Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Regulations respecting the administration of Sable Island are the Sable Island Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act. All visitors must obtain permission from the Canadian Coast Guard.
The following provides some details pertinent to visitors, which also generally apply to people visiting Sable Island as part of the operational and scientific programs. Anyone considering a visit to Sable Island should refer to “Sable Island Policies and Procedures”, available from Canadian Coast Guard.
Request for permission to visit Sable Island must be made in writing to the Director of Marine Programs (Canadian Coast Guard, see Contacts, below), and the request must include the details regarding the purpose of the visit, mode of transportation to/from the Island (type of aircraft or vessel), the number of people in the party (and their names and addresses), the anticipated arrival and departure dates, and requirements for logistical support on the Island.
Accommodations & Logistical Support
The Sable Island Station, administered by the Meteorological Service of Canada (Environment Canada), provides the year-round infrastructure for all programs conducted on the Island. Although support of operational, scientific and conservation activities is the primary role of the facility, the Station also provides support for visitors. Arrangements for logistical support on the Island can be made by contacting the Operations Manager (Sable Island Station, see Contacts, below).
Logistical support must be organized well in advance because availability varies depending on operational requirements and programs underway. Camping is not permitted on Sable Island. Visitors who have obtained authorization for overnight stays must arrange for accommodations at the Station. The Station has no vehicles for rent, but visitors may be able to charter a Station vehicle and driver, subject to operational requirements.
Once permission to visit Sable Island is obtained, visitors would usually organize their own transportation to/from the Island (charter aircraft or boat; or private boat). In recent years, the most common modes of transport for visitors have been fixed-wing aircraft chartered through Maritime Air Charter Ltd (the only fixed-wing charter service to the Island, see Contacts, below), and private boat.
Most boats and cruise ships visit Sable in July and August. August through October offer the most favourable conditions for travel by air. Throughout the year the normal delay due to weather or beach conditions is a day or two. However, flights are occasionally delayed much longer, and visitors must be prepared with enough supplies, and a healthy attitude, to deal with such delays.
Maritime Air Charter Limited uses a Britten-Norman Islander, a fixed-wing aircraft designed for short distance take-offs and landings. Some visitors come as groups of five or six persons for a “day-trip”. The Islander’s payload is 485 kg (1070 lbs), so when a party of people arranges to use the Islander, they must consider their combined body weight and strike a balance between number of people and amount of baggage. All flights – fixed-wing and helicopter - depart from the Halifax International Airport. Depending on the direction and strength of winds, the air travel time between Sable Island and the airport is between 1.25 to 1.50 hours.
In addition to the aircraft charter costs, visitors should expect other charges associated with the landing on the Island as well as any required ground support provided by the Station.
Briefings & Cautions
On arrival, a briefing will be provided for all visitors regarding environmental issues and restrictions; persons staying at the Station will also be briefed on facilities and emergency procedures (fire alarms etc).
ZL is occasionally available to provide environmental briefings, and, if visitors are interested, ZL will take them for a walkabout, providing explanation of the Island’s landscape, flora and fauna, and personal introductions to some of the Island’s four-footed residents.
Sable Island is remote and isolated, and is at times inaccessible. Commercial and medical services normally provided on the mainland are not available on the Island. Although Sable Island is not a highly hostile environment, there are many natural hazards associated with weather, surf, flooding and high tides, unstable terrain, beach conditions and soft sand, and wildlife. Visitors must be cautious, and they should consult Station staff for advice regarding their proposed activities. Anyone using a vehicle or working alone should carry a hand-held marine VHF radio or cell phone, and make arrangements for emergency support.
With travel delays common, and no health services available, medical problems can be aggravated and become life-threatening situations on Sable Island. Visitors must be financially prepared to assume the cost of chartering aircraft for medical evacuation or other emergencies.
