Hakai Magazine

Coastal science and societies

Vultures gather in Brazil’s Guanabara Bay, the site of a number of aquatic sports in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters/Corbis
Vultures gather in Brazil’s Guanabara Bay, the site of a number of aquatic sports in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters/Corbis

Stories from the Seven Seas

A weekly roundup of coastal news.

Authored by

by Colin Schultz

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Hakai Magazine is all about the coast, but other outlets sometimes share our fascination. Every week on Strand we collect our favorite coastal stories from around the web.

Olympic teams to swim, boat in Rio’s filth

by Brad Brooks and Jenny Barchfield for the Associated Press

“Extreme water pollution is common in Brazil, where the majority of sewage is not treated. Raw waste runs through open-air ditches to streams and rivers that feed the Olympic water sites.

As a result, Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses that in some tests measured up to 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.”

A renegade trawler, hunted for 10,000 miles by vigilantes

by Ian Urbina for The New York Times

“Captain Hammarstedt sailed within 400 feet of the Thunder before reaching for a reference binder — an Interpol ‘mug shots’ guide featuring silhouettes of illegal fishing vessels. He radioed the Thunder’s officers, most of them Spaniards or Chileans. Speaking through a translator, he warned that the Thunder was banned from fishing in those waters and would be stopped.

The Thunder responded: ‘No, no, no. Negative, negative. You have no authority to arrest this vessel. You have no authority to arrest this vessel. We are going to continue sailing, we are going to continue sailing but you have no authority to arrest this ship, over.’

‘We do have authority,’ the Bob Barker said. ‘We have reported your location to Interpol and to the Australian police.’”

Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition ended in gruesome cannibalism

by Helen Thompson for Smithsonian Magazine

“When it happens out of necessity, cannibalism occurs in phases. First, people cut flesh from bones, focusing on big muscle groups. When things get even direr, they start to break the bones apart to get at the fat-rich marrow inside. This is called end-stage cannibalism, and it’s usually part of a last ditch effort to survive. Is that what happened to the doomed Franklin expedition?”

Offshore wind power gets foothold in US with Rhode Island project

by Richard Valdmanis for Reuters

“‘Our belief is once Block Island is up and running, it will bring offshore wind from theory to reality in the United States and open up opportunities to build larger projects,’ said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind’s CEO.

Offshore wind projects have been delivering power in Europe since the 1990s, with nearly 2,500 turbines connected to the grid, but they have struggled to gain a foothold in the United States due to worries about cost, the aesthetics of towering wind turbines within view from the coasts, and the impact on birds and whales.”

300-year-old Spanish shipwreck holds million dollar treasure

by Jane J. Lee for National Geographic

“Schmitt and his family had been working the 1715 vessels under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a Florida company with exclusive rights to the wrecks, for several years.

Usually Schmitt and his team come up empty-handed. ‘Typically we excavate empty holes and find beer cans,’ the shipwreck diver says.

But this time, in 15 feet (4.5 meters) of water about 1,000 feet (305 meters) off a beach in Fort Pierce, Florida, the divers got lucky.”

The powerful allure of the deep azure

by Regan Penaluna for Nautilus

“We weren’t the only ones drawn to forbidden blue water. Open-pit quarries exist in many rural regions of the world, and they often entice swimmers who don’t have easy access to the sea. But quarries are sometimes toxic and even deadly. One rock quarry in the countryside of England was called the Blue Lagoon, but it was full of trash and had a pH value similar to bleach. The local government posted signs, warning of the water’s toxicity, but that didn’t deter swimmers. People stopped coming to its shore only after officials dyed the water black.”