Blue Eco Blog

Splash! You are in Costa Rica's Blue Eco Blog. Echoing Eco for Oceans and Waters. Giving voice to dolphins and whales, their waves and their waters, and all denizens of the deep. News they think you should use. Dive in.

Offshore Osa Drilling Again in 2012

clock November 9, 2012 13:36 by author BlueEcoBlog

Marine life behavior alters after drilling

From The Tico Times Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 - By Shawn Larkin
THE BIG BLUE: Dolphins have scattered and no whales have been seen in the area since a foreign research vessel drilled into the ocean floor earlier this year.
Rash of Rashes: A dolphin off southwestern Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula displays a skin rash.

The blue-water pelagic ecosystem offshore of southwestern Costa Rica’s Isla del Caño Biological Reserve and Corcovado National Park took serious one-two punches during the past few months, and it remains to be seen whether things will ever return to conditions of the past. The area around, not inside, the two protected areas is probably Costa Rica’s most critical dolphin and whale breeding and feeding waters. But the whales are gone, and the dolphins have changed. The fishing has been off, and boats are headed elsewhere to find fish.

The first few months of the year shaped up to be one of the best seasons for marine life in Costa Rican waters in recent memory. The cool currents of La Niña stoked a profusion of big pelagic species like dolphins, whales, tuna, turtles and giant mantas. Divers and snorkelers from the Southern Zone reported more giant mantas seen at Caño Island in February and March than in the past 15 years put together. Flights and boats searching for marine life in the area were finding dolphin superpods, groups of dolphins numbering in the hundreds to thousands, all over the area. There were many mating and birthing humpback whales, a large pod of false killer whales, orcas, fin whales and even three blue whales, including a baby, feeding on giant bait balls of small fish brought up from the depths during the normal strong upwelling at this time of year. There were uncountable hectares of turtles, tuna and billfish. There were even a few big sharks.

Then, a giant foreign ship showed up and began drilling deep holes in the ocean floor not far from Caño Island, in the name of scientific research. Within a day, the whales were gone. Search time for dolphins from a plane went from a half hour or less to two hours or more. Most dolphin superpods broke into smaller groups and headed north toward offshore Quepos. Others broke into smaller groups and moved inshore, closer to the coast. Dolphins that stayed in the area developed a strange skin rash.

The spewing ship kept at it for a month. Great areas of waters turned from marine blue to metallic brown and green. The day after the ship left, a new one showed up towing many kilometers of giant air guns blasting extremely loud sounds repetitively. A week later they were still at it. Drake Bay ecotourism and sportfishing boats foolish enough to still be looking in their favorite hot spots were told to leave the area by burly men on a yacht out of Quepos. Scuba divers at Caño Island could hear the giant booms of the guns during their dives.

No environmental impact study was done for the area. No dolphin and whale observers were onboard to look out for cetacean safety. There were no Costa Ricans onboard until someone noticed. Many questions were never answered. No notice was given to area residents of what was going to happen.

Since the drilling, no whales have been reported in the area – the longest period without whale sightings that anglers and guides in Drake Bay can remember. No large dolphin superpods have been seen. The fishing is bad. No wonder so few tourists seem to want to visit the area right now.

This serious lack of ocean oversight has left locals wondering what is next. There are reports of making a permanent drilling riser here and of laying an undersea cable from the mainland to Caño Island and then offshore to the rig.

Let’s hope an environmental impact study is involved and that locals dependent on the area’s marine life are given some notice so they can find new jobs. Because what’s next could be the knockout punch for a good chunk of Costa Rica’s famous marine life: whales, dolphins, turtles – and fishers and divers.

Email costacetacea@gmail.com with contributions to The Big Blue, or check out www.costacetacea.com for more information.

