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Category Archives: High Seas
Posted: June 20, 2021 at 1:16 am
TEHRAN Iranian Navy unveiled a destroyer and a minesweeper through a virtual videoconference led by President Hassan Rouhani on Monday.
Dena is the fourth Jamaran-class destroyer built by the Naval Industries of the Defense Ministry.
The Iranian destroyer which is named after one of the most famous mountaintops of the country is equipped with various defense and offense systems, is designed to make long journeys in the oceans, and is capable of detecting, tracking, and hitting various aerial, surface, and submarine targets.
Dena is reported to weigh more than 1300 tons, and is equipped with 4 cruise missiles ready to open fire at any threats. It is also capable of carrying helicopters on its deck.
Shahin, the other new addition to the Iranian naval fleet, is a minesweeper with a length of 33 meters that was developed and built by local Defense Ministry engineers.
The military ship is outfitted with cutting-edge technology that allows it to detect and detonate several types of naval mines.
Iranian military specialists and technicians have made significant progress in recent years in manufacturing a wide spectrum of indigenous weaponry, allowing the armed forces to be self-sufficient in the armaments sphere.
In the inauguration ceremony attended by top military commanders, President Rouhani ordered the Navy to unveil the latest accomplishments.
"The power of Iran and our armed forces is high only for deterrence and defense. We do not intend for war and tension, but will not yield to the invading powers," he remarked.He also said that today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a power that guarantees the security of the region for itself and its neighbors.
We explicitly declare to our dear neighbors that the power of our armed forces is not against you but also your supporter and protector, as well as for the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, and the Iranian army is the defender of its own and regional countries independence, the president added.
Iran has long been the icon of the peace in the region, offering peace initiatives and inviting neighbors and regional countries to sit at the same table to negotiate. Iranian politicians have always believed that tensions in the region can be reduced through dialogue.
Irans multilayered strategy shows the complexity of diplomacy in the region. On the one hand, the approach of peace initiatives put forward by the Islamic Republic has earned the country a reputation as a key player in maintaining peace and security in the region. And on the other hand, Iran, a country surrounded by 40 U.S. military bases in the West Asia, needs to boost its defensive abilities to protect itself from the unwanted guests in the region. These unwanted guests have time and again shown that they do not understand diplomacy, and they act barbarically. Iraq and Afghanistan are true examples of the American barbarism.
With Iran enhancing its defensive capabilities, the neighboring countries can also benefit from the advanced defensive equipment the Islamic Republic has.
The West Asia has long suffered from instability and tension, too weak to reform itself. That is when the neighbors come to the rescue. For example, in case of ISIS, Iran helped its neighbor Iraq to retain stability. Iran also helped Syria overthrow ISIS.
A coin has two sides. Iran has offered peace initiatives such as HOPE (Hormuz Peace Endeavor), Regional Dialogue Forum, the 4-point plan to establish peace in Yemen, the 4-point plan to establish peace in Syria, the Palestinian cause, etc. On the other side of the coin, there is Irans military power which assures every country in West Asia that there will be a strong help in case an intruding power comes to destabilize.
The recent negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, along with the recent unveilings of the Iranian naval force accomplishments suggest the perfect implementation of this multi-layered strategy of boosting defensive facilities and capabilities, along with shaping dialogue and negotiating with neighboring countries.
This strategy was highlighted on Monday once again by Iranian officials. Even when Saudi Arabia was not interested in negotiations, we stressed that the dialogue is the best way to resolve the issues, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday the same day Dena was unveiled and added that Iran will take the dialogue forward in a noteworthy manner.
Posted: at 1:16 am
CONSTANTA NAVAL BASE, Romania In the dimly lit war room of the Romanian frigate Regina Maria, glowing radar screens illuminate a cheat sheet for identifying Russian vessels.
The ship's commander points to the newest warships, Grigorovich and Sviyazhsk, that have appeared on the horizon since Russia seized Crimea in 2014 and began to expand its Black Sea fleet. Romanian Cmdr. Alexandru Gobjila then points to older vessels, armed with the latest technology and weaponry, including supersonic Kalibr cruise missiles capable of reaching 1,600 miles into Europe.
The Russian Black Sea navy now numbers over 200 large ships, all in a body of water twice the size of the Great Lakes.
Vladimir Putin's power projection in the region is designed to secure unfettered warm water access through a war of intimidation waged on the high seas, and President Joe Biden's detente with Putin may mean American deterrence will be left to NATO's newest member countries.
MILITARIZATION OF CRIMEA HEIGHTENS THREAT TO NATO'S SOUTHEASTERN FLANK
"We are going to assure the security of the lines of communication inside the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, or wherever the alliance requests," Gobjila told the Washington Examiner while touring the frigate, named after Romania's Queen Mary, whose 1919 trip to the Paris Peace Conference consolidated Romania's international recognition after siding with the Allies in World War I.
A century later, and 30 years after throwing off the cloak of communism, Romania again finds itself at the intersection of the world powers, and without the resources to go it alone.
"Romania is on the border of both the EU and NATO alliance," said Romanian flotilla deputy commander Auras Liviu Coman, who admits his three frigates, each emblazoned with the NATO star on their sides, do not possess modern naval strike missiles.
"This is a very ambitious project," Coman said of an 18-month upgrade plan.
That means the smaller countries of the Black Sea must rely on a deterrent U.S. and NATO ally presence and their own incremental modernization to ward off Russian aggression.
The Montreux Convention of 1936 limits the tonnage and amount of time foreign navies can spend in the Black Sea. To maintain a regular presence of some 100 days per year, the United States is moving destroyers into and out of the Black Sea for 21-day tours that entail multilateral exercises and freedom of navigation missions.
Whether Biden is willing to continue that role in the detente with Russia remains to be seen.
After achieving a verbal commitment from Putin to withdraw his 100,000 troops from the eastern Ukrainian border, it is widely believed that the U.S. in turn canceled the entry of two warships into the Black Sea.
