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Showing posts from May, 2019

New book about cetaceans in European waters

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I don't know about you, but I get really excited every time I have an encounter with a wild animal and for some reason, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals make for the most magical encounters. I've been fortunate enough to have crossed the Atlantic several times and had ideal conditions for viewing cetaceans. I've written often about our encounters but I didn't have a good visual reference for identifying who I was meeting out there with any certainty. A stunning new user-enabling reference book is about to be released that will change all that for anyone sailing in European waters. My review of the book, Europe's Sea Mammals, follows. I can't wait to head back out to sea with this on board.

Aleria is up for sale

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They say that the best day for boat owners is the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it. For me, it was the day we set sail across an ocean on her. Now I say, "Parting is such sweet sorrow, let us part 'till it be morrow."

Humans destroying our planet

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A dire United Nations report, based on thousands of scientific studies, paints an urgent picture of biodiversity loss and finds that habitat loss and climate change are both amplifying the danger of widespread species extinction including our own. Released on May 6 in Paris, The UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’is very direct and the most damning evidence that man is at the root of this evil.  This landmark new report, the most comprehensive of its kind from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), makes a strong case about how humans are causing damage to the natural world at an accelerating pace. The interconnected web of life on earth is shrinking. More than a million species are considered to be threatened with extinction. The number 1 cause is not climate change but habitat loss, although climate change is one of the other main factors at work.

Sailing for introverts vs extroverts

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My friend and I were having a lively conversation which drifted into sailing. I am a sailor and she is not. I was telling her about how exhausting a conference for long-distance sailors had been, as there was something to do and people to be with almost every minute of each day. I told her when the Ocean Cruising Club weekend was over, being an introvert, I needed a full day of silence and no camaraderie to recuperate. She laughed and said, "It must be a challenge to get a roomful of introverts to join in on a social event, assuming that introversion is a trait that would inspire sailing across oceans."

The Psychology of Voyaging

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I wrote a blog post some time ago which caused multiple friends to write to me how much they enjoyed reading it. It has to do with the loss of ambition, and replacement of ambition with contentment, especially as it relates to sailing but also in general. I have often examined the psychology of different aspects of sailing and voyaging, and I wonder if it’s a topic that should be explored more deeply.

Conwy has the best castle and Medieval walls!

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We parked the car, did a quick reconnaissance loop around the town of Conwy, then stopped into what used to be the Bank of Conwy for a pint. Lovely building - nice atmosphere. Afterwards, we had a pizza dinner with Malbec wine in the restaurant at the Bridge Inn and went promptly to bed. Alex was getting a cold and I was exhausted. We had a long ambitious day coming up.

Climate

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I'm reading Mary Robinson's book Climate Justice and thinking about the awful cyclones that have hit Mozambique and India. Cyclone Kenneth struck while Mozambique was still struggling to deal with the impact of Cyclone Idai. In India today, a million people were evacuated from coastal areas, and 2.5 million were being evacuated from Bangladesh. Fani is the first tropical cyclone of the year in the northern Indian Ocean, and the most powerful to occur there since the cyclone of 1991 in which at least 10,000 people died, hence the emphasis on evacuation. It is also the strongest to occur so early in the season. A lot of people live along the vulnerable coast.

On to Anglesey

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We decided to drive around the coast of Anglesey which we thought would take about three hours. Alex had a sore throat so we found him some lozenges. He kept taking left turns towards the sea off the main road and we kept getting stuck on dead-end roads in small villages with honky-tonk resorts. We were directly across the Menai Straits from Plas Menai and Caernarfon. When we got to where there was a designated walking trail, we parked and decided to do a looped trail that Google showed us. No one else was about.

On the way out, we scrambled along the rocky shore, which had clearly been maintained for walkers. We did not wear our hiking boots and we should have. It was quite wet and our running shoes were soon sopping. This part of the island was lovely, with deep blue-green sea, high rocky coast and sheep feeding in fields above. The wildflowers were just waking up and it was lovely in the sunshine, but chill wind.

Walled cities, castles, mountains and seashore

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We were surprised at the beauty of Snowdonia in North Wales. The mountains are peaked and stunning, harbouring lakes within and dropping down to the sea on their outskirts. Mountaineering is a passion here, and we can see why. As are water sports in the Menai Straits, the body of water separating mainland Wales from the island of Anglesey.

The day after the OCC Awards Dinner

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Thirty-nine members of the Ocean Cruising Club stayed on to take part in post-AGM weekend activities. On Sunday, the 7th of April, groups got together in local ventures such as mountain walks, visit a deep mine, or just driving around Snowdonia. It was altogether an enjoyable, informative, interesting weekend and much of the credit must go to OCC Regional Rear Commodores Chris and Fi Jones of 'Three Ships' who did a superb job of organising.