Friday, September 26, 2008

Most Popular Blog Ever Redux

One of my regular readers pointed out to me today that I am still the number one result for a Google search of “Most Popular Blog Ever.” I've held that position since August 8, 2007.  Last year I sat atop 90,600,000 other search results.  Today I sit atop 368,000,000.

Hell, if I had one dollar for every one of those webpages I could single handedly bail out Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac.

I posted this blog back in September 2007.  I like to pretend that I'm somewhat of a blogger guru on Saipan, so I'm posting it again.

So anyway, back to being the Most Popular Blog Ever for over a year.  How did this happen? My PageRank is a still a lowly PR4, I get fewer than 500 hits per day, and Technorati says that fewer than 60 other blogs links to me (those numbers are lower than they were a year ago). Those numbers might seem high, but they are peanuts compared to the stats of some of the Internet's most popular blogs. How did I manage to beat out almost 400 million web pages to become the Most Popular Blog Ever? With those kind of stats, I shouldn't be on top of any search with that many results.

Nevertheless, there I am. So again I ask, how did it happen?

From what I have researched on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I did five things to get to the top of the search engine results. I stumbled upon them accidentally, but they could just as easily have been employed purposely.

1. I included "Most Popular Blog" in my title. Last year the title of my blog was simply, "The Saipan Blog." I read somewhere that you can increase your SEO by throwing a few keywords into your title. I wanted to include Saipan and CNMI, but to give it a ring of authenticity, I chose, "The Saipan Blog - Saipan, CNMI's most popular blog since ever since." Since ever since is local vernacular for "a very long time." I'd like to think that locals reading my blog will think it funny. Little did I know that calling my blog the "most popular blog since ever since" would actually make it the Most Popular Blog Ever.

2. I included "Most Popular Blog" in my meta data. Meta data is data about data. On a blog, it tells other computers and search engines what your blog is about. My meta data has a blog description and a list of keywords. The code looks like this (click on the image for a larger version):

Meta Data TagsThat is a screenshot of my blog's html code. To find the code for your blog, and to see if you have meta data, simply right click on your blog and open up View Source.

3. I wrote a few posts about the "Most Popular Blog Ever." Search engines crawl your blog for content. If you think about it, it should make sense that your content will turn up in search engine results. The more you mention a term, the higher you will pop up in search results. This is probably starting to sound too easy, but I swear it works. I've done it for other search terms. For example, I was able to accidentally make my blog one of the top results for an image search of "ladyboy." . I wrote only two posts about the ladyboys Ian and I saw in Thailand, and now dozens of single, forty year old men living with their parents find my blog every single day.

4. I made myself an expert in a niche topic. I am not just A Saipan Blogger; I am THE Saipan Blogger. Being an expert on life in Saipan has earned me a considerable following (with readers other than my mom and brother, Alex). Although there are millions of web sites and hundreds of blogs that contain the word, "Saipan," there are fewer than 100 regularly updated blogs dedicated to life in Saipan (this number has tripled in the last year). It was not difficult to become a major online resource for all things Saipan simply because there is just so little written about this island. Now anybody looking for information about Saipan undoubtedly comes across my blog. That increases my PageRank, which in turn increases my SEO.

5. I provide content that other bloggers want to link to. I participate in blog carnivals, maintain a Master List of all CNMI bloggers, and regularly post pictures of my dog, Oreo Kenobi. People regularly link to the main page of my blog and my individual posts because of my content. That hasn't increased my PageRank in a while, but it maintains me at a PR4. One of these days I hope to make the jump to PR5.

...and that is how The Saipan Blog became the Most Popular Blog Ever. These 5 Easy Steps are guaranteed to increase your PageRank and SEO. I used them and so can you.

Keep in mind that you don't have to try to become the Most Popular Blog Ever; maybe you want to be San Francisco's Best Food Blog or the Funniest Blog in Europe. Whatever niche you choose to be an expert in, good luck!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Community Outreach

Mariana High School DolphinsI had another round of school presentations yesterday, this time at Marianas High School. I presented to several different classes, a language arts class, a history class, a homeroom, a journalism class, and two classes that I forget.

My first presentation was kind of rocky; the kids just didn't seem to care. I thought to myself, "this is going to be a long day," but things got better with each class, especially after I pulled a play right out of the Brad Ruszala School for Charming Filipina Girls Playbook and sang a few lines while prepping my computer.

MHS students girls and boysI tried a different presentation style today.  I only used the computer to play a couple of Youtube videos. I played some of the news stories from KSPN and I played this video of Megaladon, telling them that one of our supporters is convinced that he lives in the trench.

Then I started off by asking who, with a show of hands, had been to Managaha, Tinian, Rota, Guam, and then the Northern Islands. I'm always amazed that there are kids who have lived on Saipan their entire lives, these are high school aged kids, remember, who have never been to Managaha. I've swum there before, for Christ's sake! Twice!

And we're back...

About three quarters of the kids have been to Guam, half have been to Tinian, fewer have been to Rota, and out of the 150 or so kids I spoke to yesterday, five had been to the Northern Islands. Two had been to Pagan. Three had been to Anatahan. None had been to any of the islands within the proposed monument, nor did they know anyone who had ever visited.

When I start talking about the monument I ask the students what they have heard about the proposal, "Is it a good thing or a bad thing?" Most of the them have never heard of the monument, but I did get a good mix of "Good" and "Bad."

Then we have a discussion.

Why is it bad?

Because it would take away our land. It is nothing but a federal takeover. People would be barred from feeding their families. We wouldn't be able to fish.

Why is it good?

Because of conservation. Preservation. Jobs. Tourism. Federal funding. Enforcement dollars. Positive media attention. Improving our international image. Bigger fish. Pride and world wide recognition of our islands and our people.

The students, in every situation, identified these things on their own.

After that, I stopped the discussion and gave a short talk on the geology and the biology of the region, using the Scientific Case for a Mariana Trench Marine National Monument as my reference.

I started off by talking about how this area sits on the convergence zone of two techtonic plates, the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Plate. I discuss how this convergence is a geologists dream land, with the Mariana Trench, emergent lands, underwater volcanoes, seamounds, lava, mud volcanoes, earthquakes, and so on. Then I tell them that this diverse geology has resulted in undiscovered untold biodiversity.

