Last week we launched a series we’re tentatively calling the “Saturday Mishmash” – a look back at three offbeat stories that kept us talking all week. This Saturday, our unusual stories hone in on a big theme: the ocean. If you’d like to suggest stories for future Saturday discussions (or if you want to take a crack at renaming our Saturday segment) you can comment here.
Angler Hooks Orca
“I’d had a couple of energy drinks by that time and I thought I was hallucinating.” That’s how fisherman Rob Page described his reaction when he realized he had just hooked an adult orca.
Page was competing in a tuna and marlin fishing tournament off Gisborne, New Zealand when his fishing line began disappearing into the ocean.
As the Waikato Times reported, what was more remarkable than actually hooking a whale was how long the orca stayed on the line – 45 minutes! Initially, the killer whale dove 800 meters in an attempt to free itself.
But the fishermen didn’t want to cut the line just to have the whale dragging half a mile of plastic cord behind it. So they patiently lured the whale in until the line snapped, leaving a shorter stretch of heavy nylon dangling from the hook in its mouth.
As the whale dove, the fishing line was too hot to touch.
India’s First Surf Festival
A billion people and no surfboards? Times are changing in India.
From Tehelka Magazine comes this story of a fishing town turned international surf spot on the Bay of Bengal. Just a few years ago, no one but foreigners surfed in Ramchandi Beach. Now the owner of the town’s only surf shop reflects on how it all began.
“I saw some foreigners surfing. I went home and carved out a board from an old catamaran. I learnt [sic] to balance myself on that until an Israeli surfer gave me his old board when he left India.”
Just up the coast from Ramchandi Beach, Odisha just hosted the Indian Surf Festival – 41 Indian surfers participated, along with 15 others from nine countries. And I shouldn’t neglect to mention India’s first surf ashram, “the legacy of a Californian who loved Krishna as much as the wave.”
The Lowest Point on Earth
What’s always been vaguely known as the planet’s deepest point is now alive is stunning detail.
At a maximum depth of seven miles, the Mariana Trench is a 1,500-mile long gash in the floor of the western Pacific Ocean. And until now we’ve known very little about it. But a new detailed map brings the massive trench to life, and begins to unlock some of the deep sea’s secrets.
“I’m sad to say that here we are at the beginning of the 21st Century, and we know more about other parts of the Solar System than we do our own ocean” Dr. Sylvia Earle told the BBC. “We have better maps of the Moon, Mars and Jupiter than we do about our own ocean floor.”
The same type of geologic activity that built the trench could have caused last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan. Japan and the Mariana Trench sit on the western edge of the “ring of fire,” where the heavy crust beneath the ocean is subducted beneath lighter continental crust. The result: lots of earthquakes.
Dive deep with this longer read from the BBC.