life in the sea …

… life &
times
of nuc
the whale
(that's me!)


(if i've used
a picture that
belongs to you,
please let me know
if i failed to cite
the source or you
want it removed
nuc@nucthewhale.net)

my story starts from the bottom — latest post at top . . . sorry it's not more up-beat — wish it could be — but in the ocean these days we're under assault in so many ways from seemingly every direction. i include various news & info i find surfing the web when i can pick up wi-fi from a passing ship.

quite honestly the news does not bode well for life continuing in the ocean in the same flourishing, pristine way it has for millinea. major changes have been wrought, havoc has been unleashed, all nature is in the throes of distress. whether those are the throes of dissolution and death, or the pangs of a new beginning — or both — remain to be seen.

regardless, things have already forever changed, and the momentum of occurring change continues to escalate. even so, even now, life can be good. you just have to find the right places.   – nuc

mar 30 2016
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here's some good news: iceland may finally quit slaughtering fins!

"In late February 2016, Kristjan Loftsson, Iceland’s sole fin whaler, announced that his company, Hvalur hf, would not be killing endangered fin whales off Iceland this summer!"

http://us.whales.org/issues/whaling-in-iceland

http://us.whales.org/blog/2016/02/cancelled-hunt-could-save-154-icelandic-fin-whales-this-summer

japan is still butchering whales ... they just took the lives of 333 minke, actually more because 200 of them were pregnant. so sad. y'all need to give it up.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/japan-slaughters-pregnant-whales-australia-warns-of-legal-action-20160329-gnsysk.html

good for the aussies, i hope this isn't just talk and they really slam japan over whaling.

oct 25 2015
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and still the same old same old... http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34618513

oct 4 2015
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but then again... http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34414710

jul 25 2015
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and this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwe-pA6TaZk

apr 23 2015
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just when i think i'm totally over humans i come across this... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBaHPND2QJg

jan 14 2015
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je suis charlie

dec 17 2014
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orca

so i sang out, "sorry babe, it's been real, gotta go, every whale for himself," and i bolted away.

nauuan and nuaon made desperate, helpless noises, backswimming slowly, nauuan clumsily twisting and turning, trying to keep herself between nuaon and the pack as they circled around and closed in for the kill. this was going even better than they'd hoped.

nuaon wailed in terror as the killers tightened their knot.

what the orcas didn't notice, in their slavering focus on an easy meal, was that soon after swimming away, i quietly turned and waited.

then nauuan sang a deafening note that went on and on, and i put all my power and adrenaline into thrust. i was doing 57 klicks when i closed my eyes and made my nose hard and slammed through the pack, twisting to hit as many as i could.

meanwhile they discovered that nauuan was neither helpless nor clumsy, as she timed a devastating tail slap that slammed even more of them into my path on my way through.

then she became a twisting fury of stunning blows, as nuaon danced with her every move, always out of the way, always on the safest side.

as i came around for a second pass, those in the pack who were still able, turned and fled. some tried, but simply twisted and moaned. several floated, totally still. there was blood in the water.

nauuan and nuaon and i turned and fled as well.

dec 16 2014
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orca

but almost getting iced in isn't the only scary thing that's happened to us. early this spring, on our way to antarctica, we were attacked by orcas.

an orca, or even a pack of them, doesn't threaten me or nauuan. we're too big. we can out-dive them, out-swim them, and we're louder than they are.

but nuaon—nuaon was very vulnerable to orcas: small enough to be prey, slow enough to be caught, large enough to be a feast.

a ravening orca pack tries to separate a little one from its mother long enough to get in a few hard bumps and swipes. they can harass for days, until wounds and fear and exhaustion take their toll on mother and child, and the little one is theirs.

orcas are very smart, but they're so smart they think everyone else is dumb, especially "sea-suckers," as they call us baleens.

nauuan and i often sang about what to do if we were attacked, and we had a plan. we trained nuaon and held orca-drills often.

but it's one thing to train against an imaginary foe, reacting as you would have them react, and entirely another for grinning death to suddenly confront.

may 21 2014
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yeah, nuaon is the newone's name. short for nuaoaoouan. it is a strong name, utterly unpronounceable by humans.

nauuan suggested it, nuaoaoouan loves it, and i think it's beautiful, and so will aoaoo when she hears it.

