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Posts tagged ‘ocean’

Galveston, Oh Galveston

After my workshop in Houston ended last Thursday, I had a half day to kill before my flight home. Being a child of the ocean, I was going to check out the waterfront – and that meant a run down to Galveston.

I love history, and Galveston is dripping in it. The island city is probably best known as the victim of the 1900 hurricane which killed 8,000 of Galveston’s residents, still the worst natural disaster in American history. You can’t travel around the city without seeing signs of the storm, from the monuments along Broadway to the stone mansions that survived the storm, to the impressive 10-mile-long seawall that was built after the storm and allowed the height of the land behind it to be raised by over 10 feet.

Pink granite groins - imagine how many countertops that could have made!

Speaking of impressive, you should see the local choice for break wall materials. Like many beach cities, Galveston has a series of groins – short perpendicular break walls that extend from the beach and slow the lateral movement of sand. We have similar structures in Redondo, and use local materials to create them. For us, that means modest granite blown out of the quarry on Catalina Island. Here in Galveston, the material is also granite – but it’s pink, and looks to be high quality. Can’t help but think the stuff would look a lot nicer in some high end home somewhere.

The architecture of the homes here belies the biggest threat from a hurricane – storm surge. In 1900, the surge was several feet higher than the highest point in the island and basically swamped it; as a result, most of the deaths came from drowning. Even with the additional height of the seawall, the island is dangerously low – Hurricane Ike in 2008 managed to overtop the wall. Builders accept this a certainty, and take it into consideration when they design their homes. Most houses – and many businesses – have a sacrificial lower floor, consisting of little more than an enclosed staircase and a carport. All of the living spaces are on the second or third floor, presumably above any potential flooding.

Driving in this morning, and as I explore the island, it’s clear that the damage from Ike was significant. Nearly half of the waterfront homes show some level of damage or repair, and construction activity is evident everywhere. There are several piers on the south side of the island, and you can see that several are missing the final segments, presumably due to storm damage. On the bright side, one pier destroyed in 1961 and bashed again by Ike is about to debut as a tourist attraction on a par with our own Santa Monica Pier.

The wind is actually blowing pretty good here in Galveston today, and I suspect there are at least Small Craft Advisories in place. As you can see from the video I shot down at the seawall a little while ago, it’s no day to be on the water:

And this was only three out of five on the warning flag scale they use along the beach. Good thing it was low tide, or it would be slapping the seawall.

I actually started this MB entry while sitting in a restaurant on 61st street in Galveston, waiting to enjoy a different kind of cultural experience – a Waffle House breakfast. As a Cali guy, there are certain experiences that aren’t available to me, so I feel obligated to seek them out when possible. Last night, a bacon-and-cheese Whataburger; this morning a Waffle House All Star breakfast. Quite the cultural enrichment … :-)

Lovely Cruise My Ass

There’s wind in our hair
And there’s water in our shoes
Honey, it’s been a lovely cruise

– Jimmy Buffett, “Lovely Cruise”

I have a hunch that very few people onboard a Carnival Cruise Lines week-long trip down the Mexican Riviera are waxing poetic about their cruising experience right about now. As I write this, the CARNIVAL SPLENDOR is under tow somewhere about 120 miles off Ensenada, slowly headed towards San Diego. An engine room fire on Monday left the ship powerless and adrift, requiring intervention by both the Coast Guard and Navy, as well as a small fleet of tugs hired to drag the disabled ship home.

Engineers were not able to restore power to the ship, which was operating on auxiliary generators, a Carnival statement said. As of Tuesday, “several key hotel systems, including air conditioning, hot food service and telephones are not available,” the cruise line said.

Engineers were able to restore toilet service to most cabins and all common-area bathrooms, as well as cold running water, the line said. “The ship’s crew continues to actively work to restore other services.”

Guests are able to move about the vessel and children’s activities and entertainment are being offered, Carnival said.

The Navy aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which was training nearby, was dispatched to provide water and food to the 4400 passengers and crew. This may have provided some excitement not on the schedule of events, but unfortunately the menu is currently limited to Spam and Pop-Tarts …

This being America, I’m sure that as soon as the ship is in cellphone-range of the US, passengers will be hiring lawyers to help compensate them for the “emotional distress” they faced. It’s worth noting, however, that Carnival has been more than generous in their compensation package for the stranged passengers – each will receive a full refund for their trip, including any transportation costs associated with reaching the departure point of Long Beach, as well as a voucher for a free future cruise.

Of course, back in the day, Captain Stubing would have sent Gopher and Doc down to the engine room with some paperclips to fix the problem, and had Isaac fire up the frozen concotion maker … and all would have been well … :-)

Get It Right This Time

As I write this, the folks at British Petroleum are going ahead with plans to shove mud and eventually cement down the mouth of their leaking Gulf of Mexico well.  I’d love to tell you that I have more faith in this version of a solution (Plan G? Plan H?) than the rest, but history isn’t on our side.   So far, BP and the people managing the leak seem pretty good at developing plans and holding news conferences, but not too good at actually succeeding at much of anything.

To recap (pun strictly intended), BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform failed catastrophically on April 20th and sank in 5000 feet of water, taking the lives of eleven of her crew and tearing open the well bore, causing it to gush uncontrolled into the Gulf waters.  There were repeated attempts to stem the flow – some traditional (blowout preventer), some not (top hat, junk shot, top kill) – but all were unsuccessful.  A temporary cap was put in place on July 15th, limiting the flow to some seepage from the seabed, but no one’s sure just how long the cap can last.  Relief wells are still being drilled, but are several weeks away from completion.  Even if today’s effort to kill the well is successful, the relief wells will be completed to kill it deeper and decrease the likelihood of later failure.

If there’s any good news in all of this, it’s that the visible damage is far less than I or most others were expecting.  Having watched the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, I was prepared for lots of oil on the beaches, but it seems that most areas have little more than tar balls.  Even the areas closest to the blowout along the lower coast off Louisiana seem to have fared far better than anyone could have hoped.  Perhaps it’s the difference in distance from shore between the spill in Prince William Sound (half a mile offshore) versus the Gulf (50 miles), or maybe I’m just watching the wrong newscasts.  Maybe it’s all sitting just offshore waiting for the skimmers to finally arrive … or the first big hurricane. Whatever the cause, it’s a blessing.

Of course, that’s just the visible oil.  Experts have said that the great depth of the blowout has resulted in huge amounts of oil mid-ocean, far below the surface, where cleanup is impossible.  No one has any idea just how that is going to impact the Gulf, both now and far into the future.  There’s also a great deal of concern over the use of chemical dispersants that were used to try and break down the oil.  They were used extensively, and the concern is that you are simply trading one chemical demon for another.  In any case, much like the sites of past disasters, we will be dealing with the results of this disaster for many years to come.

For now, let’s just get the damned thing capped.

Can Love Save The Shark?

There is something in the human psyche that makes us love animals. It’s why we have pets, it’s why we love zoos, it’s why we put up with the creepy clowns at the circus – we love animals and have a desire to be close to them. That love goes back as far as the record of man. We domesticate the once-wild animals we find around us, and continually to seek out additional animals. Technology has given us the ability to go places we never could otherwise, and to become close to animals in ways we never could before – and perhaps that technology can help us save some of those animals from ourselves.

Ask a group of people to name their favorite animals, and you’ll get all the old favorites … dogs, cats, rabbits, horses. Some may toss in some exotics, like ferrets or monkeys, and the marine lovers might opt for offshore species – whales, dolphins … or marlin … :-) Chances are, though, not too many would name sharks among their favorite animals … or would they?

Sharks are the ultimate alpha dogs of the oceanm sitting at the very apex of the predator pyramid. They are a very old species, slow to reach maturity and slow to reproduce – whereas a fish might spew forth thousands of eggs, a shark may only have a handful of pups each year. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem, but while they may have no natural enemies, that doesn’t mean there are no threats. They have one decidedly unnatural enemy that has pushed them to the very brink of extinction – man.

Not so long ago, sharks were a mysterious predator of the seas, seen only by the rare fisherman or unfortunate shipwreck victim. Then came a little movie called “JAWS”, and sharks were painted as an object of pure evil. Shark tooth necklaces were a sign of machismo, killing sharks became some sign of manhood, and shark fishing tournaments became all the rage – just this past weekend, a thousand-pound-plus mako was killed in a tournament off Anacapa Island. Man was killing sharks at a prodigious rate – and for what?

For all the misguided machismo, the harvesting of sharks for teeth and trophies pales compared to the real evil that man does upon sharks. Shark fin soup was once a delicacy in the Orient, but the desire of the people to share in the treat has driven a slaughter of sharks on an unimaginable level. One report indicates that as many as 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins – most in the shameful process of “finning”, where the fins are sliced off the still-live shark before tossing it back in the sea to meet its fate. Another 50,000 sharks are believed to die as bycatch in fishing nets – every day. Most shark species are dangerously depleted and approaching endangered levels, and there’s no sign that we are willing to step up and do anything.

There may just be hope for sharks, though, and it comes from the strangest of places – cable TV. More than 20 years ago, the Discovery Channel started a week of programming about sharks as a promotional gimmick, and over the years it’s grown into one of the biggest ratings periods in all of cable programming. Shark Week, which is underway now, mixes special shark-themed episodes of current Discovery Channel shows like “Mythbusters” and “Dirty Jobs” with specials about various aspects of shark life and conservation. Along the way, common people are introduced to sharks in a way that shows them for what they are – potentially dangerous, but necessary to the oceans and certainly not evil. Much like the wild animals brought back from Africa in centuries past, sharks are gaining acceptance – and appreciation – among the populace.

As more people learn about sharks, they recognize the essential role they play as the scavengers of the seas. More importantly, they begin to understand the wanton waste of the resource that certain cultures are undertaking, and it helps develop a desire to help. The more people are introduced to sharks, the more they appreciate them … the more they love them … and the more embarrassed they become by the actions of their fellow man against them.

How can you help? For starters, contact your senator and urge them to support the Shark Conservation Act of 2009, which will tighten loopholes in current law to make it illegal to transport shark fins in US waters. If you live in an area where shark tournaments are held, challenge the organizers to improve their tournament rules to help conserve sharks, particularly those large ones that make up the broodstock. Most important, help educate those around you that sharks are an essential part of the marine ecosystem – one we cannot afford to lose.

Whatever Happened To Real Fishermen?

I think everyone understands that fishermen are a pretty tough lot. Long before The Discovery Channel turned crab fishermen into rock with “Deadliest Catch” or George Clooney got flipped ass over teakettle in “The Perfect Storm,” the public knew that it’s a pretty special person who will get on a boat and sail over the horizon in search of food or riches. Commercial or recreational, fisherman understand that long before land disappears off their stern, their fates are in their own hands and whether they come home or not will depend heavily on a combination of skill and luck.

So how exactly did the first people to arrive on the scene after the DEEPWATER HORIZON drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico turn out to be a boatload of opportunistic sissies?

Bradley Shivers and the crew of the 31-ft RAMBLING WRECK were fishing near the rig when the fire broke out and MAYDAY calls filled the radio. The Coast Guard urged any boats nearby the rig, located 50 miles offshore, to respond to the disaster. The RAMBING WRECK stowed the fishing gear and headed toward the flames. It was everything they feared it would be …

The 20 minutes it took the fishermen get to the rig felt like forever.

What are we going to see when we get there? Shivers thought.

The men kept communicating with the Coast Guard, describing their coordinates and what they were hearing over their radio as they closed in on Deepwater Horizon.

For a second, just a second, disbelief gripped them. Flames blazed across the water’s surface, jumping 500 feet. And the heat….

People were flailing in the current, hurt, screaming. Others clung to life boats.

“We’ve got friends that are missing,” someone shouted. “Please go search!”

The Deepwater Horizon was enormous, its destruction so vast that the friends had to keep using their binoculars. “You’d see something floating in the water and we’d go up and try to find out what it was. You know, is it a person?” Shivers recalled.

I’m sure becoming a sudden participant in such a disaster would be a frightening experience, one that someone could retell over the years with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Instead, these guys are on anti-anxiety medications and talking about suing BP.

“We could have been sitting under that rig,” Mead said. “We could have been on the victims’ list.”

He said he’s taking anti-anxiety medications and though he rarely fought with his wife, he says he’s gotten short with her lately.

Only adding to the stress, Mead said, the BP oil spill has destroyed his charter ship business.

They have left messages with BP and Transocean’s hot lines and claims departments and sent e-mails to the companies, Shivers said.

“‘Hey guys, we were there. Can we tell ya what we saw? Can we, you know … I may have information that can help ya’ll out,'” Shivers said, describing his messages. “Zero calls. Nothin’. No one’s ever called us back.”

The men say they are suing BP for emotional distress.

Everyone who runs a boat – regardless of type, size or purpose – understands that the first priority of any oceangoing captain is to preserve the life of those in distress. It doesn’t matter if it’s a French fishing boat plucking Abby Sunderland off her damaged sailboat thousands of miles from shore, a marlin boat rescuing a downed spotter pilot off Catalina or fishermen called to save wildcatters about to burn to death – you drop what you’re doing, you do what you have to do, and you don’t whine about it. I don’t doubt it’s an experience that will stay with you for life, and I applaud the men for responding to the call.

It would be one thing if the fishermen suffered injuries in the rescue attempt, or the boat was damaged or they were dragging dead bodies out of the water. Perhaps it’s just the way the article was written, but there’s no evidence the crew did anything other than stand by – I’d think if they were plucking oil-soaked workers out of the water, you’d hear about it. These guys sound as if their biggest complaint is that they weren’t paid proper attention to by BP – and, until now, the media. The sad part is that in the end, there’ll be a fat check written to reward these slackers for doing what every boater I know wouldn’t think twice about doing – and wouldn’t consider complaining about afterward.

Sad indeed.

Hoping For The Best, Fearing The Worst

As I write this entry, rescue teams are rushing to the last known position of 16-yr-old Abby Sunderland and her 40-ft sailboat, somewhere in the Indian Ocean.  Less than an hour after talking with her support crew, the emergency beacon on Sunderland’s boat was activated as she sailed through a storm.  Readings from the beacon indicate the boat speed is currently only 1 knot, leading searchers to believe that it is adrift.  The condition of Sunderland, or if she is even still onboard the boat, is unknown.

When the crisis struck, Sunderland was just over half-way through her round-the-world voyage.  She set out in January from Marina Del Rey, hoping to set a record for the youngest person to singlehandedly circumnavigate the globe without stopping.  Mechanical glitches forced her to make a pair of unplanned stops, but she sailed on, planning to arrive home sometime in October.

It was nearly a year ago that the world welcomed home Abby’s brother Zac from his own solo circumnavigation – we even chronicled it here.  And, as we pointed out at the time, it was an admirable if dangerous accomplishment.  But in the six months between Zac’s arrival and Abby’s departure, Zac’s record as  youngest to accomplish the feat was beaten, and a second sailor fell just short.  Now Abby is lost at sea, and you can’t help but wonder if this isn’t becoming a grossly misguided pursuit of records.

At sixteen, Abby Sunderland couldn’t even drive her friends to school without parental supervision, yet she is sailing around the world. In a society that won’t let their kids walk to school in fear of what might happen, three sets of parents stood dockside and watched their kids sail over the horizon – one pair twice.  I appreciate the willingness of parents to encourage and even endulge their children’s dreams, but shouldn’t there be a limit?  In recent months, we’ve seen a 13-year-old climb Mount Everest (while a member of another climbing party was killed), a tourist company be criticized for their introduction of a child-sized shark cage for swimming with great white sharks, and now this.  I pray this isn’t some kind of sibling oneupsmanship gone tragically wrong.

A few years ago, there was a similar episode of younger and younger children setting records in a particular accomplishment – in that case, piloting a plane cross-country.  The string of flights only ended when one young pilot was killed, and the FAA was forced to step in.  I think the appropriate authorities really need to take a look at these teenage circumnavigations and determine at what point someone should be allowed to put themselves so completely at risk.

But that can wait for another day.  For now, join me in praying for the safety of Abby Sunderland.

UPDATE:  A Qantas airliner chartered to search for Abby spotted her dismasted boat and was able to make contact with her.  She can’t do anything but wait to be rescued, but at least she’s safe.  Judging from the reports I’m seeing, we’re going to get the best of both worlds – rescue for Abby, and a serious question about the wisdom of sending teenagers into harm’s way in such a fashion.

Perhaps Time For A Rethink

In the wake of yesterday’s tragic death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World in Orlando, there will be a great deal of angst and hand-wringing.  Brancheau, 40, drowned after she was dragged underwater by one of the orcas she was responsible for handling, and there are already emotional calls for change.

Whenever a human is killed or injured by a captive animal, there is an outcry against the practice of keeping wild animals in captivity.  We saw it when a tiger escaped at the San Francisco Zoo, we saw it when Roy Horn was attacked by one of his white tigers, and we will see it again in the wake of this incident.  Once the emotion of the moment is allowed to fade, it makes sense to have a reasonable discussion on the future.

