Archive for November, 2017

New Zealand’s Tunes of I Release New EP ‘Wicked Ways’

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Tunes of I, a psychedelic dub rock 7-piece out of Wellington, NZ, dropped their new EP Wicked Ways on November 17th, 2017. Ahead of the upcoming release, Tunes of I have put out two killer singles “Kiss the Sky” and “Running” as a preview of what’s to come. Recorded at Wellington’s Surgery Studios, Wicked Ways was produced by the so-called doctor, Lee Prebble.
Coming out of the reggae-rich country of New Zealand, the hype around Tunes of I has been steadily increasing during their 6 years together as a band. Tunes of I spent the last 18 months touring in support of their debut album Restless, which features blazers like the title track “Restless” and “Solar Rays.” In 2012, Tunes of I was named Emerging Artist of the Year at New Zealand’s Waiata Maori Music Awards. The group has played support for legendary acts like UB40 and The Wailers, as well as the enormously popular Australian, psychedelic reggae rock bands Sticky Fingers and Ocean Alley. Tunes of I is formed by Conway Jeune (vocals/guitar), Jules Blewman (guitar), Makura Tomoana (bass), Luther Hunt (drums), Michael Costeloe (trumpet), Bryn van Vliet (saxophone), Kaito Walley (trombone).

Tunes of I bring a fresh blend of dub, soul, and psychedelic reggae to the table. You’ll hear some influence from fellow Wellington natives Fat Freddy’s Drop on songs like “Restless” and “Solar Rays,” and then on their recent single “Kiss the Sky” there are glimpses of Sticky Fingers-esque lyrics, but the music is always captivating and original. 

Be sure to give the EP Wicked Ways a listen and find them on digital platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.Currently, Tunes of I only has performances scheduled in New Zealand, but hopefully the boys will make it out Stateside soon enough.

Related Links: 
Tunes of I Official Website
Tunes of I Facebook
Wicked Ways Purchase Link

Article By: Brian Winters

Wicked Ways EP – ‘Wicked Ways’ Teaser

Tunes of I – “Solar Rays” (Live)

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 at 8:28 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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A Season of Gratitude: What We’re Thankful For in 2017

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It’s the season of gratitude, and all of us at Ocean Conservancy couldn’t be more thankful for the progress we’ve seen in 2017. We’ve been met with some incredible challenges, road bumps and unexpected obstacles, but none of these have stopped us. With a backbone made up of the support of countless people committed to marine conservation, our programs have seen some extraordinary breakthroughs for our ocean. The most incredible thing? None of it could have been possible without our consistently awe-inspiring community of supporters, banded together as defenders of one thing that bonds us all together: our ocean.

Check out some of the progress we’re most thankful for accomplishing in 2017!

We’re building a healthy ocean and coastal communities

through smart ocean planning.

Our nation’s first regional ocean plans were launched last year, and we’re committed to working to implement them. These plans balance multiple ocean uses, from conservation to economic development to recreational purposes. Some examples demonstrating these plans include:

© Massachusetts Office of Travel Tourism

  • Conservationists and commercial fishermen came together to look at data from these ocean plans to visualize key habitats and fishing spots, while also weighing in conservation options for species like the rare deep-sea corals that call the Gulf of Maine and the waters off Cape Cod their home. Brand new data helped to map out exactly how fishing vessel activity could be routed to avoid these coral habitats, providing an illustration of smart ocean planning implementation.
  • Our collaborative, solution-focused approach to ocean planning led countless industry partners to come together to submit a letter to the Trump Administration, expressing incredibly strong support for ocean planning initiatives. When it comes to executive administrations, it takes the uniting of various different voices to be heard and that’s exactly what we did and are continuing to do.

Trash Free Seas® is leading the fight against

marine debris and plastic pollution.

No matter where it originates, Ocean Conservancy is working to stop the flow of trash into our ocean. This year, our work to keep beaches clean and end ocean plastics included a new partnership with Outerknown®, the retail apparel company founded by World Surf League champion and continuously vocal ocean spokesperson Kelly Slater. Whether upstream or downstream, were working to protect our ocean from trash and plastic contamination.Trash Free Seas

  • With the support of a number of leading worldwide brands and the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, we were able to announce a collaboration with Closed Loop Partners. With this group, we developed a new method of funding support waste management, recycling and circular economy projects in Southeast Asia (the largest source of plastic inputs into our ocean)!
  • Ocean Conservancy co-hosted a summit with the Outdoor Industry Association and the University of California Santa Barbara, focused on identifying solutions to the ever-increasing problem of microfiber pollution. This type of contamination happens when synthetic fabrics such as polyester run through people’s laundry, releasing tiny plastic particles that run down drains…and eventually into our ocean.
  • Once again the largest volunteer beach cleanup effort worldwide, our International Coastal Cleanup reported the collection of more than 18 million pounds of ocean trash from our coastlines…now that’s what we call teamwork.

We’re defending the importance of fishery laws

and pushing the envelope to develop more innovative

fishery management solutions.

Back in July, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a short-sighted order to extend the federal private recreational fishing season for red snapper. This allowed for overfishing and threatened rebuilding efforts for the species’ populations. With Environmental Defense Fund and Earthjustice, Ocean Conservancy is fighting back against this dangerous decision. Political pressures shouldn’t override proven, science-based policy and fighting against the season extension helps chart a course for healthy and stable future fisheries. 

redSnapper_freeToUse_Copyright 2008 Ned Deloach-Marine Life
© Ned Deloach / Marine Life Images

  • New fisheries challenges call for innovative solutions, and this has been showcased through a number of new initiatives this year. We’ve pushed to influence West Coast fishery plans to keep larger ecosystem conditions in mind in order to restore and maintain healthy fish stocks, and even developed a groundbreaking computer modeling tool that can actually predict fishermen’s actions. These actions are one of the most influential factors when it comes to making effective fishery management decisions amidst continuously shifting ocean conditions and changing political landscapes. Yet another win? A number of reputable partners are now utilizing the tool across the world, including Oxford University, to pinpoint the best solutions to achieve healthy, sustainable global fisheries!

Marine wildlife are on the road to recovery

in the Gulf of Mexico.

Between the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and recent catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf of Mexico has been significantly affected over the last decade and our mission calls us to work hard to restore and protect the area from future harm. We’ve focused in on advancing efforts to heal the wounds the Gulf has felt, as well as provide support and restoration efforts for its iconic marine wildlife.

© Jennifer Reilly

  • Our newest report, titled Restoration without Borders, is being recognized and used to pinpoint areas in the region where endangered Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles are most at risk. From pollution to fishing and shipping threats, we’re helping drive toward the best solutions to bring these populations back from the brink.
  • We’ve also implemented a new focus on the recovery of Gulf coastal communities that have been wrought by the 2017 hurricane season. Ocean Conservancy is working with all our might to ensure that restoration and recovery dollars are used wisely to better protect these communities and surrounding wildlife from future threats.

Our teams are spurring action to protect our ocean.

Although science-based ocean priorities have been directly affected by a number of partisan, politically-charged changes over the last year, Ocean Conservancy knows that our ocean is a potent rallying point around which people of countless perspectives can come together.

© Pixabay / cytis

Now, we’re working to bring together various voices for the sea (those of people we call like to call ‘champions’ of our ocean). From sailors and divers who see the impact of ocean plastics to coastal communities concerned about current fish stocks and more, finding common ground to defend core conservation programs is essential.

  • This year, we brought together two particular key voices for our ocean: Philippe Cousteau (grandson of renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau) and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). These leaders, though from different political parties, came together to talk about non-partisan solutions to our most biggest conservation problems, breaking down barriers of partisanship in the name of our ocean. Forming these productive partnerships that rise above the political fray are proving to be a necessary, ongoing strategy that we are committed to. 

We’re fighting to protect the beloved wildlife

that calls the Arctic home.

In 2017, with the essential behind-the-scenes assistance from Ocean Conservancy, the U.S. chairship of the intergovernmental Arctic Council closed with a strong focus on conservation. We helped make sure that a framework was adopted for an interconnected network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and we also ensured that issues such as increased Arctic shipping and the effects of climate change on the pan-Arctic region were addressed, emphasizing the need for global action to reduce greenhouse gases. 

Public Domain

  • On an international level, we were thrilled to learn that Finland has decided to advance these conservation plans under its 2017-2019 Arctic Council chairship!
  • On the homefront, Ocean Conservancy lead the way in persuading the U.S. Coast Guard to adopt our recommendations for protecting the Bering Sea and Bering Strait areas from the dangers of increased shipping. Over the course of the next year, we’re working to implement these plans to protect the millions of marine mammals that pass through it every year, as well as its local indigenous and coastal communities.


We’re bringing people together

to fight carbon pollution in our ocean.

Across our nation and the world, the impacts of ocean acidification (or OA) are more than clear. From dwindling oyster populations to slowing coral reef recovery and growth, our ocean depends on us to keep its pH levels from becoming even more dangerously low. 

© Benjamin Drummond/Ocean Conservancy

  • As a founding partner of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, Ocean Conservancy has been working to grow Alliance membership to unite various areas of the world in developing solution-oriented action plans to solve this issue. Carbon dioxide pollution (the root cause of OA) is something we can and must fight to decrease, and over the course of the past year, more and more countries are recognizing the need for change. New Zealand, Iceland, Fiji and Sweden have all recently committed to joining the Alliance, and in an incredible show of unified commitment to fighting OA, the current membership of the Alliance has risen above 50. We couldn’t be prouder to see so many people come together in support of this cause.
  • With this, Ocean Conservancy also produced a video about OA and its impact on coral reefs in Florida, as well as potential impacts to on coastal industries. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) spoke to Congress on the problem, describing not only its core causes, but also its day-to-day consequences on our ocean and coastal communities as we know them. In the speech, she commended Ocean Conservancy and our video for highlighting, illustrating and championing the issue and we couldn’t express more gratitude for her recognition of our work.

People’s hearts are uniting in a determined rally

to protect our ocean like never before.

Public Domain

All in all, though our ocean is facing new and very real dangers today, there’s one thing that has kept a positive, hopeful connotation to our work… the fervent support and unwavering commitment of countless people across our country and the globe to conserving our ocean.

No matter what new obstacles to our work may present themselves, Ocean Conservancy has witnessed something we could never be more thankful for.

This glimmer of hope: that no matter what is going on in the world, the love that people have for our ocean will always reign true, keeping the vision of a clean, healthy, thriving ocean—a more than viable one. This Thanksgiving, we’re not only beyond thankful for the progress we’ve made, but also incredibly determined and filled with a renewed sense of profound optimism when it comes to future wins in the field of ocean conservation. 

We’re thankful to all those involved in our program initiatives, as well as those who support us with their generous contributions to bolster our work.

And, rest assured, we will continue to feel this gratitude every single day.

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This Thanksgiving, We’re Grateful for Healthy Oysters

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As I eagerly prepare my Thanksgiving oyster stuffing to cap off Virginia’s Oyster Month, I am particularly thankful for the hardworking men and women who raise my oysters. Virginia is now the East Coast leader for shellfish production, and that’s because of a persevering industry. Playing a foundational, behind-the-scenes role are the shellfish hatchery facility managers located all around the Chesapeake Bay. These innovators are part veterinarian, part scientist, and part parent who rear oyster larvae, or “seed,” that oyster growers buy to cultivate on their farms in Virginia and all over the East Coast.

Hatchery managers are committed to delivering a consistent product supply. Yet, their efforts alone are not enough to successfully raise oysters—they need healthy waters for the bivalves to grow. As Mike Congrove, Hatchery Manager of Oyster Seed Holdings in Grimstead, VA puts it, “Few people are more concerned about water quality than hatcheries because we really rely on it for optimal oyster health and survival.” Hatcheries have benefitted from Virginia’s sparkling waters to raise and protect the oysters in their earliest, most vulnerable life stages.

In 2013, however, Virginia hatcheries began suffering unexplained, intermittent production issues that amounted to thousands of dollars in losses. Hatchery managers collaborated with scientists to determine the cause leading many of these managers to wonder whether “ocean acidification” was the problem. Ocean acidification is a change in water chemistry of the ocean, coasts and rivers that stems from too much carbon dioxide in the water.

Virginia’s shellfish-growing water spans the salty Atlantic Ocean, fresh rivers and streams draining several states, and everything between. While the industry is still learning how acidification is playing out in Virginia waters, the importance of the collaboration between researchers and hatcheries to monitor it cannot be understated. Additionally, federal lawmakers are now joining private industry and scientists to support studying and protecting Virginia’s water quality and the businesses and people who rely on it. Representative Don Beyer (VA-8th) recently cosponsored legislation to examine the vulnerability of coastal communities to ocean acidification.

Using science, policy and industry collaboration, Virginia’s hatcheries and managers act as sentinels protecting not only state waters, but also its jobs and coastal heritage. We are so fortunate to have such “watchers of the water” in our own backyard. We can express our thankfulness by eating more oysters farmed here in Virginia. By supporting growers and hatcheries, not only are we sustaining the investments they make into monitoring and scientific research, but also we are giving thanks for their efforts to protect a precious natural resource—our water.

