‘And then the handle snapped.’ A gripping lost at sea tale

If you’re a fan of the ‘lost at sea’ #longread (AND I KNOW YOU ARE), you’ll like Paul Tough’s latest in the NYTimes Magazine. Last July, Montauk fisherman John Aldridge fell overboard into the Atlantic Ocean while the rest of the guys on his lobster boat were asleep. These stories are always gripping, but I think this is the best in a while.

In the weeks after Aldridge’s rescue, I talked to several local fishermen on the docks about the search, and not only did they all admit that they cried when they heard the news that Aldridge was safe, but most of them teared up again, despite themselves, as they were telling me the story. It was hard to say what, exactly, was bringing them to tears. But what seems to go mostly unspoken in their lives is the inescapable risk of their jobs, and the improbable fact that Aldridge hadn’t drowned in the Atlantic somehow underscored that risk for them even more. He’d kept himself alive in a way that few people could, had managed to think and work his way through a situation that, for most of us, would have been immediately and completely overwhelming. And he’d willed himself to live. To be a fisherman and to really know the danger of the sea, and to think of Aldridge in the middle of the ocean for all those hours refusing to go under — maybe that was too much to contain.

‘And then the handle snapped.’ A gripping lost at sea tale

Abandoned oil rigs can stay…

And that’s actually a good thing for fish.

For all the harm that the oil and gas industry inflicts on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, it does offer the marine ecosystem at least one big benefit. Offshore oil-drilling rigs serve as artificial reefs, providing shelter for animals and an anchor for plants, coral, and barnacles. Yet once a well is tapped, the federal government has required the drilling company to uproot its rig to help clear clutter that could obstruct shipping.

Abandoned oil rigs can stay…

Something fishy

The Boston Globe recently completed a 5 month investigation into area restaurants mislabeling fish on their menu. The Globe collected samples from 134 restaurants, 183 samples in all, and mislabeling occurred in 87 or 48% of the cases. 24 of 26 fish labeled red snapper were not red snapper, and all 23 samples of white tuna were not white tuna. Interesting that over half of the mislabeled fish were either red snapper or white tuna. Without castigating any of the restaurants, some bigger names, chefs and chains, were found on the wrong side of the investigation.

I’d think the Globe could find other things to investigate for 5 months, but I’d be willing to forgive that if they had at least headlined the story, “Something Fishy” like I did.

Something fishy