There are pools of boiling sulfur where flatfish thrive, chemosynthetic bacteria living on top of photosynthetic zooxanthellae living symbiotically with coral, mud volcanoes where life may have started, habitats ranging from shallow tropical coral reefs down to the deepest darkest place on Earth, and let's not forget the beak whales and other 19 species of whales and dolphins already discovered in those waters.

Then I ask again, "Good thing or bad thing?"

Mariana High School StudentsI encouraged the kids to come up with their own conclusions.

Help me with my new phone

I have a new phone. It is a Mogul, and if that means someting, please explain it to me. The number is the same, but I need to input everyone's number.

So can you give me a call?

(670) 285 6462

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Draw your own conclusion

Facts:

1. Somebody put a "Just say NO to the Monument" sticker on my car last night.
2. John Gourley was giving out "Just say NO to the Monument" stickers at the Chamber of Commerce meeting and has one on his truck.
3. John Gourley's Navy Hill apartment is right up the street from where my car was parked last night.

Draw your own conclusion.

Bota!

Attorney General Matt Gregory is stepping down, which means we need a new AG! That means it is time for a new Vizu poll.
This poll will run for 7 days, ending on September 30 at 5:00 PM.

Bota!

Ficus religiosa

For my first birthday (29 years ago!), my father's good friend Herb Soll gave me a ficus tree. My Mom and Dad planted it just north of our house. It stood there until my stepmother cut it down in 2001. I've wanted to replace it ever since.

Ficus religiosa is the holiest of ficus trees. In Buddhist circles the tree is a well-known symbol for happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck. There are many types of ficus tree out there, but I want to plant that one.

I've been looking for one on Saipan for months, but I haven't been able to find one.

I recently found a huge F. religiosa on Tinian, but haven't taken cuttings of it.  As far as I know it is the only one in the CNMI.  It is so large that I would guess that it has been around since the war.

The Chamorro elder who was with me when I discovered it told me that I had better not touch it, never mind take a cutting. The Sacred Fig is not a Taotao Mona tree, but it is of the same genus.

So two questions, first, does anyone know if there is a F. religiosa plant on Saipan that I can take a cutting from?  And second, is there an authority on Taotao Mona trees? How far up the evolutionary branch does the taboo extend? Does a ficus of another species still count as a Taotao Mona tree? Will I really swell up if I touch the tree?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

3 Factories Left

The Saipan Tribune reports that there are only 3 garment factories left on Saipan, down from a high of 34. I wonder when the remaining three will close?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Monument Update

Everywhere I go, people always ask me, "How's the monument doing?"

My best guess is that we have a 50/50 chance of this thing happening. I have said from day one that this is something the President might be interesting in doing if there was a show of local support. No need to take my word for it, John Gourley did a good job of chronicling that sentiment for me in my blogs and letters to the editor in his latest letter to the editor (I'd say last letter, but we all know it won't be his last).

There has been an incredible showing of support.  Even the naysayers have to admit that there have been almost 80 letters to the editor written in support.  On the blogs, although there is a plentitude of negative anonymous comments, not a single Saipan based blogger has written something negative about the monument.  This is in comparison to just under 30 letters to the editor written in non-support, over a third of which were written and signed by one particular person.  Furthermore, a majority were written by people associated with an advisory council openly opposed to large protected areas.

Members of both legislative bodies wrote letters to the President requesting dialogue, as did several former legislators and other elected officials.  Several business leaders, including board members of the Chamber of Commerce, environmental organizations, educators, and many long time residents and indigenous Chamorros and Carolininians wrote letters in support.

On the flip side, the Legislature passed a resolution asking the President of the United States to not act unilaterally and to discuss this issue with the people of the CNMI before taking any action.  The Northern Islands Mayor asked for more time to look into the issue and requested 902 talks.  The mayors of Tinian and Rota signed identical form letters in support of the current management scheme under WESPAC.  The Saipan mayor is neutral.  The governor is opposed.

The White House took all this into account, along with the Scientific Case for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument and the Economic Impact of a proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, and decided that an assessment of the area was warranted.

That is where we stand today.  An assessment has begun and no decisions have been made.

The local Department of Interior official is aiding in the assessment.  He has started gathering information and forwarding in on to DC.  An official from NOAA in Hawaii, Allen Tom, was here last week to gather information and to set up the public meetings that will take place in October.  In addition to meeting with the governor, both houses of the legislature, business leaders, the indigenous community, fishermen, and environmentalists, he investigated potential sites for the meetings to take place next month, hotels for the federal officials to stay in, the best place to find chicken kelaguin, and so on.

From what I understand, several workshops will take place on Saipan and Guam the week of October 20 and the White House is already taking public comment.  According to the CEQ website, "The Council and agencies involved in the assessment are planning to conduct several public open houses to further facilitate public input and discussion. At any time, the public can provide input on this issue to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality by writing him at 722 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington D.C. 20503 or via email at Chairman@ceq.eop.gov."

Locally, the Friends of the Monument group is taking charge of building support for the monument.  Led by Ignacio Cabrera, a 20 year retiree from the Division of Environmental Quality, and Agnes McPhetres, who started the local college and worked there for 17 years, the group is collecting signatures in support of the monument and making regular appearances in the local media, such as Harry Blalock's Island Issues radio talk show and John Gonzales' MP 96950 tv talk show.  In the last week they have started a blog and released a public service announcement to help aid public education efforts.

Their public service announcement is even featured on one of the Discovery Channel blogs, Deep Sea News.

As for the Pew Environment Group, our role in the designation of a monument will continue to diminish.  Now that the White House has undertaken an assessment, all discussions will be between the people and government of the CNMI and the White House.  We will continue to hold our public meetings thrice weekly and reach out to local people to education them on the benefits of a monument, but all decisions will be made by the government.

...and that is your monument update.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Crisis with CUC

Kudos to Governor Fitial for reducing the number of blackouts on the island of Saipan. From the discussions I have heard floating around the community this week, the power is staying on longer and the number of blackouts has dropped, as has the duration of the blackouts.