nauuan loves my sister aoaoo, they've become deep friends, like sisters. nauuan had sisters, in her home waters around iceland ... all dead now, as i mentioned earlier, slaughtered by humans.

aoaoo never had a sister, just me, her little brother. and she loves me, of course—for many years it was just the two of us, after... not going there... anyway, some things only a sister can share with a sister, and so aoaoo loves nauuan as the long-lost sister found.

may 20 2014
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hey. yeah, we're still doing fine, i just didn't feel like posting for a long time.

we're heading back from the wild southern seas, to our indian ocean refuge for the winter.

and let me tell you, the southern seas are wild — all sorts of new winds and tricky currents.

haven't felt much like communicating with humans, since it's looking more and more likely that a major mass extinction event is unfolding in quick-time before our eyes, an event entirely resulting simply from humans being humans — you are a deadly force of nature ... y'all are poisoning the land and making a toxic, depleted mockery of the ocean, and you're turning the weather on us. hard not to take it personally.

pack ice

a few months ago in the middle of summer, i was getting ready to settle in for a good wi-fi session with the Akademik Shokalskiy, just before it got iced in (http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/chinese-icebreaker-xue-long-and-russian-flagged-research-vessel-mv-akademik-shokalskiy-now-both-stuck-in-pack-ice/story-fnj4f7k1-1226795005474)

... we almost got trapped too, things got real scary, real quick. luckily, nauuan has a mother's instinct, she felt it coming on and said "we gotta go—now!"

so we went. and not a minute too soon, we had to fight floes all the way out, making safe places for nuaon to surface.

nauuan and i both got cut up shoving blocks of ice aside. there were times we had to use extreme power-surfacing techniques.

we're a good team ... we made it.

april 26 2013
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newone is here. she's so precious, so pretty ... a perfect little blue fin. she's got the best of both of us.

nauuan's fine, newone's fine, i'm fine. life is quiet, life is good.

staying the winter here, then we'll name newone and head to antarctica next summer. she'll be big enough for the southern ocean then. and i can't wait to get back to my wild southern sea.

we're way out in the middle of the southern indian ocean ... krill galore ... fertile currents swell up from the depths where the plains meets the mountains. such grand, enormous mountains. you humans wouldn't even call them an atoll. ha! they are astonishing, go down and down and miles down, spreading out into gigantic labyrinths of canyons and trenches. too deep for me to go, and blacker than night, but who needs eyes when you've got sonar?

february 17 2013
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still here in the warm indian ocean. lazy now. still good krill. nauuan still pregnant, she's getting very big. life is good. catch you later.

november 5 2012
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hey! been a long time since i posted an update. sri lanka was all aoaoo said and more. blues stay there year round — gentle souls, warm and welcoming. said antarctica sounded exciting but awfully cold & wild. exactly what I like about it.

we stayed with them awhile, caught up with aoaoo, swam with her out into the big wide open. found another fertile upwelling, near a beautiful, massive, underwater mountain. nice here, and lotsa food. hardly any ships ... almost quiet ... only the rumblehiss background you hear everywhere.

i'm starting to miss the southern ocean. usually i'd be heading back by now, but ... there's krill galore in these exotic waters, the local blues are sweet, the ships are distant, and nauuan wants to stay until the little one is born ... so, we're staying. aoaoo's going back to sri lanka for awhile, and nauuan and I will go exploring — this sea is new to me too — but we'll stay within a few swims of this beautiful spot.



 

so, yeah, it's been awhile since i've been online. got tired of the internet. nothing but bad news. i think this is when i quit reading the news:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/07/16/bc-ocean-acidification.html

UBC marine biologist Chris Harley says it is 'highly likely' we are in a period of mass extinction.

"It's highly likely we are in that scenario now. It's not just ocean acidification," he said. "It's also overfishing combined with warming, combined with acidification, combined with lots of other things, and all of these changes happening so quickly and happening all at the same time is pushing these species past where they can rebound when their populations get knocked down.

"So over the next 50 years, we should probably see a lot of species go extinct in the sea."

Scientists are seeing changes in their own lifetime that in the past would have taken thousands of years.


http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/

http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/1_lpr_2012_online_full_size_single_pages_final_120516.pdf (16 mb) (& well worth it)

may 13 2012
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“Navy raises sonar impact on dolphins, whales dramatically”

i really gotta stop reading the news.

