The fish below is known as a fangtooth, a tropical fish found in
the ocean up to 16,000 feet deep. Upon second glance, you will see
a human eye and a chin and realize that you are looking at a very
nice painting on a human head.
The artist is Helena Jordana Skuhrovcov of the Czech Republic.
She is one of several body painters who have joined the protest
against deep-sea bottom trawling in Europe, a campaign sponsored by
LUSH cosmetics and Bloom Association, a marine conservation
Each of the artists involved in the project has painted a
different deep-sea creature to raise awareness about life in the
deep ocean and to call upon European governments to ban deep-sea
“The deep ocean is the largest habitat on the planet – teeming
with all kinds of unique marine life including corals and sponges
that live for hundreds to thousands of years. But deep-sea bottom
trawlers are destroying them, dragging giant weighted nets, cables
and steel plates more than 2 tonnes each across the ocean floor to
catch a small number of low value fish…
“A successful ban would represent a momentous historical
milestone in the fight to protect our deep ocean from unnecessary
destruction. Deep-sea bottom trawling is a capital-intensive,
fuel-greedy, subsidy-dependent fishing method that fails to yield
positive economic results while destroying the natural habitat of
The video below shows some of the artists painting their models
during a tour of Europe earlier this month. It drives home the
theme of the anti-trawling campaign, which has been joined by
numerous celebrities, as shown in a “gallery of
Thanks to Fred Felleman for calling my attention to this
interesting artwork. And, no, I’m not confused about the day of the
week; I just had too much going on yesterday to focus on “Amusing
This Friday, Sept. 19, has been designated Talk Like a Pirate
Day. Rather than burning itself out, as one might expect of such a
crazy holiday, the event seems to grow bigger each year. For many
people, it’s about dressing up and having some fun in the month
Ol’ Chumbucket (aka John Bauer) decided to shiver his skull and
crossbones this year by joining the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS,
as you can see in the first video on this page.
We can thank Mr. Baur and his longtime friend Mark Summers,
known as Cap’n Slappy, for starting this unusual event. In the
beginning, they were just a couple guys goofing around with pirate
talk until they came up with an idea for a national holiday.
The two, along with some friends, celebrated “Talk Like a Pirate
Day” for several years until they informed humor columnist Dave
Barry about it. He wrote a column and gave the event some national
credibility. It took off, capturing the imaginations of people
around the world, as described in on the official webpage of
Like a Pirate Day.
The webpage also includes a map of events scheduled for this Friday. On
the Kitsap Peninsula, for example, Kiana Lodge near Suquamish will
feature pirate fun and games from 5 to 9 p.m. As described on the
website, “Gnaw on turkey legs, dig for treasures, and
do your best pirate impersonation, all in celebration of
International Talk Like A Pirate Day.”
The nearby Clearwater Casino also is joining in the fun with
giveaways and a costume contest with prizes up to $750. See the
website for details.
While speaking of giveaways, Krispy Kreme donuts has a nice
offer. Talk like a pirate on Friday and get a free donut. If you
come in dressed like a pirate, you will get a free dozen donuts.
Read the fine print on the Krispy
Kreme website to see what qualifies as appropriate
pirate attire. (Swords and knives do not count.)
By the way, I still enjoy the official song of “Talk Like a
Pirate Day,” shown here.
Also worth mentioning for “Amusing Monday” is a comic strip by
Doug Savage, who will be featuring a pirate theme all week in his
Chickens.” This link also takes you to last year’s cartoons
featuring this theme.
When I’m on vacation, I usually offer a blog entry from my “Best
of Amusing Monday” series.
But this time I want to show you a video that has gone viral on
YouTube —which means you may have already seen it. If not, I hope
you are amused by this dog, Walter, who keeps running and running,
apparently with some destination in mind. As viewers, we’re not
sure where Walter is going until he gets there, but we’re with him
all the way. His final landing is quite appropriate for this
video of Walter, a Labrador retriver, seems to show his path
from a different vantage point. The location is Siracuse on the
island of Sicily, Italy.