"The Black Sea has always been very strategically important to Russia, going back to Catherine the Great's time," retired Capt. Brent Sadler, a naval analyst at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Examiner.
Maintaining unfettered movement from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean via the Black Sea is vital to Russia's counterencirclement strategy, the 26-year Navy veteran explained.
"It's not necessarily important that you match hull for hull. It's not necessarily important that you match capability for capability," Sadler said of the Russian presence. "But you do need to have an adequate maritime presence there that complicates their unquestioned control of all the Black Sea."
But with a globally strained U.S. Navy and strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific, America cannot do it alone. It must rely on the NATO countries of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania and the partner countries of Ukraine and Georgia to keep the strategic sea safe and free.
Regular U.S. exercises are one way the U.S. is helping to build capacity.
"We are increasing the level of interoperability," said Gobjila. "Not only among allies, but partners as well, because the most important thing is to build the trust, the confidence among Black Sea littoral countries."
The ship commander recalls how far Romania has come from pre-NATO days, when NATO Partnership for Peace exercises in 1997 consisted of bridge-to-bridge communication and simple tactical maneuvering.
"Right now, we are treating very well all exercises related to maritime domain awareness," he said. "That means to us as navy personnel, anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-air exercises, electronic warfare exercises, all the spectrum of the exercises."
But exercises, movement of military ships, and even commercial transit are being hindered by Russia's Black Sea fleet, explained Romanian security analyst George Scufaru.
"Russia will try to harass us," Scufaru said at a meeting in Bucharest. "They have a bigger fleet compared to Turkey in the Black Sea, to Romania, to Bulgaria. It will be very difficult. This is the reason why it's necessary to have the support of NATO and to have more U.S. vessels."
Scufaru pointed to a map produced by his New Strategy Center that delineated all of the Black Sea perimeters where Russia allegedly conducted military exercises in 2019.
According to international convention, militaries may announce perimeters within international waters where they are conducting potentially dangerous exercises. Russia has abused this practice in recent years to block key passageways such as the Kerch Strait access to the Sea of Azov, the maritime boundaries surrounding Crimea, and coasts near Ukraine and Georgia, where Putin has fomented protracted conflicts.
"Indeed, Russia is modernizing its suite of capabilities," Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu told the Washington Examiner by phone from Bucharest. "NATO is also reacting by organizing a lot more naval exercises, by having a more substantive rotational presence of allied ships in the region."
Aurescu said Romania is investing heavily in military infrastructure and command and control to host more NATO and American land, sea, and air power to deter Russia.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
"Let's see the next step," said a dubious Scufaru of Biden's pullback from the Black Sea in advance of the Biden-Putin summit. A recent report indicates that pullback also included a White House freeze of $100 million of military assistance to Ukraine ahead of the summit.
"Is this only linked with the summit, with this meeting?" posed Scufaru. "Or, is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship'?"
Original Location: Russias Black Sea navy grows as allies worry Biden will pull back
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Posted: at 1:16 am
The High Seas Drifters were crowned the champions of the first-ever Washington360 race.
The Olson 30 monohull sailboat rounded Point Hudson shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, June 10, less than four days after the start of the race.
Race officials had allotted a total of two weeks for competitors to finish the course, which ran from the South Puget Sound, near Olympia and as far north as Point Roberts before returning to the finish line in Port Townsend.
Sailors Shad Lemke, Mark Bostrom, Scott Wood, and Jefferson Franklin needed less than half of that time to reach the finish line and be greeted by a crowd of cheering onlookers on the Port Townsend waterfront.
After arriving at the Northwest Maritime Centers dock, the Team High Seas Drifters rang the famous bell used in previous years by participants in the R2AK to signify their completion of the arduous race.
Race Boss Daniel Evans handed over the teams prize, a championship belt the likes of which would be right at home resting on the shoulder of Hulk Hogan.
So how does one feel after completing a two-week race in less than four days?
Tired, Franklin replied in a tone that was anything but glib.
With the race now safely behind them, the newly-crowned champions pondered what they should have brought along for the ride.
More gummy bears, Wood said.
More bushings for the pedal drives, Franklin said.
We would like to have known that was broken from the start. We started and went Oh, theres a problem and we had to figure it out on the fly. We rebuilt it four or five times, he added
It sounded like a blacksmiths shop under the cabin, Wood chimed in. With him just hammering away without the tools he needed.
The conditions even saw the sailors cannibalizing other parts of their boat to repair their pedal drives.
The last bushing we made, we cut down the handlebars off the seats and that one lasted for a long time, Franklin said.
There was general consensus among the crew that the High Seas Drifters all worked well together as a team.
We all got along good and sailed hard together and relied on each other, Wood said.
We took care of each other, Franklin said.
There was a lot of skill in this boat, Bostrom added.
As to whether the High Seas Drifters would be making a triumphant return for another WA360, Lemke calmly said, Sailors amnesia has to set in first, then well figure it out.
The beleaguered seafarers all shared a laugh.
Lemke also had advice for any future competitors: Not do what we did. They should train.
Just behind the first-place winners were Team Fressure (Justin Hinchcliffe, Casey Pruitt, Andrew Bly, and Charles Boremann) and Team Lake Pend Oreille Yacht Club (Gabe Mills, Jason Taft, Jon Totten, and Ben Price).
As Team Fressures Merit 28 cruised past the finish line, Boremann stood on the foredeck and held a thumb and index finger to eye level, We were this close, he chuckled.
We stuck together and we didnt kill each other, Pruitt said, prompting an incredulous response from Boremann.
Well, we came close, Boremann said.
Pruitt said one crucial oversight served to hinder their progression as they neared the Bellingham race marker.
When youre thinking about doing something, just do it, dont wait until later, Pruitt said in his advice to future competitors.
We thought about fixing the chain tension and we didnt do it, because I hadnt slept in 24 hours, he recalled.
We said, Well get that later, were sailing, its fine. We skipped a cog, and here we are, we were fixing the seat, fixing the pedal drive; and then those guys are winning!
