It is common knowledge that the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest in the world. This Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, to make the ocean “safer for both wildlife and humans,” the Atlantic must reduce its sodium content from 3.3% to 2.4% over the next five years.
“As the Atlantic is the biggest offender in the war against salt, it was only natural that it would be the first target on our list,” claims a senior EPA ecologist. “We realize that the Atlantic faces many issues: oil pollution, trash build-up, pelicans…however it is our sincere belief that salinity is the first problem the Atlantic must address. We’ve come to this conclusion mainly because it was our committee’s decision.”
Salt Water Fish to wear Saltine patches!
Though the reduction was applauded by public safety advocates, residents of the Atlantic ocean are not pleased. This includes coral reefs, fish, and a dude on a houseboat. The Middle Oceanic Fraternal Order of Seahorses and Related Species (or MOFOS, as it is more commonly known) is an opposition group which has been vocal about what they see as an encroachment of their basic rights as oceanic inhabitants. “This aggression will not stand!” shouts their spokesperson, the dude on the houseboat.
In a letter published by The Atlantic (no relation), the Atlantic Ocean defended itself in its own words:
“I feel that I’m being very unfairly targeted by the EPA’s mandate. The Pacific Ocean is nearly double my size, and the Dead Sea is nearly twice as salty, and yet I’m taking all the guff. Is it merely a convenient coincidence that both The Dead Sea and the Pacific Ocean are major contributors to the campaigns of several top-level appointees in the EPA? You be the judge!”
A coffin ship was the name given to the ships that carried Irish immigrants escaping the effects of the potato famine. These ships, crowded and disease ridden, with poor access to food and water, resulted in the deaths of many people as they crossed the Atlantic. While coffin ships were the cheapest way to cross the Atlantic, often more than half of the passengers died during the voyage. It was said that sharks could be seen following the ships in packs because so many bodies were thrown overboard.
There are always going to be exceptions to the rule and in the case of the Jeanie Johnston we have a ship with a record that by 19th century standards was to be envied. A coming together of a ship’s doctor, a ships master/captain and a ship’s owner who tried their best to deliver their passengers to the new world and never lost a life.
The 408 ton cargo ship was purchased in Liverpool by John Donovan and Sons of Tralee, Co. Kerry. As the famine gripped Ireland, the company ran a successful trade bringing emigrants from Ireland to North America and returning with timbers bound for the ports of Europe.
The Jeanie Johnston made her maiden voyage on 24th April 1848 from Blennerville, Co. Kerry to Quebec with 193 passengers on board. Over the next seven years the ship made 16 voyages to North America carrying over 2,500 emigrants safely to the New World. Despite the seven week journey in very cramped and difficult conditions, no life was ever lost on board the ship – a remarkable achievement which is generally attributed to the ship’s captain, Castletownshend-born James Attridge and the experienced Ship’s Doctor, Dr Richard Blennerhassett.
he Jeanie Johnston boasted just a single main deck and a poop deck, housing its travellers in very cramped bunks. It offered few comforts on the hazardous journey, which usually lasted about two months, but it was also far removed from the infamous “coffin ships” most notably associated with the thousands of emigrants who perished on the transatlantic voyages in 1847.
The emigrants on the Jeanie Johnston were berthed below deck in the steerage area, where temporary accommodation was rigged up for them, and they were expected to provide their own bedding. They were pressed tightly together in tiny spaces – four to a six foot-square bunk, with two children counting as one adult! It is difficult to visualise that, on one trip, the stalwart ship carried a total of 254 passengers. These brave Irish souls paid the fare of £3.10 shillings to make the heroic journey to the “New World”.
The makeshift quarters used by the emigrants were removed when they disembarked in North America, enabling the ship to perform its secondary role of transporting vital supplies of food and timber back to Ireland on its return journey.
The passengers onboard the Jeanie Johnston has to make do with very limited food provisions during their treacherous journey. They were expected to bring some food on board with them, and also required to provide their own cooking utensils and to cook for themselves. This meant queuing up for a turn on the only stove, located on the main deck, and if the weather was bad, the family would go hungry that day or be reduced to eating raw flour or meal.
