Hasty Ruminations

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Navy Didn't Kill 'Em - Whew!

There was a big whale stranding on the beach at Oregon Inlet, NC on Jan. 15, 2005. The Navy was conducting exercises 50 miles away. They originally said 200 miles away, but then someone looked at a map. Anyway, some anti-American peacenik hippies accused My Navy of messing up 37 whales with sonar, which caused them to try to walk up the beach, with predictably catastrophic results.

Last week, the Navy announced that the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the final National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) report, which said that there was no physical evidence that sonar had anything to do with the stranding.

Well, thank goodness.

In an unrelated story, the Navy has put out a call for anyone who might have found a dozen or so extra torpedoes near Oregon Inlet, NC. Seems they lost them during an exercise out there in early 2005. It looked like a whole fleet of terrorist submarines was fixin' to attack the North Carolina beach, so the Navy dropped a bunch of torpedoes on 'em. Didn't see any explosions. Navy Lieutenant W.T. Door said it was almost like something "... opened its big mouth and swallowed the torpedoes." Another mystery of the deep.

In another unrelated story, the ex-Navy T-AGOS ship Hi'ialakai is a welcome addition to the NOAA fleet. The 224 foot long vessel got a $6 million makeover in 2004, to add facilities for scuba diving, a recompression chamber, laboratories and computer systems, and five small boats to shuttle research teams to work locations. You can even ski behind the boats! "It's very tricked out," said Randall Kosaki, research coordinator for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The ship is used a lot in Hawaiian waters. Built from scratch, such a ship could cost $50 million, estimated Dan Basta, director of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program. Yes, NOAA has a great working relationship with the Navy.


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