Most boaters would prefer to forget past hurricanes, particularly the bad ones that made U.S. landfall. But, if you’re curious about which storm went where, and how hard it blew, NOAA now has a hurricane history web page. You can search by place name, storm name, or year, or latitude and longitude coordinates. With the search results, users can generate maps showing the track
of a particular storm or storms, accompanied by a table of related information. The site contains
global hurricane data from as far back as 1842 ( www.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/#). For here-and-now
information on how to prepare your boat for hurricanes, go to page 105. — R.L.
to determine whether what he’s found is the
historic wreck, signs so far are promising.
“Scientists call it a mass,” he says. “I call
it a ship. It’s old enough to be the Griffin, and
there isn’t any other ship this age.” Carbon
dating, bottom profiling, and side-scanning
at the Lake Michigan site (fearing treasure
hunters, Libert is cautious about identifying the location) have all come back, if not
conclusive, then at least hopeful; nothing
has ruled out his wreck as the lost ship. The
most recent survey, by a Michigan-based
Center for Maritime and Underwater Resource
Management, found enough evidence to
warrant excavating the wreck, a process
Libert hopes will begin later this year.
Libert and his partners at Great Lakes
Exploration Group LLC spent years in courtroom battles with the State of Michigan over
his find, but it’s a third party, France, that
would really own the wreck if it proves to be
the Griffin. Libert hopes the wreck will be
preserved in the Great Lakes area, a plan he
says would suit the French government. “I
think most boaters everywhere have looked
out into the waters, into the fog, into the
night, and seen apparitions and ghost
ships,” Libert says. — Chris Landers
OCEAN JEWEL QUICKLY TARNISHING
JULES VERNE named Captain Nemo’s futuristic submarine Nautilus, after an odd yet beautiful ocean creature that’s been swimming in the sea for half a billion years. But now the chambered nautilus may be headed for the rocks, according to marine
biologists. Immortalized by poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, this large mollusk of the South
Seas is being fished out, according to Peter D. Ward, a University of Washington biologist.
Increasingly popular in the worldwide jewelry trade for its delicate shell with near-perfect spirals when cut in cross-section, Ward says the two species of nautilus are being
fished out. “A horrendous slaughter is going on out there,”
he said, following a census of the marine creature in
the waters of the Philippines.
Artisanal fishermen from Indonesia, Fiji,
the Philippines, and elsewhere in the South
Pacific catch the nautiluses on the slopes
of coral reefs that descend into deep
waters, using baited traps on long
lines. The animals can travel to depths
as much as 2,000 feet. Census findings could lead to curbing international trade in the chambered
nautilus before, to quote a stanza
from Holmes, “wrecked is this ship
of pearl.” – R.L.