Aircraft Landing (Includes transportation to main station area)
Fixed Wing $500 each
Helicopter $200 each
*** NOTE: The landing fees DO NOT INCLUDE the price of your flight.
Diesel $1.55 per liter
Gasoline $2.60 per liter
Propane (emergencies only) $150/cylinder
Electricity $1.48 per Kwh
Vehicles (1 hour minimum, plus driver at labour rate)
Crew-cab Pickup $90 per hour
Gator utility vehicle $40 per hour
Bombardier tracked vehicle $140 per hour
Tractor $85 per hour
Loader $85 per hour
Accommodations $300 per person per night
Access to station food supplies $55 per person per day
Mon–Sat, 0800–1630 $90 per hour
Outside of normal hours $135 per hour
Sundays $180 per hour
Callout (less than 4 hrs notice) Minimum of 3 hours at applicable rate
Fax $5 + $1 per page
Cell call $2 per minute
Internet Access $0.50 per minute
Waste Processing and Disposal
Burnable waste $0.50 per pound
Recyclable waste No charge if properly prepared
Non-burnable, non-recyclable $0.60 per pound
Hazardous material $1.50 per pound
Freight Storage and Handling $1 per day per Kg
All charges must be paid with cash, traveller's cheques, or credit card (Visa /MasterCard).
Personal cheques are not accepted.
A copy of the Canadian Coast Guard's Sable Island Visitor's Guide is available in PDF format at the link below:
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
The Rifleman's Creed (also known as My Rifle and The Creed of the United States Marine) is a part of basic United States Marine Corps doctrine. Major General William H. Rupertus wrote it during World War II, probably in late 1941 or early 1942. All Marines learn the creed at recruit training and they are expected to live by it. Different, more concise versions of the creed have developed since its early days, but those closest to the original version remain the most widely accepted.
"This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will...
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...
Thursday, July 8, 2010
By I. A. Rehman
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Santa Lucía Journal; Flipper's Trainer in Crusade Against Dolphin Exploitation
By DAVID GONZALEZ
Published: July 3, 2001
SANTA LUCÍA DE MILPAS ALTAS, Guatemala— When the sun sets over this town, Turbo and Ariel leap into the air in a ritual that dolphins have known for millions of years.
Their thick, slick bodies arc gracefully through the cool mountain air in a moment of fleeting freedom before they resume their current reality: swimming circles inside a training pool that is 40 feet across.
The two were abandoned in late May by the owner of Latin America's last traveling dolphin show after the Guatemalan authorities expressed suspicion that the pair had been captured illegally in coastal waters.
Their plight, animal and conservation advocates said, is a sad result of the brisk business in capturing dolphins who are trained to perform tricks or give swim-along rides in a rapidly increasing number of Caribbean and Central American resorts.
The rapid growth of those shows, animal advocates say, has been spurred by their success in American aquatic theme parks and by the fact that tourists are willing to pay $100 or more to cling to a dolphin and glide through a pool.
Though the shows and swim-alongs are promoted as having educational or even therapeutic benefits for humans, animal welfare advocates say they are little more than prisons for the dolphins, which have been displayed in such odd places as a Swiss disco and a Canadian mall.
''Dolphins in the mountains,'' said Ric O'Barry, as he watched Turbo and Ariel swim slowly in their pool here. ''That's bizarre.''
He should know. Mr. O'Barry made his name training the five dolphins that starred in the ''Flipper'' television series.
But he has been an ardent opponent of shows featuring captive dolphins ever since one of the ''Flipper'' dolphins died in his arms more than 30 years ago.
He has been asked by the Guatemalan government to return Turbo and Ariel to the wild -- the first time any Central America nation has rescued illegally captured dolphins. In doing so he will not only give the dolphins the freedom they briefly savor in their leaps but will also earn a bit of absolution for his past.
''I learned a lot about dolphins,'' Mr. O'Barry said of the years he spent working on the popular 1960's television show. ''I caught them, trained them, watched them give birth to babies, and I put them in the ground when they died. I did everything but turn them loose.''
These are busy times for Mr. O'Barry, who spent 30 years heading his own protest group, the Dolphin Project, before becoming a consultant to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, a London-based coalition of 400 conservation and preservation groups.
While the society has returned some captive dolphins to the wild, it has focused its efforts on a campaign against the dolphin shows popping up at hotels, resorts and aquatic theme parks.