The team said future competitors should plan to get plenty of exercise in advance and remain resilient in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
We were behind by 20 boats at one time and we were ahead of all of them at another time, Boremann said. Constantly changing positions.
Light winds in the first days of the race placed a premium on human-powered propulsion like the pedal drives aboard the early finishers boats.
Race organizers have even gone as far as calling the race a 360-mile floating bike race, punctuated by spinnaker runs.
As of Tuesday morning, a stalwart handful of racers were still toughing it out, making their way across the course, little-by-little. They still have plenty of time to complete the race before the June 21 cut-off.
To follow these determined racers on their journey and check daily updates from the race organizers, visit nwmaritime.org/follow-wa360/
Posted: at 1:16 am
The US president has announced a raft of positive marine measures and appointments, but must work with China to make a breakthrough on subsidies, the high seas and Antarctic protection Chinese fishing vessels on the high seas of the North Pacific (USCG file image)
PublishedJun 16, 2021 1:59 PM by China Dialogue Ocean
[By Todd Woody]
In the opening months of President Joe Bidens administration there has been a sea change in ocean policy as the United States moves to re-engage with the international community to tackle climate change.
This engagement could have significant consequences for a host of marine issues, from harmful fishing subsidies and a high seas biodiversity treaty, to efforts to create marine protected areas (MPAs) in Antarctica. To achieve progress, though, observers say the Biden administration must work with China, given the countrys influence on ocean policy.
China is working on climate change, they participated inthe Biden summiton that, and so it seems like theyre really interested in engaging in these multilateral forums on ocean issues, said Andrea Kavanagh, project director for the Pew Charitable Trusts Protecting Antarcticas Southern Ocean initiative.
The details of many Biden policies remain to be announced. But the administration has signalled its strong support of ocean issues by appointing respected scientists and environmentalists to key positions at agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had been demoralised, defunded and politicisedunder the previous president, Donald Trump.
Biden, for instance, has proposed a record $6.9 billion budget for NOAA (a 26 percent increase on the previous year) and has nominated a former top NOAA scientist, oceanographerRick Spinrad, to run the agency. John Kerry, the administrations climate envoy, founded theOur Ocean conferencewhen he served as secretary of state in the Barack Obama administration. Marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco,who has becomethe deputy director for climate and environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, served as NOAAs chief under Obama.
The Biden administrationhas pledgedto protect 30 percentof US land and waters by 2030. In May, it tried to globalise that 3030 commitment when it joined acommuniquissued by G7 nations calling for protection of 30 percentof the worlds oceans, also by 2030.
The communiqu committed the nations to work toward concluding negotiations over ahigh seas biodiversity treatyby the end of 2021 and supported efforts to expand a network of marine protected areas in Antarctica.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly slowed international negotiations, 2021 could prove a pivotal year to finalise long-running talks on damaging fishing subsidies, the high seas biodiversity treaty and the creation of vast new marine protected areas in Antarctica.
For two decades, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) hasattempted to reach an agreementby its 164 member states to ban harmful fisheries subsidies that promote overfishing andillegal, unreported and unregulated(IUU) fishing.
During that time, Chinas overseas fishing fleet has expanded and become the worlds largest, at nearly 3,000 vessels.Researchers in 2016 determined thatUS$20 billion of US$35 billion in annual global fisheries subsidies were harmful. The result: one-third of fish species are being harvested at biologically unsustainable levels,according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Rashid Sumaila, a University of British Columbia fisheries expert and close observer of the WTO, is optimistic that a deal may finally be in sight for two reasons. One is that the new director-general,Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealaof Nigeria, hasmade fisheries subsidies a priority. She is convening aministerial conference in Julywith the aim of finalising negotiations. The other reason is the new environmentally friendly US administration.
Hopefully, these two recent events might just help the WTO and the world get the job done after 20 years of trying, he said. That would be a big win for marine biodiversity, fish and fishers who want to fish sustainably.
The Biden administrations specific stance on the negotiations remains to be seen. So far the administration has been focusing on climate change and have not said much about the WTO negotiation on fisheries subsidies, noted Sumaila, adding that it seems to be holding to the US position that the country wants an ambitious agreement. I hope they are pushing for this behind the scenes.
Cooperation between China and the US, two of the biggest subsidisers, is key to breaking the stalemate at the WTO, according to Sumaila. For years, negotiations have been hampered by disagreements over whether developing countries would be given more time to phase out subsidies. WTO member states are allowed to declare themselves as developing nations, as China has done.
One single action that would help is for the US to work with China and come up with a joint communiqu stating that the nations will support reaching an agreement at the upcoming WTO Ministerial [conference], he said. I think such an agreement between the US and China would incentivise other countries to sign on.
Antarctic marine protection
Antarctica is one of the regions most impacted by climate change and fishing. Its also where the international community, even at its most divided, has come together to protect the continents unique biodiversity. At the height of the Cold War in 1959, the US, Soviet Union and 10 other countries signed theAntarctica Treaty, committing the parties to peaceful exploration.
An international convention established the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in 1982. CCAMLR currently has 26 member states, including China and the US. The parties approval of the 1.57 million km2Ross Sea marine protected area, which came into effect in 2017 and banned commercial fishing for 35 years, created the worlds largest MPA.
Temperatures in Antarctica are rising three times faster than the global average, according to a 2020 study
It was to be part of a network of protected zones to limit the effects of climate change and a burgeoning krill fishing industry.Krill, a small crustacean, is considered a keystone species because it converts energy from the sun by eating single-celled plants called phytoplankton into food for larger marine species including penguins and whales. Commercial fishing turns hundreds of thousands of tonnes of krill into fish meal to feed farmed fish and pets, as well as krill oil for human health supplements.
Krill populations are also being affected by climate change, with temperatures in Antarctica rising three times faster than the global average, a 2020studyfound.
