Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bay Area Painter Celebrates Beauty of Marine Life to Support Conservation

"We live on the edge of giant, writhing oceans of life that continue to pump masses of much needed oxygen into the air we breath. Yet our life-filled seas face threatening hardships such as pollution, plastics, and overfishing." – Cleo Vilett “Leafy Sea Dragon” Oil on canvas, 24”x18” © Cleo Vilett 2008 In light of human-caused environmental challenges, artist Cleo Vilett invites her viewers to take a closer look. A painter, scientific illustrator and marine biologist by training, Vilett is a Bay Area native with a passion for the natural world. Through her work, she hopes “to bring attention to marine subjects as art while promoting conservation of the world’s oceans.” “Large Jellies” Acrylic and resin on birch, 22”x10” © Cleo Vilett 2011 Vilett’s appreciation for the beauty of sea life began while earning a degree in marine biology.…
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Photo of the Day ~ We are not drowning, we are fighting!

March 2 was the '350 Pacific Warrior Day of Action' – which included not only the warrior dances in the 14 Pacific Islands nations – but also  solidarity from people around the world.  Stay tuned for more on this milestone event! From 350 Pacific: Pacific Islanders across 15 Pacific Island nations and territories came together in mass numbers on our islands, mobilising at prominent locations to perform our unique war challenges, songs, and dances. We carry a single message that will make our voice heard on climate change, and we want the world to listen. Our Challenge to the World "We, the people of the Pacific, spread over hundreds of islands stand united by the Pacific Ocean that connects us. Our Warrior dance and chants are to express ourselves and tell the world that we also exist.…
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The World is a Cruise Ship and the Cruise Ship is our World!

We were quite shocked last’s week in regards to the events aboard the Carnival cruise ship – but not in the way you would imagine. Being sailors and ocean navigators, we are used to taking care of our surroundings. In fact we have a saying that goes like this: “The island is our Vaka and the Vaka is our island”. Meaning that if you don’t take care of your Vaka or boat, you are not taking care of your home, your land, your world. What happened on that particular cruise ship is a great mirror to what is happening in our society. When you are on a vaka, sailing the oceans, one thing quickly becomes extremely clear. For sanity to exist, for people to enjoy their time and for sailing to go smoothly, it is extremely important that everybody respect each other’s privacy and acts with civility.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Solar Powered Sea Slug

It's the ultimate form of solar power: eat a plant, become photosynthetic. A few years back, researchers found how one sea critter does just that. Elysia chlorotica is a green sea slug, with a gelatinous leaf-shaped body, that lives along the Atlantic seaboard of the US. What sets it apart from most other sea slugs is its ability to run on solar power. Source: New Scientist…
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Mesoamerican Reef – Swan Islands Expedition

July 16 – 24, 2011 “The goal of the July 2011 Mission Blue expedition to the Swan Islands was to explore and document the nature of marinelife in the surrounding waters and to support designation of the islands, known as the ‘Galapagos of the Caribbean,’ as a marine protected area.”   – Dr. Sylvia Earle The Mesoamerican Reef was formed over the last 225 million years and extends from Isla Contoy on the north of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands of Honduras. It is the second longest barrier reef in the world and unique in the Western hemisphere due to its length, composition of reef types, and diverse assemblage of corals and related species. It hosts more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusk and more than 500 species of fish, including the mammoth whale shark—the largest fish in the world.…
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Coiba

Identified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005, Coiba National Park is located in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Coiba and is approximately 30 miles off Panama’s Pacific coast. Coiba National Park is a group of 38 islands and the waters surrounding them covers 430,825 acres (Nacional Parque Coiba.) Between 1919 – 2004, Isla Coiba served as a penal colony and access to the island was restricted. As a result, 80% of the islands natural resources have survived untouched and flourished through limited human contact (Nacional Parque Coiba,) but several deep-water areas including Hannibal Bank are not currently under protection. Mission Blue embarked on an expedition to this Hope Spot to emphasize the importance of Coiba’s protection. With generous support from the STRI, Shannon and Bill Joy, Code Blue, International Community Foundation and the Sylvia Earle Alliance, a team of scientists, conservation leaders and dive professionals explored Coiba to better understand this complex ecosystem rich in diverse marine life.…
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Aquarius Habitat

Aquarius is an underwater ocean laboratory located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The laboratory is deployed three and half miles offshore, at a depth of 60 feet, next to spectacular coral reefs. Scientists live in Aquarius during ten–day missions using saturation diving to study and explore our coastal ocean. Aquarius is owned by NOAA and is operated by the University of North Carolina Wilmington (NOAA, 2012) As Mission Aquarius, a celebration of 50 years under the sea, winds to a close, the Mission Blue team in Florida is filled with hope for the future of Aquarius. Dr. Sylvia Earle, her team of Aquanauts and everyone working to support and highlight the mission pulled together into a cohesive team that has made a clear statement to the world – Aquarius must be saved.…
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Cocos Island

Surrounded by deep waters and strong currents, Cocos Island has long been admired by scuba divers for its wealth of marine life. Large pelagic species are very abundant in the cool productive waters surrounding Cocos and divers often see large schools of hammerhead sharks, dolphin, tuna, and schools of snapper. Jacques Cousteau visited Cocos several times and raved about its incredible beauty. Cocos Island was declared a National Park by the Costa Rican government in 1978 and in 1997, UNESCO designated Cocos a world heritage site. In 2002, the surrounding waters were included under that protection. Despite its status as one of the most important marine conservation sites in the world, Cocos is still under pressure from illegal poaching of sharks, tuna, and other marine species.…
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Bahamas

Consisting of over 3,000 islands, islets and cays, and covering an area of over 14,000 square kilometers, the nation of the Bahamas contains several priceless marine habitats, and thus has been designated by Dr. Earle as one of Mission Blue’s global Hope Spots. In cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, the expedition was concentrated in the Exuma Cays, a Marine Protected Area that has been managed as a no-take marine fishery reserve since 1986, allowing populations of commercially important species such as queen conch, Nassau grouper and spiny lobster to thrive. Sea turtles and sharks swim throughout coral reefs teeming with marine life.…
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Gulf of California – Pangas Cruise

The Gulf of California is a large body of water that separates the peninsula of Baja California from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Sur, Sonora, Baja California and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 2,500 miles (4,000 km). The Gulf of California is also called the Sea of Cortés, which is preferred by most local residents. Jacques Cousteau dubbed the Gulf of California, “the world’s aquarium,” because it boasts approximately one-third of the world’s total number of marine mammal species, nearly 900 fish species (about 90 of which are endemic to the area) and more than 170 seabird species. In 2010, Expeditions Director Kip Evans joined the Panagas program for a week long cruise through the Gulf of California.…
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