In recent months, parks have opened or been announced in the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Tortola and Anguilla and in the Dominican Republic. Many of them offer programs in which guests are allowed to swim with the dolphins.
At Manatí Park in the Dominican Republic, Mr. O'Barry said, up to 200 tourists a day pay $100 for a brief dip with the dolphins.
''It's just New Age snake oil,'' he said. ''The Dominican swim program is the worst. The dolphins are overworked. People go to these places and think it's a great experience. They pay 100 bucks. The dolphin pays with its life. They are just there to amuse an endless stream of people.''
Many of the animals for those programs, conservation advocates contend, are obtained on the black market from fishermen, who are paid a few hundred dollars for each dolphin, or legally from Mexico or Cuba, where a trained dolphin can be sold for as much as $130,000.
''We want Ariel and Turbo to be a banner for something larger than just their own individual salvation,'' said Gerardo Huertas, the Latin America director for the World Society for the Protection of Animals. ''They represent what is happening in Mexico, the U.S. and South America in a big business.''
None of this would have happened, Mr. O'Barry said, had it not been for the success of dolphin shows and swimming programs in the United States at places like Seaworld or the Miami Seaquarium. Mr. O'Barry used to work at the Seaquarium during his ''Flipper'' days, and he sometimes returns there to protest.
A spokeswoman for the Miami Seaquarium declined to comment on Mr. O'Barry. Brad Andrews, vice president of zoological operations at Seaworld, said Mr. O'Barry had no credibility as an expert.
''He doesn't know what he's talking about,'' Mr. Andrews said. ''We educate people. We spend millions of dollars a year in conservation. We have many guests who want to experience this in a controlled, safe environment.''
Mr. O'Barry says the notion that the programs have educational value is as illusory as the dolphin's famed smile.
''It's about jobs and money,'' he said. ''They say they want to educate people to protect the dolphins. Protect them from whom? It is inherently hypocritical to destroy their quality of life to enhance ours.''
He added that keeping dolphins captive anywhere -- be it a five-star park in the United States or a small pen in Latin America -- subjected the animals to sensory deprivation inside a concrete tank.
''They are self-aware animals that make decisions and choices,'' he said. ''They're entitled to freedom of choice. Thus they are entitled to freedom.'' And, he added, his group intends to let the captors know that ''the porch light is on and somebody is home.''
No one was home, though, until four weeks ago at the hillside complex here where Turbo and Ariel were trained by Rubén Roca. He owns Mundo Marino in Venezuela, which is a theme park as well as the home base for his traveling dolphin show.
He and several trainers rented the house along the road between Guatemala City and Antigua and dug a 40-foot hole, which they lined with plastic and filled with water. Originally, four dolphins were taken there to learn how to jump through hoops, stand on their tails or play with balls.
Earlier this year, when Mr. Roca wanted to send two of the dolphins back to Venezuela, Guatemalan wildlife authorities arrived to check the paperwork, as required by their laws and international treaties.
They found that the papers for the two other dolphins were in order, but discovered some irregularities with the papers for Turbo and Ariel.
While Mr. Roca, who could not be reached for comment, told the authorities that the two had been caught legally in Honduras, the Guatemalan authorities suspected that they had been caught illegally and began legal proceedings.
Mr. Roca fled Guatemala about a month ago, leaving Turbo and Ariel stranded in the 12-foot-deep pool, whose filter was barely working. A local environmental group contacted the world society, which ultimately was given permission by the Guatemalan government to rehabilitate the dolphins and set them free.
''The dolphins were underweight and dehydrated and suffering from ammonia toxicity after swimming in their own waste,'' said Juan Carlos Murillo, a veterinarian with the society. ''They were behaving erratically, and the water was dirty. We got here just in time, because they couldn't take it much longer.''
Mr. O'Barry now spends his days feeding the dolphins 30 pounds each of snapper and butterfish and observing their behavior. Assistants have prepared a nylon net and will soon use it to lift them onto stretchers and place them in padded boxes before flying them by helicopter to a large pen nestled in a bay on Guatemala's Caribbean coast.
