for clients including Wellington City Gallery, Women’s Refuge and Mary Potter Hospice.

“It was a huge shock. He was so talented, reliable and careful with everything he did as well.”

Full story…


The Navy has retrieved one of its training mines after it somehow washed ashore on Miami Beach, Monday morning.

According to officials from the US Navy, the 6-foot by 2-foot training mine has no explosive qualities to it, and had been anchored to the sea floor between Florida and the Bahamas but somehow came lose.

The Navy arrived at around 3:45 in the afternoon to pick it up. The bomb squad arrived on the beach as a precaution after police and fire rescue responded to evacuate the area between 58th and 59th Streets, off Collins Avenue.

“It seemed like it could be a couple of things that could be dangerous, so we did is we immediately dispatched the Miami-Dade and City of Miami bomb squad,” Said City of Miami Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Adonis Garcia.

Judith Bishop was one of the the beach goers told to evacuate.

“One of the fire rescue guys stopped us, and he was quite excited. He said, ‘Stop, stop, don’t go any further.'”

“They just told us to leave the beach,” said Joel Taft.

“There was something on the shore … and [police] told us, ‘Please, leave the beach.'” A beach goer walking on the shore just after 10 in the morning spotted the white cylinder laying on the sand.

He then contacted police. A serial number on the object revealed it was the property if the US Navy.

Though the object proved to be inert, people who had their day of the beach interrupted felt the authorities did not overreact.

“I think it’s fine, for the public safety, why not?” Taft said.

Full story…

Hydro International – 

A team of scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is to survey the largest glacier in the world, Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, to understand how ice is being lost and its likely contribution to future sea-level rise.

This week a team of four (two scientists and two support staff) embarked from BAS Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to their remote field site on Pine Island Glacier in Western Antarctica where they will spend twelve weeks living in tents.Pine Island Glacier is of great interest to scientists worldwide as it has been thinning at a rate of more than 1 m/year and its flow rate has accelerated over the past 15 years.

The current big research effort to look at the glacier’s contribution to sea-level rise began only a decade ago.

The scientific techniques used to study other glaciers were filmed by the Frozen Planet team.

The team is using a number of techniques including GPS (global positioning systems) and seismic measurements to map the conditions beneath the ice and improve our understanding of what allows this massive river of ice to flow at more than two miles per year.

Full story…

gCaptain – 

A New Zealand fishing company has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating environmental laws and obstruction of justice.

The case is the latest in a crackdown by the USCG targeting foreign vessels violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships law.

The seven-count indictment was handed down Tuesday to Sanford Ltd., a New Zealand based company that operates fishing vessels delivering to American Samoa. Prosecutors allege that one of the company’s vessels, the F/V San Nikunau, routinely discharged oily bilge waste directly into the sea during since at least 2007, a direct violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

Investigators also allege the company failed to accurately maintain an oil record book and presented false documents to Coast Guard inspectors.

If convicted, Sanford Ltd. could be fined up to $500,000 per count. The indictment also seeks payment of more than $24 million for proceeds the company made as a result of the criminal conduct.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

In June, Greek ship operator Noka Shipping Company was found guilty of similar charges and was ordered to pay $900,000.

Full story…

RT – 

The Russian nuclear submarine Aleksandr Nevsky will be fitted with its own Orthodox chapel after the vessel finishes its sea trials.

It has become the second nuke-carrying sub equipped with a sanctuary in addition to ballistic missiles.

The military chapel will allow sailors to attend religious services right on board during the sub’s long missions.

It was donated to the vessel’s crew by the Omophor Fund (omophorion), which brings together both able-bodied and war-wounded veterans who spent their lives serving their motherland and who are continuing that service in the field of social and church charity.

It is the sixth military chapel to be donated by the fund. The other five were installed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy cruiser Pyotr Veliky, Russian Navy sail training ship Kruzenshtern, guided missile cruiser Moskva, and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-433 Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets.

The fund organizers said that their initiative was inspired by an episode in 1903, when St. Elizabeth Romanova of Russia donated several Orthodox military chapels to the Russian fleet.

The church was consecrated in the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in the name of blessed Alexander Nevsky on September 15.

Construction on the Alexander Nevsky began in March 2004 and it was launched in December 2010. Its sea trials began on October 24 in the White Sea. After the trials, the sub will return to port, where the chapel will finally be installed.

Full story…