By the way, I’m curious if anyone understands the reference in
my headline, “See Walter. See Walter Run.” Can you name the
original children’s book that included another dog that became
I want to recognize the Kitsap Sun’s editorial cartoonist Milt
Priggee for capturing the feeling of the moment last week when the
final piece of a dam on the Elwha River was blown up. See Water Ways, Aug. 27, 2014.
The video below was recorded on that same day by Anne Shaffer of
the Coastal Watershed Institute while snorkeling in a kelp bed in
western Freshwater Bay, not far from where the Elwha River flows
into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Watching this video and the large number of herring gives me a
feeling of optimism, although I recognize there is no scientific
basis for this. Someone please tell me the herring are doing
“We couldn’t think of a better place to be the day the last dam
went down,” Anne said in an email to members of her listserv.
Watershed Institute has been monitoring the nearshore
area, where the Elwha River has been dramatically transforming the
delta. Sediment, unleashed by dam removal, pours out of the Elwha
and builds up in the estuary.
Roorda, an aerial photographer, has been documenting
the transformation with thousands of pictures he has taken over the
past several years.
For this week, let’s call it “Amazing Monday.” When I first saw
this video, I thought it was a fake animation for a science fiction
film. But it turns out that it could be the answer to a troubling
riddle: What is dryer than a desert?
The crack might also be the result of erosion from either an
underground or surface channel following an unusually heavy rain.
Despite the attention in Mexican and U.S. news outlets, I have been
unable to find a good explanation.
The crack is said to be about three-fourths mile long and up to
25 feet deep. Some nice close-in photos were posted on the website
a daily newspaper based in Mexico City. They show people standing
next to the giant fissure. (When watching the video, it’s worth
blowing it up to full screen.)
In a Washington Post story last week, reporter
Joshua Partlow quoted a geologist at the University of Sonora as
saying the crack was probably caused by pumping groundwater for
“The chair of the geology department at the University of
Sonora, in the northern Mexican state where this ‘topographic
accident’ emerged, said that the fissure was likely caused by
sucking out groundwater for irrigation to the point the surface
“‘This is no cause for alarm,’ Inocente Guadalupe Espinoza
Maldonado said. ‘These are normal manifestations of the
destabilization of the ground.’”
I think the geologist’s comments were meant to quell fear and
speculation that started running wild when the crack first opened.
While it may not be cause for alarm, I can’t believe that a crack
this size — which has cut off more than one roadway — can be
considered a good thing. Nevertheless, it is fascinating, and I’d
like to learn more about it.
I believe it is important to commemorate the final day of the
Glines Canyon Dam — even though only a relatively small chunk of
the structure had been left in place since February, when flows in
the Elwha River covered over the last 30 feet.
In a massive explosion on Tuesday, that last 30 feet of concrete
was blasted away. Almost immediately, the river began to flow
freely, at basically the same elevation it was before the dam was
built in the 1920s.
Olympic National Park officials say it will take several weeks
to clear away the rubble dislodged by the final blast, but dramatic
changes have been taking place downstream of the former Glines
Canyon Dam — the second dam on the river, built eight miles
upstream of the Elwha Dam.
Researchers are carefully monitoring sediment distribution and
salmon migration, officials say. During the past three years, the
Elwha River has experienced unusually low flows, so experts are
waiting for more typical winter flows to move around some of the
larger boulders in the stream.
Since last fall, salmon have been swimming upstream of the Elwha
Dam site. The dam, built without a fish ladder, blocked salmon
migration into some 70 miles of near-pristine habitat. Now,
biologists expect all five species of Northwest salmon to
recolonize the river.
In a story in today’s Peninsula Daily News, reporter Arwyn Rice
quoted Robert Ellefson, restoration manager for the Lower Elwha
Klallam Tribe: “It’s a good day… It has been the dream of tribal
members for a hundred years.”
The tribe will have something special to celebrate come next
July, when members hold their annual welcoming ceremony,
acknowledging the return of chinook salmon to the Elwha River.