There, Mr. O'Barry and his wife will begin to wean them off people and a diet of dead fish, hoping their natural hunting behavior will be rekindled.
His critics have said that not all captive dolphins can or should be released, since they lose the ability to forage for food and defend themselves after becoming accustomed to humans. In the late 1990's, Mr. O'Barry and an associate were fined $59,000 by the federal government for improperly releasing two dolphins that were later found in poor condition.
Mr. O'Barry disputes that claim, but said he paid the fine -- a sum raised through a benefit concert by his musician friend Jerry Jeff Walker -- rather then spend years and more money on legal fees.
Mr. O'Barry, who says he has returned 14 dolphins to the wild in the last 30 years, said he would not release the animals unless he was sure they were disease-free and able to be independent. As for not being an expert, the man who trained the dolphin known all over the world just laughed.
''They've called me a terrorist, said I don't have a biology degree or that I'm not a veterinarian,'' he said. ''I say, Ray Charles can't read music. That about sums up my attitude.''
So maybe the next time you're down South and your travel company's rep is briefing you on the fun attractions of your particular resort, when he tells you about how you can swim with the dolphins, maybe you can tell him to take a huge bite out of your ass.
Or maybe better yet, maybe before you book your flight, ask him if your particular resort has a dolphin encounter feature.
When he says: "Yes!!", tell him that you're sure as fuck NOT gonna book with them... Not until they clean up their act and cut themselves loose from that sordid business!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
With that having been said, if I did believe in Hell, much like many of you probably do, I would also desperately want to believe that there was a very special place there, reserved specifically for the following types of people.
Read on if you dare and if the picture for this article isn't enough. If you are a dog lover like myself, you may have trouble accepting what you are about to read.
Dogs Used as Shark Bait on French Island
By Maryann Mott for National Geographic News
October 19, 2005
Live and dead dogs and cats are being used as shark bait by amateur fishers on the French-controlled island of La Réunion, according to animal-welfare organizations and local authorities.
The small volcanic island off Africa's east coast is bursting with stray dogs—upward of 150,000, says Reha Hutin, president of the Paris-based Fondation 30 Millions d'Amis (the Thirty Million Friends Foundation).
Hutin sent a film crew to Réunion this summer to obtain proof that live animals were being used as shark bait. The goal was to expose the practice on the animal rights group's weekly television show.
It didn't take long for the film crew to find three separate cases, she said.
A videotape and photographs show the dogs with multiple hooks sunk deep into their paws and snouts.
"From then on everyone started to take the whole story seriously and realized it was true," Hutin said.
A veterinarian successfully treated one of the canines, a six-month-old dog with a large fishhook through its snout (see photo), at an SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux, or Animal Protective Society) clinic in Réunion's capital, St.-Denis.
Unlike most of the hooked animals, the dog was someone's pet, according to Saliha Hadj-Djilani, a reporter for the Thirty Million Friends Foundation's TV program. The dog had apparently escaped its captors and was taken to the SPA by a concerned citizen. Fully recovered, the animal is now home with its owners.
The other two cases uncovered by Thirty Million Friends were strays. They now live in France with new owners.
The foundation plans to finance a sterilization program on the island to reduce the stray overpopulation. But the job won't be easy.
Hutin said many locals view the strays as vermin. "There's no value to the life of a dog there," she said.
Practice Not Widespread.
Stephanie Roche of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, another animal-welfare group in Paris, confirmed that live animals are used as bait on Réunion. But, she said, it is not a common practice.
The Bardot organization has been fighting the practice for a decade. But this is the first time Réunion politicians have reacted strongly and swiftly to stop it, Roche said
Last month, it became illegal for fishing boats to carry any live or dead dogs or cats.
The French Embassy in Washington, D.C., issued a written statement condemning the use of dogs as shark bait, emphasizing that such acts are illegal and will not be tolerated in the French territory.
The embassy maintains these are "very isolated cases and authorities on the island are closely monitoring the situation."
Earlier this month the first court case was held involving a person charged with using live dogs as bait.
Authorities had found a seven-month-old puppy on John Claude Clain's property in July with three fishing hooks in its paws and snout.
