Once again, it’s time for a quick look at all the strange, odd, stupid, funny … but true … aquatic-related stories we missed over the past 12 months.
So let’s get to it.
LIBW 7th Annual…Stories We Missed in 2016
By Gary P. Joyce
Now That’s a Tough Turtle
Nicole Bjanes was minding her business driving along I-4 near Orlando when the car in front of her ran over a turtle. According to Florida Highway Patrol accounts, the turtle went airborne, struck Nicole’s windshield, shattered it, bounced off the passenger seat and landed on her dashboard. Ms. Bjanes was treated at the scene. FHP first responders returned the remarkably unscathed turtle to a nearby pond. — Orlando Weekly, May 13, 2016
The Case of the Abandoned Goldfish
Bodo (Norway) Police feel they’re close to solving the case of a goldfish found in a shopping bag at a soccer stadium near town. Officers, who have had fish in custody since it was recovered, say the fish has been “well looked after.” While close to cracking the case, an officer has taken the fish home until it can be restored to its owner. — Associated Press, Helsinki, March 8, 2016
Angler Robert Ross battled his fish of a lifetime off the town of Loreto on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. After arriving back at the dock, Ross opted to have the 430-pound tuna weighed on a butcher’s scale at a nearby cattle ranch, then cut the fish into fillets. What he failed to consider was that the yellowfin was three pounds heavier than the IGFA record for the species, so the 427 yellowfin caught off Cabo San Lucas in 2012, remains the world record. Said Ross, “Next time I’ll call [you] before cutting it up!” — www.grindtv.com, May 11, 2016
You Just Never Know When a Squid Will Come in Handy
Scientists have discovered a new means of repairing torn clothing; in the future you can pretty well rest assured that you should dump any needle-and-thread stocks you might be holding onto. It seems that a textile, manufactured with proteins from the teeth of squids’ tentacles infused in it, can repair it self simply by pressing it together. The study’s authors reported: “Squid ring teeth hold great promise to provide a broad range of solutions for textile applications due to their ability to self-heal.” — American Chemical Society journal, Applied Materials and Interfaces, August 11, 2016
The 2016 First, But Not Last
Those frisky Florida sturgeons are back at it again. According to Florida Wildlife Conservation officers the first interactive incident between fish and fisherman for 2016 occurred in May, when a man and his son were boating along the Suwannee River near Manatee Springs and a four-to-five foot sturgeon leapt out of the water and hit the man, knocking him unconscious. In 2015 this happened eight times, one occurrence of which was fatal. — cdn.grindtv.com, May 11, 2016
Be Careful What You Ask For
The Natural Environment Research Council (UK; NERC) asked it adherents to name their newest polar research vessel. Hoping for something along the lines of the other Royal Research Ships (RRS) James Clark Ross (as in Ross Sea) or RRS Ernest Shackleton (he of Antarctic fame), the poll turned out to be very popular on the internet and — given what passes for erudite thought on the internet — the winning name voted on was unanimously to be “Boaty McBoatface.” The NERC has since noted that the internet naming contest was only for “name suggestions,” and opted to christen the new polar explorer the RRS Sir David Attenborough (he of movie and environmentalist fame) instead. The 420-foot boat had its keel laid on October 17, 2016. — Various sources
Let’s See Your GoPro Do This!
A British scuba diver diving off St. Abbs in Berwickshire, Scotland, lost a camera while diving in July 2013. Three years later — July 2016 — Adele Devonshire received a call from a Mr. Lars Mossberg, who found her camera. No biggie, you say? Thing is … Mossberg lived on a small island off Sweden … 600 miles away! Mossberg opened the camera, which turned on, found the pictures and posted some to a website, where friends recognized Ms. Devonshire who was reunited with her camera. — The Telegraph News, July 2016
Remember Big Mouth Billy Bass?
A Rhode Island designer combined Amazon’s virtual personal assistant, Alexa (not to be confused with Apple’s Siri), with the famed (or infamous) singing and talking Big Mouth Billy Bass, the 1990s wall plaque craze. The reconstituted Billy can bee seen answering questions at www.facebook.com/hdadd/videos/10157576067105265/. — UPI, November 7, 2016
A cargo ship in the Baltic Sea accidentally tore apart a fish farm’s nets off the town of Assens, near Copenhagen (Denmark). And? And the tear allowed the entire farm’s worth of fish, estimated at some 80,000 rainbow trout, to go free. Afraid of the ramifications of having that many farm-bred fish dumped on the area’s natural population, Danish environmental groups urged anglers to “grab their rods and catch as many as possible.” — Associated Press, October 12, 2016
The Ironman Should Be a Snap
The craze in Tough Mudder competitions and their ilk has gotten a little weirder. How weird? How about the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championship? Held in Powys, Wales (UK), competitors have to ride a mountain bike (with water-filled tires) while breathing through a snorkel, as fast as they can along the bottom of what the Welsh call a ‘bog,’ and we would call ‘a pretty deep ditch with over six feet of water in it.’ The championship run is two laps of the 180-foot ditch. This year’s winning time was 1:04.94 minutes if you’re so inclined to give it a go. — The Telegraph News, August 26, 2016
Oh, those crazy Aussies. Started 54 years ago as a Rotary Club fundraiser, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta has become a national icon in Down Under’s Northern Terrritory. In a country where watersports are national sports, you may wonder why the Henley-on-Todd is so famous. Well, for starters, the event is held in the desert near a town called Alice Springs with nary a drop of water to be seen. While are several categories, one has competitors ‘paddling’ wheeled ‘boats’ on a ‘river’ of train-like tracks, while the other requires competitors to run with their boat. Regardless, mark your calendar for 2017, the event is always held on the third Saturday of August (the 19th in 2017). — henleyontodd.com.au
Irony is … Well, Ironic
The crew of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s 300-foot boat, Tatoosh, anchored the five-deck megayacht off the Cayman Islands — one of the Caribbean’s premier diving-tourist-offshore banking destinations. Allen is well known for his conservation and ecological philanthropy, but his boat destroyed about 14,000 square feet of the West Bay coral reef off the northwest corner of the island. — National Geographic, January 16, 2016
Whales Like Porn, Too
And last, but certainly not least … Pornhub, the massive internet-pornography site donates to charities as any other Silcon Valley company does. One fundraiser — for a Save the Whales recipient — involved pledging a penny for every 2,000 videos played on its many websites. While a penny per 2000 may not seem like much, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter noted that over the first two days, the world’s porn consumers had played 532 million videos, earning the charity $2,660. — Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 10, 2016
See you next year with more stories we missed — or wish we missed — in 2017.