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Displaying items by tag: Tom MacSweeney

24th February 2016

Will Titanic Really Sail Again?

It is probably only an “eccentric billionaire” who would come up with and finance a plan to build a second Titanic and operate it with a derivative of the name of the company which owned the original ill-fated vessel.

Clive Palmer, the Australian billionaire and Member of Parliament, has been described as such and, though his original intention to have the second Titanic sailing this year has had to be postponed, he is still determined that it will voyage the oceans.

On this edition of THIS ISLAND NATION he and several of his supporters outline why they believe it is a viable project and will sail.

CONSTRUCTION OF TITANIC II IN CHINA

Construction of Titanic II in China

Clive Palmer, is the man who devised the plan for the second TITANIC and is paying for its construction, which will cost at least €200m. He says that TITANIC II will begin its voyages in 2018. Originally the date set for the inaugural sailing by the Blue Star Line, which he established for the project, was during this year. However, there have been difficulties and some setbacks in the project. The first sailing has been deferred for two years, while construction is underway in China.

The name BLUE STAR LINE contrasts with the WHITE STAR LINE which owned the original TITANIC.

BLUE STAR has announced that Titanic II will offer a “true period experience,” including the original type of cramped quarters for Third Class passengers, but better for 2nd and very good for 1st Class, just like the original vessel. It won’t have any ‘sinking feeling,’ according to Mr.Palmer. Unlike the original ship, there will be no shortage of lifeboats and it will have modern maritime safety and navigational, engineering and other technology. It will carry 2,000 passengers and have a lifeboat space for everyone aboard – unlike the original Titanic, which four days into its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic, about 400 miles from Newfoundland, on the night of 14 April 1912 and, gradually through to the morning of 15 April, sank. There were 2,200 passengers and crew aboard. 1.503 died in the sinking. The ship was built at the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast.

Southampton has been included as a port-of-call for the inaugural voyage. So far no mention has been made of calling to Cork Harbour, last port-of-call for the ill-fated original vessel, where TITANIC took aboard Irish passengers who joined by tender from Cobh.

Tom MacSweeney

• Listen to THIS ISLAND NATION above 

Published in Island Nation

There is a battle beginning in Cork Harbour which could become nasty and how it turns out will shape the future of what has been described as “the second most beautiful natural harbour in the world.” At issue is €500m for development and centres that could lead the way in international maritime research.
The money has been earmarked for developing a maritime tourist centre on Spike Island, an international sailing development on Haulbowline Island and the Cruise Liner Terminal at Cobh, as well as the Beaufort Centre, leading international marine energy research and the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, another research centre, both at Ringaskiddy, where the National Maritime College, also developing its international reputation is on the same complex. Close by is the Naval Base on Haulbowline.

In what seems like questionable planning logic, the waste management company, Indaver, where it wants to build not one but two incinerators, one to treat hazardous waste and another non-hazardous, just across the road.
In case anyone raises the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) issue, the vista of Cork Harbour, as residents will tell you, now includes three huge wind turbines used by the several chemical factories at Ringaskiddy and an increasingly noisy port where stacks of containers will be part of the scenery following the development of the new container port there. Ringaskiddy has, arguably, suffered more than any village in Ireland from environmental problems caused by the concentration of so many chemical factories there. What infuriates residents is that they have fought off Indaver for 15 years, involving legal action, Court cases and a cost of over a million Euros raised from the community.

Incinerator PROTEST SIGN RINGASKIDDY

Incinerator protest sign at Ringaskiddy

That fury was evident on Monday night when several hundred crowded into Ringaskiddy Community Hall. So big was the attendance that people stood in corridors, entrances and even outside the building. Residents from communities all over Cork Harbour have voiced opposition and accused the company of trying to “bully their way” into the harbourside village. Minister Coveney, the Leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin and other politicians have agreed with the residents that it is an abuse of democracy that a company can, as often as it wants, try to defeat the will of the people.
“I am fundamentally opposed to this development,” Minister Coveney told the meeting. He is a TD for the area, but got a hefty grilling about the incinerator proposal. He declared that he would object, as the FF Leader as other politicians have also pledged. He said he had told Indaver his views and that he feared their proposal would damage prospects for the €500m. investment in the harbour. “It is the wrong proposal, wrong place and wrong time and I say that as a person who loves Cork Harbour and has put a huge effort and time into trying to get what is right for it,” he said.
The battle now developing will have implications for sailing in the harbour and the clubs there, which include Cove, Monkstown Bay and the Royal Cork at Crosshaven. The new port could restrict the sailing area and the reputation of the ‘beautiful harbour’ could take a beating. The level of anger in the harbour is considerable.As I left the meeting on Monday night my last impression was seeing huge numbers of people queuing up to donate money to a campaign to stop Indaver and to lodge objections. Driving out of Ringaskiddy I saw the Minister for the Marine’s election poster proclaiming: “We’ll make Royal Cork great again.”
I wonder if that will happen, because it seems to me that a new ‘battle’ for the future of “the second most beautiful natural harbour in the world” is underway.