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True Costa Rican Wild Animal Stories by Shawn Larkin Strunz

clock October 10, 2012 15:43 by author BlueEcoBlog

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Osa Big Blue Full of Gold to be mined?

clock September 3, 2012 14:49 by author BlueEcoBlog

Future offshore Osa gold mining or other drilling might cause denizens even bigger problems.  Offshore Osa likely has a lot of gold.  The worlds first offshore gold mining operation was off of Sirena, in Corcovado National Park.  Since the park is protected a measley 500 meters offshore, seems like someone might have been thinking about big gold in the deep blue sea of the Osa peninsula.

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Dolphins Dancing For Laura Chinchilla Again!

clock June 16, 2012 13:21 by author BlueEcoBlog

Dolphins Dancing For Laura Chinchilla Again!

Costa Rica To Conserve Ten Percent of Oceans.

Latin America's greatest ocean hero, Laura Chinchilla, granted future Costa Ricans a much better chance of sustainably utilizing our Oceans into the future.  The sad free for all of too powerful special interests will now be controlled with vision directed to the people and the future by a new Vice Minister of Aguas and Mares.  Wow!  No thats how you do it!  Seems now the voices of all groups of ocean users, not just the most connected screaming special interests, will have a say.  Now is time for Costa Ricans to speak up about what they know about our oceans, and help conserve it.  Have you heard about the largest dolphin pod in the world, the spinner dolphins of the Osa peninsula and Cano Island?  Aaaa, happens to be they need a park!  They live near to famous protected areas Corcovado National Park and Cano Island Biological Reserve, BUT, they live in waters attacked by nets and lines.  This Park or protected area, needs to be south and west of Cano Island to at least a distance of 30 nautical miles to help these spinners.  NOT just 8 miles from the island as some are saying!  8 miles is not enough to protect the biggest dolphin pod in the world and Golfito and Puerto Jimenez need to make a lot money in the long run from conserving these dolphins, not killing them for short term collapsing profits. 

Three blue cheers for the awesome president of Costa Rica.

Check it
http://www.costacetacea.com/bluewaterpelagicpark.html

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New dolphin translation from Costa Rica

clock September 13, 2011 12:51 by author BlueEcoBlog

New dolphin translation from Costa Rica.

The dolphins of Costa Rica have spoken again! The unequivocal translation is as follows:

"The best things in life cannot be found, seen, heard, or done on a screen. Go outside and play."

Go to here for more.

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La Nina Says Chill Out to Pacific Costa Rica

clock September 8, 2011 02:49 by author BlueEcoBlog

La Nina Says Chill Out to Pacific Costa Rica.

NOAA says its official what some have suspected; La Nina is visiting again, dropping average sea surface temperatures In Costa Rica. Pacific wet suits have already been back in heavy use for awhile and looks like you might wanna add an extra layer. And make sure your dive mask is clean because La Nina likes to bring heaps of fish and marine mammals with her.

In fact the waters around the Osa have been chock full of whales, pseudorcas, orcas, whale sharks, bait balls and more for almost two months. Looks like marine mammals Knew La Nina was here long before NOAA.  Pretty cool huh?

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World Record Dolphin Superpod Photo from Costa Rica?

clock September 8, 2011 02:03 by author BlueEcoBlog

 We think this may be the most dolphins to appear in a single photo. Do you know of one that beats it?

Please let us know. This spinner dolphin superpod is nine nautical miles south west from Cano Island Biological Reserve offshore of the Osa pensinsula. How many do you count?

Click on a dolphin for more.

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Costa Rica may abolish marine parks! Let the extraction begin!

clock August 24, 2011 17:11 by author BlueEcoBlog

A new bill would open up national parks to take things from them.

A small group of people from a port and commercial fishing city on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica want to open all Costa Rican parks to fishing. They say that there is fish in there that poor local people need to catch right now. Plus imagine all the hammerheads you could catch at Cocos Island National Park. Why not?

There is some good money to be made in a quick clearing of the shelves of our national parks. When the all the big fish are soon gone then the local communities could start getting little ones!

In Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, a marine protected area where people fish anywhere they want, any long time diver or fisher can tell you that most of the big reef fish are long gone. Sons know they will no longer catch as much as their fathers but so what, there are still a few little fish to see and eat. Its not over yet!