Master sand sculptors from throughout the world have been
stretching their imaginations this year at various sand-sculpting
festivals where they’ve been putting their unique abilities on
In June, the 14th annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition in
Hampton Beach, N.H., brought together a dozen amazing artists,
including first-place winner Guy-Olivier Deveau from Quebec City,
Canada. Deveau’s sculpture “Inseminate” (shown here) was done as a
tribute to the recently deceased Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who
helped create the creature in the movie “Alien,” according to
I am both amused and inspired by Carl Jara’s piece, “Putting
Down Roots,” which depicts a friendly embrace between man and
nature (second photo on this page). Jara, of Cleveland, Ohio,
continues to impress me with his imaginary figures.
Tacoma’s Sue McGrew participated in Hampton Beach, creating a
thoughtful piece she called “Mother’s Protection” (third on this
page). For a full gallery of photos of the sand sculptures, visit
Hampton Beach visitors page or the Flickr page created for the event.
I am sorry to learn that the Arts in Action festival held in
Port Angeles for nearly a half-century will come to an end after
this year’s event, Sept. 5-7.
The folks running the Port Angeles festival were no longer able
to continue, and nobody stepped up to take it over, according to
Doc Reiss, sand sculpture organizer.
“Forty-nine years is a good, long run,” Reiss told reporter
Arwyn Rice of the Peninsula Daily News, who tells the history of
the sand-sculpture competition and the decision to end it this
McGrew and Sandis Kondrats of Latvia will creates tribute
sculptures this year in Port Angeles to recognize 10 years of
master-level sand sculpting in the remote city on the Olympic
Peninsula. I have been pleased to report on the event as an
“Amusing Monday” feature since 2009:
Master-level sand sculpting also has come and gone from Federal
Way, which just goes to show that these festivals are as ephemeral
as the sand sculptures themselves.
In 2011, amateur photographer Flint Weiss of Maple Valley shot
the Federal Way sculptures, then he told me why he loved them but
was worried about their future. His words turned out to be
“I do feel that art is enriching and that everybody is capable
of producing some,” he wrote in an e-mail. “One of the things I
like about sand sculpture is how solid and crisp everything looks,
when it is really only made from sand.
“That makes sculptures like these feel somewhat improbable,
making them all the more impressive. I also really enjoy the sheer
artistry involved. While it’s easy for me (or any of us) to take a
trowel to a pile of sand, it never looks anything like what these
“It’s sad,” he continued, “that this contest doesn’t get the
public support it deserves. Given how much Western Washington loves
both art and craftsmanship, it’s kind of surprising that the
contest isn’t more popular.”
After three years in Federal Way, the World Championship of Sand
Sculptures moved on to Atlantic City, N.J., as I reported in “Water
In other areas, “Boston” magazine” covered the 2014 Revere
Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival, which featured the theme
“Stars and Stripes: A Tribute to Our Nation’s Armed Forces” to
coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day. (Don’t miss the
extended slide show at the bottom of the page.)
I have been intrigued by some unusual animal friendships, which
I’ve reported here in Water Ways: a baby hippo and a 130-year-old
tortoise, a cat and a crow, an orangutan and a hound, an elephant
and a dog. See Amusing Monday, Nov. 12, 2012.
But somehow I missed the tantalizing story of a dolphin named
Duggie and a dog named Ben on Tory Island, Ireland. The television
show “National Geographic Wild” is now telling the story of this
unusual friendship, which began in 2006.
That seems like a long time ago, and I’m trying to find out
whether the friendship might still endure or whether the National
Geographic people used old footage in their telling of the
I like the National Geographic clip (first video on this page),
because it includes a discussion by Cesar Millan, known as “the Dog
Whisperer.” But I have a greater appreciation for the inquisitive
approach taken in an earlier production for BBC’s “Countryfile,” a
program mostly about places in and around Ireland (second
Additional information was filled in by reporter Anita Guldera
in The Independent. She tells us that Tory
Islanders believe the female dolphin’s friendship with Ben came
about after she lost her mate. It all started about the time a male
dolphin washed up dead on the island.