Published in Island Nation

My Podcast about membership of sailing and yacht clubs - GETTING MEMBERS IN – INSTEAD OF KEEPING PEOPLE OUT - drew a lot of attention and comment…. It seems to have touched a topic that quite a few people felt should be openly discussed……so it is appropriate that the oldest yacht club in the world, heading for its Tercentenary – 300 years in existence – considered the issue at its annual general meeting this week.
The out-going Admiral of the RCYC – the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven - Pat Lyons, got directly to the centrality of the issue which is a problem for many clubs in sailing, though also not a problem exclusive to maritime sport.
While the club continues to attract new members, there is an on-going erosion of its long–term membership base, he said.
So, having congratulated the new RCYC Admiral, John Roche, on his appointment, I asked him if the club was any different from others around the country, facing membership problems. He takes over leadership of the RCYC for the next two years and told me that it was no different from any others in having to address issues of membership, with an ageing scenario also. A range of initiatives is being devised as a long-term strategy.
“These will benefit the club over time, placing our focus on remaining aware of and responding to, the evolving needs of the sailing community.”
Former Cork Port Harbour Master, Pat Farnan, was elected RCYC Vice-Admiral which places him in position to succeed to the office of Admiral in two years’ time.
Kieran O’Connell, who was re-elected as Rear Admiral Keel Boats at the RCYC agm, a tribute to his commitment and ability in running cruiser racing, is also Chairman of Cork Week.
John O’Connor is the club’s new Vice Admiral for non-racing cruising boats and Stephen O’Shaughnessy was elected to the role for dinghies.
Listen to the Podcast to hear the response of the oldest yacht club in the world to the membership issue and also about its plans for the Tercentenary in 2020 which are already being worked upon and the new competitions which will form part of this year’s Cork Week.

Published in Island Nation

It’s annual general meeting time and for most sailing clubs one of the big issues will be membership. Some readers and club members may prefer the description ‘yacht’ clubs, but ‘Sailing’ was chosen by the national association a few years ago to popularise the sport. Many of the bigger clubs still remain YCs and there is nothing inherently wrong in that, provided that the description doesn’t keep potential newcomers away from the sport rather than encouraging them into it.

Exclusivity may be more in the eye of the beholder of clubs these days, from the outside, rather than within the clubs themselves but, whether or not you like it being mentioned, it remains an issue in some places and our sport could do without it.

I remember when Marine Correspondent with RTE being abused by a rather obnoxious member of a Dun Laoghaire waterfront club who emerged from its impressive paladial-like frontage to assail the camera crew and myself who were filming the premises from the roadway and being told by him that we should not be there and should realise the club wished to have privacy from the public. We were there at the express request of the club for coverage of a racing event, but this individual had decided to express his own view of the exclusiveness of sailing. While myself being involved in the sport, I could rather bluntly tell him what to do with his opinion, the camera crew were left with a bad impression of sailing.

‘Private – members only’ signage outside some clubs has been criticised, but clubs are entitled to protect their premises. There are golf clubs just the same, as are some other sporting establishments … but sailing seems to have been a particular source of criticism.

SAILING YACHTING MEMBERSHIPSailing is a sport for life 

My media work has given me a access to clubs all over the country, so maybe I don’t experience what the general public does but it is reasonable to expect people to pay to become members and for the entitlement then to avail of the facilities provided. That is what a ‘club’ – a group or association of people with a common interest - is. Quite a few sailors are members of a few clubs. I am, of my village sailing club, Monkstown Bay, where I began in dinghies and also of the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven. I went there for cruiser racing at a time when Monkstown sailed only dinghies. Nowadays it also races cruisers and I am happy to be a member of both….

