Saturday, March 29, 2008

Drunks, 9mm Pistols, and Saltwater Crocs!

We love Australia. Where else can to get a story about drunken swimmers, cops with big guns, add in a 13 foot Saltwater Croc and call that the local news?

Australia-that's where!

Home to more critters that bite, sting, tear, infect, rip and maim, this country has it all. While cops in the good old USA have guns to shoot bad guys, Australians have them to keep all those critters we mentioned at bay:

First Class Constable Sean Stanley, from Alyangula Police station on Groote Eylandt, has been labelled a hero in his community -- and worldwide -- after he drew his Glock automatic pistol and shot at a 4m saltie about to attack a drunk.

But in an interview with the Northern Territory News last night he remained modest, saying "any NT Police officer would have done the same''.

And that's despite the fact Const Stanley called the man, who was trying to swim out to a baited croc trap about 70m offshore, an "idiot''.

He said the dramatic ordeal, which left him shouting out in panic at the man to "get out of the f...... water'', brought back memories of croc attack victim Russell Harris, who was taken when snorkelling at Picnic Beach on the islandin 2005.

Southern California White Shark Sightings

If it's April that can only mean two things here in California:

1. Spring
2. Great white sharks

Every year (just about now) the local media in Southern California runs with several stories about great whites on beach and near surfers with the Grunion Run and San Onofre beach being the prime site.

This week was par for the course:

"Tom Larkin is convinced that a shark jolted his surfboard and left what looks like a bite mark on the back end while he waited for a wave in the waters near Bolsa Chica State Beach earlier this month. After paddling in as his damaged surfboard took on water, the 26-year-old stock analyst from Manhattan Beach said he proceeded to freak out in the parking lot. I don't know what else it could have been."

But Huntington Beach lifeguards dismiss the reports as hogwash -- even though great whites have been spotted in the area in years past..looks like some Huntington Beach lifeguards will be looking for another job when the first video surfaces.

Panama Manta Expedition 2009

The Manta Network is conducting its first exploratory expedition to Panama. There are several reports and sightings of manta and mobula rays in the area. This will be our first opportunity to conduct detailed research in Panama.

On board the 100-foot Lost Coast Explorer we will investigate the area surrounding the Coiba National Park. The park is a new World Heritage site and is one of the largest marine parks in the world. Coiba is at the center of the park and is Panama's largest island. It is also home to the second-largest coral reef in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The waters are filled with very large fish and mammals including humpbacks whales, dolphins, orcas, whale sharks, manta rays, rooster fish, amber jack, big snappers, three kinds of marlin, moray eels, and white-tip, hammerhead, and tiger sharks. Sharks and mantas are especially common, and sea turtles are seen regularly.

You are invited to participate as a research assistant and aid our scientists in the collection of important data that will lead to effective manta protection. We plan to deploy our underwater video camera on manta cleaning stations as well as conduct photo identification field work.

We are offering a 6 day/7 night expedition to Coiba on the Lost Coast Explorer. The departure date is April 5 from Panama City returning April 11, 2008. The expedition cost is $3,295 plus airfare. The trip will be led by Robert Aston and Lynn Jaye.

The Manta Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and therefore the cost of the trip is IRS tax-deductible.

Only a limited number of research assistant spaces are being offered and these will sell out quickly. To book your space contact Robert Aston via email at: