Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US – Yahoo! News

May 29
crossposted by WordPress “PressThis” from Yahoo! News ~  

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan‘s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the FukushimaDai-ichi reactors.

But scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in huge fish that sail the world because such fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.

One of the largest and speediest fish, Pacific bluefin tuna can grow to 10 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They spawn off the Japan coast and swim east at breakneck speed to school in waters off California and the tip of Baja California, Mexico.

Five months after the Fukushima disaster, Fisher of Stony Brook University in New York and a team decided to test Pacific bluefin that were caught off the coast of San Diego. To their surprise, tissue samples from all 15 tuna captured contained levels of two radioactive substances — ceisum-134 and cesium-137 — that were higher than in previous catches.

To rule out the possibility that the radiation was carried by ocean currents or deposited in the sea through the atmosphere, the team also analyzed yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The results “are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source,” said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who had no role in the research.

Bluefin tuna absorbed radioactive cesium from swimming in contaminated waters and feeding on contaminated prey such as krill and squid, the scientists said. As the predators made the journey east, they shed some of the radiation through metabolism and as they grew larger. Even so, they weren’t able to completely flush out all the contamination from their system.

“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.

Pacific bluefin tuna are prized in Japan where a thin slice of the tender red meat prepared as sushi can fetch $24 per piece at top Tokyo restaurants. Japanese consume 80 percent of the world’s Pacific and Atlantic bluefin tuna.

The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples. Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

Now that scientists know that bluefin tuna can transport radiation, they also want to track the movements of other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.

Shakefest 2012: May 26th – Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

May 23
Posted by lfpl Filed in bands, Events

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Shakefest 2012
May 26-27th, 2012 * Charleville Castle * Tullamore * Ireland * *

This year will be Shakefest’s “7th” Annual Dance and multi-cultural festival held at the historic epic Charleville Castle. The festival grounds is starting to bustle with activity as preparations are in the flow to welcome local and international community, visitors, friends, and family to celebrate culture. Since 2006, Shakefest has been bringing together an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance, and Artistic Workshops ending with a multi-cultural evening of dance performances. This year, Shakefest is expanding into more folklore, diversity, performance art, crafts, and themes for all ages, sexes, and cultures. This year features numerous workshops, classes, performances, and activities such as a “Faerie Glen” to get lost in, A “Madhatter’s Tea Party”, A bouncy Pirate Ship, Indian Cuisine, Performances by Tullamore’s “The Red Embers”, Galway Bellydance, Appolonia Tribal Bellydance, Sheeoneh, Nicole Volmering, and Aoife Hardiman.

Joana Saahirah ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

This year’s International Guest Instructor is Oriental Dancer Joana Saahirah of Cairo, Egypt providing authentic education on Egyptian History and Folklore as well as Oriental Dance instruction in Classical, Saiidi and Alexandria of Mellaya styles. Declan Kiely will host a special workshop on how to “Dance like Michael Jackson”. Hip Hop, Jazz, Poi & Ribbon Dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango classes are also offered. There will also be African dance, poetry, open-mic sessions, a kid’s gigantic Dragonfly and butterfly hunt, punch and judy, juggling & stiltwalking by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circles, and a magic show. This year will also be breaking ground on a live history section with the KHI Medieval Re-enactors treating audiences to combat simulations of the Crusader’s Knight’s Templar with medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.

KHI Medieval Re-enactors ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

Featured musical performances by 40’s Swinging The Bugle Babes, Our Annual Multi-cultural Hafla, daring fire show by The Red Embers & Babylon’s Inferno, The North Strand Kontra Band from North Dublin. Dazzling Romanian and Bulgarian instrumental band is expected to finish off the fest with explosive energy and lively dance accompanied by original and traditional tunes from clarinet, saxophone, trombone, keys, banjo, double bass, and drums. If you’re travelling through Ireland this weekend or live in the magical isles, this event is not to be missed. Gates open at Noon on Saturday the 26th with admission only €10 general entry, €10 camping, €20 family day pass or only €15 for evening entertainment.  All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund – Operation ‘Raise The Roof’ project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the castle chapel. We’ll be covering this event, so come back here for photos, review, and the stories we weave from the experience …

North Strand Kontra Band ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

The Linesman bronze sculpture by Dony Mac Manus

May 17
Posted by lfpl Filed in Life on the Sea, Photogalleries

The Linesman bronze sculpture by Dony Mac Manus

The Linesman bronze sculpture
* by Dony Mac Manus * Dublin, Ireland *

As the flavor of Dublin is famous for with its statues, sculptures, and artwork … “The Linesman” begs no difference in popularity. This beautiful bronze sculpture by Dony Mac Manus is classified as a “figurative public sculpture” and is located on the Campshire along the City Quay (N 53° 20.826 W 006° 14.946 / 29U E 683109 N 5914411) being un-veiled in 1999 as a commission by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority from the artist to commemorate the tradition of docking in the area which disappeared after the arrival and containerisation of shipping cargo symbolizing life along the Quays of the River Liffey. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Review by Leaf McGowan.

