Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pygmy Seahorses

Fasinating video

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

History has shown that humans are mostly to blame for the extinction of sea animals

Yet more proof of man hunting and killing for sport.

Sea Lions to be murdered

The Feds have OK'd a plan to kill up to 85 Sea Lions in the Columbia River bordering Washington and Oregon. The fishermen have been hounding the government for years to do this. The Feds it looks like have given in to the special interests yet again. What ever happened to the Marine Mammal Protection Act? Just last year a fisherman in California was charged with violating the Act when he stabbed a Sea Lion with a knife when the Sea Lion took some bait.

The Sea Lion hunts to eat and live where as humans fish for sport. The fish in question is not salmon but the steelhead that is making it's annual run at this time. Just last week a co-worker boasted to me about how he caught 5 steelhead that morning out on his drift boat. He didn't need to fish for food, the man makes 3 times what I earn and could shop at the grocery store for his dinner. He fished for the "sport" of it. Not only did he catch the fish but in his actions he did not allow them to breed first. Now who is the real cause of the declining steelhead population? Certainly not the Sea Lion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The ocean's gems, pearls

Pearls are considered a gem even though they are produced by a live animal. Most people are aware of how a pearl is formed. A tiny speck of sand or grit finds its way into the oyster. The oyster has a need to protect it's soft body so it covers the speck with layers and layers of the shell type substance that lines it's shell. Soon the speck is no longer a sharp piece of grit but another part of the oyster's shell.

Humans, in a effort to speed up the process of the pearl production will often put a plastic bead into the oyster's shell in order to encourage the oyster to put layers on the bead. The pearl's value is based on how many layers of oyster shell it has around the speck. The more layers the higher the price. Also the color of the pearl can vary from black (which are often dyed) to pure white.

The more highly valued pearls are natural pearls, not cultured. For more information on pearl culture go to the "pearl basics" page at this website that sells Pearls.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oyster facts

The common oyster is a member of the mollusk family. It can be found in both marine environments as well as brackish waters. Brackish water, for those of you unfamiliar with the term is water that is partly fresh water and partly salt water. Brackish water is most commonly found at the mouths of rivers entering into the ocean.

Oysters have been harvested and eaten since prehistoric times. If a population lived close enough to the coast line then they probably ate oysters at some point in their local history. Since the water that the present day oyster lives in has become polluted there are concerns about the health and safety of those that eat the oyster. There is a very informative website that has educational information about the oyster industry. It is at Gulf oysters. For those of you needing oyster recipes they have them there too. I was particularly interested in the “Oyster Cornbread Dressing”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Getting ready for water sports

I swear, I have got to get some rest and get away from this computer. I am finding more and more water sport sites and items that I would love to have on my next diving trip. I found a wakeboard website that sells a really nice selection of wet and dry suits. The same site also had an interesting section on instructional DVDs on how to ride a wakeboard. I might try wakeboarding this summer. A friend of mine has been bugging me to go with him next time he goes. Frankly I feel more comfortable underwater than on top of it. My parents use to call me the family "fish" when I was on the swim team. Now I have to get some rest and get off of this computer - at least for a few hours.

Diving around the world

Being injured gives me some time to surf – the internet, that is. Finding some interesting ecology items and just plain wishful thinking on my part. For example I have wanted to go to several places to deep sea dive but funds have been hard to come by so I dream. Here are some of the places I would love to go diving:

Hawaii, need I say more about this place? Warm water and tropical fish. When I was very young my family and I use to live there. I have been to Pango Pango when I was in my late teens and that is another place I would love to revisit.

Alaska for a cold water dive. Something intrigues me about that place.

The Great Barrier Reef off of north Australia. A few of my cousins have been there and they tell me it is fantastic. I have been to Western Australia and the coast line is clean but windy at times.
The Mediterranean. I have never been to Europe and the history that abounds in the area would be a great addition to the dive.

Egypt. In fact I came across a Dahab, Egypt dive guide that was interesting.

In fact the website that has the Egypt dive guide is a blog run by divers. The blog is called Dive Guide Book. They actually go out on dives and map the underwater areas for other divers. They have many other dive guides like Caribbean Dive sites. If you are planning on a diving vacation this is a blog you should check out.

Treating my injuries

I am going to have to postpone my trip to the ocean for at least another 2 weeks. I was hoping to go whale watching since early spring is the best time on the west coast of the USA. I had a slight accident and hyper extended my leg. Oddly enough my doctor suggested water therapy but since my pool is not heated to the point of comfortable this time of year I guess that is out. Instead I have been going to physical therapy and I was prescribed an TENS machine. It attaches to my inner thigh and with electrodes, stimulates the muscles. It has an interesting, tingling feeling. The therapist also said some people use the machine to tighten muscles as a way to lose weight. The accident also gave me a wake up call that I need to be in better shape to do some diving later this season. When I was at the doctor I was worried about my general physical health and he said at everything else was good and that I didn't need a blood pressure monitor for now.

I guess it gives me more time to spend on this blog now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New sea otter study

Sea otters don't always eat the same thing. They are very adaptable. Aren't most animals adaptable? Interesting article.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Flushing the Grand Canyon

To help the fish in the Grand Canyon the river is flooded by the government. Watch the video and learn more about it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

STOLEN - Guard your equipment

I was out a local lake to practice diving. All went very well, to a point. I had my wet suit and full scuba gear with me. The tank was new and worked great. I even got a new full face mask. I was practicing counting of fish since the local fish and game ask for volunteers to count fish in the local rivers. The area that I was doing my work was remote or so I thought. The only other person in the area was in a boat out on the lake and I had a small row boat that I had taken to a remote shore line. At one point of my dive I came up to take a break and noticed that a fish depth finder I had with me was gone. The only person that could of taken it was the other boater which had now disappeared. As soon as I got back I reported the incident to the local forest ranger's office. I will be checking my homeowners insurance policy to see if the depth finder was covered. I already checked my auto insurance, since I tow the boat with it car, and it might be covered under that policy instead. I guess I am lucky I had auto and not Motorcycle Insurance. Let's hope I am not completely out of the $300.00 depth finder.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Six legged octopus

Interesting find of an octopus with only six legs. I would assume that the researchers have ruled out the possibility that the octopus had not had the legs removed by a predator.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My trip to the coast

I have made several trips to the Oregon coastline to document the tide pools found near Newport. During my trips I have found a real need for the right type of outdoor wear. I typically travel to the coast during the late winter and early spring when the storms are just coming onshore. My last trip was a few weeks ago and I had an unfortunate accident, my digital camera got broken. The knob that you turn to select the mode snapped off. I really didn't mind that much since the camera was over 8 years old and was only 1.5 mega pixels. It now gives me a chance to up grade to a better camera.

I will be returning to the coast in the next few weeks. This time I will be documenting the different variations of starfish found in the tide pools. The data and resulting report will be part of a learning presentation that I will be doing at a local school. Along with the presentation the children will see an except of the movie "Jaws" and another person will be answering questions about sharks.

Now I am off to find some office supplies at Office Depot, Staples or Quill because I need some items for the presentation.

Alarming news

Experts expect the Arctic polar cap to disappear this summer (2008). This is drastic news. The full article is below.