Reliable power has brought great relief to the people of Saipan trying to run a business or trying to get their kids to sleep at night. Day to day life in Saipan has gotten easier now that the power is staying on.

Things are not all rainbows and unicorns, however, there is a definite downside.

Our electricity bills are going to go up. The leased generators and the reliable power they bring comes at a cost. We have to pay for their lease and we have to pay for the larger amount of fuel it will take to run them. Also, instead of 15 hours of power per day we are going to have to pay for 24 hours of power in our homes and in our businesses.

Therein lies the crux of the complaint of the 500 plus people that braved the soggy weather to "protest" CUC. They demand reliable and affordable power.

Many people are simply relieved that the air conditioners are staying on. Well, let's wait and see how those people feel when they get that next electricity bill.

This is going to be this Administration and this Legislature's next hurdle. Now that they are providing relatively reliable power, how can they provide affordable power?

The people at the bottom rung of the economic ladder are going to need the most help. So are the small businesses struggling to eek out single digit profit margins. Most homes and businesses have already turned off the water heater, opened the windows, turned on the fans, removed half the light bulbs, and unplugged all the unused appliances. Everyone is asking themselves, "What more can we do?"

The crisis with CUC is the biggest threat to our islands. We pay in utility bills in one month what someone in California pays in six months. There are other financial benefits to living in the CNMI, such as lower taxes, no commutes, lower costs of insurance and housing, but balancing and weighing these costs and benefits has a lot of people considering a move. Many already have.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friends of the Monument


The Friends of the Monument have started a blog. They are also going to appear on the John Gonzales Show tomorrow where they will premier their new TV commercial.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beautifyin' on a Saturday Morning

Beautify CNMI cleanupWe held our monthly cleanup of the Garapan Tourist District on Saturday morning. We've been holding this cleanup every month since October 2006. That's 24 consecutive months.

The cleanup is headed by Friends of the Mariana Islands. They are one of the many organizations in the Marianas supporting the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

Beautify CNMI beach cleanupEarlier in the week I led a cleanup of the beach fronting Aquarius Hotel. A group of students from Nippon University's school of International Relations helped out and the hotel manager, Will Hunter, donated donuts and some water. Thanks, Will!

Follow This Blog!

Blogger has a new feature where you can become a "follower" of a blog. It's a new feature, so I figure I'd put it on my blog to see if it becomes popular. I'm not really sure how it works, but I think it is a kind of RSS feed.

So, check it out and let me know what you think. You can put the feature on your blog and I can become a follower of you, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stop Turtle Poaching in the Marianas

I received this message from MINA today:
NOAA needs your help. NOAA is offering Rewards for Information on Sea Turtle Poaching!!!!

NOAA’s Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of persons poaching endangered sea turtles in the Territory of Guam and in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands.

Turtle poaching is an ongoing problem in the Guam area. In recent months, NOAA special agents have investigated cases involving the sale and consumption of meat and eggs of protected sea turtles.

Turtle experts believe that turtle poaching is a significant contributing factor to the reduction of indigenous sea turtle populations around the Pacific islands.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects all six species of sea turtles in the United States. Endangered species include the indigenous Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle, which are commonly found in and around Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Under the ESA and its corresponding regulations, it is illegal to take, possess, sell, deliver, receive, import, export, carry, transport, or ship any endangered species. A violation of the Endangered Species Act can result in civil penalties of up to $25,000, and criminal fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to one year.

Anyone with information is asked to call one of the following numbers:

Special Agent Charles Raterman (Guam) 671-472-7200
Pacific Islands Division (Honolulu, HI) 808-541-2727
Office for Law Enforcement - National Hotline: 800-853-1964
Guam Customs & Quarantine Service - MITF: 671-475-6331
Guam Division of Aquatics and Wildlife – DAWR: 671-735-3991
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Guam 671-647-6064
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

go to:
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080729_seaturtle.html

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Global Ocean Legacy

There is news in the media of a large marine protected area being proposed in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia.
Proposed Coral Sea Conservation Initiative Would Create World’s Largest No-Take Marine Park

Alliance of Diverse Interests Seeks To Protect At-Risk Ocean Ecosystems, Historical Treasure

September 10, 2008

Sydney, Australia — An international coalition today presented a proposal to the government of Australia to create the world’s largest no-take marine park in the Coral Sea, an area that is important to the world’s marine environment and significant in its deep historical and cultural ties to the region.

“Our oceans are in trouble. What we once thought of as an inexhaustible resource is rapidly deteriorating due to human activities like overfishing, pollution and global warming,” said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, which is helping to lead the coalition’s effort as part of its Global Ocean Legacy project. “It will take bold initiatives like this one – protecting large, contiguous regions of the sea and involving a broad and diverse group of stakeholders – to begin allowing many of the world’s fisheries and ocean ecosystems to recover.”

The campaign partners, who include Australia’s leading tropical marine scientists, former Chiefs of the Navy, members of the Battle for Australia Commemoration National Council, and Australian and international environmental organizations, are calling for one million square kilometres of the Coral Sea to be protected from extractive industries. The proposed park – which encompasses a key World War II maritime battle – lies immediately to the east of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and would be three times larger, extending to Australia’s maritime boundary with Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

“Protecting the Coral Sea would preserve one of the planet’s richest and most diverse ocean environments and would serve as an invaluable conservation model for every country, culture and community that relies on healthy oceans for subsistence, jobs and important economic revenue, tourism, recreation and protection from natural disasters,” Reichert said.

The Coral Sea has more than 25 spectacular coral reefs, remote islands, towering underwater mountains and deep-sea canyons. Its abundant wildlife includes top predators such as sharks, tuna and marlin as well as 25 species of whales, dolphins, manta rays, seabirds and a diverse range of corals and reef fish. The Coral Sea also provides crucial habitats for endangered Hawksbill and Green sea turtles, as well as small reef and large ocean sharks, such as hammerheads.

It is also of great historical importance. In 1942, U.S. and Australia allied forces joined together in the Battle of the Coral Sea to prevent the invasion of Port Moresby. In two days of intense air battles, the American aircraft carrier USS Lexington was badly damaged, 216 of her crew lost their lives and two other American ships went down. While the Japanese sank more ships than they lost, the Allies successfully prevented a Japanese occupation of Port Moresby and greatly reduced the strength of Japanese forces for future critical battles.