The shipping legislation of the times shows how meagre were the weekly provisions allocated to the emigrants onboard:
21 quarts water
2½ lbs bread or biscuit
5 lbs oatmeal
2 ouzes tea
½ lb molasses
Despite the extremely cramped and primitive conditions by today’s standards, the Jeanie Johnston was a well run and humanely operated ship which cared as best it could, in the most difficult circumstances, for the fleeing emigrants.
Its enviable record (in the context of 19th century transatlantic voyages) of not having lost a single life to either disease or illness at sea was largely due to the great efforts of Dr. Richard Blennerhassett, supported by the humanitarian attitude of the ship’s master, Captain James Attridge. The doctor would ensure that hatches were open every day when possible, that the bedding was aired, the accommodation below deck was kept as clean as possible and that everyone would be encouraged to take a walk on deck each day unless the weather was too rough.
In this regard, the Jeanie Johnston differed from many other ships of the time in that it employed a highly reputable and experienced doctor. In their frequent letters of appreciation to Captain Attridge following their voyage, the passengers also singled out Blennerhassett for praise.
It is also worth remembering that even when the ship met its final end, no lives were lost. In 1856, she was sold as a cargo ship to William Johnson of North Shields in England, and two years later when en route from Quebec (Canada) to Hull (England) with a cargo of timber, she ran into trouble in the mid-Atlantic. Overloaded and waterlogged she sank, but not before all aboard were rescued by a passing Dutch ship. The Sophie Elizabeth, preserving her unblemished safety record.
The Jeanie Johnston holds a powerful spot in Irish folklore because in a time when many people died on immigrant boats, she never lost a passenger.
via IrishAbroad | Blogs.
via IrishAbroad | Blogs.
PARIS – These are not the sorts of “islands” where you’d plan your next tropical vacation. Located in vast areas of the world’s Oceans, by some accounts comprising an area twice as big as Texas, they are home to neither human nor animal life.
Instead these islands are instead simply monstrious spirals of trash.
And now, reports La Stampa, to bring attention to this epic example of man-made pollution, the United Nations’ cultural and science agency UNESCO will designate the conglomerations of rubbish a veritable territory of its own. On April 11, the world will welcome a new “State” to be named Garbage Patch.
[Clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Facebook]
Garbage Patch comprises of five areas of man-made rubbish in the seas: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, is called the Great Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. Marine currents brings the rubbish together, swirling to the surface. The garbage gets broken down, thanks to photodegradation, into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life, reentering the food chain.
Spain-based Italian architect Maria Cristina Finucci, has led the effort to get the UNESCO, state designation. The official Facebook page declares that Garbage Patch will be a federal state with a population of 36,939 — tons of garbage. The nation’s flag will be blue, like the oceans it pollutes.
“I found out about the tragic islands made of plastic, but they were treated lightly by the scientific community,” says Finucci. “There were no photos and images are necessary to gauge the problem.”
Finucci believes that in creating a state, people will become more aware. “The only things that we can do now is to stop them from getting bigger,” she told La Stampa.
[Bottle Caps via Garbage Patch State’s Facebook]
The initiative coincides with 2013 being declared the year of water. There’s a website for the Garbage Patch, run by students at prestigious Venetian University Ca’ Foscari, which aims explain the floating islands through fantastical characters similar to those of Greek mythology. There will also be postcards: “Greetings from the Garbage State” on a deckchair and umbrella.
The inauguration ceremony won’t take place on any of the islands itself, but at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris with a performance meant to recreate the islands: bottle caps on the floor, plastic bags everywhere, and even the sound of waves playing in the background.
Is this perhaps the most perfect picture of Ireland ever taken? | Irish Genealogy and Roots | IrishCentral
Is this perhaps the most perfect picture of Ireland ever taken?
The eerie but beautiful scene was shot by Irish photographer Damien Stenson, whose specialty is astrophotography.
You can check out more of Damien’s work on his Facebook page which features many other amazing images of the night sky over Ireland.
Do you have a favorite picture from Ireland?
Some facts about the Cliffs of Moher:
The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions and are a designated UNESCO Geo Park.
The cliffs are 700 feet high at the highest point and range for 5 miles over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare.
O’Brien’s Tower stands proudly on a headland of the majestic cliffs.
The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower.