Archive for May, 2007

So I’m not the only one who feels this plastic baggie thing is out of hand.

Honestly, does the average beverage container need to last ten thousand years.

I’ve been paying attention to how many plastic bags, wrappers, liners, etc. go into the trash every meal, shopping excursion or just about any function of life or commerce these days. The mind boggling mass of flimsy suffocating petroleum based baggy creatures is insane. We’ve all heard the stories of Turtles at sea ingesting and drowning on bags but do we realize how BIG the issue really is. Apparently I’m not the only one because somewhere in California they are outlawing the things. I usually think California is over the top but this time I think they are on to something. I do the usual refusal of plastic when I’m purchasing, unless I absolutely can’t carry the stuff without a bag and paper is not available, but lets consider breakfast cereal. You buy it in a box with a bag liner, carry it home in another bag and throw away the bag in a trash bag lined trash can. Try counting for just one day the numbers of flimsy little chokers you use. You know those things are flying off the back of the trash truck and never making it to the dump, even if you properly dispose of them. They will be on a bush waving goodbye to you on your commute, the day after trash day. It has been said that every item ever made of plastic, unless it has been burned, still exists.

Jellyfish Lake, Palau


Jellyfish lake is a wonderful and haunting place. It is a brackish (mix of salt and fresh water) inland lake with an extremely deep bottom in the hundreds of feet deep. It is connected to the ocean via subterranean limestone caverns that perforate the islands of Palau. The water below 50 feet or so is uninhabitable because of high toxin levels created by the high nitrate composting action of the mangrove organics on the bottom. The temperature is about 90 degrees at the surface but actually gets hotter the deeper you go. We hiked in with our snorkeling gear and swam out toward the center of the lake where the jellyfish congregate in the sunlight, away from the shady tree-lined edges. Free diving down to about 35 feet for photos it was intensely hot, maybe 110 degrees, and very dark because of medium low visibility. That is as far as I would venture to go.

jellyfishlake003.jpg stingless biosphere

These jellyfish have no stinging abilities because here they have no predators or prey. Sometimes they were so dense they would be bouncing off of us and we had to be careful not to damage their soft bodies. They Migrate to the surface during the day to give light to the algae inside their bodies and back down into the fertile depths at night to feed the algae, which in turn feed the jellies. Self sustained undulating space ships! Its a kind of internal algae farming. Learning from this invention of nature could surely teach us how to create our own sustainable living processes.

living bubbles

The hardest part about swimming in the saltwater lakes of Palau was the fear of saltwater crocodiles. Huge and aggressive although rare. The thought of them was ever present in the back of my mind.