While I have also experienced a welcome at clubs all over the country, it cannot be denied that the sport of sailing has an unfortunate legacy in a public impression left behind by a minority of individuals who did not represent it well, because they favoured exclusivity rather than inclusivity, which has to be the hallmark of the ‘sport for all …. and for life’ - which sailing should be in an island nation.

There is a challenge ahead for many sailing and yacht clubs as they hold their annual meetings – and that is to maintain their base of membership, much of which is ageing, so to encourage younger members and families to become and remain members and to get newcomers to join… thus ensuring the future of the sport….
Getting members in… instead of keeping people out….

Published in Island Nation

At “the turn of the year” as it is still called by many of the older generation, it is customary to look back at the year past and remember a few high points. There were many for me in compiling THIS ISLAND NATION, but on this week’s edition of my radio programme, I have opted for unusual sounds which stuck in my mind about the sea.

70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water and still little is known about the treasures hidden in the deep sea. That was exemplified for me during the year when I played those unusual ‘sounds of the sea’ which drew a very big response from listeners.

I had never before heard the sound of the haddock, a fish which is popular on dining menus. Did you know that the haddock, which we eat, is actually capable of making audio sounds? I didn’t, but you can hear the sound which this fish makes on this week’s programme and there are other fascinating sounds, including from whales and dolphins. Perhaps they are attempts to communicate with the human world.
Who knows?

If they are such an attempt, whales will not be getting a positive answer from the Japanese who, as the New Year approaches, have sent two whaling ships to Antarctica's Southern Ocean to resume the killing of whales. This is under the pretence of collecting scientific data, which is not accepted as a genuine reason for whaling by the international community, including Ireland, where our waters are a whale sanctuary.

Japan has ignored International Whaling Commission regulations and has announced it will kill 333 minke whales this year, under the guise of being for research purposes. What that research is, has not been disclosed. Surprise, surprise in that regard!

In previous years Japan has killed 935 whales. Australia has said it will take action against Japan. It is really time that the Japanese stopped lie-ing to the world about the fact that they are killing whales for the greed of commercial interests.

There are times in one’s life when an incident is recounted which makes a big impact and so it is in the true story told this week by Dick Robinson about a time when youngsters on Valentia Island learned the hard facts of life at sea, when they were trying to make the transition from being youths to doing what they had seen men do. The “boys thought they were men….” Dick recalls about the tragic incident at ‘the top of the tide’ on Valentia which was a personal experience for him that left an indelible memory.

VALENTIA ISLAND

Valentia Island And The Top Of The Tide - A Story On This Island Nation. Click above to listen

It happened as a boat was being moved in the harbour and, as John Hollahan surmises on the programme - “If old boats could talk, what a tale they would tell….”

Amongst other topics on the programme, Myles Kelly of Fisheries Ireland outlines new bass angling regulations that are coming into force and discusses the start of the salmon season.

Do listen to THIS ISLAND NATION above on the Afloat website and, for the New Year ahead, may I wish you all …”fair sailing….”

Published in Island Nation

The world sailing organisation has changed its name – and about time too!

The initials, ISAF, had to be explained in the English language as – International Sailing Federation.

Having to explain an organisation’s name does it no favours.

The name was not sufficiently descriptive, it was cumbersome, bureaucratic-sounding and a hang-over from the past when sailing was the preserve of too many elite factions.

Changing to ‘World Sailing’ is more correctly descriptive of the sport.

This was announced at the World Yacht Racing Forum in Geneva, where 280 delegates discussed the future of the sport, how to increase the level of public awareness of sailing, increase active participation, ensure sustainability, deal with emerging safety issues such as foiling and how to build the commercial appeal of sailing to increase sponsorship.

One of the particularly interesting discussions, I felt, was about the training of young sailors and how the sport can ensure their continuance in what we like to regard as “a sport for life.”

There is on-going discussion in the sport here about the level of coaching of younger sailors and whether the Irish Sailing Association, the national governing body, puts too much emphasis on the ‘Pathway’ to competitive international sailing and not enough on clubs and domestic competition.

It has been argued that this discourages junior sailors from long-term participation in the sport and is a counterbalance to the concept of sailing as “a sport for life.”

The approach to junior sailing was discussed at the World Yacht Racing Forum where Andrew Hurst, Editor of Seahorse, the international sailing magazine, said that young sailors were being “absurdly over-coached.” As an example, he said: “We have very few Optimist champions who have gone on to win silverware at senior level. We need to inspire youngsters to look at sailing as a sport for life.”