I have fond memories of my interactions with trained whales as I grew up.  Marineland of the Pacific, once located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, was the home to orcas Corky and Orky, as well as a trained pilot whale named Bubbles.  All three served as “animal ambassadors,” introducing the wonders of the ocean and its creatures to countless people who might never otherwise have a chance to interact with it.  My own love of the sea is rooted in trips to Marineland and Sea World in San Diego.

But much as I enjoyed the shows, I was aware of the challenges and controversies.  In 1987, Marineland closed and the whales moved south to Sea World, where Orky died a year later and stirred a discussion much like the one that will ensue now.  Killer whales have a very long life span, and forcing them to spend it in what is in effect a large fishbowl is seen by many as cruel.

To me, there are really two issues.  As with any animal that would normally roam over a great area, killer whales face a very different life in captivity as they would in the wild.  Much like elephants and other large animals, it is difficult to replicate the orca’s natural environment.  They seem to do quite well in captivity – the orca involved in yesterday’s incident has lived in tanks for nearly 20 years – but there’s no way to replicate the social interaction that would normally occur in a wild pod.  At the same time, the captive orcas continue to serve in an educational role, and I have no doubt that wild orcas benefit from the protections given them by a society that was introduced to the species by their captive brethren, and their sacrifice on behalf of their species may be justified.

The real issue to me is the idea of continuing to train and perform with the orcas.  While entertaining, it is a throwback to a less-enlightened time, when elephants and bears were chained to a pole and made to dance.  The trainers are skilled and the orcas intelligent, and for many years the two have worked together to entertain many people.  But it is the interaction between the trainer – an inherently unnatural pairing – that led to this tragedy.

It is worth noting tht simply releasing the orcas back into the wild “Free Willy”-style is not practical.  While the money provided by filmmakers and others allowed researchers to determine and locate the pod from which Keiko, the film’s star, was originally taken – facilitating the successful release – most captive whales could never be so happily reunited with the familial pod.  Simply releasing them in the wild alone would be no better than what they face today.

I believe the best path forward is a compromise.  End the trained whale shows and minimize the interaction between humans and orcas, allowing the whales to swim as freely as they can within their confines and make their own choices as to what they want to do.  At the same time, convert the current pens (as much as practical) into viewing opportunities for the public to continue to enjoy – and learn from – the captive orcas.  If pens can be developed that better meet the needs of the orcas, the display practice can continue – if not, it dies out with the eventual death of the orcas.

This solution won’t please the park operators, and it certainly won’t please PETA, but it is the only solution that guarantees the long-term health of the orcas while allowing them to continue to educate the public.  It is a legacy worthy of someone who dedicated her life to the species.

Looking For A New Boat?

Is it me, or does it feel like the recession is starting to turn around?  The unemployment numbers are still bad – but not as bad as they were.  The stock market is better, folks are buying again (except Toyotas, of course), and the sun is starting to shine on the economy once again.  There are many ways to mark the economic turn around, but none as certain as when the ultra-rich aren’t afraid to spend big once again.

Let’s face it – there are some really big private yachts out there.  For a guy like me, who loves to fish but isn’t even in the same ZIP code as boat ownership, a battlewagon like BAD COMPANY is a mighty big boat.  For others, the luxury yachts lined up in Cabo San Lucas or Monaco are the ultimate prize.  If you’re really swimming in money – and the lawyers haven’t locked it up yet – you might roll with a megayacht like Tiger Woods’ aptly-named behemoth, PRIVACY.  But there are those out there for whom even a couple of hundred feet of luxury just isn’t enough – at least, that’s what one boatyard is betting.

The folks at Emocean Yacht Design, a Belgian marine architecture firm, have begun planning what would be the largest private yacht yet – a 200-meter monster.  For those of us on this side of the pond, that works out to 656-ft – over 150-ft longer than the current ARLEIGH BURKE-class Navy destroyers.  They haven’t found anyone ready to pony up the $500-to-$900 million needed to launch the beast, but here’s what the new owner can look forward to:

Drive-in garage, vehicle garage, two 30m day boats, helipad and hanger, 30m swimming pool, nightclub, casino and games room, 2 level cinema, 3 beach clubs with health spa, 10 vip rooms, 22 guest suites and owners deck

Did you catch that?  Two 98-ft onboard “tenders” and a full Olympic-size swimming pool.  With all that, she’s supposed to hit 28-kts and cruise at 20 – although the vast majority of us couldn’t even afford the fuel.

