The Beacon: J.L. Frank's blog
On August 7, it was a great privilege to be joined by some very outgoing and incredible conservationists who raced in the Nautica New York City triathlon and raised money for Oceana. In total, the team has raised over $7,300 for Oceana and there’s still a couple weeks of fundraising left if any of you want to support the team.
For my part, I swam on a relay team with one of my good friends from D.C. and an Oceana supporter who signed up to race with us online. You too can sign up for a relay or choose to race on your own when Team Oceana gathers in Malibu next month for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
I’ve done that race twice and it’s absolutely beautiful – the Pacific ocean swim, the bike ride along the Pacific Coast Highway, and the run along Zuma Beach. And, lucky for you, there’s still a few race slots remaining for the upcoming Malibu race, which is the weekend of September 17-18.
This past weekend, Oceana joined Nautica at Lummus Park for the Nautica South Beach Triathlon. It was the third time we teamed up at the SoBe Tri to raise money for Oceana and raise awareness about ocean conservation...and it certainly seemed charmed.
First, there were the conditions – and I don't mean the clear blue skies and 78 degree Atlantic Ocean water temperature – I mean the six volunteers and nineteen athletes who gave of their time and effort to make the event successful for Oceana and for our oceans.
Last weekend was the Nautica Malibu Triathlon and I was there with Oceana to participate in our team’s race, which helped raise more than $6,000 for our work. We also added a few hundred signatures to our Stop the Drill petition, including several celebs.
This week, Oceana's corporate partner Nautica invited us to Key West Race Week to spread the word and gather support for our opposition to Congressional efforts to open up Florida’s coasts to offshore drilling.
In the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, there’s a proposal that would open up currently protected areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.
Why is this proposal such a big deal? I’ll give you a few reasons…
1. Currents: the Florida and Loop currents in the Gulf spread vital nutrients to marine life off Florida’s west coast, so if the currents are exposed to oil, it could expose Florida’s beaches and marine habitats to oil contamination.
2. Habitats: Florida’s mangroves and corals provide habitat for over 40 bird species, over 500 fish species, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, sharks and commercially-important shellfish like spiny lobsters, oysters, clams and shrimp. These habitats are particularly vulnerable to oil.
Team Oceana ended its inaugural triathlon season last month in Malibu, but there's already plenty of buzz building up to 2010. For starters, we have two athletes from Southern California, Steven and Merrie Regalado, who want to complete the entire Nautica series next year. Steven and Merrie raced twice in the last month alone and will compete in an Ironman 70.3 in Austin this upcoming weekend - that's a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run!
For the 2010 Nautica New York City Triathlon, we already have two spots spoken for by a pair of ocean-loving volunteers from the 2009 event and OCYC Commodore Kristen Berry will likely want to head back to New York to conquer the Hudson again. For South Beach, we hope our two athletes from last spring return for next April's race, but they better bring some friends because we want to grow that team by 10-15 people. The rumors around here are that Oceana Executive Vice President Jim Simon may spend this winter conditioning so he can be one of those new team members in South Beach.
Two weekends ago, Oceana spent three days (working) on Zuma Beach for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. After months of athletic training, weeks of fundraising and two days of competition, Oceana's fourteen athletes and seven volunteers exceeded all our expectations (see the slideshow).
On Saturday, four coed relay teams and two individuals represented Team Oceana for the Olympic Distance race (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run). While the point was to have fun and help raise money for Oceana's conservation programs, Team Oceana stepped up to earn competitive accolades too. Age group champion and Ironman triathlete Julia Van Cleave took first place in her division while the relay team of Trent MacLean, Liza Dunham and Gary Schechner took second place and the relay team of Lauren Saez, Dan Ovando and Justin Whittet took fourth place.
On Sunday, three athletes raced as individuals in the Classic Distance race (.5 mi swim, 18 mi bike, 4 mi run). It wasn't easy, but Louis Linsmeyer, Nautica South Beach Triathlon veteran Julie Leonardo and I all completed our respective Pacific Ocean swims, PCH bike rides and beach front runs. We fed off the crowd's energy all day, which was tremendous, bolstered by the presence of 3000 athletes and dozens of celebrities like Jeremy Piven and William H. Macy.
The forms are turned in, the roster is set and, hopefully, the training is well on its way.
The 2009 Nautica Malibu Triathlon is just one month away and Oceana still has available spots for our race team for the Olympic distance race (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) on September 12 and the Classic distance race (.5mi swim, 18mi bike, 4mi run) on September 13.
I'll be racing this year, but last year I attended as a spectator and was excited to see all the celebs that did the Pacific swim, the Pacific Coast Highway bike ride and the run down the pavement and blacktop along Zuma Beach. Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman and Cindy Crawford were just some of the famous faces to grace the beach in 2008 and I know many will be there in 2009 too.
While Oceana's Ranger catamaran prepares for its expedition later this summer, there is a fascinating expedition currently being lead by the Living Oceans Society. A vessel carrying two Deep Worker manned submarines left British Columbia on World Oceans Day (June 8) and has been exploring the Hecate Strait and the Queen Charlotte Basin ever since.
The goal of the expedition is to study deep water corals and document threats to their well being. As Oceana has documented in fisheries around the world, one of the most glaring and obvious threats to corals is destructive bottom trawling. Watch this video the video below from the British Columbia expedition, which features a bottom trawling animation and video from Oceana.
Also stay tuned for more news about the upcoming Ranger Expedition or check out photos from last year's expedition.
Our Florida Wavemakers are some of the most active ocean advocates I’ve encountered while at Oceana. Recently, a St. Augustine Wavemaker reminded me that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will soon weigh in on a request from the Navy that could have a negative impact on marine mammals and sea turtles living off the shore of Northeast Florida.
The Navy wants authorization from NMFS for the taking of 20 different marine mammal species as a result of tactical sonar used in a proposed Undersea Warfare Training Range (USWTR) near Jacksonville. According to the Navy’s own Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), that could put humpback whales and highly endangered North Atlantic right whales in danger.
- What Do Historic CO2 Levels Mean for the Oceans? Posted Tue, May 14, 2013
- U.S. Coast Guard Captures Illegal Fishermen in Texas Posted Tue, May 14, 2013
- Victory! Delaware Becomes Seventh State in U.S. to Ban Shark Fin Trade! Posted Thu, May 16, 2013
- It's Endangered Species Day! Posted Fri, May 17, 2013
- Stocks Show Signs of Recovery, But Still Work to Do Posted Fri, May 17, 2013