That remark arguably challenges the Optimist fleet, which introduces the youngest participants to the sport. While the training provided to Optimists gives youngsters a good grounding in the sport and builds their confidence, I have been told by several parents of their concern that this can be over-done and can place too much emphasis on competition.

But I have also seen at first-hand – and admired - the commitment of parents to the organisation of events such as the Optimist Spring Training Weeks held at Baltimore in West Cork, where I saw the benefits of good coaching to the young sailors taking part. They seemed to me to gain confidence and ability in boat-handling, but if they are not destined to become potential ‘winners’ will they drop out of sailing in later years?

Interestingly, the winning skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race, Ian Walker, said at the Geneva meeting that in some developed nations “kids are being over-coached to the point where they want to leave the sport in their late teens, never to return.”

This is an issue which needs more analysis and discussion because many clubs are concerned about membership levels right now and into the future. The continued involvement of young people is vital for the future of the sport.

One of the disappointing aspects of the Geneva meeting, in my view, is that there is no sign yet of World Sailing achieving any change of the polluted Rio waters for Olympic racing next year, nor of getting sailing back into the Paralympics. After next year, disabled sailing has been dropped and that to me is an appalling vista for the future of our sport.

Published in Island Nation
16th December 2015

Remembering Lives Lost At Sea

I met a man this week who wants to make St.Stephen’s Day a national day of remembrance for those who have died in tragedies at sea.

There has never before been such a day in Ireland.

Noel McDonagh is from Dunmore East in County Waterford, one of the top fishing ports in the country where he spent many years of his life fishing.

He is the man who founded LAST – the charity called ‘Lost At Sea Tragedies’ – which has helped with financial aid to the families of fishermen who have lost members of their family in tragedies at sea.

NOEL McDONAGH - FOUNDER OF LASTNoel McDonagh

“I have seen many tragedies, friends, relatives lost at sea, something had to be done and I felt I would do it,” Noel tells me on the current edition of my THIS ISLAND NATION radio programme which you can hear here. I have done many interviews in my career on radio and television. This will stand out in my memory. Noel is dedicated to this cause in which he believes. Now retired, having been involved in the outdoor sports equipment business after fishing, when I met him he was delivering special candles made for LAST to shops for sale at Christmastime, to raise funds for the charity.

After the tragedy when the three Bolger brothers – Paul, Kenny and Shane - drowned while fishing on the Waterford coast in June of 2013, Noel was part of the group which organised and launched a CD called “Songs for the River Men.” Many artistes - from Ireland, the UK, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Newfoundland - contributed their work, to raise funds for the family.

LAST POSTER

Several coastal communities have arranged remembrance events for St.Stephen’s Day. “We are leaving it to communities to make their own arrangements. The remembrance will be for fishermen and all who have lost their lives at sea. Ireland should remember them and St.Stephen’s Day at Christmastime is a time to think of them and their families,” Noel said.

As well as helping families with financial aid when it is needed after a tragedy, LAST intends to “assist and educate the Irish fishing industry to help prevent future catastrophes while offering support and guidance to the families of those lost in fishing tragedies.”

“When there is a tragedy there is interest for a few weeks, amongst the media, the public, the State and then the tragedy can get forgotten. But LAST will not forget. Our aim is to create awareness about tragedies, the effects on families, on communities and how they should be avoided,” Noel McDonagh says. “LAST will achieve its aims by informing and influencing the Irish fishing industry, coastal communities, businesses, Governmental and non-governmental organisations in and around Ireland.”

Do please listen to his interview and also to Niamh Stephenson, Public Relations Manager with the RNLI, who recalls that last year, there were 100 call-outs of the lifeboats between Christmas and the New Year when 67 lives were saved. CEO of Irish Water Safety, John Leech, tells us about the national wards to those who have contributed to water safety and there is a beautiful story from Rhoda Twombly, Secretary of Comhdháil Oileán na hÉireann – the Islands’ Federation – about the difficulties of getting home to an offshore island with the Christmas supplies in bad weather.

On the programme I am also told how school pupils cleared 12 tonnes of rubbish from a beach wetlands area in East Cork where over 11,000 birds have been recorded. That debris included an entire camping tent, containing clothing, which had been buried on the beach.

As their teacher says: “Nothing about the way people disregard the importance of protecting our marine areas surprises me any longer!”

