IN A TRIBUTE TO his leg- endary grandfather, Fabian Cousteau and his team of aquanauts spent 31 consecutive days this summer living and
working in Aquarius, an undersea
laboratory 5. 4 nautical miles off
the coast of Key Largo, and 66
feet below the ocean’s surface, in
a project called Mission 31. Fifty
years before, ocean explorer
Jacques Cousteau spent 30 days
living aboard Conshelf Two, a
man-made habitat 33 feet below
the Red Sea.
“Mission 31 is a way to bring
awareness to that human ocean
connection in the same way that
Jacques Cousteau did,” says
aquanaut and mission scientist
Adam Zenone. The team’s activi-
ties were streamed live on the
Internet and aquanauts taught
classes around the world from
beneath the waves.
But the real advantage of a
platform like Aquarius is the easy
access it provides scientists to
the ocean floor. Aquanauts living
in the installation are not returning to the surface, so they don’t
have to decompress between
dives, allowing them far more
time on the bottom. Zenone, who
investigated adjacent sea-grass
beds, seeking evidence that they
might provide the reef with a buffer against acidification, found
the reef base an invaluable tool.
“You’re already down there on the
reef,” he said. “You can get 6 to 8
TUGBOAT STEAMS (WHIRS?) INTO SERVICE
A 1928 TUGBOAT GOT A 21st century upgrade in the Erie Canal.
The New York State Canal Commission repowered the dredge tender
workboat with electric motors, ditching the 1980s-era diesel engines
that most recently powered it. The new engines are Elco EP-10000s,
equivalent to a 100-hp diesel, according to the company’s website.
An engineering consulting firm contracted by the state claims that
the engines will save costs over the life of the boat, as well as reducing emissions. “Projects like this demonstrate [New York State’s]
commitment to protecting the environment,” New York
Governor Andrew M.
Cuomo said. — C.L.
NEW LIFE FOR OLD SAILS
SAILORS, ESPECIALLY RACERS, know that sails have a limited period of opti- mal functionality and that over the years those once-expensive items end up in sail bags or stacked in garages collecting dust. An organization in South
Florida wants those wind-blasted and moldering sails that once helped you win
Wednesday night twilight races — and you can receive a tax credit while doing so.
Sails For Sustenance was created after founder Michael Carcaise witnessed subsistence fishermen in Haiti using bedsheets, plastic sheeting, and flour sacks for
sails. A sailor himself, he knew he could do something about it. More than a decade
later, his nonprofit has partnered with regattas and yacht clubs across the country to
collect old sails, which are packed up and shipped to Haiti on relief flights.
Guy Williams and Jay Smith recently traveled to Haiti with a shipment of 58 sails,
ranging from little Optimist sails to a monster once flying on a 70-foot mast, and saw
firsthand how life-changing these old sails can be for subsistence Haitian fishermen.
“We only saw a couple of outboard motors after we left Port-au-Prince,” says Smith.
“When these fishermen weren’t using ragtag cloth for sails, they’d have to paddle
their wooden boats miles out to the fishing areas to feed their families. A simple old
mainsail from a J22 can be cut by these men and immediately change the lives of
two families.” For info, www.sailsforsustenance.org — TROY GILBERT
boat will be a
model for the