The Australian Coral Sea Heritage Park project is part of the Global Ocean Legacy project initiated by the Pew Environment Group in partnership with the Oak Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation.

Limited Edition T-shirts

Mariana trench t shirtThere's sexy...and then there's double chin sexy. Did I mention I really like these shirts?

the deepest darkest place on earthKen Kramer wore his shirt to collect petition signatures this afternoon. The color really stands out. You can't miss someone when they are wearing one.

I can imagine selling these shirts to tourists...maybe not in bright orange...but they sure are nifty. I dig the back, too.

So, any readers want a shirt?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Basic Chamoru I + II

Want to learn Chamoru with me? Check out this podcast.

This is the first lesson.
This podcast is a non-commercial, education experiment in language lesson by distance education. The lessons used are Basic Chamoru by Jacquelyn Millman and Anna Marie Blas Arceo, its authors, and published by Jae Publications of Mangilao, Guam.

Chamorro Lesson 1 is the first of weekly language segment to familiarize students with sounds of language being spoken so accent and pronunciation become recognizable. No special equipment is needed to listen to these .mp3 files. A Table of Contents (TOC) may be downloaded with the link below:

Cham 101 TOC.pdf
This is lesson 2.
Lesson 2 of the Chamorro Language: Dialogue for learning. Have fun.

Incoming Text Message

CUC Protest.
Wednesday, Sep.
17, 530pm,
Garapan Fishing
Base.
Contact Ed Propst
483-7361
for more details.
Please pass it on.
Affordable,
reliable power
now!!

Turning 30 in 27 Days

My definition of old changes in less than a month.

I wish I could fly off to somewhere exotic, but it looks like work is going to keep me on Saipan. Where should we have the party?

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

In an effort to inform the general public about the conversation that took place in our community for over one year, I went ahead and put together a list of all the letters to the editor and opinion pieces on the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (I had a lot of help).

I realize that this list is probably missing a few items, and I would be much obliged if you would forward them on to me, but from what I have compiled here, the running total of letters FOR is 117 versus 50 AGAINST. There were 50 unique writers in support vs 19 writers against. Greg Cruz holds the distinction of being the only person to write letters in support and against the monument.

I'd also like to point out that Ken Kramer was the most prolific writer for the Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument writing 17 (of 117) support letters, while John Gourley wrote only 13 (of 50) non-support letters.

Those are some pretty amazing numbers to me. Thanks to everyone who wrote a letter of support.

Happy readings!