Cocos and Caño Island protected areas, where there are large no take zones, are full of big fish and lots of other marine life. Time to take care of that!

Why not duplicate this all over? It could be be fun. When very few people can make a living fishing and diving and with support restaurants and hotels, because most of the fish are gone, and marine tourists go to Panama, everyone should be able to find new jobs quickly, even if you have to go to Panama. Panama has a totally different plan: keep the tourists and fish in Panama and send the commercial fisherman to Costa Rica before the crazy firesale is over.

What       are they thinking?

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Dolphins from Costa Rica speak again

clock August 19, 2011 14:45 by author BlueEcoBlog
Another dolphin statement translated.

After a period of silence mourning the contamination of their ancestral waters, some Osa dolphins swam right up to us and said, we think,

“That really sucks that these big ships can just show up by surprise and make a big mess and big noise in our feeding, mating, birthing and superpod waters. We thought Costa Rica was better than that. Plus none of the so called conservations organizations and foundations did squat. But they are telling you they watch out for us dolphins. HA. The tuna boats are still slaughtering us too. Lighten up people.  Will anyone really help dolphins here in Costa Rica. We only have fins you know.”

An alternative translation is,

“Do you really like the taste of canned tuna?”

We are awaiting more word from the dolphins of Osa Costa Rica.

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Joides Resolution starts drilling work off Osa, and Caño Island Biological Reserve

clock March 18, 2011 08:54 by author BlueEcoBlog

Check out the Joides Resolution as it works of the Osa Peninsula.  

International team of scientists take a look at whats under the center of the dolphin superpod area.

Have a look below who has shown up in Osa´s Blue Water Pelagic.

Here's a note that was sent to the JR team and blog.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the office the other morning and there was the Joides Resolution right in the middle.

Of my office!

Probably needless to say, but I was quite impressed.

Wow, what a boat. That has got to be the best crows nest ever!

Then I saw your amazing web page, cool blog and outstanding videos and I was even more impressed.

The Ocean Man song rocks! Who is that band?

But your mission is the most impressive of all. Awesome and obviously more important then ever after the Japan quake and Tsunami.

I have studied the pelagic area where you are right now off Caño Island Biological Reserve, for more than 17 years. I guide people to see dolphins superpods and other pelagic life that congregates more often right where you are than anywhere else I know of. My clients are superyachts, film crews, movies, scientists and ecotourists.

I have wondered for a long time what make the epipelagic here so productive? What does it look like down there? Whats down there? Are you folks getting video?

Why might this be Costa Rica's number one dolphin superpod area?

Does any of your incredible team have any insight to these question?

Now for the bad news.

For the first time ever, we spotted no cetaceans in the area where you have been drilling. I can not help but assume JR might be suspect. Most of the time we find 1000s of dolphins for instance. My clients who have come a long way and spent and lot of their money were of course disappointed. This is our busiest season, where we get a chance, with luck, to save up for the many rainy days of rainy season. There are quite a few people that will be effected if the dolphins and whales stay away for the duration of you time drilling off the Osa peninsula. I myself will lose a large chunk of business.

I am especially bummed for the BBC film crew paying me to show them superpods right there for the first two weeks of April. Right where you are we filmed the spinner dolphin superpod shots for the Disneynature movie Oceans at this exact time of year, over two years.

Would it not be a good idea to consult the local community when you are drilling “very very close” to land? Especially a national protected area. First published was that you would be 100 miles from land. We would have than had the chance to schedule around it.

Did anyone do an environmental impact study? This is required under law here, as I understand it.

Do you have any Cetacean monitors on board? Do you ramp up an alarm sound to give any animals time to swim away before you blow lose any stuck drills? Do you have to empty the dirty bilge water right there “very, very close to land?”

Could you wait until May?

I also write for newspaper and blog and I look forward to publishing your answers and info about your mission.

I really wish to cause no problems as your mission is so interesting, important and valuable.

Thanks so much for all your great web site, blog and video info.

I wish you nothing but success.

Blue Eco Blog will keep you posted on the answers. 
 

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