Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marianas Dive Host Maritime Double Header


When: Wednesday April 23, 2008

Where: Porky’s Beach Bar (behind McDonald’s on Beach Road)
Smoke Free on Wednesdays
Time: 6:45PM

ACT ONE: The 1733 Spanish Galleon TrailThe 1733 Spanish Galleon Trail

Scattered over eighty miles of the Florida Keys, the thirteen 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet wrecks present a unique opportunity for public interpretation of historic shipwrecks. During the summer of 2004 archaeologists from the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research conducted a survey of these shipwrecks to determine their condition and their potential for inclusion in a proposed shipwreck trail. Presenter Jennifer McKinnon provides an overview of the project and the shipwreck trail.

Jennifer McKinnon is a Lecturer of Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University in South Australia and was a senior underwater archaeologist for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research on the 1733 Spanish Galleon Trail.

The waters around Saipan Tinian and Rota are littered with WWII artifacts, many of them easily accessible for divers and even snorkelers. Could we take steps similar to those in Florida in an effort to better preserve, protect and market what we have? Come, find out first hand from the expert and someone who’s done the work!

ACT TWO: The National Park of the Sea

Angelo O’Connor Villagomez is one of the co-founders of Beautify CNMI and the former Executive Director of MINA. He is an indigenous environmentalist and has been working on conservation issues in the CNMI for two years.

Villagomez is currently the Saipan Coordinator for Ocean Legacy, a project of the Pew Environment Group. He is coordinating local support for a proposed “National Park of the Sea” encompassing a portion of the Mariana Trench and the islands of Ascuncion, Magu, and Uracas.

His presentation will discuss certain unique aspects of the area and the benefits of a globally significant protected area.

Currently a unique opportunity exists for the CNMI. Support for and against exists and people are weighing in on the proposal. Come and see for yourself what it’s all about. Ask questions and make yours an informed opinion!

Marianas Dive is a growing group of individuals with a passion for everything underwater and specifically what Saipan Tinian & Rota have to offer as dive destinations. The group welcomes community members to join and help the CNMI build a truly world class dive destination while promoting our excellent diving locally and globally. Members meet the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6:30 PM. To join the email list, visit www.marianasdive.com.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Here is my letter to the editor for Monday:

Bye, Bye, Marine Monument!

Thanks to my good fiend, Mr. John Gourley, who
convinced the Governor and the legislature with his
letters and verbose editorials, the Pew Charitable
Trust has decided to leave the CNMI and take their
ideas, and their glossy looking, professional proposal
elsewhere (Personally, I prefer a shoddy, dull
presentation, because the glossy ones hurt my eyes). I
can only wonder what Mr. Gourley's interests and
motives were for wanting to kill this idea? And, aah,
the spectacular, fabulous, awe-inspiring, wonderful,
amazing irony and timing, of passing a resolution
against the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National
Monument, on none other than Earth Week! What are the
chances? It was truly a great week for the death of an
environmental bonanza.

Yes, Pew is gone. Mr. Jay Nelson of the Ocean Legacy
is now in England, working with governments more
amenable to the concept of a marine sanctuary in areas
of the world's oceans, away from the likes of the
National Marine Fisheries Service or WESPAC with their
champion: Mr. Gourley. Jay Nelson has the lofty goal
to protect those ocean areas for future generations
and for the life of the planet. This is apparently too
noble of a cause for the CNMI to even consider after
passing a joint Senate resolution against it. Angelo
will be without a job and will probably leave the CNMI
in a couple of
weeks to go work on a candidate's Presidential
campaign, where the people may appreciate more the
work he is doing. He has no boat trip to go on
anymore, anyway, since the $150,000 boat trip was
canceled. You know the one: the big boat trip to Maug,
Uracus, and Asuncion to garner international fame and
glory for the CNMI with a team of photographers from
the National Geographic magazine, and Jean Michel
Cousteau, the son of the famous marine researcher,
Jacques Cousteau. All that is now relegated to the
history books of the CNMI in the pages of failed
opportunities, where it will cozy up to the OTEC
project that the CNMI lost a couple of years ago. It
is a sad day for the CNMI, indeed! What a pity. . .
Way to go WESPAC!!!

