Our Best of the Abyss awards were conceived to recognize important deep-sea happenings around the world, and intended to pay our humble respects to all the hard working scientists, technicians, and policy makers that make our postings possible here on the blog. If it wasn’t for these people, we would have precious few good things to report.
This post, the “Best of Deep Sea News 2006”, is a little different because these awards are intended to recognize our best attempts to deliver something fun and interesting. However, rather than turn the contest into a mutual self-admiration society, we solicited several unbiased judges from federal, non-profit and private sectors to admire ourselves for us. ; ) As in Best of the Abyss, the Best of DSN award reviews are in the style of the Zagat Guide, quoting insights from the panel. Enjoy.
1. Best Houseboat Concept (tie)
We hold oceangoing architectures in high regard here at DSN, enough so to make a special category. Our hope is that one day someone will give us one of these so we can broadcast live from the field. Our judges are equally enthralled because two of three contestants won. We called it a tie. The third contestant gets a plug. In the Best Houseboat category, judges chose Sea Orbiter for its “copepod-esque-ness” and its “high views without industrial bulk”, but the Trilobus was “too cool”, and the “Pac-Man look” captured hearts.. Freedom Ship won votes for “beautiful absurdity” and a “funny song at the end”.
2. Best Online Video
We try to post and report on deep-sea video as often as possible, and occasionally offer exclusives. This year’s video actually flew under our radar, but we picked it up in the nomination round. Judges called this category “one of the most difficult to evaluate” given tough competition like the French “carnivorous sponge” video and the Japanese Kraken video.. Some voted for “the artistry” of the Gulf of Alaska Seamount video, (too long) but in the end, the volcanic submarine eruption from the NW Rota Volcano from the Submarine Ring of Fire Expedition was “simply amazing”. Nearly 1000 viewers at YouTube agree.
3. Best Policy Advance for the Deep-Sea
Deep Sea News cares about the environment, so we think it is important to have a category that recognizes good progress towards better management of the deep seas and the high seas. This year the Global Moratorium on Bottom Trawls put before the United Nations wins the award for Best Policy Advance. Judges felt strong about this near victory to override strong successes in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and Kiribati. “The moratorium was ultimately scuttled by Iceland (and Canada’s early resistance didn’t help either), but the leadership shown by other countries on this issue was impressive.” “This is huge” they said. “Global in scale.” “A big fight is ahead”. Special credit goes to the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition for assembling an impressive unified front on this critical management issue. Read more here.
This is a biggie. The first ever. Therefore, in honor of our first annual review, this category will have a special award named after it like the Golden Globe or the Oscar. (Drum roooll, please). Tonight, in the category of Best Post on a Deep Sea News Blog, the Stuffed Fuzzy Crab goes to … Dr. Craig McClain! “No one else had the chutzpah to say this.” Truly, if you only read one story from this list, make it “Beauty…”. Craig rants against ridiculous advertising claims in a “hilarious” post that definitely represents the best of Deep Sea News.
5. Most Rotten Tomato
We keep a garden full of rotten tomatoes, but this year’s award goes to Iceland. Boo Iceland. Sorry Reykjavik. You had everything going for you (a hip mentality, an energy surplus, the aurora borealis, all-night raves…) and then you blew it all to pieces when your fisheries deputy led the charge to defeat this years winner in Best Policy, the United Nations Global Moratorium on Bottom Trawling. Now you plan to resume whaling so you can get your blubber on. No wonder travel bookings are down and a boycott is in effect. Shame on you, Iceland. A Viking shouldn’t trawl.
6. Worst Backlash
We include this category so we can look back years from now and say “oops.” In this year’s Worst Backlash category, Craig pours his heart out in grief over the demise of a Army deep-sea diver in Iraq, only to become a whipping post for the nation’s frustration. I think the response to this post was best summarized in one judges remark “What __ is wrong with Anonymous and why are you having this type of discussion on Deep Sea News?”
7. Most Buzz Yeti crab (pictured below)
We try and keep the buzz going for deep-sea research, you know. One of our goals here is to help spread the news about new findings, new initiatives, and new research. This year, we’re proud to announce that a unanimous decision that the Yeti Crab tamed the media like no other. I’ll say it again. Everybody loves a fuzzy crab. Judges noted that “[Census of Marine Life] did a good job of getting this out to any and all outlets,” but “a custom Beanie Baby” was “the ultimate buzz for a newly discovered species”. Congratulations Enrique MacPherson, William Jones, and Michel Segonzac, and journal Zoosystema.