However, efforts to address these two threats through the establishment of three additional MPAs in East Antarctica, the Weddell Sea, and around the Antarctic Peninsula have foundered in recent years, largely due to objections from China and Russia. China deploys akrill fishing fleetin the Southern Ocean and Russia has taken steps to establish its own krill fishery. Other nations fishing for krill in the past decade include Norway, South Korea, Japan, Chile, Poland and Ukraine. A proposed MPA requires unanimous approval by member states.
Efforts to break the impasse received a boost in April whenKerry announced the US would join other CCAMLR statesto press for the approval of the East Antarctica and Weddell Sea MPAs. The proposed Antarctica Peninsula MPA is still being evaluated by CCAMLRs scientific committee.
The US coming on as an official co-sponsor is great news, said Kavanagh of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Its just showing that theres this global push and a global awareness that we need to have these protections.
She noted that negotiations over the Ross Sea MPA dragged on for years until a group of nations coordinated a campaign to persuade China and Russia to sign off on it. Obama himself got involved, especially when talking with China, said Kavanagh.
In virtual negotiations, you dont have any of the hallway meetings or the receptions and dinners where most of the work gets done.
She said a similar approach is needed to reach consensus on the East Antarctica and Weddell Sea MPAs. Kerrys involvement is an encouraging sign, given his former position as secretary of state and hisexperience in negotiating with China.
John Kerry in his role as the climate envoy knows how important MPAs are to provide resilience against climate change, said Kavanagh.
Prospects for face-to-face negotiations, however, look dim. CCMALR is headquartered in Tasmania, Australia, where its annual meeting is held. But in May, theAustralian government announcedit would keep its borders closed to international visitors until mid-2022.
Its just tough because in the virtual meetings you dont have as much time for negotiations because of time differences, Kavanagh said. And you dont have any of the hallway meetings or the receptions and dinners where most of the work gets done.
High seas biodiversity treaty
In early March 2020, Kerry helped facilitate a High Seas Treaty Dialogue with government leaders in Monaco. The event highlighted issues to be taken up three weeks later at the United Nations when delegates were to convene for what was to be a final session to complete a landmarktreatyto protect biodiversity on the high seas.
Among other provisions, the treaty would allow for the creation of marine protected areas in the 58 percentof the ocean that lies beyond national jurisdiction, provide for thesharing of marine genetic resourcesamong nations and require environmental impact assessments for certain high seas activities.
There was little consensus, though, on the specific terms of those provisions or how they would be implemented as delegates prepared to gather in New York last year. Then, days before negotiations were to begin, the United Nations and the rest of New York City went into lockdown as the pandemic spread.
With in-person negotiations postponed, delegates began meeting virtually in monthly video sessions, according to Peggy Kalas, coordinator of theHigh Seas Alliance, a coalition ofmajor environmental groupsfounded in 2011 to advocate for a high seas biodiversity treaty. The talks are informal, which means they dont carry the weight of formal negotiations.
Kalas said its too early to know how the Biden administrations environmental policies will affect the treaty negotiations, noting that ocean-related senior positions in the US State Department remain vacant.
But observers view Kerrys interest in the high seas biodiversity treaty as promising.
Were hoping that we can perhaps get Kerry to engage in treaty negotiations, Kalas said.
In-person negotiations currently are set to resume in August, though some observers expect talks to be postponed as other UN negotiations have been recently. In that event, virtual discussions will likely continue.
We are all very exceedingly Zoomed out, said Kalas.
Todd Woody is a California-based environmental journalist who specialises in ocean issues.
This article appears courtesy of China Dialogue Ocean and may be found in its original form here.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.
Posted: at 1:16 am
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been hugely challenging for most industries, but perhaps few have suffered as much as cruise operators.
Related:Chapek Confirms Disney Cruise Lines Second Private Island
Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and other cruise companies that make port in the United States have been unable to sail for over a year, leading to huge profit losses and disappointment for cruise vacationers.
Now, however, thanks to increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates throughout the U.S., the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have begun allowing cruise lines to begin the process that will get them back on the high seas.
Related:Disney Cruise Line Considering Sailing Out of Ft. Lauderdale
In the CDCs Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) it is noted that cruise operators must conduct test cruises with a variety of pandemic health and safety protocols in place. This is intended to both allow crew members to get used to these new pandemic-era procedures and to provide proof that the CDCs various requirements have been satisfied.
Royal Caribbean was the first cruise ship company to conduct test cruise trips and, as a result, was expected to launch the first cruise trip from a U.S. port in over a year. However, the itinerary has now been delayed due to a COVID-19 outbreak onboard.
Related:Disney Cruise Lines Test Cruises Are NOT Open to the Public
Orlando News 6s Click Orlando website reports:
Royal Caribbean has suffered a setback in its push to resume cruises from Florida.
Eight workers aboard the Odyssey of the Seas have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting Royal Caribbean to delay the ships upcoming cruise in early July.
The cruise line said Wednesday that Odyssey of the Seas was scheduled to set sail from Fort Lauderdale on July 3, but that cruise has now been pushed back to the end of July.
Click Orlandos report also noted that the entire crew was vaccinated, but it is believed the eight Royal Caribbean employees contracted COVID-19 prior to their vaccines reaching full effectiveness. At this time, Royal Caribbean intends to conduct its other planned cruises on schedule.
Currently, no other cruise lines including Disney Cruise Line have announced that this news will impact their return to sailing in any way.
Related:Ahoy, Captain Minnie! NEW Nautical Cupcake and Shake on Disney Cruise Line!
Disney has not officially confirmed when the four ships in its existing fleet the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder will officially hit the high seas again domestically.
It is worth noting that Disneys Magic at Sea staycation cruises cruises with no ports of call will leave from United Kingdom ports this summer. They are only open to U.K. residents.
However, the company is planning to conduct its first test cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream in July. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has expressed optimism for a fall 2021 return to sailing, which seems possible given this test cruise date, although nothing has been announced at this time.
Related:Congress Clears the Way For Disney Cruise Line to Return to Alaska
Unless crew members test positive for COVID-19 following the test cruise next month, it seems unlikely that DCL will have to postpone its return to the water.