Now, can someone please pass the oyster stuffing?


This post originally appeared as Watchers of the Water: Giving Thanks for Virginia’s Oyster Sentinels on the Virginia Oyster Trail’s The White Boot Blog.

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Interview: Jaya The Cat

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Jaya The Cat is a 4-piece punk-rock reggae group based out of Amsterdam, and originally formed in Boston, MA. Just ahead of the release of the band’s 5th full-length studio album A Good Day For The Damned, we connected with Jaya The Cat frontman Geoff Lagadec (vocals/rhythm guitar). Geoff opened up about the creation of the new album, the European reggae scene, and debates whether he’d rather party with his late idol Joe Strummer or rappers Drake and Lil Jon.

Lagadec is joined by Karl Smith (lead guitar/vocals), Jan Jaap “Jay” Onverwagt (bass/vocals), and David “The Germ” Germain (drums). After two members of an earlier incarnation of Jaya The Cat left the band, Lagadec simply decided to move himself and the band to Amsterdam following a European tour. Since the relocation, the group has built up a strong base of punk and reggae fans alike throughout Europe. Self described as “drunk reggae,” Jaya The Cat produce a raucous live show each night that they take to the stage.

Sipping on a glass (or two) of red wine from his home in Amsterdam, Geoff gave us some insight about his adopted city, as well as his appreciation for both the German reggae and party scenes. Geoff also discusses the rise of former label mates The Skints. Finally, we find out what’s holding Jaya The Cat from returning stateside for a few tour dates in the homeland.

Interview: Jaya The Cat

Your 5th studio album A Good Day For The Damned is about to drop, how long start to finish was the creation process?
Geoff: Maybe 4 years. That sounds dramatic, but our last album was about 5 years ago, and then I sorta started thinking maybe I should start a new album, like you do. But I’m lazy. So a song comes out here and there, you know, in between touring, but at some point we said to ourselves, “Shit it’s been a while.” 

I had about 30 songs written, and we just picked a few and went into the studio.

Have you guys gotten to play any of the songs live off the new album? and if so, which ones have gotten the best reception from crowds so far?JayaTheCat-A-Good-Day-For-The-Damned
Geoff: We’ve been doing “Amsterdam” live for almost 2 years now, actually. That was one of the first ones I wrote. For the rest, we just did two dates last weekend, and now we’re trying to integrate new shit into the set. So we did 5 new songs or so. But it’s hard. The first leg of this tour starts next Friday, so this whole week we’re just gonna go in and practice em’ and hopefully get em’ good. You never know how people are gonna respond, it’s surprising. So we’ll see!

Speaking of the track “Amsterdam,” it seems sort of like a love/hate relationship with your adopted city. Do you feel like there are other cities in Europe that are actually better party cities?
Geoff: Definitely, man. That’s the whole point of the song. Amsterdam’s got this reputation as this hedonistic fuckin’ playground. I’m in the center of the Red Light right now, that’s where I live. It’s really not what the Dutch want, and it’s not what this city is about actually. It’s more like a museum of what it used to be. They’re really trying to make it into a shopping district for high-end tourists now.

And you know it’s whatever, fuck it right? It’s fine. I guess the whole point is that if you go to Hamburg or Berlin, for your money you’re gonna get..You can stay up all fuckin’ night. You can go to a sex club in Berlin and stay there for a week, you know what I mean? The bars on my block, which is the Red Light, they close at 1 on weekdays. And you can’t sell beer at a shop past 10pm.

But it’s not like I hate it! The whole point of the song is actually about how beautiful of a city Amsterdam is. It’s lovely, with all the canals and shit like that. I was coming home one night, pissed off that there were no bars open, and I stood outside the canal outside my house, and I was like “you know, this is fuckin’ beautiful man!” I love this city. So it’s not what you’d expect, but I love it.

If you had the chance to party with any musician dead or alive for one night, who would you choose to go out with?
Geoff: Oh my god, I don’t know. I don’t like to meet people that I like, you know what I’m saying? I had a chance to meet Joe Strummer svn17_jtc_m3_86once, and I didn’t because The Clash are my favorite band ever. From all accounts he was a lovely person, but if he had been at all weird it would have ruined it for me.

It would have to be someone that..maybe an over the top rap artists or something. I’d go out with Drake! I’d do cocaine with Drake, how about that! Only because I wouldn’t care. If he was a dick it would be whatever. I’d go out with Lil Jon. Only because they seem like they’d be fun, and if they fuckin’ sucked I wouldn’t go home and say, “Shit man! that just ruined ‘Hot Line Bling’ for me.”