Of course, if this is still a little rich for your post-crash tastes, you can always charter Richard Branson’s yacht:-)

Well, That Didn’t Work … Or Did It?

He’s done it again. Paul Watson, the Sea Shephard Conservation Society’s human publicity machine, is in the news once again – and this time, it’s not just a stunt to hype his “Whale Wars” series … I think.

Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace who left the group decades ago in a beef over tactics (his were a little too intense) has led his team through Antarctic wars in defense of the whales that populate the region. Japanese whalers are the enemy, and Watson is willing to put his team literally between the whalers and prey in an attempt to defeat them, one whale at a time.

Victim or martyr?

Victim or martyr?

Watson is a media savvy sort, knowing the impact of a good image. He’s quick to court favor with press and celebrity, and several big-name actors and musicians have publicly supported his efforts. For the current campaign, the Society’s primary vessel, the STEVE IRVIN (a nod to support of their efforts by Australians) was to be joined by two new boats, each named for main benefactors to the Society’s efforts – the BOB BARKER, and the ADY GIL. The GIL, in particular, was to be an interesting addition. Under a previous name, EARTHRACE, the sleek trimaran acer set a new circumnavigation speed record in 2008, knocking nearly two weeks off the old mark – it even merited a discussion over in the Marlin Club. Watson’s plan was to use the IRWIN and BARKER to track the whalers, then set the much faster GIL out to pester and slow them down.

Unfortunately, that plan took a disastrous turn for the worse on Tuesday, when the GIL was dogging the whaler SHONAN MARU NO 2.  In a collision between the two vessels – totally unprovoked, in the eyes of the Society – the bow was torn off the GIL leaving it disabled and seriously damaged.  Of course, the trusty “Whale Wars” crew was right their to capture all the action, so you can expect a big ratings bounce.

As you might imagine, the press releases are flying.  The Society is blaming the whalers, while the whalers blame Watson’s warriors.  The New Zealand government has backed the whalers, making them a target for the Society as well, since 4 of the GIL’s 6 crewmembers were Kiwis.  There are accusations of oil spills and conspiracies to murder whalers, and photoshopped pictures on both sides.  Grab your popcorn – this is gonna be good.

I respect Paul Watson’s dedication to the environment and his concern for the planet and its species – after all, this is a billfish conservation website you’re perusing right now.  I even respect his willingness to take action where others sit on the sidelines.  But my fear is that much like an an green Pied Piper, he’s leading a band of college kids and societal dropouts to their doom.  He gets everyone fired up to put themselves on the firing line, but when someone’s live is really on the line it’s not his – he’s hundreds of miles away on the mother ship.  One of these days, he’s gonna get one of those kids killed – and much like the sinking of the ADY GIL, will reap maximum publicity out of the tragedy.

As it is, they’ve already raised a million dollars for a replacement vessel …

Bad News From The Marlin Grounds

A combined rescue fleet is currently scouring the waters inside San Clemente Island looking for survivors from a mid-air collision last night between a Coast Guard C-130 and a Marine Corps AH-1A Cobra helicopter.   Witnesses reported seeing a fireball just after 7PM last night 15 miles east of the island.  A debris field has been spotted, and the search for survivors among the nine crewmembers of the two aircraft is ongoing.

The location of the search is close to the “289 Fathom Spot,” a place often fished by our local marlin fleet.  Had this occured a month ago, there likely would have been a sizeable private boat fleet working the area that could help in the search. Rescuing pilots from downed swordfish spotter planes is a near-yearly occurance for local fishermen, but this would certainly be much bigger.

You’d think with all the open space there is offshore that these things couldn’t happen, but time and time again we see tragedies like this happen. At this point, the likelihood of survivors is slim, and I’d expect that it will soon transition from search to recovery.

Making things all that much more pointless, the C-130 had been called down from Sacramento to help search for someone who was reportedly trying to row a 12-ft skiff to Catalina. Personally, I believe if you do something so stupid as to put your life voluntarily as risk in such a ridiculous fashion, the least society can do is let you achieve your goal of a meaningless death. That these 9 airmen were lost because of this jackass makes me hope he survives just so someone can kick his ass.  Maybe we can unleash the Langley Nut Cracker on him …