50 Years, 50 States, 50 Stitches

I don’t feel my age, I certainly don’t act my age, and I’m delighted when people tell me I don’t look my age. But the 35,000 air miles I’ve logged since the beginning of the year have taken an unexpected toll that a younger me might have been able to simply shrug off. It’s in these circumstances that a Medical Doctor overrides an Ocean Doctor, and my orthopedic surgeon was clear with me that if I was going to be able to shed my wool suit for a wetsuit for our next Cuba expedition in June 2009, I would need to listen, obey, and lie still.

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Video: Lessons from Ocean Explorers – Why Conservation Needs Exploration

A Special ExpeditionCasts Presentation: Lessons from Ocean Explorers: Why Conservation Needs Exploration. Renowned ocean explorers and adventurers gathered at the Carnegie Institution for Science on March 7, 2009 to kick off the Blue Vision Summit, a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign. With stunning imagery and stories from the deep, this unique panel discusses the importance of ocean exploration, its future, and how exploration is vital to the advancement of the conservation of the oceans. (You can watch this video below or on your iPod or compatible MP3 player by subscribing free to ExpeditionCasts in iTunes.) Read more

Wishing You a Year of Unscripted Happiness and Discovery

Sometimes planning is overrated. Sometimes thinking is overrated. Sometimes the best things happen when you just act. That’s what happened on my 50th birthday. Though it’s a concept I had thought about before, what’s become the “50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition” was an idea that literally popped into my head on the morning of my birthday. I knew if I thought about it too much — with all the challenges,
logistics, and complications — I’d talk myself out of it. So I announced the ambitious project to give speeches at no charge to schools in all 50 U.S. states (plus territories), and in so doing, dove into the deep end of a new endeavor that is rapidly taking on a life of its own. And that’s the best part of it.

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Ocean Doctor's "50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition" To Launch in California

A new expedition launches January 7, 2009 in California! The Ocean Doctor’s “50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition is a one-year journey of outreach, education, and discovery, announced by Dr. David E. Guggenheim on his 50th birthday (October 6, 2008) to bring, at no charge, speeches about the oceans to schools in all 50 U.S. states plus territories. By its culmination at the end of 2009, the “expedition” will have reached well over 100 schools — from Barrow, Alaska to Rapid City, South Dakota to the Florida Keys — to share firsthand accounts, stories, humor, passion, and important lessons about the oceans and their conservation. Through additional outreach in the visited communities, engagement of the media, and encouraging the visited schools to connect with each other and share their perspectives on the oceans through a new online social network, it is hoped that this project can help encourage an enduring wave of renewed interest in the oceans by its next generation of explorers, scientists and stewards.

The expedition is a joint project of The Ocean Foundation, the project’s fiscal sponsor, along with 1planet1ocean, and is supported by your tax-deductible donations to the “Ocean Doctor’s 50 Years – 50 States – 50 Speeches Expedition Fund” at The Ocean Foundation. Become a supporter!

Can Cuba’s Mysteries Help Save the World’s Coral Reefs?

Healthy elkhorn coral in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico (Photo by Abel Valdivia)Until that tranquil morning in late June 1974, the sum total of my SCUBA diving experience had been in a landlocked state, in a stifling, moldy indoor YMCA pool in the Philadelphia suburbs and a Pennsylvania quarry, flooded with icy soup-green water. Barely comprehending the new world of pungent humidity, mountainous afternoon cumulus clouds, and lush tangles of flowering succulents I experienced at water’s edge during my first visit to the Florida Keys, I was wholly unprepared later that morning when I found myself seated in sugar-white sand with 40 feet of warm, clear aquamarine water above my head. As impossibly multi-colored fish passed slowly within reach before my wide 15-year-old eyes, my gaze broadened as I marveled at the towering jetties of coral around us, living layer cakes of corals upon corals, brown and mustard rock-like structures, encrusted with brilliant red, violet and orange coralline fans and branches, swaying in the warm, nourishing current and, like eager spring blossoms, reaching toward the dancing sunlight scattered on the surface above. Read more

Exploring, Studying Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico

Proyecto Costa Noroccidental research team aboard Cuban research vessel Boca del Toro, second expedition

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (CIM) [Centro de Investigaciones Marinas] are leading a collaborative effort, Proyecto Costa Noroccidental [Project of the Northwest Coast], a comprehensive multi-year research and conservation program for Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico coast. Dr. David E. Guggenheim, president of 1planet1ocean, is a member of HRI’s Advisory Council and also serves as HRI’s Cuba Programs Manager and is co-principal investigator of the project with Dr. Gaspar González Sansón of CIM. Read more

Esperanza Now at Zhemchug Canyon, Largest Underwater Canyon in the World

The Esperanza crew had an opportunity for a brief shore leave on St. Paul Island on Friday (August 3) before steaming north to Zhemchug Canyon. On St. Paul, they visited a fur seal rookery. Populations of fur seals are down dramatically. (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

The Esperanza crew had an opportunity for a brief shore leave on St. Paul Island on Friday (August 3) before steaming north to Zhemchug Canyon. On St. Paul, they visited a fur seal rookery. Populations of fur seals are down dramatically.
(Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

Continued favorable weather and few mechanical problems means that the team aboard Esperanza has been able to complete 14 manned submersible dives at Pribilof Canyon. On Saturday (August 4), Esperanza arrived at Zhemchug Canyon to explore this, the largest undersea canyon in the world, much larger than the Grand Canyon. Within the first few minutes of the deepest ROV dive yet, more than 3,000 feet down, the team discovered corals, including pink “bubblegum” corals along with other soft corals.

Earlier, during the final dives at Pribilof Canyon, the team documented numerous corals, but also evidence of extensive trawling damage in the area.

The Esperanza is carrying two manned submersibles, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) and an international research team to the Bering Sea for a three week survey of Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons,to map and document deepwater corals living at depths of more than 1,000 feet. The expedition was conceived of and is being led by Greenpeace.

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Ginormous Is a Word, and Just in Time

Alaska: The Ginormous State Last week, Mirriam-Webster’ announced that it was adding the word, “ginormous” to its 2007 update of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. This is great news and comes as a great relief, just in time for next week’s kickoff of the Bering Sea Expedition. For ever since I first visited Alaska, I have found an utter deficit of adjectives to adequately convey the state’s enormity — er, ginormity. Read more


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