I stumbled across the dolphin-and-dog story after someone
emailed me a lovely video about a dolphin saving a dog from a shark
attack. The video, called
“Dolphin and Dog,” was put together by a Dutch woman
named Ine Braat. I say the video was “lovely” because the music
creates a mood around this dolphin-and-dog friendship. But it’s
fiction, mostly based on clips from the movie
“Zeus and Roxanne.”
You may wish to check out some of Ine’s other lovely
compilations posted on her
Another story about a dog and a dolphin is a more gripping tale,
because it involves a human whose life was in real danger. Lynn
Gitsham of Carrickalinga, Australia, says she was rescued by a pod
of dolphins after falling into the ocean while trying to get to her
dog. Reporter Michelle Vella tells the story for Australia’s Seven
West Television (below).
I’m on vacation this week, but I wanted to revisit a video I
first presented in June of last year. We see fishermen playing a
fish while a killer whale plays the fishermen. I interviewed the
excited man in this video soon after the fishing trip to explain
some of his comments. The video has now been viewed more than 1.2
Frank Sanders is an experienced hunting and fishing guide, yet
he screamed with excitement when he reeled in his fishing line to
find a killer whale at the other end.
The video, posted two weeks ago by Frank’s deckhand Charlie
Barberini, has been viewed more than 800,000 times on YouTube. That
doesn’t count the number of times people watched the original
post and videos copied from the original.
The video has raised numerous questions, such as why Frank is
showing his ring to the camera and looking for someone named Jason.
I was able to reach Frank in Hawaii, where he was on a fishing
trip, and he filled in some of the blanks.
Frank, Charlie and others were fishing for halibut near
Ninilchik in Cook Inlet in Southern Alaska. They had seen a couple
killer whales go by a few times but not close to the boat. I think
Frank told me the orcas were eating sockeye salmon that were in the
area. Suddenly, out of the depths, a killer whale appeared
following the fish on his line.
You need only to see and hear the video to know how much
excitement that generated.
Frank told me the orca did not appear to want the fish. It was
playing with the fishermen in the boat, grabbing the fish, pulling
the line out about 200 yards, then bringing it back. The whale
circled the boat a few times, he said, tangling fishing lines
played out from other poles. This went on for at least 10 minutes
before the whale went on his way.
The whale, of course, had the strength to bite the fish through
and take it away or snap the line any time he chose, Frank said.
But it didn’t.
About his ring, Frank explained that he travels a lot for his
business, Alaska Trophy Hunters. In fact, he is away from his wife
about as much as he is with her, so he sends her hunting and
fishing pictures from all over Alaska and displays his ring for
As for Jason, I didn’t get the full story, but I heard enough to
understand that this, too, was an inside message. Jason is Frank’s
best friend and the best man at his wedding. Jason was in a
four-wheeler accident and suffered a severe brain injury. He was in
a coma for a month but then was getting better. Jason set up a
personal website on “Caring Bridge” to share information back and
forth with his friends and family. Frank wanted Jason to understand
that he was thinking about him during this adventure and was
showing him a special bracelet they shared. Unfortunately, Jason
suffered a stroke and may not pull through. (Update, June 24,
11 a.m.: I just received word from Frank this morning that Jason
passed away yesterday.)
After the video was posted, Frank reportedly told reporter Lydia
Warren of London’s
“Fishing gets kind of repetitive after 18 years, but this is one
of the most exciting things that has happened to me.”
Each year, the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection holds a student art and poetry contest on the theme of
water resources, including water conservation and wastewater
This year’s contest attracted 580 entries among students from 68
schools in the region. All participants received a “Water
Ambassadors” certificate, and 39 were named as this year’s “Water
“The Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest is an engaging way
to teach students about the infrastructure that supplies more than
half the state’s population with clean drinking water and has
helped dramatically improve the health of our waterways,” said DEP
Commissioner Emily Lloyd in a news
release, which includes a list of the 39 winners.
“DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than
one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million
residents, including eight million in New York City.
“The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than
125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three
controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels
and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the
five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations
take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.
“DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the
“In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14
billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will
create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital
program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel
No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound
and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s
Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands
upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high
water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated
Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their
daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted
to potential leaks on their properties.”