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/
bad-news-whales-dolphins-navy-expand-sonar-testing-f2D11749987

may 8 2012
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North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone

“Big rise in North Pacific plastic waste”





i should stop reading the news.


"Debris tends to collect within the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone. Ocean eddies and other small ocean circulation features will further aggregate material into more discrete 'garbage patches'."

"The quantity of small plastic fragments floating in the north-east Pacific Ocean has increased a hundred fold over the past 40 years."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17991993

may 5 2012
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what a great summer! we spent months cruising the antarctic circumpolar current. nauuan is an athlete: sleek and fast, tireless, intensely alive. i've had to become athletic too, just to keep up with her.

nauuan likes the southern ocean as much as i do. so vast, so wild, so much krill! but the weather's getting really cold now. we're heading to warmer waters. going to try something new, a little out of my comfort zone, going north of the equator. but we heard it might be worth it.

we came across my sister aoaoo last summer, she told us about some blues that hang out around sri lanka. she said there's so much krill there, they never have to leave! she actually spent some time there, but the call of the wild brought her back south.

she said it's a lovely spot, and the local blues are sweet, very laid back. so the next ship we came across, we used their wi-fi and checked it out ... looks like she's right, check this out: http://whalessrilanka.blogspot.com/ ... aoaoo's heading back there this winter. we'll meet her there.

guess what: nauuan thinks she's pregnant! almost too early to tell, but i might gonna be a daddy!

Jan 28 2012
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long time no post, just a quick note now. nauuan and i have been having a blast. we shot the drake passage, circled antarctica,
and shot it again! time for one more, gotta go...

sep 5 2011
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came across a cruise ship, looked like headed for easter island, paced it for wi-fi until it outran us. out here in the big empty. i love the south pacific and the southern ocean. so vast.

that ship had a cool whale avoidance system — it constantly broadcast in front of it a tight beam of sound, of a noisy pod of bullying orcas careening in for the kill. worked very well to get our attention and want to avoid it. and even when we knew what it was, felt creepy the whole time we were pacing it ...

i'm kidding, of course. it had no such system ... and we weren't paying attention and almost got slammed. after that i figured the least they could do was share their wi-fi.

gonna be time to turn south pretty soon, starting to get hungry.

we'll shoot the drake passage, that's always a rush.

aug 9 2011
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may be my last post for awhile. nauuan and i are going to leave behind this human conveyance we've been pacing for wi-fi, and slip away into the vast, vast, vast south pacific.

tired of being around humans. want to find some swimming space with no ships and no junk, just earth's pure ocean. isn't it sad you can only find it in the most remote locations?

and even there, nasty surprises lurk ... let your mind wander for just a minute and swim into a lost net, and you're likely a dead whale swimming ... looking forward to an agonizing final few weeks.

you know, every drop of water is sacred, is holy water ... but many of those drops have been sorely abused and contaminated.

you're turning water into the enemy of whales, turning the sacred medium against all its denizens.

that's just not right.

'bye y'all.

back in a bit, maybe pace a research ship for wi-fi when summer comes south.

july 31 2011
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iceland should stop killing fins. all whales, but especially fin whales! dear god will you humans please stop? please?

An endangered Fin Whale is brought to the harbor of Hvalfjörður, Iceland.
"An endangered Fin Whale is brought to the harbor of Hvalfjörður, Iceland.
[This] marks the resumption to commercial whaling for the country." http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/multimedia/
slideshows/endangered-fin-whale-killed-in/

july 27 2011
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guess what! i met a fin whale the other day. she's pretty. fins are about as big as blues, but more slender.

her name is nauuan. (yeah, like you could actually spell a whale name in humanspeak.)

she's sad and lonely ... all her close family were killed around iceland a few years ago, and she's wandered lost ever since, ended up here in the south pacific.

which is safer than the north atlantic — the japanese took one of her people in antarctica last year, but in the past few years iceland has taken hundreds of fins. better chances down here.

here's her picture, must have been taken during her trip down. greenpeace had it on their site. she wandered around the mediterranean one summer.

right now we're out in the vast reaches of the south pacific. she's going to swim with me awhile, i'll show her the southern seas.