Let’s look on the bright side: We can now let the
fishermen fish all they want! The fishermen from Rota
can fill up their boats with gasoline at $5 per gallon
to go 400 miles to the top three northern islands and
decimate the bumpheaded parrotfish for a one time
slaughter in Maug. I thought they were too big at any
rate. It would be kind of reminiscent of the old days
in the Wild West, where the American buffalo herds
were so thick and plentiful; they turned the prairies
black; the ground trembled with their passing; and
when people would kill as many as they could, just for
the sport of it. They can sustainable harvest the fish
in the same way. Or, they could follow WESPAC’s lead,
which allowed the fisherman in Hawaii to harvest all
of their lobsters. Oh, no more lobsters in Hawaii? I
guess that’s too bad for Hawaii. Poor , poor Hawaii,
and the sad fate of the monk seals that are dying out.
See the following link for the details of the two
ongoing federal investigations of WESPAC:

Well, let’s not forget those manganese nodules,
either! We can mine the proposed monument area for
manganese nodules! Of course, everyone knows there are
billions of dollars of potential treasure in manganese
nodules (?) just waiting for some enterprising company
to harvest off the bottom of the ocean. Only an idiot
would pass this one up, right? Manganese nodules of
economic importance probably do not even occur in the
proposed monument area, but that will not stop us;
nor, will the fact that the CNMI has no control over
its mineral rights. Why should it bother us that
manganese nodules take millions of years to grow and
are found in the abyssal plains at depths of 18,000
feet or more, which is nowhere near the Marianas?
We'll spend an additional $500 million to do further
studies and research the potential just like they did
in the 1960s and 1970s. Then, we will do some more
studies of the studies before taking any actions. Who
cares, if it is not economically feasible? All I can
say is that Kennecott Copper Company really gave up
too easily. They really should spend more money to get
those nodules off the ocean floor, than what they are
worth. Maybe, they could stockpile them and sell them
a few thousand years into the future when the price
goes up? It really is easy to look this stuff up on
the Internet:

We don't need Angelo, either! What has he ever done
for Saipan? All he does is stir up trouble and
controversy, like presenting glossy proposals on a
fantastic opportunity: The Marianas Trench Marine
National Monument. Do we really need someone to
organize beach cleanups, plant trees, recycle, and
care for the environment? Never mind!!!!!! Ron
Kramis, when he was here, spoke of a new, better
Saipan, that was clean and with beaches that actually
looked nice without all the trash. He spoke of a
feeling he had that Saipan had become, in the span of
only two years, “The new and improved Saipan,” a
destination, he could recommend to his friends. As the
Public Involvement Coordinator for the NFWF Coral
Reef Awareness in Saipan project, Angelo, made us
realize the value of our marine environment. By
presenting this monumental proposal, he was just
taking the next step forward by working for the Pew
Charitable Trust to protect a small area of the planet
for our future by promoting an idea: The Marianas
Trench Marine National Monument. An area of the ocean,
which has to date, brought no economic value to the
CNMI. What has Mr. Gourley done for us, other than to
destroy us?

And, finally, who needed the Ocean Legacy or the Pew
Charitable Trust, anyway? Who needed the annual influx
of $10 - $20 million dollars of federal funding for
the CNMI? What for? Who cares or wanted all those good
paying jobs? All those jobs the local people could
have had, could have prepared for by studying courses
at NMC; they are all gone: Poof! And: "We Don't Need
No Stinkin Visitor's Center!" It would just bring in
more of those troublesome tourists and an annual
budget of millions. WESPAC thinks that World Heritage
status for the NW Hawaiian Islands would harm it,
because it would draw too many tourists. So, the
conclusion to be drawn from WESPAC, is that we may not
want to create the monument in the Northern Mariana
Islands at all, because it might attract too many
tourists. The CNMI wouldn't look good, having all
those tourists and researchers coming to Saipan,
Tinian, and Rota, spending money, staying in hotels,
renting cars, chartering boats, investing in the CNMI,
and eating at restaurants. How can that possibly help
the CNMI? Are we not doing just fine without all that
money? After all, it only represents about 10% of the
annual CNMI budget. Please, do not count the spin-off
value of those dollars.

Finally, I would hate to be anyone associated with the
demise of this proposal, which is, quite simply put:
“The best idea, the CNMI has ever had dropped into its
lap.” Bobby Grizzard said it best, when I introduced
her to Jay Nelson: "What a great idea! Its a
No-Brainer! It will never fly in the CNMI! It makes
too much sense."

Bye Bye monument! Good Bye Opportunity! Hello CNMI!

Ken Kramer

divephotographer said...

Wendy Doromal has done extensive research on this topic here that you can read at unheardnomore.blogspot.com