So you mentioned The Clash obviously. Is there anyone else that was a major influence on the sound you guys make, or that you were listening to growing up? 
Geoff: The Pogues. Yeah, writing wise Shane MacGowan. Maybe that’s a better answer to that question. I would actually go out with him. Because I know he’d be a dick. I still wouldn’t turn down a night with Lil Jon or Drake, but Shane MacGowan is probably a more appropriate answer. I think it would just be interesting, he’s a great writer.

Touring is usually pretty taxing on bands. Even ones that don’t seem to keep the party going post-performance. What do you do to relax once the tour is over, or do you just keep it going?
Geoff: I don’t know, I travel a lot and I’m kinda restless. I’ve been over to Vienna to write, lately it’s been Hamburg, and Sofia in Bulgaria I really like. But just everywhere. I go to the UK a lot too. We don’t party as much as we used to which is good.

I actually quit drugs recently, which is weird.

How’s that going so far?
Geoff: I got bored, you know? I knew exactly what was going to happen now, so I was like fuck it. I basically just realized it wasn’t leading me anywhere. The negatives were outweighing the positives, and I was just like, “I don’t need that.” It’s too expensive to fuck up your life. I’ll fuck it up for cheap, ha!

The new album is releasing via Bomber Records, I know The Skints used to be with them as well. Have you two bands ever crossed paths?
Geoff: We’re really good friends with them, yeah. We’ve toured with them a bunch, and yeah, they’re part of our musical family. Great kids, and an absolutely fuckin’ blinding band. They’re that good, and you wish them the best because they started out opening for us, and then it flipped over and we were opening up for them in the UK.

They really work for it. Never seen a band that works as hard, especially Josh, he’s so focused. We’re lazy, ha!

Any other bands in Europe that you’ve toured with or enjoy listening to that the Americans back home are missing out on?
svn17_jtc_loveGeoff: There’s a band from Wales called Captain Accident The Disasters. He’s sort of roots, but really light. Amazing talent. There’s also a band from Hamburg called Le Fly. They worked with our manager, and they did a track with a bunch of German hip-hop and reggae artists, and I did some part of it. They were really nice.

But for reggae, isn’t it all about Germany, man. Seeed and Patrice and stuff like that.

Oh yeah, Seeed is legendary! Peter Fox is a genius.
Geoff: That’s all stuff that I’m not sure people are familiar with back home, right? When I first heard that shit I was like what?! The Germans have it locked down reggae wise. Gentleman, what the fuck! Have you seen him live? Amazing, he just has a show. You see some bands with the keyboard player doing the horns, stuff like that. They have one guy and then three kids they don’t have to pay much. And then you see Gentleman and he’s got 20 fuckin’ people on stage. He brought out a different guest for each song when I saw him in Cologne.

Sounds like things are going well in Europe, but do you have any plans to come back to the States and do a tour?
Geoff: It’s been a wicked long time, man. It’s such a pain. I would like to though. To be honest, we do alright on the East Coast and people seem to know us now, but we’d have to almost start up again over there, you know. Me and the drummer are American, but the rest of the band are either English or Dutch. So we’d have to deal with visas. Then suddenly you’re just in a goddamn van playing for next to nothing.

The way that we would go there is, say we get some breakthrough single, but I don’t think we’re that kind of band. Or if we got an offer to support. That’s how The Skints did it, they poured their own money into it. They went and opened for people and kept doing it. But I don’t know if I give a fuck. And hell, it’s a nightmare back there right now, you know? I feel sorry for everyone back there.

It’s sad, it’s not entertaining for my friends that are minorities, or poor, or gay, or anything. But sometimes in the morning I just google “Trump” to see what the fuck he did. You couldn’t make that shit up. It’s not a reason not to go, I mean it is our country, I still love it, and it’s beautiful. I would love to do a West Coast tour. If we put the effort in maybe we could do okay.

Geoff, thanks for taking some time to catch up with The Pier. Best of luck with the new album A Good Day For The Damned! The album officially drops Nov. 17th via Bomber Music. You’ll be able to stream it on Spotify or own it via iTunes by clicking HERE!


