Starved… that’s one way to phrase what would have happened to me if I had relied on my skills of getting food directly from mother nature (wild berries, wild plants). It was a try, it was yummy, and it certainly was not enough to drive my hunger away.
looks nice, tastes nice – part of my backgarden
The initial inspiration came from a book called “Essbare Wildbeeren und Wildpflanzen” (eatable wild berries and wild plants), all in German and by Detlev Henschel. I bought this one after having read a rather remarkable book by the same chap, He paddled long distances with his kayak, the book I read was a tour on the Baltic Sea, with him only eating what he found wherever his day ended.
I do know a few wild plants and berries, however, apart from my own, parents’ or friends’ garden (and, of course, the local market) I have not really plundered nature’s huge resources on eatable wild plants. This little book was going to the basis for my personal cuisine-adventure – that was the plan, and it kind of worked well. Continue reading
One brief paragraph of a recent study by the AWI has left me absolutely speechless: “In comparison, even the lowest values from the Arctic seafloor are ten times higher (than the waste concentration in the so-called garbage patches)”. They must be joking, I thought. No, they’re not!
plastic bag bottom of arctic ocean 2500 metres depth (cMBergmann)
First of all, how cool is that: You are on a ship, and every 30 seconds you get a new picture from the ocean ground beneath you. The OFOS (Ocean Floor Observation System) is the technology behind this, drifting a metre and a half above the ocean floor and delivering still and moving pictures.
In the past, the scientists from AWI have observed the ocean bottom for sponges, sea cucumbers, fish or any other living creature down below. In recent years, however, their attention has also been grabbed by litter on the ocean seafloor. Once they started having a look also at the waste in oceans, they produced some worrying numbers: between 2002 and 2011 the waste on the ocean floor in one square kilometre more than doubled (2.500 metres beneath sea surface). Continue reading
When looking at the career pages of the AWI (Alfred-Wegener-Institut, based in Bremerhaven, Germany), the requirements for getting a job with them seem to be quite challenging: PhDs, Science Officer, Master Students, and a doc for their Antarctic station… There is a good reason for that: They are experts and extremely good at what they are doing. One of the items they keep looking at is marine debris and its origin, distribution and impact.
The text below answers a couple of fundamental questions on marine debris. This is rather similar to a previous post here on Active Outside (basic Q&A on waste in oceans), yet it does give more details and background information on various topics. All of the below (plus lots more) can also be found on the website of AWI. Some of their answers I have shortened a bit, and the reason for including it here as full text instead of including a link is also quite simple: I’d like to keep the content, even if AWI decides to (re)move their page.
Their researchers and scientists are doing a more than fabulous job, and their realistic view on this matter is something I value highly (e.g. their comment on estimated numbers of marine debris floating on the surface of the oceans).
Keeping the kids busy and trying to avoid “death by boredom” (their wording) during school holidays can occasionally turn into a challenge. One week of this year’s Easter school holidays turned out to be as much fun for the parents as it was for the kids.
Ok, my kids are not really that bad when at home. They can go without parents for hours, only needing help when it comes to food and drink. This is usually fine for a couple of days, but two weeks can get very long in the end. So we spent one week of that Easter break near the Baltic Sea, an hour’s drive from home. It was on Fehmarn, one of my favourite islands round here.
It was the second week in April, spring having not really arrived yet, sunshine and rain playing hide and seek on an hourly basis, a nasty cold wind blowing – not really a combination to have the kids roam around outdoors. There was, however, not a single day with the kids asking for more action. The reason: horses!
A very long time ago (January last year, actually, but it feels a lot longer) I spent quite a few hours browsing the web to find some information on the costs of a Mini Transat campaign. I managed to pull some data together and came up with a pretty neat cost estimate – however, that is a different story. While doing my research I stumbled upon a couple of Classe Mini sailors’ websites, one of them being Lina Rixgens. What a goal she has set herself, and what a story it has been so far!
The very first information I found was a flyer for Lina’s Mini Transat campaign. Her project idea sounded pretty cool, and I was indeed a very happy person after she had rather quickly replied to an email and answered a couple of questions. Soon after I published a first article about Lina and her plans for a Mini Transat campaign. But – who is she, what’s her background? In brief:
- young medical student, German, living in Belgium
- has been sailing for more than half of her life, including Optimist, Europe, crossing the Atlantic with “High Seas High School” and racing around the Baltic Sea with ‘Haspa Hamburg’, a Judel/Vrolijk designed long distance cruiser-racer
- regatta-proven, including World Championships in class Europe
- highly organized, with a clear view on her goals and aiming to reach them asap (that is my personal view, though it may sound like taken from a consultant’s CV).
How to get rid of all that garbage floating around in our waters? One of the ideas having caught my attention is the prototype of a catamaran called Seekuh (sea cow), currently being built and ready for its mission in summer 2016.
Plastic garbage in shallow waters, seas and oceans is omnipresent. Tons of plastic bags, fishing nets, bottles, cosmetic product waste and the like are polluting our liquid surroundings. Three quarters of all the garbage in oceans consists of plastics needing a couple of centuries to decompose. All that waste is a major danger to wildlife and, ultimately, humans (if you are rather new to this topic, check out these Basic Q&A regarding waste in oceans).
A catamaran called Seekuh (Sea Cow)
Worldwide, awareness to actually do something about all that waste in oceans has increased dramatically in recent years. Lots of projects and initiatives have been started, and a pretty cool one I found to be a catamaran called Sea Cow (Seekuh). What is this supposed to be, or mean?