Published in Island Nation

The dominant subject in the past week has been the weather – pictures on television and in the newspapers of water pouring through streets, into houses, shops, stranded cars and so on – bringing in its wake flooding, destruction, tragedy in its effects on people’s lives. I have heard from seafarers who faced appalling conditions at sea - winds gusting from 50 miles an hour, up to 100, accompanied by massive seas, huge waves. Nightly on television the weather maps have shown where it was all coming from – across the oceans – spinning over the Atlantic, moving in the jet stream, lashing the first land mass it encountered, THIS ISLAND NATION…..

SHERKIN ISLANDSherkin Island in West Cork

Nature does show us humans at times just how little we can control her moods and what can be unleashed upon us and I wonder if people fully realise the importance of the oceans.

Matt Murphy lives on one of our offshore islands which felt the first lash of the gales in the past week. That’s Sherkin Island off Baltimore in West Cork where he founded and has run the Sherkin Marine Station for 40 years and was an early exponent of the need to be aware of climate change:

Matt outlined his views to me in an interview which you can hear on the audio Podcast of THIS ISLAND NATION above.

MATT MURPHY OF SHERKIN ISLAND MARINE STATIONMatt Murphy

I attended a seminar in Dublin a fortnight ago as part of the Sea for Society programme, which is an extensive European Commission project, promoting the opportunities in the seas, but also warning about the threats to them from human behaviour. The seas, the oceans are a marvellous place, so vital to our human welfare, but at the seminar I wondered if those of us who are aware of the maritime importance in life are talking to ourselves and that the message may not be getting through to the public at large. Have you ever listened, really listened, to the sounds of the ocean?

It is worth listening to these unusual sounds, which you can hear on the Podcast. For example, have you ever heard the sound a haddock makes?

DR.PETER HEFFERNAN CEO MARINE INSTITUTEDr. Peter Heffernan

Those sounds should, surely, make one think about life in the oceans and men like Dr.Peter Heffernan do. He is Chief Executive of the Marine Institute which carried out a seabed survey between Newfoundland and Ireland in the past year.

He summarised for me the importance of the oceans:

You can hear Peter Heffernan outline in the Podcast why “every time we breathe… we need the sea….”

Indeed we do …. Let’s remember that…….

Published in Island Nation

The first time I sailed the Round Ireland Yacht Race was in 1986 aboard Philips Innovator.

That was a time when maxi yachts were not a feature of Irish waters. Innovator had sailed the Whitbread Round the World Race and was big news when she arrived in Ireland, having finished second in the Whitbread. I was one of the media members offered the opportunity to crew and jumped at the chance. There were Dutch professionals in charge, led by Skipper Dirk Nauta and amongst my memories are counting 33 tacks in an hour as the yacht fought the tides around Rathlin. And towards the end of the race his decision to tack in the Irish Sea and head unerringly for the finish line in a time of 100 hours, 50 minutes and 59 seconds.

PHILIPS INNOVATOR

Philips Innovator battles her way around Rathlin in the 1986 Round Ireland race, with me on the grinder starboard side

That was my first experience of working a deck grinder and around Rathlin that instrument became an item to which I took a particular dislike… But that’s sailing on big boats and she was big by Irish standards then, though not now. She was a Baltic 55, built in Finland and in later years became a charter boat called Outlaw in the Caribbean. I met up with her again in Fort Lauderdale when she was named Equity & Law in the 1990-91 Round the World Race when I joined the crew of NCB Ireland in the final leg of that race across the Atlantic.

In 1992 I sailed in the Round Ireland race once again, this time aboard Mayhem out of Galway Bay Sailing Club, a 44-footer, owned and skippered by John Killeen. For her size she had a tiller and that was demanding and unusual. Particularly demanding on some heavy nights along the western coast, when one of my memories is lying in my bunk off-watch listening to the cheery voice of the Tribesmen crew as they pirouetted the boat on top of another wave and cheered loudly as the yacht took off under spinnaker.

I was to do the race, which has many happy sailing memories for me, one more time but after that my involvement was reporting it, with memories of chasing the fleet in a Wicklow Club boat from the start line, rushing back with pictures and then driving back to Donnybrook to edit the pictures at Montrose and get them onto TV News. In later years the arrival of satellite vans made life much easier.