Watch: Jaya The Cat – Amsterdam (Official Video)

Related Links:
Jaya The Cat Website
Jaya The Cat Facebook

Interview by: Brian Winters

Watch: Jaya The Cat – Here Comes The Drums (Official Video)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 at 3:40 pm and is filed under Exclusive Interviews, Special Features.
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Three Cheers for Fish and Sea Turtles in the Gulf!

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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has officially announced that they are providing more than $100 million in new projects to restore the Gulf of Mexico. These 19 new projects will protect our natural treasures from around the Gulf, from the super-salty Laguna Madre in south Texas to the pristine Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama.

Ocean Conservancy is thrilled that this announcement also includes three projects to restore fish and sea turtles in the Gulf. These projects are made possible through the five-year, $2.5 billion Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund as a result of the criminal settlements BP and Transocean reached for their roles in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

© Jennifer Reilly

Both Mississippi and Florida will add to their existing investments to expand data collection for reef fish, such as red snapper. Reef fish are important top predators and a cornerstone of the Gulf region’s fishing economy, and projects like these can lead to better Gulf-wide resource health assessments, improved fishing practices and more informed management decisions, creating a healthier ecosystem overall.

In Texas, the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) will receive funding to repair damage from Hurricane Harvey. The ARK rescues and treats injured wildlife on the Texas coast, and while the animals were safely evacuated before the storm, the facility sustained significant damage. This project will repair damage to the sea turtle rehabilitation pools, as well as a flight cage and enclosures for recovering birds.

While we celebrate this victory, keep in mind that it could take decades for marine life to recover from the BP oil disaster, which began on the seafloor more than seven years ago. There, ancient deep-sea coral reefs provide a home for fish and whales, but we still know very little about their health. Please ask our Gulf leaders to continue investing in the Gulf beyond the shore.

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New York Harbor-ing Whales?

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Are there really whales in New York Harbor?

With my trusty camera in one hand and my notebook in the other, I boarded the American Princess on a two-fold assignment: interview Paul Sieswerda, founder of New York City’s own citizen science-based whale research and advocacy organization called Gotham Whale, and photograph a whale!

© Rafeed Hussain

Paul and his American Princess crew have been collecting data on whales surrounding New York City since 2011. They hope to share their data so stakeholders and ocean managers can make smart decisions that protect the whales while still growing the local blue economy.

As we set off for the day, the mountainous steel skyscrapers loomed over the horizon. I was skeptical. Could there really be goliaths lurking beneath the shadows of some of the largest buildings known to man? I doubted the waters around New York City could support fish, let alone anything else. Slowly, but surely, I was proven wrong.

Cruising to the whale watching grounds felt familiar. Having spent five summers as a research vessel deckhand, I had missed being out on the water, waving at fishermen, hearing the continuous drone of the boat’s engines, feeling the cool sea air gust past me and the gentle swaying of the boat.

© Rafeed Hussain

Suddenly, over the loud speaker the captain called, “Pod of dolphins, starboard side!” In a flash, everyone on board jumped on their feet and scurried over to the right side of the boat. Kids were gasping, parents were pointing, and camera shutters went off as the porpoise paparazzi fought for the perfect shot.

My heart fluttered. Despite my long-standing love for dolphins and the ocean in general, I had never been so close to anything so charismatic in the wild. Embarrassingly, I was jumping up and down—as giddy as the small children in front of me. I fought to compose myself so that I too could capture a thoughtful and porpoise-full shot.

The elegant creatures playfully sprang out of the water in unison. Their antics were met with cheers, gasps and claps—a perfect 10 for each of the performers. I was floored by their grace and agility.

The challenge was capturing their beauty through my lens. The rocking boat, running children and the swift movements of the dolphins themselves made getting a clear shot nearly impossible. As they swam off I thought to myself, “I dolphin-etly hope I got at least one decent shot.” (I like puns).

© Rafeed Hussain

Steaming ahead, we saw lots more dolphins. Each sighting was just as exciting and wonderful as the last. The elephant on the boat, however, was the lack there of an elephant-sized whale in the ocean. Almost three hours later, my patience had grown thin. I begrudgingly made my way into the cabin only to hear, “THAR SHE BLOWS, PORT SIDE!”

I bolted to the left side of the boat, camera at the ready. “Wow, this must be what Captain Ahab felt like,” I thought while eagerly scanning the seas. The whale was nowhere to be seen.

“She went on a dive,” the captain explained. “She should be back up soon.”

