Archive for 03/24/2012

Katie Robertson – 

A diver who swam 8km to shore after he was separated from his boat off Two Rocks yesterday has told how he battled through violent bouts of vomiting and leg cramps to survive.

Fly-in, fly-out worker Darrin Wells, 47, was fishing with a friend in a boat off the coast yesterday afternoon when he decided to don his scuba gear to see if there were more fish in the depths.

When he resurfaced, he could no longer see the boat.

“After about 10 minutes I saw the boat probably 200 metres away, and the wind had really got quite strong,” the father-of-two told PerthNow today as he recovered at the Newman iron-ore mine where he works as a construction manager.

“I tried to swim towards the boat and I was swallowing a lot of salt water and I really wasn’t going anywhere.

“It was 2pm and I knew the right thing to do would be to stay there close to the boat, but trying to swim against the wind and the waves, every wave was going over my head and I was battling to stay afloat. It wasn’t working.”

Mr Wells, a devotee of extreme sports and a keen marathon runner, decided his best chance at survival was to swim the 8km back to shore.

“I thought if I start swimming now, I’ll be able to get to shore before dark.

If I don’t start swimming now and stay where I am, I’m going to use all my energy and the chance of being found is not very great.”

Full story…


France 24 – 

Greenhouse gases are likely to result in annual costs of nearly $2 trillion in damage to the oceans by 2100, according to a new Swedish study.

The estimate by the Stockholm Environment Institute is based on the assumption that climate-altering carbon emissions continue their upward spiral without a pause.

Warmer seas will lead to greater acidification and oxygen loss, hitting fisheries and coral reefs, it warns.

Rising sea levels and storms will boost the risk of flood damage, especially around the coastlines of Africa and Asia, it adds. Projecting forward using a business-as-usual scenario, the Earth’s global temperature will rise by four degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, says the report, “Valuing the Ocean.”

On this basis, the cost in 2050 will be $428 billion annually, or 0.25 percent of global domestic product (GDP). By 2100, the cost would rise to $1,979 billion, or 0.37 percent of output.

If emissions take a lower track, and warming is limited to 2.2 C (4 F), the cost in 2050 would be $105 billion, or 0.06 percent of worldwide GDP, rising to $612 billion, or 0.11 percent, by 2100.

Full story…


Marcia Lane –

The bare bones of a replica 16th-century boat are a promise of things to come at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

“We’re recreating the history of St. Augustine one board at a time,” said John Stavely, manager at the tourist attraction that increasingly offers visitors a chance to discover the roots of St. Augustine.

Or as Pedro Menendez de Aviles re-enactor Chad Light puts it, “We’re rebuilding Menendez’s empire.”

The 37-foot boat being recreated was a landing craft from the Spanish ships that once anchored offshore from the park, thought to be where Menendez and his party landed in 1565.

The boat is known as a chalupa (no relation to the Taco Bell product) and was a 10-oared watercraft that brought in soldiers, settlers and goods from the ships.

The chalupa is historically accurate, based on research by Sam Turner, director of archaeology at the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum.

If things go as planned, the chalupa will be the start of a boat building operation that will feature replica 16th-century Spanish vessels and canoes used by the Timucuan Indians, plus support companion maritime events.

A 16th century boat building yard is under construction.

Full story…


Oceanus –

A decade into the 21st century, scientists have confirmed the existence of a new and apparently crucial ocean current on the face of the Earth.

International teams led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) oceanographer Bob Pickart verified the previously unknown current near Iceland in 2008 and returned in 2010 to determine how it is formed.

The current, called the North Icelandic Jet, is not merely a curiosity.

Though relatively narrow, it is an important cog in the global oceanic conveyor of currents that transports equatorial heat to the North Atlantic region and tempers its climate.

Learning how the current operates offers insights into potential monkey wrenches that could disrupt ocean circulation and lead to further climate changes.

Initial evidence for the unknown current came in 1999 when Héðinn Valdimarsson and Steingrímur Jónsson from the Icelandic Marine Research Institute (MRI) used instruments measuring water velocity to detect a flow of dense water north of Iceland.

But confirmation had to wait until 2008, when Pickart led a research cruise to the region aboard the WHOI research vessel Knorr.

Taking detailed measurements of water properties and velocity, Pickart and colleagues from WHOI, MRI, and the University of Bergen in Norway confirmed the North Icelandic Jet, publishing their findings in Nature Geoscience in 2011.

Full story…