Although 2021 sailings are still up-in-the-air at this time, Disney is planning a major return to sailing in 2022 with the maiden voyage of their first Triton Class ship, the Disney Wish, in June of next year.
Related:Disney Launching First-of-Its-Kind Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge!
Are you looking forward to getting back on a Disney Cruise Line ship?
Have a future cruise credit? Want to book a new DCL itinerary? The expert team at Academy Travel can help you plan a magical Disney Cruise Line vacation to anywhere in the world! From a Mexico Disney cruise to a journey to Disneys private island Castaway Cay in the Bahamas, they can make your high seas dreams come true.
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Posted: at 1:16 am
I make things. I make weird electronic things. I make scientific instrument things. And I make things out of wood. I make a lot of things out of wood.
When Im not working on marine conservation technology, educational programming, or high seas policy, Im usually out back in the woodshop, building furniture, functional art, and other woodcrafts. This probably isnt a surprise. For the last eleven years, one of the most popular articles at Southern Fried Science has been How to build a canoe from scratch on a graduate student stipend.
Every few years, I turn an analytical eye on my hobbies, assessing the lifecycle of the materials I use, the sources of inefficiency, and, most importantly, how the practice of the craft aligns with or deviates from my personal environmental ethic. In other words, I do a sustainability audit on my recreational activities.For the last year, Ive focused on understanding and improving the environmental impacts of my woodworking.
Sustainable is an odd word to describe a hobby. Recreational woodworking isnt necessarily the kind of activity that draws heavy resource demand. It already leaves a fairly light footprint on the planet, and even with herculean efforts to reduce the environmental costs of woodworking, the average hobbyist, working alone in a shed, garage, or basement, will never yield more than a small reduction to the already low impacts of woodworking.But woodworking is unique in that the product of the craft, when produced thoughtfully and with foresight, can benefit the planet for generations.
Woodworking may already leave a light touch on the planet, but it can exact a heavy toll on the person. So far as humans are as much a part of the ecosystem as the forests we draw our trees from, the human health impacts of the materials and consumables we use also contribute to the sustainability of the craft. A solvent thats bad for your brain is no better going down the drain.
Sustainability isnt just a tactic, its an ethic. Fostering an environmental ethic in the hobbies we pursue requires an interrogation of what we value in those hobbies, where trade-offs exist, and how the choices we make can contribute towards a stewardship vision of the future.So, I did what I always do. I made something. And somewhere along the way, this thing became a manifesto for environmentally conscientious woodworking.
Each section ended up being much bigger than our regular blog posts, so rather than drop 10,000 words of lumber musings on you all at once, Ive broken it into manageable chunks to be published periodically over the next week. See you Monday!
(Monday, June 21, 2021) Part 1: I turned my woodshop into a personal solar farm.
(Tuesday, June 22, 2021) Part 2: Getting a handle on workworking chemicals, or sometimes we all need to vent.
(Wednesday, June 23, 2021) Part 3: Furniture as Revolution.
(Thursday, June 24, 2021) Afterwards: Reflections and Next Steps
(Friday, June 25, 2021) Resources: Books, Magazines, Tools, and other ephemera
Posted: at 1:16 am
Whens the last time you made a promise?
Maybe you gave your word that youd help wash the dinner dishes. Or you borrowed a friends book, and told her youd return it by the end of the week.
When we make promises, were giving the message that well do what we say.
In this favorite tale from Circle Round Season 2, we meet a princess who makes an important promise. But when she tries to keep that promise, shes thrown for a real loop!
Story continues below
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Our tale is called The Princess and the Egg. Youll hear versions of this story in many places, from Portugal and Denmark in Europe, to the Mediterranean world and Middle East, to the island nation of Haiti!
Voices in this episode include Luis Negron, Jeff Song and Amber Stevens West. Grown-ups, watch for Amber on the CBS sitcom, Happy Together, as well as the Starz comedy, Run the World.
This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.
This episode was originally released on October 23, 2018.
ADULTS! PRINT THISso everyone can color while listening. Were also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.
Things To Think About After Listening
Think of a promise youve made.
What was your promise?
And who did you make it to?
Now, find someone you like to have fun with a family member or friend and tell that person all about your promise and whether you did, indeed, follow through!
Musical Spotlight: Harpsichord
The stringed keyboard instrument known as the harpsichord is shaped like a grand piano, and most likely was developed in the late Middle Ages.
The harpsichord can have one keyboard or two; either way, when you hit a key, a small piece of material known as a plectrum plucks a metal string and voila! You have sound. The problem is, you dont have control over how loud or soft that sound is, so when the more dynamic piano came along, that more modern instrument pretty much superseded the harpsichord. Still, youll hear plenty of the harpsichords charming, elegant, even formal sound in renaissance and baroque music and in 1960s baroque pop songs by such bands as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
NARRATOR: All her life Princess Pearl dreamed of traveling the world. She wanted to see new places, try new foods, and meet new friends.
But what she didnt want was to have people bowing down to her at every port of call, just because she was royalty. So she swore that when she finally got to embark on her adventure, she would never wear her crown. No one would know she was a princess.
Once Princess Pearl finished all of her schooling, the King and Queen surprised their daughter with a swift, sturdy sailboat to whisk her around the high seas, and a brand new atlas, so she wouldnt lose her way.
PEARL: Oh, Mother! Father! Thank you for these gifts! I cant wait to start my journey. I promise Ill send you a letter from every port I visit!
NARRATOR: But Princess Pearl was not able to fulfill that promise.
On her very first night at sea, do you know what happened? A massive storm blew in, and gusts of wind and rain tossed her sailboat this way and that!
Pearl clung to the boats ropes as wave after wave frothed and foamed across the deck. The next thing she knew, it was morning and she and her ship were washed up on an empty beach.
PEARL: Well, this trip isnt off to a very good start. (as she looks at boat) Yikes - look at this boat! What a wreck. I should thank my lucky stars it got me to shore!