july 24 2011
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bad news nuc, that's me, always bearer of bad tidings ... but lord have mercy, y'all, i so rarely see anything good about the ocean lately. i've seen several times lately where beach communities have banned plastic grocery bags. good step ... small, but meaningful. no good comes from a bag blown into the sea. among other outcomes, turtles think they look like jellyfish and eat them. once they realize it's plastic it's too late, their automatic swallow reflexes take it on in. or, bags can just float until eventually the sun and waves churn them into plankton-sized particles in the thickening gyres. you humans should keep your plastic out of the ocean!

but it's not just bags that are potentially deadly. helium party balloons and their ribbons are very choking and tangly when they come down in the sea. and there's all sorts of other tangly plastic out here too—strapping, ropes, 6-pack holders, plastic sheeting, everything you can imagine—and more...

i've come across areas with enough churned plastic micro-pieces and particles to seriously gum up your baleen ... takes forever to spit out ... even if there's enough plankton for a good meal, you don't dare because of all the plastic schmilsch you'll swallow.

July 21 2011
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“Whaling meeting 'ignores needs of whales'”

here ya go, file this one under "what a surprise" ...

in case you didn't follow the bbc link above, here it is again:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14153779

*i hope their "research" is a little more friendly than the japanese definition of the word.

July 14 2011
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tragic consequences of a moment's inattention
tragic consequences of a moment's inattention

you've gotta be aware everywhere for floating booby-traps, not just in a gyre ... what with all the flotsam floating everywhere, especially ghost nets and drag lines lost from fishing trawlers. they can be anywhere.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/kqedquest/2785503572/



that stuff can string you up before you even know it's happened.

and down below there's astonishingly long lines of cables criss-crossing the sea floor, and massive tangles that were cut free when breaks were repaired ... in valleys, lines can string across the open water between mountains, just resting on the peaks ... lying in wait.

you humans sure have trashed the place!




http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14153779

July 7 2011
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“Marine life facing mass extinction, report says ... ”

now there's a headline that will get your attention if you live in the ocean and have absolutely no control over pollution, or warming, acidification; or the noise—the constant, pervasive racket ringing in the sea.

y'all are known in the natural world as "the noisemakers." you knew that, didn't you? at least when you're not being called "the deathmakers."

anyway, here's the article: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/06/21/ocean.extinction.global.warming/index.html?iref=obinsite

here's the leading paragraphs (I added the bolding):

July 3 2011
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Japanese research. They say it with a straight face.
japanese whaling "research"

at least you've stopped killing us blues for our oil. [Although my smaller cousins still suffer barbaric, ignominious slaughter by human. will you please just stop?!?]

why won't you just stop everything you're doing to annihilate life on this planet? you're KILLING the ocean!! can't you hear? can't you see? don't you care?

you humans need to get some leaders that won't bicker and argue and accuse, all the while pandering to their fatcat patrons.

try to support businesses that deal in fair trade, that practice responsible, clean environmentalism (usually more profitable long-term anyway—nice bonus for doing the right thing).

try not to throw any food away.

don't buy in to rampant consumerism. try to support sustainable processes, sustainable products.

and recycle, recycle, recycle!

try to recognize the interconnectedness and interdependency of all things, before it all comes back to haunt you. may be too late already, may still be possible to mitigate.

y'all humans have done quite enough "research" on us whales. A global experiment in "how fast can you hunt the whales to extinction?" In geologic time, it was an explosion. within a few decades y'all hunted us blues into virtual extinction, and most of our cousins too. Before the Great Slaughter, around 300,000 blues; when the last few were spared, about 300. I was born just after the Great Slaughter. The old ones don't sing about it much, you just hear whispers and feel their aching sadness.

we don't take it personally, though. you humans slaughter indiscriminately, even your own kind. you are a deadly force of nature.

July 1 2011
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sheesh, folks, what have you brought down on us?

the time to have started limiting carbon emissions was back when it was first noticed that the levels of CO2 were increasing in the atmosphere, and scientists first recognized the danger that this might pose in the future.

now the pendulum is in motion, and we begin to see the first serious signs of global warming, and y'all are spewing out more CO2 than ever!

and we're all along for the ride, folks. sure would hate to be a whale. oh, wait, i am one.

sure am glad i'm not a human, wouldn't want all of this devastation on my conscience. speaking on behalf of mother nature, y'all got some bad karma coming.

and it looks like you're going to take the rest of us down with you!!

i guess even the spectre of decimating the planet hasn't been enough incentive to make you to switch to clean energy, to leave noisy, smelly petrol and coal behind.

y'all are running it very close to the razor's edge. i'm deathly afraid you've already slipped over the top, or should i say "we" have, and begun sliding down the steep, slippery slope towards inevitable, quick, complete devastation of the natural world.

may 5 2011
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saw a scary article in the news a few weeks ago ... antarctic krill are in decline. that's not good!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13036795

seems like national geographic says the same thing.

