In the Agulhas

Cape Gannet

The Agulhas current flows down the east coast of Africa from the north. It’s described as “narrow, swift, and strong” on our briefing material aboard National Geographic Orion. As it reaches the southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas (Cape of Good Hope is not actually the continent’s southern tip), it recirculates. Thus a major source of the current is the current itself.

In May to July millions and millions of Southern African Pilchards (Sardinops sagax) come to spawn in northbound water, forming the famous Agulhas Current sardine run. Schools can each be five miles long, a mile wide, and a hundred feet deep.

In the last few years some terrific footage of this phenomenal phenomenon has been filmed. Dolphins and schooling sharks rush the sardines as thousands of gannets rain from above.

It’s only March, but we got a tantalizing taste of the action in a mini-frenzy we happened upon today near Mossel Bay, South Africa. We had gannets, Spinner and Common Dolphins, several Bryde’s Whales, terns, and even a few African Penguins. It was quite a sight and we got to hang out near the action for a good while.

A juvenile Cape Gannet streaks in among a group of Spinner Dolphins – Photo by Carl Safina
A Spinner Dolphin with an attached remora appears to have just pinned a fish in its mouth, while the dolphin on the right has just missed a leaping fish – Photo by Carl Safina
common dolphins
Common Dolphins were among those taking part – Photo by Carl Safina
african penguins
I was surprised to see several groups of African Penguins in the action – Photo by Carl Safina

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Will Space Play in the 2016 US Election?


It might be only March of 2015, but the race (slog?) is on to be the next president of the United States. Only 589 days to go! It’s a race that cle for terrible campaign ads and embarrassing debate gaffes; it’s also one of the few opportunities for the country to have a discussion about its national priorities in the coming years. So, what are the chances that the exploration of space will be in that discussion?(…)
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© Morgan Rehnberg for Universe Today, 2015. |
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Close Out Women’s History Month With Photographer Jodi Cobb

Picture of a geisha
Jodi Cobb’s photos of geisha captured many elements to the subjects of beauty and women in the world. (Photo by Jodi Cobb)

Jodi Cobb was among the first female photographers almost everywhere she worked early in her career, including National Geographic. Rather than be thwarted by the adversity she encountered—including the dangers and discomforts of traveling as a single, working woman—Cobb found ingenious ways to turn these situations to her advantage. As she broke through these barriers, one after another, her career advanced.

Now, Cobb is sharing her stories in New York with her National Geographic Live tour, “Stranger in a Strange Land.” In honor of Women’s History Month, Cobb answered some questions about her career, inspirations, world travel, and her new tour.

What women have inspired your work?

I was inspired by the great women photographers who went before me like Margaret Bourke-White. I didn’t want to take pictures like her, but I wanted a life like hers. She had an incredible life. She worked for Life magazine and she had its first cover photograph. She was fearless.

I guess the fact is that there were not [a lot of] women doing what I was doing. I think that was an inspiration in a way. Without mentors or without someone to show the way [I was just trying] to figure it out on my own. That can be inspirational. That can be incentive. It can also be disincentive.

Talking about what you witnessed when exploring cultural notions of beauty in 10 countries, you once said, “The changes that were made to men’s bodies all made them appear stronger and more powerful, but the women somehow ended up maimed or their movements inhibited.” Could you elaborate on this thought and how standards of beauty are evolving?

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