NARRATOR: Pearl pulled off her soggy shoes and jumped down from the splintered remains of her sailboat. As her bare feet touched the soft, warm sand, the princess looked around her. Her heart leapt when she spotted a quaint seaside town in the distance.
PEARL: Oh boy! Civilization!
NARRATOR: Pearl sprinted across the beach. When she got to town, she stepped inside the first establishment she saw: a tiny little bed and breakfast. Thats a small hotel, or inn, where people can spend the night and enjoy a nice morning meal.
The innkeeper narrowed his eyes as Pearl entered. He wrinkled his nose as he beheld her torn, drenched clothing and bare feet - not to mention the seashells and seaweed sticking out of her soaking-wet hair!
INNKEEPER: May I help you?
NARRATOR: Pearl flashed her warmest smile.
PEARL: Why, yes, you may - thank you! Do you serve breakfast? Im so hungry I could eat a life preserver!
NARRATOR: The innkeeper sniffed.
INNKEEPER: Well, it just so happens we do serve breakfast... given that were a bed and breakfast and all. But were about to close the kitchen.
NARRATOR: One thing you should know about the innkeeper: he was a very greedy man. So although the kitchen was closing, he suddenly realized he had one last chance to make a few extra bucks. He softened his tone.
INNKEEPER: Look. I tell you what. Ill have the cook whip up something for you - something fast and simple. How about... a scrambled egg?
NARRATOR: Pearls mouth watered.
PEARL: Oh - that would be lovely! My stomachs rumbling so loudly, youd think Ive got an orchestra in there! Not a very good one... the timpani is way too loud and the tuba is hopelessly out of tune... but -
INNKEEPER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Have a seat. One scrambled egg, coming right up.
NARRATOR: As you can imagine, that one scrambled egg was the best scrambled egg Pearl had ever tasted! Within seconds, her plate was empty. She raised her hand and called the innkeeper over.
INNKEEPER: What now?
PEARL: Well, first, thank you for the egg, sir. It was delicious! But, you see, when I rushed over here for breakfast, I kind of forgot one teensy-weeny little thing. I dont have any money.
NARRATOR: The innkeepers eyebrows shot up so high, they disappeared into his hairline.
INNKEEPER: Come again?
PEARL: I said, I dont have any money. You see, yesterday, I set out on a sailing trip around the world. Then this massive storm blew in, and I was sure I was a goner. But the winds blew me to your lovely town... and when I came to your inn for breakfast, I didnt even think about the fact that my money everything I own, actually got lost at sea!
NARRATOR: The innkeeper took a deep breath.
INNKEEPER: Okay So how, then, do you propose paying for that one scrambled egg? It costs two gold coins, you know!
PEARL: I know. And I promise: I will return to this town, and when I do, you will get your money.
NARRATOR: The innkeeper glanced again at Pearls bare feet and soggy clothing and the seashells and seaweed sticking out of her hair.
INNKEEPER: And why should I believe youll actually come back and pay up?
NARRATOR: Pearl shrugged.
PEARL: Lets just say I have some savings back home. Thanks again for the egg, sir. Have a good day!
NARRATOR: As Pearl waltzed out of the bed and breakfast and onto the street, the innkeeper grumbled to himself.
INNKEEPER: I have some savings back home. Sure ya do! Ugh. What a waste of a perfectly good egg. I bet Ill never see that ragamuffin again!
NARRATOR: As it turns out, the innkeeper was right and very, very wrong.
NARRATOR: What do you think will happen? Will the princess come back to settle her debt?
Well find out, after a quick break.
NARRATOR: Welcome back to Circle Round. Im Rebecca Sheir. Today our story is called The Princess and the Egg." When we left off, Princess Pearl had promised a greedy innkeeper that shed come back and pay for one scrambled egg. Her sailboat had crashed in the innkeepers quaint seaside town, so she wasnt able to give him the two gold coins necessary to cover the meal.
After her shipwreck, Princess Pearl eventually found her way back to her own kingdom. The king and queen hugged their daughter extra tight when she got home. Then they surprised her with an even bigger boat, with even more sails so that she could try again with her world travels.
And she did.
Several months into her journey, she found herself back at the quaint seaside town: the one where shed been shipwrecked and where she had a debt to settle with the owner of the bed and breakfast.
But this time when she stepped into the cafe, she was not barefoot; on her feet she wore a pair of fine leather boots. Her clothing was well-tailored and trim. And her hair wasnt disheveled and strewn with sea life; it was tucked neatly beneath a green velvet cap.
As you can imagine, the innkeeper did not recognize her.
INNKEEPER: May I help you?
PEARL: Yes, I think you may! Several months ago, I got into a shipwreck and was unable to pay you for one scrambled egg: a humble breakfast that cost two gold coins. I promised Id come back and pay for that delicious meal. And... here I am!
NARRATOR: The innkeeper stared at Pearl with disbelief. Was this really the same ragamuffin from all those months ago? She looked so fancy, so elegant!
PEARL: And further, sir, to thank you for your generosity and your patience I intend to pay you double. No - make it quadruple. So, instead of two gold coins, that would be, what, eight?
NARRATOR: The innkeeper thought for a moment. Why should this prosperous woman pay a mere eight gold coins when obviously she could pay so much more?
INNKEEPER: Im sorry. Eight gold coins, you say? No, no! You owe me far more than eight gold coins.
NARRATOR: Pearl was confused.
PEARL: I do?
INNKEEPER: You bet you do! Think about it. If I hadnt served you that one scrambled egg, that egg would have hatched into a chick! And then that chick would have grown up and laid eggs and hatched a dozen more chicks! And each one of those chicks would have gone on to lay eggs and hatch a dozen more chicks! You see where Im going with this?
NARRATOR: Pearl shook her head.
PEARL: Um, Im not sure I -
INNKEEPER: Long story short... you dont owe me eight gold coins. You owe me
NARRATOR: He pulled out a pencil, grabbed a napkin, and began scribbling.