  1. March 20, 2008. Angelo Villagomez “Practicing My Culture
  2. March 24, 2008. Jacinta M. Kaipat. “Give PEW a chance:
  3. April 3, 2008. Greg Cruz. “Taotao Tano supports idea of National Park.”
  4. April 17, 2008. Ignacio V. Cabrera. “Many benefits from national monument:”
  5. April 17, 2008. Ken Kramer. “In defense of the national park proposal:”
  6. April 22, 2008. Jaime Vergara. “The dream of the Earth:”
  7. April 25, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Marine Monument.”
  8. April 28, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Bye bye marine monument!:”
  9. April 28, 2008. Jane Mack. “Arguments against Pew proposal are political and economic:”
  10. April 28, 2008. Wesley Bogdan. “A brilliant idea, a gift from heaven:”
  11. April 28, 2008. Tami L Hunter. “Awesome.
  12. April 29, 2008. Brad Doerr. “Our Marine Monument:”
  13. April 30, 2008. Donald Cohen. “This is what your senators are doing today.
  14. April 30, 2008. Greg Cruz. “To Mr. Joe Cabrera of Dandan.”
  15. April 30, 2008. Angelo Villagomez. “Only of the people want it:”
  16. April 30, 2008. Laurie Peterka. “My motives for supporting Pew's proposal:”
  17. April 30, 2008. Chuck Sayon. “MINA wants open dialog to continue:”
  18. May 01, 2008. Cinta M. Kaipat. “Marianas Trench Marine National Monument:”
  19. May 1, 2008. Ignacio Cabrera. “A Great Opportunity for NMI.”
  20. May 2, 2008. Ignacio Cabrera. “To Governor Fitial.
  21. May 02, 2008 David Khorram. “Movies, Power, Federalization, and Pew.
  22. May 02, 2008. Dr. Cooper Schraudenbach. “A chance to be a steward of the ocean:”
  23. May 02, 2008. Ed Propst. “CARE: Change, Action, Reform, and Excellence:”
  24. May 02, 2008. Eli Bueneventura. “Support for marine monument:”
  25. May 05, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “A lot of mis-, dis-, and non-information on proposed Trench monument:”
  26. May 06, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Need I mention pozzolan?:”
  27. May 08, 2008. Brad Doerr. “Our marine monument II:
  28. May 8, 2008. Chuck Sayon. “Mina wants open dialogue to continue!
  29. May 09, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Why WESPAC wants a Marianas Trench Marine National Monument:
  30. May 09, 2008. Angelo Villagomez. “The governor says no, others say yes:
  31. May 9, 2008. Jay Nelson. “Upcoming Reports on marine park proposal.
  32. May 13, 2008. Jane Mack. “Make the devastation of our natural world stop!
  33. May 13, 2008. Mike Tripp. “Personalities and politics of a marine monument:
  34. May 17, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Wespac's History Speaks:”
  35. May 20, 2008. Mike Tripp. “Marine monument-Let's talk eh!:”
  36. May 21, 2008. Mike Tripp. “Marine monument-the benefits (it's not all about the fishing):”
  37. May 22, 2008. Peter Houk. “What does science tell us about our Northern Islands coral reef ecosystems?:
  38. May 23, 2008. Fred Hovnaton. “Save the Islands’ Trees.
  39. May 27, 2008. Brad Doerr. “Keep your eyes open:”
  40. June 02, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “'Overfishing is destabilizing the marine environment':”
  41. June 10, 2008. Fred Hovnaton. “Asking for nothing and getting nothing:”
  42. June 16, 2008. Elizabeth Deleon Guerrero. “Support the marine monument!:
  43. June 17, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “'Accentuate the positive':”
  44. June 23, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Pew spew? Or more Wespac sputum?:”
  45. July 04, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “What's at stake in the marine monument proposal:
  46. July 08, 2008. Bryan Jones. “What a shame!:”
  47. July 18, 2008. Jay Nelson. Opinion. “The Pew Charitable Trusts: Committed to ocean conservation:
  48. July 28, 2008. Editorial. “Marine Monument: Good for the CNMI, good for the environment:”
  49. July 29, 2008. Ignacio V. Cabrera. “Kudos:”
  50. August 04, 2008. Chailang Palacios. “Don’t Stoop to their level
  51. August 6, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “Golden Opportunity.”
  52. August 08, 2008. Ken Kramer. Thanks, Alexie!
  53. August 08, 2008. Herman Villagomez. No Need.
  54. August 11, 2008. Ignacio V. Cabrera. “Another indigenous point of view:
  55. August 15, 2008. Agnes McPhetres. “Another option to address budget shortfall:”
  56. August 15, 2008. Ken Kramer. “A Dog and His Shadow:”
  57. August 18, 2008. Angelo Villagomez. “About the marine monument proposal
  1. August 22, 2008. Ruth Tighe. “Clarification:
  2. August 25, 2008. Bryan Jones. “Environmental Victory.
  3. August 26, 2008. Richard Dela Cruz. “A Hotdog for a Signature:”
  4. August 26, 2008. Jesus Cruz Cabrera. “Recognition for the Marianas:
  5. August 27, 2008. Ken Kramer. “An achievement in conservation:”
  6. August 27, 2008. Mylene Balisalisa. “Proud of the CNMI:
  7. August 28, 2008. Ron Hodges. “Chamberonomics…the Marine Monument.”
  8. August 29, 2008. Belinda Norita. “Make the Monument a Reality.
  9. September 1, 2008. Brad Doerr. “Thar She Blows.”
  10. September 1, 2008. Ken Kramer. “win-win
  11. September 2, 2008. Jane Mack. “Marine Sanctuaries Work.”
  12. September 2, 2008. Chuck Sayon. “MINA Supports Creation of Marine Preserve.”
  13. September 2008. Josh Reichert. “Our Oceans: Our finite, fragile and valuable resources.
  14. September 4, 2008. Leisha P Camacho. “Let’s Give it a try.”
  15. September 5, 2008. Aleth Kae Atalig. “Young Indigenous in Support of Monument.”
  16. September 5, 2008. Andrew Sablan Salas. “A Legacy Truly Worthy of the CNMI’s children.”
  17. September 8, 2008. Ken Kramer. “Commercial Fishing Remains Irrelevant in the CNMI.”
  18. September 8, 2008. Jay Nelson. “Let’s Focus on Opportunities, Benefits of Monument.”
  19. September 11, 2008. Chuck Sayon. "A Marianas Trench Marine Monument: The Year is 2029."
  20. September 12, 2008. Ken Kramer. "Lawmakers worth voting for."
  21. September 19, 2008. Karl T. Reyes. "Constitutional Intent."
  22. September 19, 2008. Andrew Salas. "Together let's make monument a reality."
  23. September 22, 2008. Jaime Vergara. "Let there be light."
  24. September 23, 2008. Wes Bogdan. "Law of the Sea."
  25. September 25, 2008. Jane Mack. "The concept behind the proposal."
  26. September 25, 2008. Brad Doerr. "This week's special."
  27. September 26, 2008. Ken Kramer. "A great thing for the CNMI."
  28. October 2, 2008. Leticia Camacho. "Read the economic impact report."
  29. October 2, 2008. Ruth Tighe. "High cost is natural barrier."
  30. October 3, 2008. Brad Doerr. "Thank you, Mr. McCue."
  31. October 7, 2008. Jean Michel Cousteau. "A national treasure worth protecting."
  32. October 9, 2008. Emelaine Fejeran. "Monument will benefit education."
  33. October 13, 2008. Cinta Kaipat. "120 on 10/20."
  34. October 20, 2008. Agnes McPhetres. "Welcome to the CNMI."
  35. October 20, 2008. Ken Kramer. "Thanks to the Humanities Council."
  36. October 21, 2008. Ignacio Cabrera. "Thanks for supporting marine monument plan."
  37. October 21, 2008. Lee Taitano. "The awakening of the world."
  38. October 21, 2008. Rosalia Duenas. "Amazed and Proud."
  39. October 21, 2008. Jaime Vergara. "The WOW for MMM."
  40. October 21, 2008. Ken Kramer. "DFW arguments for marine monument."
  41. October 23, 2008. Friends of the Mariana Trench Monument. "Open letters to President Bush."
  42. October 23, 2008. Jose Ayuyu. "Open letters to President Bush, Part 2."
  43. October 24, 2008. Jaime Vergara. "Along the Paseo de Marianas."
  44. October 24, 2008. Ed Propst. "New rules of engagement for the marine monument proposal."
  45. October 24, 2008. Ruth Tighe. "Mutually Exclusive? Not!"
  46. October 24, 2008. Andrew Salas. "Mutual Respect."
  47. October 27, 2008. Saipan Tribune Editorial. "Compromise on the marine monument plan."
  48. October 31, 2008. Ruth Tighe. "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
  49. November 14, 2008. Ben Deleon Guerrero. "Making myself clear."
  50. November 14, 2008. Maegan Agulto. "No coercion."
  51. November 20, 2008. Ignacio Cabrera. "Monument momentum."
  52. December 1, 2008. "Ruth Tighe. "A biased view of the matter."
  53. December 2, 2008. William Aila. "Aha Moku who?"
  54. December 29, 2008. Jaime Vergara. "The great work of the planet earth."
  55. January 8, 2009. Jane Mack. "Thank you."
  56. January 8, 2009. Ken Kramer. "A great day for Earth."
  57. January 8, 2009. Benigno Fitial. "Statement on designation."
  58. January 9, 2009. Jeffrey Flores. "Message of Appreciation."
  59. January 12, 2009. Andrew Salas. "Moving Forward."
  60. January 19, 2009. Emlaine Fejeran. "Si yu'us ma'ase."