The Linesman bronze sculpture by Dony Mac Manus

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Researchers: Ocean garbage gyre impacting sea life – Yahoo! News

May 10
Posted by lfpl Filed in Environmentalism

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An increase in plastic debris floating in a zone between Hawaii and California is changing the environment of at least one marine critter, scientists reported.

Over the past four decades, the amount of broken-down plastic has grown significantly in a region dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Most of the plastic pieces are the size of a fingernail.

During a seagoing expedition, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that a marine insect that skims the ocean surface is laying its eggs on top of plastic bits instead of natural flotsam like wood and seashells.

Though plastic debris is giving the insects places to lay eggs, scientists are concerned about the manmade material establishing a role in their habitat.

“This is something that shouldn’t be in the ocean and it’s changing this small aspect of the ocean ecology,” said Scripps graduate student Miriam Goldstein.

The finding will be published online Wednesday in Biology Letters, a journal of Britain’s Royal Society.

Goldstein led a group of researchers who traveled 1,000 miles off the California coast in August 2009 to document the impacts of the garbage on sea life. For three weeks, they collected marine specimens and water samples at varying depths, and deployed mesh nets to capture plastic particles.

The team previously found that nearly 10 percent of fish studied during the trip had ingested plastic. The voyage was partly sponsored by the University of California and National Science Foundation.

Thousands of tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year and break down into smaller pieces over time. Some wind up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex formed by ocean and wind currents.

The garbage patch cannot be seen by satellite. Most of the plastic pieces are confetti-sized flecks spread across thousands of miles of ocean and are hard to see with the naked eye.

A similar plastic trash gyre was recently discovered in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Portugal’s Azores islands.

Pirate Relief sponsoring: Shakefest 2012 – Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland – May 26-27th

May 8
Posted by lfpl Filed in bands, Events

The North Strand Kontra Band was formed on the North side of Dublin in the Winter of 2005. They’re an instrumental band who play a mix of original and traditional material influenced predominantly by the music of Romania and Bulgaria. The band has played to critical acclaim in many of the leading venues and festivals at home and abroad with their live shows being lauded for their high energy levels and explosive musicianship. The line up includes; Clarinet, Saxophone, Trombone, Keys, Banjo, Double Bass and Drums.


Shakefest, A Celebration of Dance and Culture, was formed at Charleville Castle in 2006 with an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance and Artistic Workshops that ended with a multicultural evening of dance performances.  7 years on, Shakefest grows from strength to strength and will be offering much more interactive activities and performances for all ages.

On Saturday, April 14th, a full house was treated to a Multicultural dance recital of excellence at The Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin with the official announcement of all workshops and performances for this year’s Shakefest 2012.

Assale Ibrahim, originally from Iraq and of esteemed Oriental and Gypsy dance who was  Shakefest’s first International Guest Instructor at Shakefest 2010, performed captivating and inspiring Baladi, Tribal, Gypsy and the Sacred Sufi Whirling dance for the Shakefest audience as well as members of our Irish Oriental and Tribal Dance community like Tullamore’s The Red Embers, Galway Bellydance, Appolonia Tribal Bellydance, Sheeoneh, Nicole Volmering and Aoife Hardiman.

Shakefest’s 2012 International Guest Instructor was announced as Oriental Dancer Joana Saahirah of Cairo, Egypt who will be here to provide an authentic education on Egyptian History and Folklore as well as Oriental Dance instruction in Classical, Saiidi and Alexandria of Mellaya styles accompanied  by two dazzling and interpretive Oriental dances.

Joana has delighted Egyptian audiences with her live Orchestral shows in Cairo with some of the best Egyptian musicians and travels worldwide sharing her passion and education.  Artistically and technically rich, Joana Saahirah brings back the SOUL to Oriental Dance.

For dance enthusiasts of all ages, we have a special workshop called ‘DANCE LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON’ instructed by Declan Kiely who performs regularly as a tribute to Michael Jackson. Hip Hop, Jazz, Poi and Ribbon dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango are also on offer.  African dance, Poetry, Open-Mic sessions, Kid’s gigantic Dragonfly and Butterfly hunt, Punch and Judy, Magician, Bouncy Castle, Juggling and Stiltwalking show by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circles, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Fairy Glen are all on offer for kids and families.

New to Shakefest this year is our LIVE HISTORY section – KHI Medieval Re-enactors will be treating audiences to Combat Simulations of the Crusaders Knight’s Templar as well as providing authentic Medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.  KHI directly reflects the historical ties that bind to Charleville Castle and the symbolism of its personal history.  Evening performances highlighted will be our annual Multicultural Hafla, followed by daring Fire Show by The Red Embers and special guests Babylon’s Inferno, and 40’s Swing by The Bugle Babes.  To finish the evening in a cultural and energetic crescendo, Shakefest this year hosts The North Strand Kontra Band from Dublin.  The North Strand Kontra Band was formed on the North side of Dublin in the Winter of 2005. They are an instrumental band who play a mix of original and traditional material influenced predominantly by the music of Romania and Bulgaria. The band has played to critical acclaim in many of the leading venues and festivals at home and abroad with their live shows being lauded for their high energy levels and explosive musicianship.

