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July 3, 2008

15 hours of sunlight (6am – 9pm)

BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


On the observation deck at 6:10 this morning — as I looked towards the horizon breathing the mist of the oceans morning haze I collected my thoughts and relaxed as I observed the subtle yet rapid change of night to day and day to night. With calm seas, I watched the rays of the sun dance along the surface of the fluid medium on a canvas in which ‘h20’ is the rhythm and light is the artist.

With no other vessels or land in sight as we traveled north towards Italy passing the African coast of Algeria and Tunisia — I contemplated how the ancient Romans viewed the Mediterranean as the centre of the Earth (the Mediterranean Sea derived her name from the Latin word mediterraneus meaning, ‘middle of the Earth’).

Abruptly interrupted, on the horizon we encountered a suspected driftnet fishing boat the Alba Chiara Segunda. This vessel is of particular significance to Expedition Leader, Xavier Pastor as in 2005 the Alba Chiara threatened to attack the Oceana Ranger — because she was caught and photographed illegally using driftnets — a practice banned by the United Nations, European Union and the Italian Government for its devastating affects on the marine environment.

In part, based on the 2005 documentation submitted to the Italian government by Oceana the Alba Chiara was fined by the authorities. Our sighting of this vessel today reminds us of the uphill battle to protect our marine environment.