Letters to the Editor/Opinion/Editorials AGAINST the Marine Monument

  1. April 11, 2008. John Gourley. Reason 1 why I oppose the PEW National Monument:”
  2. April 14, 2008. William Bamboo McCue. “Be aware of the futurity of your actions:”
  3. April 15, 2008. John Gourley. “Why I oppose the PEW National Monument: Reason 2:”
  4. April 23, 2008. Jim Davies. “Letter.”
  5. April 24, 2008. John Gourley. “CNMI as co-manager of proposed monument: How real is it?:”
  6. April 29, 2008. Joe Cabrera. “To benefit a certain few.
  7. May 01, 2008. William McCue. “Don't give up control:”
  8. May 2, 2008. Juan I. Tenorio. “Problematic.”
  9. May 05, 2008. John Gourley. “We're talking-PEW isn't listening:”
  10. May 09, 2008. John Gourley. “More misconceptions about the Pew monument:
  11. May 9, 2008. Rosemary Camacho. “My Reason for not Supporting the Pew Proposal.”
  12. May 11, 2008. Lino M. Olopai. “Why I resigned from MINA:
  13. May 14, 2008. John Gourley. “Pew, why won't you talk about the monument?:”
  14. May 15, 2008. Benigno Sablan and Manny Duenas. “No need to federalize protection of Northern Islands:
  15. May 23, 2008. John Gourley. “Pew, outsiders, and online petitions:
  16. May 23, 2008. Richard B. Seman. “Leave all conservation measures to the people of the CNMI:
  17. May 23, 2008. George T Sablan. “Mr. Tripp.”
  18. June 06, 2008. John Gourley. “Interesting regulatory exemptions likely to be adopted for the proposed Pew monument:
  19. June 20, 2008. Jim Davies. “Pew spew:
  20. July 10, 2008. Candy Taman. “Pew’s proposed conservation up north.”
  21. July 18, 2008. Candy Taman. “Honoring our forefathers wisdom.”
  22. July 30, 2008. Candy Taman. “Indigenous Land and Sea.
  23. August 01, 2008. John Gourley. “We are not alone in our opposition:”
  24. August 01, 2008. Dr. Ignacio T. Dela Cruz and Benigno Sablan. “Who's lying now?:”
  25. August 29, 2008. John Gourley. “Betrayal Day: August 24, 2008
  26. September 3, 2008. Candy Taman. “Pew’s plans on NI Monument
  27. September 5, 2008. Michael Trianni. “Clarifications: An Achievement in Conservation.”
  28. September 12, 2008. John Gourley. "Pew is as Pew does."
  29. September 18, 2008. Stanley Torres. "Sales Hype."
  30. September 23, 2008. James Davies. "A Pew solution to the problem."
  31. September 26, 2008. William McCue. "How much a trip to the monument will cost."
  32. October 1, 2008. William McCue. "Monument will heal little, if anything."
  33. October 17, 2008. John Gourley. "Misinformation, Deception, Lies - Another Perspective."
  34. October 22, 2008. John Del Rosario. "In search of MM."
  35. October 23, 2008. Greg Cruz. "Taotao Tano's position on the marine monument proposal."
  36. October 23, 2008. Juan Lizama. "Resolve submerged lands, EEZ issues first."
  37. October 23, 2008. William McCue. "Monument-al fallacies."
  38. October 24, 2008. Juan Tudela. "A perspective on the Pew proposal."
  39. October 28, 2008. Edward Guerrero. "No to the proposed national marine monument."
  40. October 28, 2008. Greg Cruz. "Taotao Tano's position on the proposed marine monument: Part II."
  41. October 28, 2008. Pete Reyes. "Clarification on leaked letter."
  42. October 29, 2008. Edward Guerrero. "No to the proposed national marine monument II."
  43. October 31, 2008. Candy Taman and Alex Sablan. "Mutual agreement."
  44. October 31, 2008. Stanley Torres. "I don't believe."
  45. November 4, 2008. Juan Tenorio. "Marine monument."
  46. November 21, 2008. Stanley Torres. "Devil child."
  47. November 25, 2008. John Del Rosario. "Our right to decide."
  48. December 3, 2008. Juan Tenorio. "Thank you."
  49. December 3, 2008. John Del Rosario. "Birthright."
  50. January 5, 2009. John Gourley. "The grand illusion."

Congressional Poll Results

My month long Vizu poll asking "The CNMI will elect its first congressman to the US House of Representatives on November 4, 2008? Who gets your vote?" is over. The results are as follows:

47.8%
Gregorio C Sablan

25.2%
Pete A Tenorio

10.0%
Juan T Lizama

6.3%
John Oliver Gonzales

5.3%
John Davis

3.4%
Chong Won

1.3%
Luis Crisostimo

0.5%
Felipe Atalig

0.2%
David Cing

Any commentary?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

School's In, School's Out

Today was an exciting day for thousands of public school students in the CNMI. They spent weeks getting ready, purchasing school clothes and supplies. School has already been postponed an entire month, so I'm sure they were itching to get back.

Well...

They canceled school. I don't know if it was all the schools, but the kids at Marianas High School were unceremoniously sent home because the water is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria. Are there any reports of other schools closing today?

Let the graffiti bonanza continue!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Chamber Meeting on KSPN 2



KSPN reported on the Chamber of Commerce meeting that Brad recorded.

Good Luck, Mylene

Mylene Balisalisa and Angelo VillagomezMylene Balisalisa, one of my Beautify CNMI volunteers over the last two years, moved to Kona, Hawaii this week. Good luck, Mylene! Check out Volcanoes National Park while you are there.

Info from the White House

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Committee on Ocean Policy has a website including information on the Pacific Marine Conservation Assessment. In an effort to keep my two readers informed I have reposted the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Pacific Marine Conservation Area Assessment Questions and Answers

1. What is the President considering as part of this assessment?

The President has asked the Secretaries of the Interior, Commerce, Defense and the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to advise him as to whether there are areas in the Pacific Ocean including remote islands and surrounding waters of scientific or historical interest that warrant further recognition, protection, or could benefit from improved coordination of management. The Secretaries will gather information and provide it to the President, who will then decide on any actions.