This time everyone was quiet and everything was still as every pair of eyes focused on the water. My heart was breaching out of my chest as I tried to slow my breathing, knowing that the slightest movement of my body may blur my shot. It felt like an eternity went by when finally I saw movement from the corner of my eye. I diverted my focus just as a beautiful beast brutishly emerged from the depths almost like a submarine slowly surfacing. “It’s a humpback!” one of the boat’s naturalists hollered.

© Rafeed Hussain

I was frozen as I made eye contact with the beauty for a momentous moment as she began to submerge herself again. Her beady black eyes were dark but they were a window into the light beneath them. There was an undeniable sense of consciousness in her behemoth body.

Probably as big as a bus, her dark blue-gray skin was sporadically sprayed with white perfect imperfections while rough ridges cascaded down her spine.

I got my shot just as she disappeared.

The crowd cheered as I stood, awe struck. My first whale encounter was nothing like I imagined. She didn’t spray water out of her blowhole, majestically burst out of the sea or wave at us with her tail.

To quote Dory from Disney’s Finding Nemo, she “just kept swimming.” And that was a beautiful sight in its own right.

© Rafeed Hussain

We stayed in the vicinity for the next hour or so, spotting our serene cetacean surfacing for air several more times before we headed back to port. By the time we returned we had spotted over 80 dolphins, along with our lone gentle giant.

I was stunned. I’ve always considered myself well versed on all things “ocean” but I had no idea the waters off New York City could support so much life. Honestly, who would’ve thought?

I was so grateful for this opportunity and to experience the success of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This landmark law has been vital in protecting marine mammals since 1972.

Shockingly, a bill was recently introduced to Congress that would greatly weaken this law. It came right around last week’s celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In its defense, Ocean Conservancy took to Capitol Hill to educate decision-makers on the success of this legislation. I am proud of their efforts.

It is no small feat to see a whale just miles from one of the most populous cities on the planet. It left an indelible experience on me, as I’m sure it did the others on the boat that day.

Please join me and Ocean Conservancy in fighting for a future for our marine mammals.

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Jimmy Buffett and The Eagles 2018

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Dates have been released for Jimmy Buffett and The Eagles!

April 14th – Orlando – camping World Stadium
April 21st – Miami – Hard Rock Stadium
June 28th – Denver – Coors Field
June 30th -Minneopolis – Target Field

Read more at Variety


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Buffett performs at Hurricane Relief Concert

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Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band performed Hurricane Relief Concert yesterday at the Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL. The benefit concert included Buffett, Kenny Chesney,Toby Keith, and Jake Owen.

The set list from the show is now available. Some of the highlights from all of the performers included:
I Love This Bar (featuring Toby Keith)
Old Blue Chair (Kenny Chesney)
Beachin’ (Jake Owen)
As Good As I Once Was (Toby Keith)
Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season (featuring Kenny Chesney)
Volcano (featuring Caroline Jones, Toby Keith, Jake Owen)
Hey Good Lookin’ (ft Caroline Jones, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Jake Owen)


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MP3 Leak of the Week: Dela & The Aggrolites

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Daniel “DELA” Delacruz, a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and producer, is also Slightly Stoopid’s horn section leader and a key contributor to their last four studio efforts. He’s put that skill to a debut record of his own that he co-produced with Karl Denson titled Opening Night. The Aggrolites back the live music to his production along with a slew of guest appearances, including one with Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid that we’re giving away FREE…

You can download Dela The Aggrolites new song “Who The Bruthas,” featuring Slightly Stoopid for FREE on our home page under the MP3 Leak of the Week on the right hand column! This Download will only be available until Saturday, Nov 25th, 2017.

Dela The Aggrolites – “Who The Bruthas” (ft. Slightly Stoopid) — Download HERE (on The Pier homepage)

Dela The Aggrolites “Who The Bruthas” Background:

On November 3rd, Dela The Aggrolites released Opening Night via Stoopid Records through Megaforce/Orchard. The album is 11 total tracks with guest appearances by The Aggrolites own frontman Jesse Wagner who sings on the albums second song “Sonrie, Armor.” Angelo Moore of Fishbone is on track 4’s “Atlantic And Smith” which was the albums first single with a cool music video that you can find below. Rebecca Jade can be heard belting out her vocals on two songs with track 7’s “Rejoice” and the albums final track, “This is Goodbye”.

In addition to co-producing the record, Karl Denson is featured on track 5’s “Way About Ya” which is a heady reggae track, heavy with the flute in the beginning before a melodic reply from Denson on sax, spending the rest of the song speaking with each-other, grooving for over five minutes — Easily one of the best tracks on the record next to the Chali2na of Jurassic 5‘s feature on “Loose Screws” and “Who The Bruthas” with Kyle of Stoopid.

