Blog 04-20-09: Last night was one of those magic moments in the NOW on the JOIDES that seems to make all hard labor, frustrations and setbacks on a pioneering sea voyage like this worthwhile: The ocean presented us with a great spectaculum — as we barely have a chance to see it twice in our life time as “Land Rats.”
Once it got dark, the whole food chain must have come to the surface, with a fish ball of reasonable size forming (probably small-sized anchovy-type of fish), intermixed with flying fish, being chased around by Mahi-Mahi, and then… “SIR LONGIMANUS”, the Oceanic White Tip Shark entering his “Restaurant”…. As Jacques Costaeu wrote in his book about the Marvelous Predators of the Seas: …”Longimanus is the only shark that never shows fear…” ~ good to know, ja? There have been two of them around the ship for the past few days (soon after getting on site), and we can expect that they and their fellow sharks will hang around like dogs until we’ll leave…
It was so incredible to watch the whole scenery, with sea birds hovering and zooming around above the ocean surface while the underwater feast was taking place. High-Productivity in action in the Equatorial Pacific – WOW! Since we are on a research expedition with the mission to unearth our Planet’s past climate history, we also may want to take a moment and ask ourselves about the future and “…where are we going with our knowledge and purpose on this Planet?” Perhaps what our own and future generations may bring upon ourselves under our imapactful existence on Earth?
When talking to science experts like Dr. Paul Wilson on this IODP Expedition 320, or to the famous Wolf Berger (in 1997 during ODP Leg 175), about how our actions may influence climatic processes, or have lead to the over-usage of terrestrial and marine resources, one must surely realize pretty quickly that NOW is the time to actively look for opportunities to participate in constructive management of our natural environment – if not for us, at least for the sake of our children… One of the most impressive public speakers and experts on this topic, Dr. Sylvia Earle, was recently honored by an organization called TED.COM, and it is worthwhile to watch the video recording of her speech about “Ocean Awareness.” She also gave us the honor on Kauai in June 2007 at the International Ocean Conference, where toward the end of her presentation she revealed how Jean-Michel Costaeu and the entire film and science team conversed with former President G.W. Bush about the creation of a marine sanctuary around the North Western Hawaiian Islands (it is quite amusing actually…).
I was out in the field at that time, but had the luck to recently “unearth” footage of her presentation, and put it together for the non-profit organization SOS (www.SaveOurSeas.org) on Kauai. Her words of wisdom may resonate with us forever… In that sense: Enjoy the rest of this great challenge called IODP LEG 320 with only 14 more days to go (and one “Wake-Up” on the ever-optimistic “RICHTER SCALE of Time-Progression”)!
Keep studying the past to master the future, and always enjoy the NOW ~ even at night!