Clain, a 51-year-old bread deliveryperson, was found guilty of animal cruelty and fined 5,000 euros (U.S. $5,982), according to Clicanoo, a Réunion newspaper.
The amateur fisher said he did not use the puppy as bait. Instead, Clain said, the dog had been injured by a trap he had set to protect his hens, the paper reported.
Clain's case isn't an isolated one, said Fabienne Jouve of GRAAL (Groupement de Réflexion et d'Action pour l'Animal, or the Grouping of Reflection and Action for Animals), an animal rights organization based in Charenton-le-Pont, France.
"Lately, almost every week, one dog has been found with hooks on the island, not counting the cats found on the beaches partially eaten by the sharks," Jouve said.
Once fishers capture the animals, she said, the dogs and cats are hooked "the day before, so they can bleed sufficiently."
Some escape before being tossed into the ocean. Others aren't so lucky.
After hooks are plunged into their paws and/or snouts, the animals are attached to inflatable tubes with fishing line and dumped into the ocean, Clicanoo, the newspaper, reports.
To avoid detection fishers place their bait in the middle of the night, according to the newspaper account. In the morning the men return to see if a shark has been caught.
"Barbaric practices have no excuses, whatsoever, in the 21st century," GRAAL's Jouve said.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Friday Harbor, Washington State, is offering a U.S. $1,000 reward to any Réunion police officer who arrests anyone using live dogs or cats as bait for sharks.
Both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the United Kingdom and the Thirty Million Friends Foundation are asking animal lovers to sign a petition urging the French government to step up enforcement of laws against the use of live dogs as bait.
You know... if we as a species are in fact headed towards our own self-generated extinction, it's probably for the best. Christ... could you see unleashing this brand of sickness on an unsuspecting galaxy? Those fucking creatures in the 'Alien' series, have nothing on us humans. And we're not fictional... To be fair this article first appeared in October of 2005 as the heading up above indicates. I am doing some investigating of my own to see if this absolutely horrific practise has been successfully snuffed out in La Réunion.
I will definitely keep you posted on this one...
Update: 09 July 2010...
I e-mailed the French animal advocacy group 30 Millions d'Amis (30 Million Friends), asking them about an update on the situation in La Réunion.
I cited that on their website, they proclaimed that after them raising a petition with some 800,000 signatures, the prefecture of La Réunion on the 06 September 2005, issued a decree which "henceforth forbade the detention of all domestic carnivores, either alive or dead, aboard vessels registered in La Réunion".
I commented that the way the law was written, it provided loopholes for the unscrupulous. The law does not apply to either unregistered vessels or vessels which are registered in other territories. I asked them point-blank as to whether any follow-up had been done with regards to this situation, to ensure this practise had well and truly been stopped. I am currently awaiting an answer.
I also wrote an e-mail to the representatives of La Réunion themselves, asking the very same question. I am also awaiting an answer from them. Their government and tourism websites do mention the phenomenon of the 'Errant Dogs', but no mention has been made of any progressive program which might begin to address the control of these huge numbers of strays.
I will post further on this if I hear anything at all...
Monday, July 5, 2010
We were then invited to tour the inside of the house, if we so felt like it. I was quite taken with the house's exterior, I can tell you. I certainly wanted to get a look at the inside as well. Dan and Barb had been living in this house for the last 31 years. I believe they have only been running it as a B&B for the last few years now. The interior, both their personal quarters and the guests rooms, were absolutely exquisite. Many of the furnishings harken back to an earlier day and are well in step with the vintage of the house itself. The overall feeling is one of comfort, or permanence, of a home.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Friday, 02 Jul, 2010
We actually ran into some slow-moving traffic as we tried to make our way out of Brockville. We decided to stop at Tim's for a water and a pee break as some darker clouds began gathering ahead of us. Within 10 minutes, we were making our way back to the bikes. Once back on the road, there was no end of curb-crawlers who for some reason couldn't manage to find the long flat pedal by the radio. It actually stated spitting, then raining as we were logjammed behind these unskilled cretins. I'm sure it only seemed to last longer than what it did and we finally found ourselves behind someone who actually wanted to get out of town.