INNKEEPER: (to himself, as he scribbles his calculations on the napkin) Lets see multiply this times this, add up that and that Okay uh-huh alright. You owe me eight-million gold coins.
PEARL: Im sorry eight-million?!?!
INNKEEPER: Yup! Eight-million! I mean, give or take a few thousand. I rounded down. Figured Id give you a bit of a discount.
NARRATOR: Pearl could hardly believe what she was hearing.
PEARL: But sir, I cant pay you eight-million gold coins!
NARRATOR: The innkeeper scowled.
INNKEEPER: Really? You cant pay?
NARRATOR: He gestured toward Pearls fancy clothes and shoes.
INNKEEPER: ...or you wont pay?
NARRATOR: Pearls mind raced. She reached into her purse.
PEARL: Look. What do you say I give you a hundred gold coins and we call it a deal.
NARRATOR: The innkeeper fixed Pearl with a steely gaze. He crossed his arms.
INNKEEPER: Nope. Eight-million gold coins, or I see you in court. Tomorrow.
NARRATOR: Pearl sighed.
PEARL: Alright, then. See you in court.
NARRATOR: As Pearl sat down to dinner that night in another hotel, blocks away from the bed and breakfast she was so distraught could hardly eat. She picked at her boiled peas took half-hearted nibbles of her steamed corn and by the time dessert was served a warm bowl of roasted chestnuts she couldnt even take a bite.
She stared at her plate of food, wondering what in the world she would do tomorrow in court.
Then, suddenly, it hit her.
PEARL: Ive got it! The answer is in the peas! And the corn! And the chestnuts! Id better get some sleep; tomorrow is going to be a big day.
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Posted: at 1:16 am
As one local resident headed to Vancouver and ultimately to Toronto to pursue his career as dancer, actor, video editor, another took to the high seas to entertain on cruises and appears as part of a dance troupe on a popular television series.
As one local resident headed to Vancouver and ultimately to Toronto to pursue his career as dancer, actor, video editor, another took to the high seas to entertain on cruises and appears as part of a dance troupe on a popular television series.
Other local artists chose not to leave Prince George while yet another came from a large urban centre to find success here.
All of these perspectives were explored during a Zoom event called Following Creative Paths: Recentering Northern Artistic Life presented by ArtsUNITE from Ontario where panelists from Prince George discussed several topics including their decisions on what path they chose to achieve their own measure of success.
The panelists were Izaak Smith, who ultimately moved to Toronto to pursue his career, Tristan Ghostkeeper, who moved to Vancouver to pursue his career, local artists Elmer Gunderson and Clayton Gauthier, who both stayed in Prince George and Aidyl Jago who came to PG from an urban centre to open a music school.
Smith, a dancer, actor and now video editor, who appeared in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, movies and commercials said he carries his Prince George-ness around with him everywhere he goes.
His dance training was with Judy Russell at her Enchainement Dance Studio and he credits that opportunity with a lot of his success.
I think people under rate the art scene in Prince George as maybe being too northern or reclusive or hokey and I experienced a really big culture shock when coming to the big city, Smith said. Theres a different interaction with art and story telling and I think what we have in northern BC is special and I think its something that more people want.
Smith said Prince George offered him a great base to launch his career.
Tristan Ghostkeeper couldnt say enough about Judy Russell and the training he received at her dance studio.
He takes all the knowledge he garnered from that experience and carries it into all his career opportunities, he said.
As part of the discussion, the topic of the life/art divide and how Prince George takes up space in their artwork was put forward.
For me art has been something I have needed everyday and its medicine too, Clayton Gauthier said. Growing up in Prince George I wondered why there wasnt any art around. Wheres the art? Because art changes the energy in the room. When you see art its so beautiful. Its about people sharing their art with others and sharing their stories through art. Its such a beautiful thing to feel so that was my motivation to keep doing this art and I want to see it all through the community and thats a big part of growing up in a small community. When you dont see that art around on a regular basis you have a motivation - OK, I can do this and be a part of it and share my art with the kids and pass it on. I feel its powerful. Art does such beautiful things.
The event took place over two hours and explored many other aspects of the arts including grassroots versus institutional community development while bringing culture conversations away from larger metropolitan cities and toward more remote regions. This event explored the lived experience of the unique artistic community of Prince George, focusing on the challenges, concerns, differences, and future development.
The Prince George & District Community Arts Council (CAC) was instrumental in putting the event together and is the umbrella organization for the arts in Northern BC.
Sean Farrell, executive director for the CAC, said hes seen a shift in the culture in Prince George in the last couple of years where there are a lot of plans for the city that include the arts and making space for it in the community.
I think right now there is an incredible energy happening at our city hall that has finally recognized art and culture isnt just a secondary recreational thing and could be a core piece of urban planning, Farrell said.
During a recent city council meeting, an hour was spent talking about how to make arts and culture a more predominant part of the citys landscape, he added.
There was a consensus during the meeting that weve kicked this can too long down the road and we missed opportunities and were not going to miss those opportunities any more. We can see there is a recognition now that this needs to happen and I think there is a political will now for that to happen. I think timing is always really important and these issues that were talking about are actually being heard.
Posted: at 1:16 am
With the state reopening, Fathers Day 2021 is looking a whole lot different from last year. Restaurants are expected to operate at full capacity, music festivals are back on the calendar and fully vaccinated Californians have been given the green light to ditch their face masks at many (but not all) places. For those eager to break out of their pandemic shells and maybe brave the return of packed crowds (and yes, traffic), Los Angeles has Fathers Day weekend events that go beyond ballgames and beer.
Go to the drive-in movies at the Santa Monica Airport: They were a welcome revival during the era of social distancing, and drive-in movies are still an option for those who need a minute before returning to indoor theaters or those who simply enjoy the experience of watching films outside. The drive-in at airport has a few shows, including Taken, a movie technically about a father-daughter relationship. More info on this location; there are also rooftop movies in El Segundo.)