2. What authorities can the President use to take action?

The President has asked for advice on the potential use of one or more authorities including for example, by executive order, the Magnuson Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act, National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the Antiquities Act, among others. More information on these authorities can be found here:

Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/

National Marine Sanctuaries Act
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/
legislation/welcome.html

National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act
http://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/NWRSACT.HTML

Antiquities Act
http://www.nps.gov/history/history/hisnps/
NPSHistory/antiq.htm

Other Ocean and Coastal Activities
http://ocean.ceq.gov/activities/welcome.html

3. How will the public be consulted about these areas?

As part of this assessment, the Administration will be discussing the areas of interest with the public, various interested parties and user groups as well as elected officials. The Council and agencies involved in the assessment are planning to conduct several public open houses to further facilitate public input and discussion. At any time, the public can provide input on this issue to the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality by writing him at 722 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington D.C. 20503 or via email at Chairman@ceq.eop.gov.

4. What type of scientific and historical information is being included in the assessment?

The Council on Environmental Quality and various agencies are collecting scientific and historical information based on the research conducted by the Departments of the Interior, Commerce, and Defense. Specifically, we are collecting information about the physical setting, geological resources, cultural and historic resources, oceanographic conditions, and biological characteristics. Information about some of the research and monitoring conducted in these areas can be viewed on the following websites: Remote Pacific Islands and Atolls

Northern Mariana Islands and Mariana Trench

5. What is the schedule for the assessment? What happens after the assessment is completed?

Working collaboratively with the local and regional partners, as well as the public, CEQ and the appropriate federal agencies will conduct an assessment during the months of September and October. During this time we will be discussing the potential for further recognition, protection, or need for more coordinated management of these areas. Once the assessment is completed and recommendations are made to the President, he will decide whether to take further action.

6. How does this assessment relate to the President's Ocean Action Plan?

In 2004, the President released his Ocean Action Plan (OAP) to promote an ethic of responsible use and preservation of our oceans and coastal resources. This latest action by the President falls in line with his continued commitment to preserving our oceans for future generations. The Presidentís Ocean Action Plan calls for strengthening and better coordinating US ocean policy by:

  • Enhancing Ocean Leadership and Coordination

  • Advancing our Understanding of Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes

  • Enhancing the Use and Conservation of our Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Resources

  • Managing Coasts and Their Watersheds

  • Supporting Maritime Transportation

  • Advancing International Ocean Science and Policy

The Ocean Action Plan identifies 88 activities to further ocean conservation including commitments to promote coral conservation and education, enhance conservation of marine mammals, sharks and sea turtles, improve marine managed areas and preserve the nationís maritime heritage. This assessment is part of advancing this agenda by analyzing further opportunities to meet these objectives.

Make sure you check out the map of the Marianas, too.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chamber Meeting on Youtube

A big shoutout to the CNMI's starting forward, Brad Ruszala, for recording yesterday's Saipan Chamber of Commerce meeting presentations and putting them on Youtube.

I presented first. The video is broken up into two parts:



Sylvan Igisomar and Dr. John Joyner presented on behalf of their respective agencies. Sylvan went first:



Followed by Dr. Joyner:



Again, a big thanks to Brad for recording the presentations and for getting them up on Youtube so fast. I hope that these videos help people understand some of the issues.

New York Times Editorial

The New York Times has written an editorial on the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.
Editorial
Mr. Bush’s Blue Legacy

Published: September 2, 2008

President Bush may be on the brink of doing something stunningly at odds with his record as one of the worst environmental stewards ever to inhabit the White House. He is considering setting aside three vast, remote corners of the Pacific Ocean for protection, an area larger than Alaska and Texas combined.

In a memo last month, Mr. Bush directed his administration to develop a plan for creating sanctuaries in the waters around the Northern Mariana Islands, including the Mariana Trench, the world’s deepest; Rose Atoll in American Samoa; and parts of a long, sprawling collection of reefs and atolls known as the Line Islands.

The waters are as isolated and pristine as any part of the globe can be these days, home to countless species of fish and plants, rare turtles and seabirds and glorious reefs. The Mariana Trench is a staggering place; it could swallow Everest. The islands are mostly coral flyspecks, but if the waters around them are protected to the fullest extent possible — to the 200-mile territorial limit — the sanctuaries would total nearly 900,000 square miles. That is bigger than all of Mexico.

Mr. Bush has done something nearly as spectacular once before. In June 2006, he created the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. Over the strident objections of some commercial-fishing interests, Mr. Bush created a no-fishing sanctuary covering 140,000 square miles, an area larger than all of the country’s national parks combined.

Mr. Bush used the Antiquities Act of 1906, a little-known statute that allows presidents, by executive order, to protect public lands by designating them as national monuments.

His decision won wide praise, except from the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, known as Wespac, one of eight federal agencies assigned to protect fish and fishing in United States waters. Wespac is notorious among environmental groups as a chronic enabler of reckless commercial fishing.

Wespac’s executive director, Kitty Simonds, is condemning this new idea as punishment of the “brown and yellow people” of American Samoa and the Northern Marianas. In fact, her agency’s customary attitude — fish here, fish now — ignores the strong local support across the Pacific for farsighted stewardship of imperiled oceans, a resource that belongs to future generations as much as it does to all of us.

Mr. Bush’s proposal could shrink in scale as details are hammered out and compromises made. He has the power to make the sanctuaries absolute no-fishing, no-mining zones — the best option. His memo also left open the possibility of allowing some fishing and mineral extraction in the sanctuaries. We hope he resists the forces of exploitation, and closes as much as possible of those stretches of the vast blue Pacific to human meddling.

That would be an achievement for the ages. All we can say is: Go for it, Mr. President.
Thus continues the positive free international exposure to our islands.

Still Friends

John Joyner Sylvan Igisomar Angelo Villagomez
ou might not believe me, but I am really shy and I absolutely hate speaking in public. I was really nervous when I started my 15 minute talk at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, but once I got past the first slide I was alright.

After my presentation, Dr. John Joyner of Coastal Resource Management and Sylvan Igisomar of Division of Fish & Wildlife gave presentations. I asked if we could take a picture together when we were finished and they agreed.

