As I write this, a massive offshore oil platform makes its way around the southern tip of the African continent on its journey from Singapore to its final destination within 50 miles of some of our nation’s most environmentally sensitive waters. By year’s end, it will be in operation to drill the first exploratory well more than a mile deep in Cuban waters.
Shortly after Cuba’s discovery of offshore oil more than six years ago, I met with my colleagues at the University of Havana who had just been briefed by the state-run oil company, Cupet (Cubapetroleo). Models predicted that 90 percent of oil from a blowout would be transported northward to the Keys and up along Florida’s East Coast, impacting Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and beyond. The question is, of course, are we ready to deal with such a catastrophe? [Read more...]
August 1, 2011: We visit National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC to meet the newest National Geographic “Explorer in Residence,” Dr. Enric Sala and his important work on the “Pristine Seas” program with expeditions to the last remaining pristine areas in the ocean. We also hear the incredible story of a humpback whale, rescued at the brink of death, that said “thank you” to its human rescuers. And we hear the tragic story of the loss of one of our colleagues in Cuba.
The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. Or listen to us on your iPhone, Android phone, WebOS phone, BlackBerry or tablet, including the iPad, with the free Stitcher SmartRadio app. See the complete list of episodes. Follow The Ocean Doctor on Twitter — Become a Fan on Facebook! Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below. Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. [Read more...]
May 9, 2011: They are the maddening questions that haunt us when eating seafood: What fish is safe to eat? What fish is sustainable? Is farmed better than wild caught? Our guest is Marianne Cufone, now Executive Director of the Alliance for Sustainable Aquaponics, with sound advice on eating seafood and a glimpse of the fish and other food you’ll eat tomorrow. Also: The Ocean Doctor’s next expedition and more about the film, “Cuba: The Accidental Eden.”
The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.
Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.
His name is Eduardo Alonso Ramos, but everyone calls him “Alonso.” He and Lachi, also a colleague from the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, CIM) were supposed to join me for a final meeting at Havana’s Marina Hemingway yesterday in final preparations for our expedition, which they were planning to be part of.
They never arrived. That’s not unusual here in Cuba. Transportation is often a nightmare. Perhaps his motorcycle broke down. Perhaps he couldn’t get gas. Who knows? I wasn’t worried. Though it was a bit unusual that they never called, even last night.
This morning I learned the tragic truth, and it’s still sinking in. Alonso was filling a SCUBA tank at CIM yesterday afternoon when it exploded, killing him instantly. He was only 41. He leaves a wife, 36, who is pregnant. They buried him this morning. [Read more...]
The fuel tanks are full, the holds are full, our equipment has been triple-checked, so we’re ready to set sail from Havana on a journey that will take us half way around the island of Cuba.We are awaiting final permits that we expect sometime tomorrow. I attached a new hose and computer to my regulator assembly and took a few breaths of compressed air, my first in too many months. That cool, dry air put a big smile on my face and reminded me why we’re here.
Our colleagues were aboard yesterday morning to finalize our expedition plan and sampling locations. They’ll be using a stereoscopic (3D) HD video system that will take close-up, high-resolution video of the coral reefs we visit for later analysis. The system provides sufficiently high-quality video as to allow for analysis of fish just a few mm long. I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with this incredible system, but mostly I just look forward to getting in…and under…the water.
The Ocean Foundation’s collaborative expedition in Cuba sets sail on Wednesday, May 4th to explore previously unexplored coral reef environments from Havana westward along Cuba’s northwestern coast and eastward to Jardines de la Reina along Cuba’s southern coast. Stay tuned for updates from the Ocean Doctor!!
With the episode, “Cuba: The Accidental Eden,” the 2010-11 season premiere of the acclaimed PBS series, “Nature” features The Ocean Foundation’s own Fernando M. Bretos and David E. Guggenheim, along with other Cuban and American colleagues. Bretos and Guggenheim have worked together in Cuba for more than a decade and head up The Ocean Foundation’s “Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. ” Their work includes joint research expeditions in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters and a major sea turtle conservation project with the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas). The episode can be viewed in its entirety online (see below) and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray disc.
Once again, it is time to thank all of our donors and partners who have helped make The Ocean Foundation a success.
The past year has been a time of great growth for The Ocean Foundation as we continue our work to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We work with donors who care about our coasts and oceans to add value to marine conservation initiatives. We do this by providing conservation grants, hosting projects and funds, and collaborating with important campaigns and opinion leaders. As the community foundation for the oceans, we are fostering best-in-class projects and promoting solutions for healthy oceans and the people who depend upon them. We have been able to adapt to a changing economic climate while maintaining our integrity as honest brokers for marine conservation philanthropy.
The Ocean Foundation is our fiscal sponsor where Dr. David E. Guggenheim — the “Ocean Doctor” — serves as senior fellow.
Download The Ocean Foundation’s Annual Report 2010 or view online below