Web Waypoints

Author:
Publish date:

These stories and others appear daily on www.soundingsonline.com , which also contains a searchable archive of past Soundings stories.

These stories and others appear daily on www.soundingsonline.com , which also contains a searchable archive of past Soundings stories.

The new marine art: dissolving boats

As part of a new art project, a 26-year-old British sailor and artist is planning to cut in half the sailboat she raced in the 2006 Route du Rhum.

Lia Ditton wants to slice her Open 40, Dangerous When Wet, like a half-model and turn the two hulls into art exhibits called “The Divorce,” Ditton says in an e-mail to Soundings. “During the race I wrote my thoughts and feelings — my journal of the experience — on the inside skin of the hull. … We will be slicing the boat longitudinally and mounting its two halves on wooden panels, in the style of the traditional draftman’s model,” she says. Spectators will be able to ascend a staircase to a walkway in the open cockpit of each half and view the cabin. Another of Ditton’s projects calls for a series of five Mini Sinkers to be constructed of materials that will fall apart in the water, she says. The idea is to sail them as far as possible before they fall apart. The Sinkers will be made of ice, salt, effervescent vitamin C, clay and paper. “The Sinker series will be hot spectator viewing,” Ditton says.

A commercial fisherman from Maine recently hauled in a mastodon tusk while dredging for scallops on Georges Bank. The fisherman discovered the foot-long curved object and took it home to examine it, according to a report in the Boston Globe newspaper. He sent photos to the MaineStateMuseum, and a curator of zoology later examined the object and determined that it was a piece of mastodon tusk. Mastodons — hairy elephant-like mammals that resembled the woolly mammoth — roamed North America, and remains have been found off the northeastern United States in areas that are now covered by the North Atlantic. They have been extinct for 10,000 years.

The Coast Guard was testing a new high-powered acoustic hailing device that has been called a “bullhorn on steroids.” The device uses acoustic energy to broadcast prerecorded messages through six speakers, giving Coast Guard crews a more audible way to communicate with boaters, the agency says in a news release. Some of the prerecorded messages reportedly include, “You are approaching a restricted zone. Do not come any closer,” and “Turn around and leave this area immediately.” The messages can be broadcast at up to 134 decibels and reportedly can be heard up to 1-1/2 miles away. If the tests go well the system could be installed in Coast Guard vessels over the next few years.

Rising ocean waters for the first time have consumed an inhabited island. LohacharaIsland, an islet in the Sundarban delta near West Bengal, India, is now completely under water, England’s The Independent newspaper reports. Once home to 10,000 people, the island permanently flooded in the 1980s but is now totally submerged. Researchers apparently discovered that Lohachara had disappeared when they saw that the island had vanished from satellite images. Nearly a decade ago uninhabited islands in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati were overtaken by water. Some experts say the disappearance of Lohachara is a sign that global warming is a true phenomenon, the report says. Experts say climate changes also caused the massive Ayles Ice Shelf to break free from an island in the Canadian Arctic more than a year ago.