Funny enough, I almost wore my purple dress shirt today, but decided to go with the short sleeve white shirt. I would have worn a long sleeve white shirt, but believe it or not, I don't own one.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Chamber Presentation Today

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce will be holding its monthly general membership meeting today, Sept. 3, at the Saipan Grand Hotel, with President Bush's marine monument proposal at the center of the featured presentation.

According to Chamber executive director Kyle Calabrese, this meeting will be a little bit different from the usual Chamber presentations.

“It will feature an exciting twist on our usual format: we have invited representatives of the opposing viewpoints concerning the proposed marine monument to join us; both sides will be given equal time to explain to us their perspectives about why the proposal is something the Commonwealth should or should not embrace, in its current form,” said Calabrese in an e-mail. “In light of recent developments in Washington concerning the proposal, which have been extensively covered in the local and national media, we are certain this will be an informative and lively meeting.”

The guest speakers will be Jay Nelson of the Pew Environmental Group; Sylvan Igisomar, director of the Fish and Wildlife Division of DLNR; and Dr. John Joyner, director of the Costal Resources Management Office.

Members will also hear briefly about National Preparedness Month (September) from Ted Untalan and Ken Shankweiler.

Registration and lunch will begin at 11:30, and the meeting will begin at noon. Meeting fees are $15 for members, $20 for guests of members, and $25 for general public.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Carnival of the Blue XVI

Carnival of the BlueIt is my pleasure to host Carnival of the Blue in the month of September. This is my second time hosting; I was the proud sponsor of Carnival of the Blue IV in September 2007.

Since you are reading this, I'm assuming that you are a lover of all things blue. So, how many of you have heard of George W. Bush's proposal to protect huge swaths of ocean in the Pacific, including some of the waters sitting atop the Mariana Trench?

What a coincidence President Bush issued the Executive Memo to assess three potential monuments in the same month that I'm hosting Carnival of the Blue. Worked out pretty well, didn't it? I've written about this subject on a weekly basis for almost a year. Click this link to read all the posts.

So anyway, the process to designate what could be the world's second largest protected area is just beginning. I hope you come back often to view our progress.

Alright, on to the carnival!

The first blogger to turn in a link for this month's carnival was local Saipan attorney Wes Bogdan. He writes about making the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument into the largest protected area in the planet. I'm not posting his blog first because he talks about my work, I'm posting it because he was the first one to send in a link. Let this be a lesson to all you blue bloggers! Get your link in early and show up near the top of the carnival!

Well, while I'm on the subject, I might as well continue with the monument. Mike Tripp, a local Saipan divemaster and producer of the Underwater World of Saipan, wrote Southern Cal Road Trip and the Marianas Trench Monument.

With that out of the way, onto to the rest. I have a whole menu of ocean blogging for you (and feel free to comment on the prices, I live on an island where fresh caught yellowfin and skipjack tuna is $1.50 per pound).
Carnival of the Blue XVI Menu

Appetizers

Calamari
$12.95

Jason Robertshaw offers up some thoughts on Imitation Cephallic Extremities for Your Home. You can also take the Giant Squid Challenge on his post on Squidology: Biggest, Bigger, Big.


Imitation Scallops
$14.95

Andrew Bleiman at Zooillogix brings us news that the Georgia Aquarium will be the first to house a manta ray in North America.

Also try our deep fried African variety. Peter Etnoyer at Deep Sea News reports on a new species of manta rays in Mozambique.

Shark Fin Soup
$24.95

Shark fin soup comes in two varieties at Carnival of the Blue XVI. Zooillogix has shark fin soup caught using the indigenous fishing method of Goblin Shark Wrassling.

Then only found here, Megaladon shark fin soup (fresh from the Mariana Trench!). The post wonders if Megaladon had the strongest bite in history? Hmmmm.....probably second. First goes to me biting into that first burger during a Sunday BBQ.

Whale Sashimi
market price

RIP Colette, the baby humpback, freshly euthanized off the coast of Australia last week. Courtesy of Brian Switek.

Lunch Menu

Shit Sanchwich
$8.95

A discussion on shit. Doesn't have anything to do with oceans, but it talks about sustainable food and fits into the theme of Carnival of the Blue XVI.

Main Course

Battered Fish Sticks
$14.95

Battered Fish Sticks...as in Holy Battered Fish Sticks, Batman, we've got Big News!!!

RAP Turtle Soup
$59.95

Battle in Seattle premieres in September around the country and gives us an opportunity to Rise Above Plastic: RAP for Sea Turtles. Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) plays the sea turtle activist, Django, in the film.

Tree Spiked Fillet of Sole
$19.95

Did Greenpeace go too far with their eco-sabotage of North Sea fishing? The conversation continues over on Deep Sea News.

Manatee Steak
seasonal

Musings on the Manatees of Crystal River. Hey, those are my old stomping grounds! I even dated a girl from Manatee County for three years!

Wild Salmon in Black Bear Sauce
$24.95

Blue Ocean Institute President Carl Safina’s hopeful blog describes magnificent abundance in Southeast Alaska.

Seagull Andouille
$14.95

Audouin’s Gulls breed in scattered colonies throughout the Mediterranean and thanks to intensive protection measures numbers have now climbed back towards 20,000. Check them out at 10,000 Birds.

Dessert

Jello
$5.95

Did you enjoy your calamari appetizer? How about some dessert? How about Benny Bleiman at Zooillogix' post Killer Colossal Squid Was Just a Blob of Jello.

Deep Fried Asteroidea
$5.95

Ever wonder why you never see anything growing on top of that bright blue sea star? Mark can tell you why on his Marine Life Series: Exploring the Surface of an Asteroid.

Does no fishing equal more coral? According to Ed, Fishing bans protect coral reefs from devastating predatory starfish.

Birthday Surprise
$5.95

Drew Weber takes you out on a birding trip in Belmar, NJ.

Beverages

Oil on the Rocks
$4.95

If oil floats on water and ice floats on water, what happens when you mix oil and ice? Alright, that has nothing to do with this post on near-shore oil drilling.
And that's your Carnival of the Blue XVI! Check us out next month where we will be hosted by Cephalopodcast.