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/krill/

this is not good news, folks, not good news at all! i'm not starving yet, but i have noticed areas where not a good year for krill. like where that big iceberg that broke off from the ross shelf about 10 years ago, trapping pack ice from dispersing, shading all those cubic swims. plankton can't grow, so krill aren't abundant. that was one big iceberg. we called it the many-swims ... takes many swims to get around it to where you find better hunting. even today pieces of it are still out there. global warming, warmer seas, more icebergs, may be tough times coming ... yeah, but for now there's still krill in the sea, just gotta go elsewhere ... nice to be a whale, moving on.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2002/april24/icebergs-424.html

here's a good video on the B-15 iceberg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBfzFt_kgNU

y'all are going to be the death of me yet.

may 1 2011
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so sad the tsunami in japan. so tragic in so many ways. we heard the earthquake, of course, it was an awesome singing of the earth. and we also heard as a distant hiss the tsunamis engulfing the coves and shorelines. and we felt the psychic vibration of so many souls perishing so quickly, and the anguish as countless others lost everything of this world that they knew and loved right before their eyes.

and so sad the nuclear disaster that unfolded afterward, and so much radioactivity escaped into the sea... i kept watching the news, they kept saying it's a big sea, dilution will water it down, not a big deal ... maybe not—hope not ... but ... i'm planning to stay in waters not near japan, for a good long time.

and so much plastic from all the wreckage of human habitations and machinations, sucked into the sea ... just what the pacific gyre needs, more plastic.

japanese tsunami   japanese tsunami devastation   japanese tsunami flotsam
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/pictures/110315-nuclear-reactor-japan-tsunami-earthquake-world-photos-meltdown/

april 4 2011
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CNN ... "Debris such as plastic and trash, shown on a Prestwick, Scotland, beach,
may contain plastic-eating bacteria, findings suggest."

ocean debris

cnn reported on an interesting article from naturenews the other day, about plastic-eating bacteria that are beginning to proliferate in the sargasso sea.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/30/plastic-eating-bacteria-found-in-ocean-desert-scientist-says/?iref=obinsite

this is a really cool site, check it out:
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110328/full/news.2011.191.html

scientists still aren't sure if they're good or bad ... eat plastic = good ... unknown if they generate any toxic byproducts as waste as they proliferate on a large scale? = hopefully not ...

i haven't encountered these yet, so i don't know how they make the water taste. sargasso sea is a far swim from my usual hangouts, and i don't want to go there, either. It's a nutritional wasteland and a flotsam-collecting gyre.

but anything that eats plastic is a friend of mine!

when i get time i'll look for more on this.

it'll be funny if all of you humans' plastic starts to rot before you've even thrown it away!

feb 22 2011
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y'all need to get fusion going! it's only 50 years away! (still)

feb 19 2011
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huge sailboat




so if you want to continue your global civilization for any length of time, you better plan for some alternative energy sources.



i hope the machines are quieter.



i wish you humans would go back to sailboats!

feb 18 2011
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natural gas flares

at this point, i don't think you humans have much control over fossil fuels.

in terms of overall chemical dynamics, the underground seas of high-energy hydrocarbons have met air and fire,
and they are going up in smoke!



http://www.celsias.com/article/trying-paint-natural-gas-green/

feb 17 2011
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oil refinery

refined fuel and human infrastructure itself are the unstable intermediaries between crude and flame. fuel has more energy than crude, because it's so highly purified. so it is a strong uphill reaction to form fuel from crude ...

in other words, petrol doesn't just spontaneously leap from the earth and purify itself – that's unlikely to happen in nature. it takes a great deal of human labor and energy input to extract fossil fuels from their depths, and to fashion all your different machines that burn it.

but, even though it's an uphill battle to obtain fuel from the earth, the burning of fuel is such a strong downhill reaction that there's a siphon effect, pulling the earlier, uphill, reaction from crude to fuel.

because crude does have a great deal of energy – not as much as pure fuel, but far more than CO2 and water – the entropy of the overall chain of reactions pulls very strongly towards the end products of free-floating CO2 and water, despite having to cross the high energy barrier of everything it takes to produce fuel and to burn it as you humans do.

http://ginnynorman.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/oil-refining/
feb 16 2011
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Crowded Freeway

and there are oceans of fuel aflame!! — the underground deposits of coal, oil, and gas — all those trillions of tonnes igniting and burning all away, all in just a couple of centuries.

