ocean (187)

Southeast Asian Islanders Freedive Over 200 Feet

Photo: Melissa Hardo

Before diving as deep as 230 feet under the sea, the Bajau people put on a pair of wooden goggles. They pick up a set of weights. Then, they take one very big breath.

And they hold it for five minutes or longer.

Commonly called Sea Nomads, the indigenous Bajau people have lived for thousands of years off the coast of Southeast Asia, near Malaysia and the Indonesia archipelago. They commonly live in houseboats, spending hours each day hunting fish or other sea creatures underwater. For centuries, these extraordinary free-diving abilities mystified scientists, as the source of the Sea Nomads’ intuitive breath-holding talents remained unknown.…

A longer article in the New York Times Science section.

From Chime Serra

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Crab Shell on Beach Today (about 3″ wide)

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.…

–Native American prayer, translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887

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Fort Point, Under the Golden Gate Bridge

Note: Click on this image to get a much larger pic.
I often go under the bridge to check the waves. On Friday, they were hitting the seawall, with spray flying. I started talking to a park ranger, and he  told me to go inside the fort, and up to the top (four stories, cast iron staircases).
I grew up in San Francisco, I’ve been down there dozens of times, and I never knew you could go inside the fort. It’s an amazing building, built in 1853-1861. It’s open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and well worth a visit. I’ll post more photos in coming days. This was a thrill.

From Wikipedia:

“…Following the United States’ victory in 1848, California was annexed by the U.S. and became a state in 1850. The gold rush of 1849 had caused rapid settlement of the area, which was recognized as commercially and strategically valuable to the United States. Military officials soon recommended a series of fortifications to secure San Francisco Bay. Coastal defenses were built at Alcatraz Island, Fort Mason, and Fort Point.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on Fort Point in 1853. Plans specified that the lowest tier of artillery be as close as possible to water level so cannonballs could ricochet across the water’s surface to hit enemy ships at the water-line.[4] Workers blasted the 90-foot (27 m) cliff down to 15 feet (4.6 m) above sea level. The structure featured seven-foot-thick walls and multi-tiered casemated construction typical of Third System forts. It was sited to defend the maximum amount of harbor area. While there were more than 30 such forts on the East Coast, Fort Point was the only one on the West Coast. In 1854 Inspector General Joseph K. Mansfield declared “this point as the key to the whole Pacific Coast…and it should receive untiring exertions”.
A crew of 200, many unemployed miners, labored for eight years on the fort. In 1861, with war looming, the army mounted the fort’s first cannon. Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Department of the Pacific, prepared Bay Area defenses and ordered in the first troops to the fort. Kentucky-born Johnston then resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army; he was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.…”
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