Paint in Leimert Park: Channel your inner artist this weekend with Sip N Paint in Leimert Park, hosted by Da Art Haus. Create a piece of art to take home in a laid-back atmosphere. The event takes place from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Leimert Park Village Merchants Assn. The $25 ticket includes a canvas, easel, apron, paints and paintbrushes. More info
See environmental art in Long Beach: The Long Beach Museum of Arts exhibition Earth, Every Day has been extended through June 27 and features the work of high school students from the city. See how topics like pollution, renewable energy and climate change are explored. The museum sits on a beachside bluff overlooking the Pacific and has an outdoor restaurant to make more of the visit. The museum is also holding its Art Auction XIX; if youre in a position to splurge, you might be able to pick up a gift as well. Advance tickets ($8 to $10; children 12 and younger are free) are required. More info
Catch up with Made in L.A.: The COVID-19-postponed biennial is still open at the Hammer Museum in Westwood and the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Made in L.A. 2020: a version brings together 30 Los Angeles-based artists across two institutions a show that spans L.A. in more ways than one. As of Wednesday afternoon, Fathers Day reservations were still available at the Hammer (free admission) and the Huntington ($13 to $29; children younger than 4 are free). More info
Get classical at the Getty Villa: Looking for something more old school? Celebrate Dad a little early and head over to the Getty Villa on Friday. The Malibu institution is home to ancient Greek and Roman art, with tranquil gardens that make the Italian countryside feel as close as Pacific Coast Highway. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday appeared sold out, but plenty of spots were available for Friday, and the best part: Admission is free. More info
Gear up at the Petersen Automotive Museum: If youve got F9" fever, try an afternoon at the Petersen, across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It boasts of having one of the worlds largest car collections, with modern racers, vintage high-performance vehicles, sci-fi designs and more on view. Advance tickets ($11 to $16) are still available for this weekend. More info
Marvel at maritime wonders in Oxnard: If seaside treasures are more your thing, a nice Sunday drive to the Channel Islands Maritime Museum might do the trick. Its Fathers Day event will feature vintage boats, classic cars, ship models and even knot-tying demonstrations for those whove always wanted to explore the high seas. Regular admission ($3 to $7; children 6 and younger are free) apply. More info
Jam out at the Grammy Museum: More than just dad music, the Grammy Museum is reopening just in time for Fathers Day weekend. The downtown L.A. institution has three new exhibits, which are centered on Motown, the Dave Matthews Band and Marco Antonio Sols. Reserve advance tickets ($13 to $15; children 5 and younger are free). More info
Uncover the secrets of the Madcap Hotel: Its not exactly Hotel California, but its something close. The Madcap Motel in downtown L.A.'s Arts District has the oddities you need to feel like youve entered another dimension. The immersive show, modeled after a 1960s motel, invites you into a mystery of bizarre installations and photo ops. Timed tickets ($36.90 to $47.25)required. More info
Explore L.A.'s great outdoors on a hike: Sometimes its hard to beat quality time spent outdoors with your loved ones. Check out The Times guide to the 50 best hikes in L.A., where you can get the scoop on the best hiking experiences the region has to offer, with details about trail length and difficulty. Directions also included.
Visit some of our 101 Best Restaurants picks: Indulge in the reopenings of eateries around Los Angeles by perusing our annual list of 101 restaurants. The list not only includes reviews but also highlights Angelenos who helped to make a difficult year a little bit brighter. Check individual listings for Fathers Day weekend availability.
Tune into opera: A Fathers Day virtual recital will take place from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by the African Americans for L.A. Opera chapter of the Opera League of Los Angeles. Featuring the voices of Derrell Acon and Leonard Hayes, the free performance just may to tug at your heartstrings. More info
Dive into coral reefs: The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is inviting kids and their families for a guided art lesson about coral reefs Saturday. Parents looking for family fun can get the kids engaged with the thousands of animals that call coral reefs home, all while staying in the comfort of your own. Tickets are $10 per household. More info
Make a tasty treat with virtual cooking classes: BLVD Kitchens online cooking school has a stacked schedule of classes for kids and their parents. This weekend features lessons for little ones on how to make brownies and strawberry jam perfect for Sunday brunch treats. Paid reservations required. More info
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Posted: at 1:16 am
Adventure of the Seas made its first port of call stop not at a private island on this sailing, when we arrived in Cozumel.
Unfortunately the weather forecast was not favorable, but you gotta make do with what you get.
Since it was overcast and looked like it might rain a lot, we decided to go downtown and have lunch instead of doing an excursion or going to the beach.
I was curious to see what Cozumel is like after all these months without cruise ships and the tourists they bring. While so much attention is given to the plight of the cruise lines during the shutdown, ports like Cozumel have been suffering without the daily flow of tourists.
I was surprised to see most of the shops and restaurants open for business. Perhaps they all just closed up until today, but the stores were ready for tourists.
In fact, many of the people working at these shops were surprised to see cruise ship visitors. Some told us they had heard cruise ship guests would be limited to cruise line excursions, or were simply unaware a ship was back.
In Cozumel, you have to wear a mask inside and outside, regardless of if you are vaccinated or not. It's a federal law, so it definitely made walking around a little more uncomfortable since the humidity was extremely high.
Besides wearing masks, the experience being back downtown was the same as in the past. Lots of people encouraging you to stop in and shop, restaurants open, and taxis all over the place.
We had lunch in a restaurant we had never been to before north of downtown, but the food was disappointing. It just was nothing special.
We then headed to a new coffee shop that I had never seen before,Aqui + Ahora Coffee.
The place had a great vibe to it, and a nice assortment of coffees, snacks, and some light food too.
Afterwards, we decided to head back to the ship and relax in our (air conditioned) cabin.
Overall, Cozumel looked better than I expected. I thought perhaps only a fraction of the stores or restaurants would be open, but a surprisingly large number of venues were open.
When we come back next week, our plan is to visit an old favorite, Paradise Beach, and see what that experience is like now.