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Web Waypoints November 2006

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

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

Beware of jumping sturgeon

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this summer posted signs along the Suwannee River warning of the dangers of leaping sturgeon.

In August a 40-pound sturgeon knocked a 9-year-old girl from a boat and broke the arm of a 31-year-old woman who was on board, Florida’s Gainesville Sun newspaper reported. It was the sixth reported incident involving jumping sturgeon on the river this year. Earlier in the month a 23-year-old man riding a personal watercraft on the river was struck and knocked unconscious by a 4-footer, the Associated Press reported. And in April a 31-year-old woman on a boat with her fiancé suffered facial injuries and a fractured spine when she was struck by a sturgeon.

A 34-year-old Vietnamese fisherman who claimed to have survived for nearly two weeks in the ocean after his boat sank in Typhoon Chanchu recently admitted to lying about the ordeal. The man confessed to his family that he had been on another long-range fishing vessel off southern Vietnam the entire time, the online news service Monsters and Critics reported. The fisherman initially said he’d lashed himself to a half-full plastic water canister before his boat sank in the May typhoon. He said he was picked up 13 days later by the crew of another fishing boat. Before he returned home the man’s family, believing he was dead, held his funeral. The man said he made up the story because he did not want local authorities to take back funds the government had given his family to support victims of the typhoon.

A Connecticut boater was arrested in August for repeatedly swerving in front of a floatplane that was attempting to take off from Bantam Lake in Morris, Conn. The owner of the floatplane was about to take off with two campers when the 45-year-old Morris man pulled his boat in front of the aircraft, according to a State Environmental Police news release. After being cut off two more times the pilot was able to take off. (He had returned the campers to land.) The boater told authorities he’d blocked the floatplane because he believed it was illegal for floatplanes to land or take off on the lake. He was wrong. The man was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, three counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree, three counts of reckless boating in the second degree, and resisting arrest.

Local and state police were called to the state pier in Gloucester, Mass., in August after a fishing boat hauled in a live World War II anti-ship mine. The crew of the scalloper Venture pulled up the mine in a dragger net, the Associated Press reported. “I hauled back to dump out my dredge … out rolled a bomb,” a crewmember says in the report. The crew brought the mine to the state pier and contacted police. A Navy bomb expert was flown in from Newport, R.I., and the bomb was safely detonated several hours later at a remote location.

Three Mexican fishermen were rescued in August near the Marshall Islands after reportedly spending nine months drifting nearly 5,000 miles across the Pacific. A Taiwanese fishing boat spotted their small disabled boat and took the men aboard, the Associated Press reported. The men told authorities they survived by eating birds and fish and drinking rainwater. To pass the time they said they read from the Bible, sang and played air guitar. They also said they threw overboard the bodies of two other men who didn’t survive the ordeal. Skeptics said the men might have been drug smugglers who made up the story to avoid prosecution. Mexican government officials didn’t investigate the men’s claims.