Wednesday, July 31, 2013


My good friend from Norway, Lars Golmen, commented on my previous posting about Kon-Tiki (Thor Hyerdahl is also from Norway), and suggested I write about TROPOS, a nearly $20 million  European partnership to explore the potential of offshore multi-use platforms.  It was nearly two decades ago when I presented "Colonization of the Open Ocean" at an international oceanographic conference held in Lisbon, Portugal.  I said:

European countries more than half a millennium ago conquered the world for their needs, and there were terrible human implications.  However, in the open ocean today is the final global frontier for economic development.  No one really owns these waters and no existing populations will be impacted.  In fact, there might even be opportunities to enhance the environment, as global climate change can be remediated and hurricane formation can be prevented.

Already, more than half of the world population is within 200 kilometers from the sea, and these coastal areas will double by 2025.  The European Union is thus seeking an integrated approach regarding the use of the oceans.  The first three projects will be these ocean platforms.  They have further added two more projects:
  • H2Ocean:  Development of a wind-wave power system for the production of hydrogen.
  • Mermaid:  An innovative multi-purpose platform to make the best use ocean space.

The TROPOS foci are transport, energy, aquaculture and leisure.  Jose Joaquin Hernandez Brito of Las Palmas, Canary Islands, is the Managing Director.  (This gives me a second reason for visiting this island, for my Chapter 5 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth features Las Palmas). 

If you participated in Oceans 2013 in Bergen, you would have learned the full scope of the plans.  For now, just click on all the above links to gain a sense of how the European Union is progressing on the Blue Revolution.  An excellent PowerPoint presentation can be found by clicking on The TROPOS Project.  (IN CASE IT WASN'T OBVIOUS, THOSE COLORED ENTRIES ARE GENERALLY LINKS.)  The EU is far ahead of Japan, China and USA in advancing this final Planet Earth frontier for economic opportunity.


Monday, July 1, 2013


Fox News has a list of 10 greatest ocean adventure movies.  Most were fictitious, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and there was one real disaster (Titanic), which returned this year in 3D.

I was thus inspired by the latest movie on Kon-Tiki, which covers the real-life dream of Thor Heyerdahl, when in 1947 he overcame huge doubts and challenges to sail for 101 days a distance of 5,000 miles on a balsa raft with a dedicated crew of four Norwegians and one Swede from Peru to French Polynesia, constantly being followed by sharks, which served as food.  Only the President of Peru, Jose Luis Bustamente y Rivero, was particularly helpful.  The U.S. Navy predicted he would never get there.  The Norwegian documentary, Kon-Tiki (1950), won the 1951 Oscar for documentary films, the only such award to any movie product from Norway.  By clicking on it, you watch the entire nearly hour-long movie, an excellent background piece before seeing the current version.

Rotten Tomatoes gave an 83% reviewers rating and 78% from the audience.  The film was entertaining, but not particularly suspenseful, as you knew they would make it.  There was an encounter with a 25 foot Whale Shark (actual photo to the left), which one of the crew stupidly harpooned, almost scuttling the expedition.

Heyerdahl's contention that Polynesia was populated by settlers from South America never gained anthropological acceptance.  More recently, mitochondrial DNA indicated that the migration was mostly from the West (Asia).  However, there are elements of Polynesian culture that no doubt were influenced from the East and there is now added genetic testing that suggests there certainly were some Eastern input.  Kon-Tiki was an Incan Sun-God, who might have been white, and left Peru only to avoid a total massacre. 

Over 87 years, Heyerdahl lived quite a life, with three wives, selling 100 million copies of his book on this adventure, widely representing the United Nations, and sailing in a papyrus reed boat across the Atlantic.  Maybe more than anything else, he inspired countless youths about the ocean.  Including me.