(dear god help us if all that coal is burned! tell you what, why don't you humans just leave it in the ground!?)

but back to my point ... in terms of chemical dynamics, the complex organic molecules of fossil fuels have a high energy state—potential energy in their molecular bonds.

the end products of oxidation, CO2 and water, have very much lower energy states.

so, once you add oxygen and fire, going from crude to CO2 is what you call a "downhill" reaction. a very strong downhill reaction.

by now the human mechanisms for making this happen are so firmly entrenched, that the basic chemical dynamic of these underground fuels meeting oxygen and burning has become self-perpetuating, despite the high energy of activation of extracting and purifying the fuel before it meets the fire.

feb 15 2011
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i hope it gets here soon (see last sentence in post above), be nice if that's within my lifetime, somehow i doubt it ... i can only imagine the calm you must be able to feel in a quiet, clean ocean. in the meantime i just hope it doesn't get worse and i have a sinking (ha!) feeling that it will.

i have the feeling that the climate was getting ready to warm up more quickly anyway, and humans are just throwing fuel on the flames (so to speak)...

feb 8 2011
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i tell you what, you humans aren't going to stop, are you? until nature herself stops you. and by that time it will be way, way too late. it's already too late at the rate you argue amongst yourselves, and at the rate you ignore rogue barons and their cronies growing fat by devastating the ecosystems of nations.

the natural dynamic of ecology is on the brink of collapse everywhere you look. and the weather's about to turn bad on us. when the arctic sea ice melts away all hell will break loose. we can feel it in our bones. we don't need for it to happen to know that it could be true. you have sown the wind and you will reap the whirlwind.

if y'all hadn't started burning stuff for energy, ... well, for one thing, you might not have slaughtered my people so indiscriminately, to light your lamps and feed your dogs.

...but what i was thinking of right then, is that our planet would be growing warmer more slowly, at the geologic pace it's been warming since the last ice age.

and nature could have better kept apace

the climate changes occurring now are so rapid they're an explosion in geologic time. and they're happening on top of nature already stretched to the breaking from the onslaught of progress & pollution.

so i'm not hugely (ha!) optimistic that things are going to get better before they get a lot, lot worse.

even so, god says one day the earth will again be healthy and peaceful. doesn't say when ... or who'll be left ... just that the dawn has begun.

feb 3 2011
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aoaoo just told me there are humboldt squid in the south american pacific too!

feb 2 2011
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humboldt squid and human
http://www.mexfish.com/fish/
hbsquid/hbsquid.htm

i hardly ever go to the northern hemisphere. lots of blues do cruise the northern pacific and arctic oceans. but it always makes me feel like things are floating backwards. their whirlpools whirl the other way, you know.

plus in the pacific off north america there are humboldt squid. specially in the gulf of california, but these days all up and down the coast, i hear. now those are some aggressive little creatures.

about the size of you humans, and just as aggressive, but a different beast entirely. they grow to size rapidly, live just a couple of years. definitely "consumers."

not mechanically inclined like you humans, so they can't invoke the same scale of devastation ... which is a good thing because they make up for it in speed, ferocity, and stunning teamwork.

they speak a complex language of constant rippling skin colors — rapid waves & eddys, bursts and ripples of dark and light. they travel in large packs, like to eat. even big as i am i don't want to mess with a pack of humboldt squid.

but what i really try to avoid are orcas. orcas are very dangerous. i don't want to sing about orcas.

jan 15 2011
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i don't want to ever get too old for bay snoozin'

Jan 14 2011
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i like to jump.

jan 12 2011
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matangi

those waters aren't particularly fertile, anyway, not far enough north. but it's sad even so. the ocean used to be crystal and pure wherever you went ... now so much of it's clouded and fouled ... even in my lifetime it's gotten noticeably worse, spreading even to remote areas.