With “Who The Bruthas”, DELA tells The Pier: “The original version was one of the first songs I ever wrote. It was strictly an instrumental and had no bridge originally. I kept it in the archives and when we began production of Opening Night, I thought it’d be a perfect time to dust it off. I came up with the idea for the bridge after watching The Godfather for about the millionth time. I just love that main theme and how it versatile it is.” DELA continues, telling The Pier: “As for the vocals, Kyle and I have worked on lots of music over the years and I love his flow. When I played the stuff we were working on he immediately gravitated towards Who the Bruthas. He definitely added some fire to the song. To match his energy we decided to modulate the song a couple of times to build even more energy.”

Much of the album is a musical ensemble of various instruments telling a story, speaking to each-other and what I like to think instruments do on their own in a room when no ones around. This is a long album coming in at just over an hour with a mix of jazz, blues, soul, hip hop, reggae — including that signature dirty reggae sound we know from The Aggrolites and Roger Rivas present on the keys/organ. The arrangements from top to bottom don’t make this feel like a long album and before you know it, you’re out of bourbon you’ve rolled 3 blunts. It hits you with a bite yet goes down smooth.

You can stream DELA The Aggrolites Opening Night or own it via iTunes by clicking HERE!



Dela The Aggrolites Background:

Boston born, San Diego resident Daniel “DELA” Delacruz is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and producer. He starting touring with Moon Ska Satellite recording artist Johnny Too Bad and The Strikeouts from 1995-1997 while pursuing a degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music. After disbanding in 1997, DELA was accepted into the jazz program at William Paterson University, where he graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies in 2001. Towards the end of college, he began playing jazz with various groups and under his own name all over the New York/New Jersey area. In mid 2001, DELA joined the American roots reggae institution and Easy Star Records artists John Brown’s Body. He appeared on their 5th studio effort Pressure Points, where he aided in writing and arranging many of the horn parts on the album.

In early 2006, JBB was invited on tour with Southern California’s rising stars Slightly Stoopid. At the end of that tour DELA was asked to become a full time member of Slightly Stoopid, and now over an 11 year tenure, “DELA” has become Slightly Stoopid’s horn section leader, as well as a key writing/arranging contributor on their last four studio efforts. DELA has also spent time touring with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, appearing on his Stoopid Records release New Ammo.

The Aggrolites are a Los Angeles based original Ska/Reggae/Funk ensemble who were originally signed to Epitaph records by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and proved the strong backbone to the tracks on Opening Night.

Most notably, DELA has appeared on stage with: Snoop Dogg, Sly and Robbie, Cypress Hill, Ivan Neville, Jeff Coffin, Rashawn Ross, Collie Buddz, Don Carlos, Karl Denson, Ozomatli, G. Love and Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter, Marlon Asher, Angelo Moore, and Chali 2na.

Related Links:
Dela The Aggrolites Website
Dela The Aggrolites Facebook
Exclusive Slightly Stoopid Blog

Huge thanks again to Dela The Aggrolites for allowing us to share new song “Who The Bruthas” featuring Slightly Stoopid to post up for FREE download. Free music is a privilege that we’re grateful for and we appreciate the work these artists do! Please feel free to download this song for FREE and spread the awareness to your friends!
Enjoy the FREE track on the homepage!

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: Dela The Aggrolites – “Atlantic Smith” (ft. Angelo Moore of Fishbone

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 19th, 2017 at 12:12 am and is filed under Daily News, Slightly Stoopid.
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Mac McAnally recovering from heart attack

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Coral Reefer Mac McAnally suffered from a heart attack this week and is doing better now. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Meanwhile Jimmy Buffett is helping Snoop Dogg on a new movie called “The Beach Bum”.

From Buffett: “OK, by now, most folks have heard about Mac’s heart attack, which was a little more serious than a Big Mac attack. He is fine now and stable and should leave the hospital tomorrow, which is great news for all of us. Sadly he will not make the hurricane benefit this Sunday in Tallahassee, while I was working on the set of “The Beach Bum”, in Miami on Tuesday, Snoop said he would try and work up “Little Martha”. I will keep you posted on his progress. No, I am not the beach bum in the movie. He is played by Matthew McConaughey. I am JB, Snoop’s writing partner. Movie is directed by Harmony Korine. Coming soon to a theatre new you! Fins Up. JB”


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