Tickets for Shakefest can be purchased on or and range from €10 general admission, €10 camping, €20 family day pass or only €15 for evening entertainment and gates open at 12pm.  All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund – Operation ‘Raise The Roof’ project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the castle chapel.

Shakefest is supported by the Offaly Local Development Company, the Offaly County Council, The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the European Commission, the Offaly Leader and The Offaly Arts Office.

Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf: 5/3/11 – Brisbane Lights

May 3
Posted by lfpl Filed in Expeditions, Life on the Sea



Travels Down Under:
Brisbane Lights …

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
* Brisbane, Queensland, Australia *

A pleasant sleep in his own make-shift room at his fellow Burner’s Lady Carol’s home, Sir Thomas Leaf awoke early for his shift as tour guide aboard the HMB Endeavour. Morning was busy as hustle/bustle in the city was teeming with activity as Lady Carol offered Sir Thomas a faithful steed (mountain bike) to commute into work on. Brisk fresh winter in the tropics bicycle ride across the Victoria bridge, on into the metropolis, down the Queen Street Mall, and over to the tall ship of Captain Cook’s. Checking in with the other guides, Sir Thomas donned his vest, had a cup o’ tea, and was out to meet the masses of school children excited to board Captain Cook’s vessel and learn about the discovery of Terra Incognita. Not much of a break as he speedily scarfed down some raw fish at the sushi bar across the way on a 15 minute break for lunch before greeting tourists once again for their history lesson of high seas adventures. His relief never rotated in the morning, so it was non-stop activity, a late and reduced lunch, with non-stop on the feet activity all day long. After a good day’s work, Sir Thomas admired the river and watched as a Pelican landed near the docks searching for fish. That evening the city of Brisbane was sparkling and calm with a sense of royal prestige as he rode his steed back down Queen’s street across Victoria bridge, and over to his host’s homestead. The lit up ferris wheel from South Banks parklands was a beautiful site to behold. At the homestead, he enjoyed a movie with the family and some socializing. Good times … Good times.

Enjoying this tale? Please help keep this story growing. Treat your adventurer to a chai, a drink, a meal, or cover his lodging or transportation so he can keep bringing you stories in a more timely fashion. Every bit helps … He can only continue with your help.  

[ Chronicles: Fish Dinners ]

(note: this is an actively written blog. If links are broken or come to blank pages,
it means the page hasn’t been written yet. Check back soon.
Meanwhile entertain yourself by going backwards into the blog below)

Remainder of the Story, Photos and videos below the cut:

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The Jeanie Johnson

May 2
Posted by lfpl Filed in Life on the Sea, Relief, Ships

Jeanie Johnston
Dublin, Ireland

One of Ireland’s most famous ships is the Jeanie Johnston which is moored off the Custom House Quay in Dublin along the River Liffey. It is a replica of the three masted barque that was originally built in 1847 by Scotsman John Munn in Quebec, Canada. The original ship was bought by the Tralee merchants John Donovan and Sons from Kerry County as a cargo vessel that traded between Tralee and North America for many years bringing emigrants from Ireland to North America and timber back to Europe. Her first maiden emigrant voyage went from Blennerville in Kerry to Quebec in 1848 with 193 emigrants on board due to the Potato Famine that ravaged Ireland. From 1848 until 1855 she made 16 voyages to Quebec, Baltimore, and New York. On average the trip was accomplished in 47 days and her largest number of passengers were 254. No crews or passengers were ever lost on board thanks to the captain James Attridge who would not overload the ship and made sure doctor Richard Blennerhassett was on board for every journey. In 1855 the ship was sold to William Johnson of North Shields in England, but during a 1858 trip to Quebec from Hull carrying timber became waterlogged and slowly sank – crew was rescued by the Dutch ship Sophie Elizabeth. This replica ship, is reduced in size by 30%, and is only licensed to carry 40 people. The replica was made from indepth research of the original, and took from 1993-2002 to build. It was constructed by a international team of young people who linked Ireland North and South, the U.S., Canada, and other countries costing approximately 16 million Euro (4 times the original estimate of 3.81 million Euro) which was paid for by the Irish government, Kerry County Council, Tralee Town Council, the European Union, the American Ireland Fund, Bord Failte, Shannon Development, Kerry Group, the Training and Employment Authority Foras Áiseanna Saothair and the Irish Department of the Marine, most of which later agreed to write off their losses. It was built with larch planks on oak frames and was altered to apply with current international maritime regulations by adding some modern concessions including two Caterpillar main engines, two Caterpillar generators, and an emergency generator that is located above the waterline in the forward deckhouse fully compliant to the highest standards of modern ocean-going passenger ships, with steel water-tight bulkheads, down-flooding valves, and fire-fighting equipment. The replica shiped sailed in 2003 from Tralee to Canada and to the U.S. She raced in the 2005 tall ships race and finished 60th out of 65 from Waterford to Cherbourg. The replica is owned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority who bought it in 2005 for 2.7 million Euro. Today it is not in seagoing condition. Today she is primarily used as an Onboard Museum and evening venue.

Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum

Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum

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