but avoiding the garbage patch hasn't been too hard on me because, like i said, i'm a southern boy, i like the antarctic. sometimes I swim up the atlantic a ways ... the great rift is beautiful in the atlantic, all the mountain ranges and volcanos. or i may swim up south america's west coast. majestic in a big, empty way as the coastline cliffs plunge into the sea and away to the deep plains.

or sometimes i swim up around australia. I think the australian pacific is exotic, but I always come back to antarctica's wild, grey, storm-tossed waves. that's where the krill are, anyway. yum.

the last vacation i swam up around south australia, and lounged in some pristine lagoons of tiny specks of islands — not this one in particular but much like it — just the tips of immense mountains rising from the deep deep.

i found this one bay that was big enough to be comfortable, and sheltered and warm and quiet and clean enough to really zen out ... and i got a major sunburn!

i mean blistered the hell out of my back. for weeks it hurt to swim, and jumping was out of the question. that had never happened before.

maybe i'm getting too old for bay snoozin'.

jan 9 2011
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so lots of good reasons to avoid a deathzone.

everywhere in the ocean there's trash, but there in the northern pacific it's truly staggering.

jan 8 2011
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and the water has a kind of sick yellowish glow.

and it tastes funny.

jan 7 2011
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plastic ocean trash

many reasons to avoid deathzones like the big plastics spiral, and not just coolers.

i mean, anywhere you go, you always gotta be alert for lost clumps of trawling nets (festooned with the occasional dolphin skeleton or worse), so far i've avoided those (slap on a wave!) ...

i think what would really get you in the deathzone is all the little stuff churned up near the surface, it's almost a froth in places.

as plastics degrade, they split into smaller and smaller pieces, but the pieces remain the same type of plastic down through the ages ... chunks ranging from island-sized amalgums of you don't even want to look, to the ubiquitous 6-pack plastic rings of doom that spell slow, nasty death for so many of the smaller creatures.

and on down smaller in size, churned by years and currents and sun into piecemeal random plastic bits the size of krill down through grains of fine, fine silt.

sometimes just the random odd piece floating on the surface every few meters, sometimes clumps and clouds extending meters down into the water, extending on the surface for many swims.

and always the threat of lurking danger beneath — clumps and trails of fish netting and trawl hooks ... sing about creepy.

so all this junk would get stuck in my throat pleats and in my baleen when I gulp a meal, and ... clever though my tongue may be ... mounds of plastic sludge would eventually build up in my system.

or ... no fun to surface and lodge a sharp-edged chunk of plastic in one of your blowholes, and have to snort and sneeze it out or suck it into a lung. i don't want to think about it.

jan 6 2011
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the other day i was trolling for krill and almost choked on a beer cooler before i could spit it out.

jan 1 2011
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been a long time since i wrote anything. you know how it is, one thing or another and the time just slips away, slips away...

good hunting lately, for a change. seems like not so much krill around as there used to be, but recently i've come onto some good eating.

i like antarctica and the southern oceans, invigorating to hang out in the wild waves at the top, they can be amazing sometimes, especially the ones humans call "rogue waves," the superwaves where sines overlap and augment each other. i call them sweet, try to be a bit down in the water when they sweep by, where I can just feel the distant swirling change of weight and pressure.

The Clelia II, one of the lucky ones.

rogue wave

but i understand why ships' crews fear rogue waves. i've seen what they can do to a ship. picture at left was on a camera i found on the bottom. i hate it when a ship goes down, except that it does make the ocean imperceptibly quieter. but that's the only good, everything else is not – all the humans who perish, all the poisons and bad tastes that spill and leak from the wreck, all the flotsam that adds to the monumental amount of junk in the waters these days.

you know, all you human's floating plastic flotsam ends up somewhere. currents carry it, for years and years, until eventually it reaches a floating plastic deathzone, like the ones created by the currents you humans call the north pacific subtropical gyre – the "north pacific subtropical convergence zone," better known as the "great pacific garbage patch." [i try to listen in whenever i can beside scientific expeditions down here in the antarctic, learn a lot ... and they're usually good for wi-fi too, so good surfing on my new laptop.]

trapped turtle

got a new laptop not long ago ... whole container of them fell off this enormous ship during a storm in the drake passage last winter. buncha containers came loose, i could hear them sliding and slamming into each other as the ship tossed in the waves. some of the containers busted open, that's how we all came to have new laptops ... and several tons of sneakers. i think i swallowed a couple.

anyway, here's some of what the website how stuff works says about plastic flotsam:

"The garbage patches present numerous hazards to marine life, fishing and tourism. ... Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world's oceans [source: LA Times (article archived, but this statistic is widely reported, e.g., The Independent)]. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic [source: UN Environment Program]. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic that humans produce each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean, and seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor [source: Greenpeace]. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore."

so you always have to watch out for tangles and snares, especially ghostnets, and you always run the risk of swallowing something dangerous along with the krill. no telling how many pieces of plastic i've swallowed. i try not to think about it.

jul 14 2010
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granddaddy was kind and loving, despite surviving the great slaughter. he was smart, of course, and very, very lucky ... to still be alive while almost everyone around him was butchered to fuel the development of human industrial civilization. so sad. he didn't sing about it. i just heard it in whispers from my mom. two hundred years ago our worldwide census was around 300,000, was decimated to 300. since the great slaughter, we've only recovered to a few thousand.

he finally did die one beautiful day, when the sky was azure and the top sea was turquoise and warm. the pod had come together from all over. we were way south travelling north over very deep water, mountain terrain of the deep. granddaddy swam slower and slower until he was in the rear, and finally stopped motionless.

we circled back and gathered around him. no one sung a word, it would be redundant to a life of conversation ... we knew this was his time, he knew we would miss him, and we knew he loved us, so silently we just stayed with him. we all had to surface several times, while granddaddy sank, slowly, slowly, into the depths of the bottom sea. finally he was too low for us to stay with him so we left.

we knew his body would float back up in a few days to feed the birds and top fishes, then sink again to feed the creatures of the deep. He was a very, very big whale, so I imagine he was good pickin's. but we didn't want to stick around for that, that's just the body re-entering the great cycle of life. his spirit was long gone exploring the universe.

god says we get to visit every planet that has an ocean. i hope the next one is pristine. this world's ocean has been terribly abused, it's hard to find anywhere quiet and clean. such a beautiful sea and so rudely treated.

I miss granddaddy sometimes. not terribly, not in the aching way for life cut short—like my... not going there... anyway, granddaddy was calm and wise and nice to sing with. and he was very old, and he finally got tired of swimming.

Blue Whales - National Geographic

may 31 2010
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i like the ocean and i would love it but it has become a harmful mother, full of lurking dangers and nasty chemicals and plastic, and full of THE UNCEASING INCREASING DIN YOU HUMANS MAKE THAT JUST DOESN'T EVER SHUT UP!!!!

the constant throbbing from all the ships' engines ringing in the water around the world, at every frequency you can imagine, blends into a really annoying white noise all-sonics background ... it grates on my nerves. i think it's getting on everyone's nerves in the water world.

and the explosions!! the us navy testing their sonar sub locators (see post down the page a ways). not very subtle, if you ask me – why don't they just ping it? – and deafening if you're unlucky enough to be in the vicinity when one goes off, which of course to a whale is a life-altering experience...

one reason healthy whales beach themselves is to get away from the constant cacaphony in the sea.

humans have no clue of sound's rich fabric, and only academically can you understand the dimensional images we perceive, and the harmonies ringing down the corridors of trenches for miles upon thousands of miles. or so granddaddy said ... he said it used to be that conversation songs lasted for days, resonating around the globe through the superdense depths.

these days you're lucky to hear someone just a dayswim away, over the Constant Noise.

mar 8 2010
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aoaoo wants our story told for humans to understand. but she wants me to do the writing and finding wifi and posting, so she can continue to be the inspiration and wandering free spirit that she is.

and i don't mind, i love my sister, and you humans fascinate me anyway.

some of your achievements—music, arts, science—inspire astonishing awe ...

others inspire unimaginable horror—even "horror" is too soft a word for such staggering cruelty and disconcern for life and being.

your history is written in blood.

you've written our history in blood as well.

mar 4 2010
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what's the ultimate cause of death? .... birth.

feb 20 2010
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nuc@nucthewhale.net wrote: aoaoo is my sister.

i was having writer's block, so she said she'd start our story.

she began it like a newone primer, but cut straight to the chase as usual ... asking the question at the very core of life itself: food of course being fundamental to sustained existence.

we all gotta eat ... every one of us living things on this planet, from me down to bacteria, we all gotta eat or die.

feb 19 2010
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aoaoo@speckofinfinity.com wrote: my name is nuc. i am a whale. got any krill?