Category Archives: July 2015

Editor’s Letter

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 5.59.38 PM“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.” – Arthur C. Clarke

In the movie Boyhood, a boy is being tucked in for the night when he turns to his dad to talk about magic. “There’s no such thing as real magic in the world, right?” The boy asks his dad. “There are no elves or anything?”

The father does his best to answer honestly, while hoping to keep alive in his son the feeling that magic exists in the world. “There may not be elves,” the father tells his son. “But what if there was a gigantic sea creature with a heart as big as a car, arteries so large you could crawl inside them, and that used sonar to communicate with its giant relatives? Would that not be magic?” Continue reading Editor’s Letter

Artificial Reefs

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.44.42 PMBy Julie Etra

According to Carlos Candelaria Silva, a science investigator at UNAM, Mexico City, Huatulco’s reefs have deteriorated due to pollution and tourism, especially at La Entrega and San Augustin. Although the Oaxacan coast does not have a barrier reef like Australia, and Mexico/Belize/Honduras, the smaller reef systems are precious ecosystems. They are the ‘nurseries’ where reproduction of hundreds of species occurs. I have not been back to La Entrega since we first came to Huatulco in 2007, and from the overuse it gets, I am sure I would be depressed by the extent of its damage.

Continue reading Artificial Reefs

Floating Death Traps: A Call for Regulation of Panga Longlining

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.45.00 PMBy George Hurchalla

On a recent fishing trip thirty miles offshore, some friends of mine and I came across a tragic sight which has become all too common in recent years. What I took initially to be one flagged end of a panga longline, what the locals call a “simbra,” was in fact a drifting abandoned longline, with turtles choking in the tangled mess of cord, buoys, and hooks. While I have on a number of occasions freed turtles from various entanglements, some involving small bunches of broken-off longline cord, I had never encountered the disaster of a complete abandoned longline before. They are floating death traps, wrapping up turtle after turtle in their tangled mess. Continue reading Floating Death Traps: A Call for Regulation of Panga Longlining

Summer 2015 Anticipated Novels (Not Necessarily for the Beach)

By Carole Reedy

So many books, so little time. This month we’ll look at new releases, novellas and short stories, and a personal author recommendation.

New releases

A God In Ruins. One of the most anticipated recent releases surely is Kate Atkinson´s latest novel. It stands to reason that reviews will be mixed, given the enormous success of her previous effort Life After Life. Stephanie Merritt in the Observer warns against underestimating A God in Ruins, saying “Though it may appear to lack the bold formal conceit that made Life After Life so original, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Atkinson has abandoned her interest in authorial playfulness.” The book sold out in many bookstores immediately upon its release in May. Continue reading Summer 2015 Anticipated Novels (Not Necessarily for the Beach)

Climate Change Affecting Oceans

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.46.58 PMBy Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

In May 2015, Huatulco experienced a mar de fondo, a regularly spaced sequence of extremely high waves. Although it may appear to witnesses to be similar to a tsunami, a mar de fondo is not caused by seismic activity but rather by a large storm at some distance from the beach where the waves are landing. A delight to surfers, the large waves can, however, destroy boats and piers in marinas and inundate the lower floor of buildings close to the coastline. Along the Oaxaca coast, the mar de fondo made some highways impassible, and some hotel lobbies and schools were flooded. Continue reading Climate Change Affecting Oceans

Ocean Music

By Leigh Morrow

The first time I saw any of the five bodies of water that call themselves an Ocean, I was mesmerized

For years, I had sat summer evenings on the back steps of my home in the landlocked Canadian Prairies, a shell bought at a garage sale cradled to my ear, imagining what an Ocean could possibly sound like.

I had visualized sailing a ship across any of them, but especially the Pacific, and landing in exotic sounding places like Bora Bora and Tahiti, where I would live on the beach and collect glass, polished smooth by the waves, to wear around my neck. I imagined I was Black and balanced baskets high on my head filled with sweet fruit like papayas and fragrant mangoes. Continue reading Ocean Music

The Game of Bridging Culture

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.47.12 PMBy Geri Anderson

After talking for a few minutes with Carl Owens, you’ll feel as if his head is full of ideas that spill out like water in a leaking garrafone! When you meet Arturo Ediberto Garcia Aguilar, it’s evident that he’s no stranger to overcoming obstacles and solving problems. Combine these two men, one a retiree from Georgia, the other a bilingual Mexican, and you end up with the first bridge league in the entire country, which focuses on teaching bridge to young people. It receives support from the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). Continue reading The Game of Bridging Culture

Inland in Oaxaca We Eat Meat: A Terminology Primer

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

We were told that the broad theme for this issue is the ocean. I assumed that our contributors living on or near the coast would write about sun sand and surf, aquatic life, fishing and boat tours, or eating seafood. Since I don’t live on the coast and rarely visit the Oaxacan resort towns, I decided it would be more appropriate to write about what I know more about, which is meat. Inland we eat much more meat than fish and seafood. Continue reading Inland in Oaxaca We Eat Meat: A Terminology Primer

False Killer Whales

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 4.47.37 PMBy Julie Etra

This species, whose scientific name is Pseudorca crassidens (pseudo = false, orca = Latin for cetacean, e.g. marine mammals: whales and dolphins; crassidens = ‘thick-tooth’) is actually a member of the dolphin family, and is the only member of its genus. It was first described in 1846 and is the fourth largest dolphin in the world. The species is fairly widespread in its distribution; they have been observed in shallow water including the Mediterranean and Red Seas but are more common in the deeper tropical to temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They are considered uncommon but there are no global population estimates. The United State (U.S.) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded that false killer whales were the least common of the 18 species of toothed whales and dolphins found in Hawaiian waters. Although not hunted commercially, they can be caught as bycatch and through other fishery interactions, such as the Hawaii longline fishery and bottomfish fishery off the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They are hunted in Indonesia, Japan, and the West Indies. In the US this species is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Continue reading False Killer Whales