I have memories of seeing beautiful sunrises around the top of Ireland, magnificent sunsets, conditions which varied from flat seas to pounding waves and worried nights in darkness trying to keep clear of the coastline as lighthouses winked their warnings and huge waves and high winds tried to push us ever inwards where we feared becoming ‘bayed’ and fought for open water.

There were great names and people to interview – Michael Jones who started Wicklow Sailing Club’s great idea to hold the race; Dennis Noonan who sat in his eyrie, the Race Office built alongside the club house and, with an easy grace, controlled matters. The relief of getting ashore at the end of the race to the hospitality in the club, contrasted with the always-present even if never-admitted, bit of pre-race nerves before the start.

Interviewing people like the legendary Denis Doyle on Moonduster of the RCYC, only achieved after lots of persuasive effort and hearing his wife Mary tell him how soon she expected this legendary boat and then race speed record holder to be back in Wicklow and how many days she had provisioned the yacht for. One of her comments gave me the title for one of my television race documentaries, when she said that the crew would be using the Fray Bentos tins of steak and kidney pie if they were not back in four days. I called the documentary – Four Days or the Iron Rations – and Mary laughed about that.

There were yachts with names that stood out – Commanche Raider sailed by Norbert and Patrick Reilly, Jim Donegan’s White Rooster from Cork; the maxi Drum, named Mazda Drum for the race and other international boat names – Rothmans, Creighton’s naturally and Colm Barrington with the W60 named Jeep Cherokee which set a record of 76 hours 23 minutes and 57 seconds making the story of the race in 1998.

I broadcast radio programmes from the club house on the eve of the race start, sat on the rooftop lounge drinking nightcaps with club members and harbour staff and once was given the honour of doing the public address race start commentary. Great memories and so many other names and personalities flooded through my mind when Peter Shearer, the current Chairman of Wicklow’s Race Committee announced that next year, for the first time, there will be a separate multihull class.

That, I thought, is an example of how Wicklow has retained its dominance of the race, despite several attempts over the years by bigger clubs to wrest it to their locale.

It will add a new international dimension and should bring more excitement to the event which is a staple of the Irish offshore scene. Over the years they have established links with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and next June will host it jointly, as they did two years ago, with the Royal Irish Yacht Club of Dun Laoghaire. Spreading their wings and involving more people rather than maintaining an exclusive solo run, so that the race continues to be a Wicklow event is important so that clubs in locations that are not major centres, show what they can contribute to the sport.

There will be a new trophy for the multihulls and another new one for the best sailing school boat, as the race is popular with sailing schools.

Already Team Concise has pledged its three multihulls and Rambler 88 from the US, a sophisticated racing machine is committed to take part.

For me it is a long way from Philips Innovator and Mayhem, but it is the evolution of a special, iconic Irish race.

If you haven’t done it, try it.

The start line on the eighteenth of June at 2pm for the 19th running of the race should be a great place.

Published in Island Nation

There is always something unusual in the sea, a phrase I have heard very often from marine scientists and which I have been known to utter myself. It comes to my mind time and again when I am preparing this fortnightly radio programme.

From somewhere in my educational background, most likely with the Presentation Brothers in Cork aeons ago, I became conditioned to believe in a world that was, seemingly, manufactured within a defined religious-approved period, but I did not conceive then as a youngster that this could have happened many, many millions of years back, before the period recognised by the Brothers who taught me a lot that I value today, but were less informative about the millions of years BC.

So, when I come across information about a new discovery in the ocean, dating back many millions of years ago, the dating of them still comes as a surprise to me. Perhaps that is reflective of my age, or rather maturity, which I prefer to regard it as – maturing … like a good wine!

Anyway, that phrase came back to me when collating the News review for the current edition of THIS ISLAND NATION and two stories which came from North America about discoveries going back those ‘millions of years ago’. They reported that sharks existed on Earth 300 million years ago and that was before the age of the Dinosaurs. The discoveries have been made by marine scientists in Texas and New Mexico. The fossil of a shark more than 8 metres long - that’s about 26 feet - and a quarter longer than the modern great white shark  – has been found in Jacksboro, Texas, on what was the seabed of the Western Interior Seaway which covered Texas in water 300 million years ago. In addition to that, a nearly-complete fossilised shark that also dates to about 300 million years ago has been found during an archaeological dig in a quarry in New Mexico. A female specimen, this measures 6 feet, that’s around 2 metres, long.

It all shows that we still know less about the seas than we do about the Universe – and that’s something else which scientists say quite often!

Published in Island Nation
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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