It’s Fall in North America, but Summer Sailing Awaits You in Patagonia

September 17, 2021

About the time North Americans are hunkering down for the long winter months, basting turkeys and hanging holiday ornaments, the magical spring sailing season has begun in Patagonia.

Want to be there? If so, start your planning now, in September, so you can be boating in Patagonia at the start of the spring sailing season in November. You’ll find yourself off the southern tip of South America, taking your bearings by the Summer Cross, gliding across the clean and deep waters from Puerto Natales to points north or south, along the western spine of Chile and among the thousands of islands of Patagonia.

Start your planning with a navigational chart

OceanGrafix has nautical charts covering both coasts of South America. The Patagonia chart includes a big chunk of the west coast of Chile.

Here are some pointers about sailing these waters:

Marinas

Due to Patagonia’s underdeveloped yachting industry, marinas can’t handle vessels longer than 50 to 80 ft.

Navigation

Most channels and fjords are navigable. In the South American summer, they’re unfrozen and deep (328 ft. or more).

Anchorage

Welcome to paradise, where you’ll find literally thousands of unexplored coves and fjords, calm water and safe anchorage. However, as in any coastal area with mountains, sudden squalls are frequent. Don’t get too close to the glaciers abutting the water. If they calve, tidal-size waves could swamp your craft.

The rewards are breathtaking

Where else but in Patagonia can you cruise the inlets or even Magellan Straight to Cape Horn, guided by warm sea breezes as you gaze up at lush green meadows capped by glaciers and mountains. It’s all there in one place, waiting to be discovered.

No matter which path you take, you can’t go wrong. Travel north from Puerto Natales for a glance at the rugged mountains of the Chilean Andes and Torres del Paine. Travel south of Puerto Natales to either Puerto Williams or Ushuaia. There you’ll see the lush forests and tidewater glaciers of the southern tip of South America.

At anchor, you can explore the coast in a kayak among the company of sea lions, blue whales and black dolphins. Trails lead into rain forests and up to waterfalls, where tropical vegetation carpets the path to a series of hot springs.

Depending on your level of adventure, you can navigate you own craft, or you can crew on a fully outfitted sailboat from Puerto Williams to Cape Horn and the Darwin Range.

Meticulous preparation is a must for a safe journey. While full of alluring beauty, Patagonia is also full of surprises (weather, navigation, etc.) and dangers. A safe journey begins with lots of discussions with local boaters who know the waters and know best how to navigate them.

If you’re looking for an unconventional experience during the fall and winter holidays, start planning that Patagonia adventure now.


Shopping for Charts: Will that be Paper or Digital?

September 7, 2021

As information has become widely available in digital formats, people and companies have been turning away from print media. When it comes to navigational charts, boaters may be opting for electronic charts instead of paper. Before making that important choice, consider the pros and cons of the two formats

Benefits of Digital Charts 

  • Access to Up-to-Date Data: With an electronic charting system, there is a vast amount of data available at your fingertips that can be immediately updated. 
  • Customization: With the right app, this information can be customizable, even marking your location in real time, which can be indispensable when you have drifted off course. 

Drawbacks of Digital Charts 

This technology is alluring. But there are some drawbacks. 

  • Screen-Size: Regardless of the equipment you choose, the view screen will be relatively small, and although you can zoom-in on a location, when you go for the wider view, you will have a small image.
  • Cost: The initial cost of the device is also a factor, which can be compounded by the rate of technological advances that may render the system obsolete in a short span. 
  • Updates: In addition, like smart phones, electronic chart systems require app updates, but unlike the apps on your smart phone, your device may not send you update notifications, so you may forget to check for updates and be sailing with out-of-date charts.
  • Lost Service: If you have ever used a phone or GPS system when traveling on land, you have likely found yourself losing the service signal or having calls drop. On the water, your electronic chart system will be susceptible to the same issues and, unlike travel on land, you aren’t going to be able to stop somewhere to get directions or log onto someone’s guest WIFI. In emergency situations, you might find yourself without power or backup batteries. Loss of connectivity or power will render your electronic charts useless.

Benefits of Paper Charts

Paper charts from OceanGrafix have a number of advantages over an electronic charting system. 

  • Readability: The large size of each chart allows you greater readability than a small screen, and it gives you a wider perspective of your course than an electronic device. 
  • Easy to Store: Each chart can be folded into a manageable size for both viewing a small area and stowing when not in use. 
  • Waterproof: Because paper charts are available in a waterproof format, you can be sure your charts will weather the cruise.

Drawbacks of Paper Charts 

The main drawback of paper charts is that the sea is ever-changing. 

  • Updates: With paper charts, you don’t have the in-the-moment access to every chart and the up-to-the-minute data and location services of a digital system. Nevertheless, when you order charts from OceanGrafix, your charts are printed on demand from the most recent updates from NOAA. Ordering charts just prior to your voyage ensures your charts are current and reliable. 

But aren’t NOAA’s paper charts going away? Actually, no.

When considering paper charts, you may be apprehensive if you’ve heard that NOAA is phasing out raster nautical charts (RNCs) over the next five years. NOAA currently manages two databases: RNC and ENC (electronic navigational charts). Moving forward, NOAA will transition to ENC as the master database. Rest assured, this does not mean an end to paper charts. It is simply a change in the database from which nautical charts are printed.

OceanGrafix is working with NOAA on an ongoing basis to help evolve paper chart production. While some chart elements in ENC-derived charts could have a slightly different appearance than those produced from RNC data, we know that NOAA’s goal is to have the symbology look as similar as possible to existing charts. In some cases, the next iteration of charts will look slightly different; in other cases, they may have even more information than they contain now. The text placement may change in some areas, but the goal is to maintain all of the critical information on each chart.


Electronic and paper charts each have distinct advantages. Because the bottom line is being protected and prepared to make a safe return to port, the best choice a boater can make is carrying on-demand paper charts with an updated digital counterpart. So, when asked, “paper or digital,” the answer is an overwhelming “both.” 


Fall Cruising On Norway’s Coasts Is Heaven On Earth

September 1, 2021

Boating Norway’s coasts September through October offers stunning fall colors, clear blue skies, first snows on the peaks and nighttime views of the Northern Lights.

Yet the seas remain calm ahead of the November heavy storms.

Timing is everything

Most boaters ply the rocky coasts and peak-lined fjords of Norway in the summer. Turns out, the most magical time is after the tourists have departed, in the fall. Daytime temperatures remain above 50° to 60°, not far from the summer highs of 70°. Nights are longer, affording glimpses of both the Northern Lights and Ursa Minor.

The harbors from Oslo and Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim offer boating paradise, with safe mooring, access to world-class restaurants and, on those land-lubber days, hikes into the coastal mountains.

Autumn is peak harvest time. Hearty boating appetites are easily satisfied with farikal (mutton stew with cabbage), lobster (just beginning in late October), deer garnished with apple, berries and mushrooms, jams and pies.

Fjords without tourists

Sailors and boaters love the popular Norwegian fjords, like Naeroyfjord (a branch of the Sognefjord), where mountains rise 6,000 ft. above the water. Most fjords are quiet in the fall, stripped of frequent cruise lines and passengers. 

The Hardangerfjord, south of Bergen, is one of Norway’s longest, peppered with orchards teeming with fall fruits and berries. 

If you’re looking for stunning waterfalls, the Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO world heritage site, won’t disappoint. Hanging above the rock walls of the fjord are the Seven Sisters, Bridal Veil and Suitor waterfalls.

Want to escape the cruise ships (and just about everybody else)? Then the narrow Trollfjord, only 300 ft. wide at its entry, is fit only for smaller boats. The water is deep, and the fjord is surrounded by 3,300 ft. high jagged peaks. Plus, you’re above the Artic Circle! 

Norway’s convoluted coast requires good charts, navigation skills

Norway’s coastline is one of the longest in the world, stretching 50,000 miles, with hundreds of fjords and 150,000 islands and inlets, most of which are uninhabited. The further north you navigate, the more shoals and reefs impede the way.

While the east coast of Norway offers some warmer currents, the burly west coast can be stung by jets and squalls and sudden downdrafts from the coastal mountains. 

Exacting nautical charts are critical. OceanGrafix offers hundreds of Norwegian Hydrographic Service (NHS) charts from Oslo in the east to Hornsund in the islanded north.

Maps show depth, coast detail and navigation. This chart, of Trondheim Harbor, points out shoals, inland waterways and smaller breakwaters.

Come prepared

Mariners generally are some of the most detail-oriented people around. Besides good navigational charts, bring a range of clothing, including lots of wool and waterproof, as conditions can change quickly on any ocean voyage and, in particular, along Norway’s coasts in the fall. 

But the rewards are waiting for you: stunning red and yellow hillsides reaching up to fresh snowy peaks, fewer crowds and the hearty foods of fall harvest.


Three Reasons to Update Your Charts

August 3, 2021

No one said it better than the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus when he noted, “No man ever steps into the same river twice.” This shrewd observation applies to any body of water that you might step into, or launch your boat upon.

The ever-changing shore-line, water’s surface, and seafloor require vigilance in navigation. When you have a printed-on-demand chart from OceanGrafix, you will have the most recent information to aid your navigation. Here are three key reasons to update your charts. 

1. The configuration of the shoreline changes. 

Some shorelines change due to human activity, such as light houses and other buildings, power lines, harbors, bridges, and sea walls. Other changes like erosion and accretion come about through the forces of nature or human activity. 

2. Surface conditions change over time. 

Updated charts will have current placement of lights, buoys, and markers, as well as the designation of commercial sea lanes. Knowing locations of these navigation aids is essential.

3. Transformations below the water’s surface require you to update your charts. 

Changes that pose a challenge to safe navigation include changes in water depths, sea beds, channels, and hidden dangers like sand bars, rock formations, and wreckage, which can damage your vessel and affect currents. 

Heraclitus lived in the ancient seaport of Ephesus. Life in that thriving port city no doubt influenced what may well be his most known adage, “There is nothing permanent except change.” Be sure you are ready for change with printed-on-demand NOAA charts from OceanGrafix.


Boundary Water Trips: Canoe Charts for Exploring the Minnesota-Ontario Border Lakes

July 20, 2021

Our home state offers an amazing water wilderness adventure—the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. Situated in Superior National Forest on the northern border of Minnesota and Ontario, the Boundary Waters offer one million acres of lakes, streams, islands, and beaches. It’s the perfect destination for camping, canoeing, fishing, and hiking. 

The area boasts 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 2,000 campsites, and more than 1,000 lakes, stretching 150 miles along the Canadian border. Canoe season lasts from early May through November—basically whenever there isn’t ice!

The boundary waters are amazing to explore, as one lake connects to another via stream or hike. But this sprawling wilderness can become a little disorienting, which is why it’s critical to be prepared with the appropriate charts, maps, and a compass. You can’t simply rely on a signal and GPS devices in the backcountry! Below we’ve cultivated some favorite spots for canoeing in the Boundary Waters and listed the charts you’ll want to pack for your trip. 

COVID Alert: Many of the lakes border Canada’s Quetico Provential Park, where camping is allowed with a separate permit. This area currently is closed but may open as early as August.  For updates, check here.

Here are some popular BWCAW entry points:

1. Sea Gull Lake

Drive along the North Shore of Lake Superior to Gunflint Trail, which will take you to Sea Gull Lake. One of the largest lakes in the boundary waters, Sea Gull Lake boasts multiple campsites along its shores. From Entry Point #54, you’ll be able to paddle 20-45 minutes to find a basecamp. Enjoy the lake’s crystal-clear waters surrounded by tall pines and a rocky shoreline. The lake is dotted with islands, and you can portage (carry your canoe and packs over a land bridge) to hike to other lakes nearby, including Grandpa and Roy on the northern coast or Paulson and Jimmy on the southern side. 

Area: 3,957 acres 

Shore Length: 75 miles 

Littoral Area: 927 acres

Mean Depth: 36 ft

Max Depth: 145 feet 

Fish Species: black crappie, burbot, cisco species, green sunfish, lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, shortjaw cisco, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, yellow perch, longnose sucker, white sucker, deepwater sculpin, sculpin 

Canoe Chart for Sea Gull Lake: Chart 14984, which includes Sea Gull Lake and surrounding area and lakes

2. Knife Lake 

Knife Lake is well-known as the home of Dorothy Molter, the Root Beer Lady, who once sold her root beer to thousands of passing canoeists. Knife Lake is the furthest point along a three-to-seven-day loop trip starting at Entry Point #54 that winds through Saganaga, Swamp, Ottertrack, Ester, Hanson, South Arm Knife, Eddy, Jenny, Annie, Ogishkemuncie, Kingfisher, Jasper, and Seagull Lake. Once in Knife Lake, visitors enjoy paddling to Dorothy Moulter’s island and hiking to Thunder Point. 

Area: 4,919 acres

Shore Length: 99 miles

Littoral Area: 1,037 acres

Mean Depth: 65 ft

Max Depth: 179 ft 

Fish Species: bluegill, burbot, cisco species, lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, rock bass, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, yellow perch, shorthead redhorse, white sucker

Canoe Chart for Knife Lake: Chart 14986, which includes Knife Lake, South Arm Knife, and surrounding lakes 

3. Basswood Lake 

Basswood Lake is a popular fishing destination. It can be accessed via portage from Mudro Lake, Fall Lake, and Moose Lake. One of the largest lakes in the area, Basswood Lake sprawls the Canada-Minnesota border with inlets and islands to explore. Paddling south can take you to Jackfish and Pipestone Bay, and to the north, you’ll find White Island and Neil Island. 

Area: 25,953 acres

Shore Length: 333 miles 

Littoral Area: 7,034 acres 

Max Depth: 111 ft 

Fish Species: black crappie, bluegill, burbot, cisco species, hybrid sunfish, lake whitefish, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, yellow perch, shorthead redhorse, white sucker

Canoe Charts for Basswood Lake and River:

4. Saganaga Lake

Saganaga Lake is the deepest and largest lake in the area. It offers picturesque island views, prime fishing, waterfalls, and ample camping. Because of its large size, be mindful of the wind 

before setting out in your canoe. It’s best to paddle close to the shore. Saganaga offers plenty of day trip options if you choose to set up a base camp. It’s also a destination along multiple loop routes. You can loop from Seagull Lake to Saganaga in a three- to five-day trip. Red Rock Bay is also an exciting area to explore with twists and turns around numerous islands. 

Area: 18,766 acres

Shore Length: 277 miles

Max Depth: 280 ft 

Fish Species: black crappie, burbot, cisco species, green sunfish, lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, yellow perch, longnose sucker, white sucker, blacknose shiner, bluntnose minnow, deepwater sculpin, golden shiner, rainbow smelt, sculpin, tadpole madtom, troutperch

Canoe Chart for Saganaga Lake: Chart 14985, which includes Saganaga Lake and its bays

Before your trip, make sure to get your entry permit and fishing license. The USDA also offers a BWCA trip planning guide, and REI offers a canoe trip packing list.   

Of course, we’ve only highlighted a few destinations. There’s so much more to explore. Be sure to shop all of our canoe charts and pick out your perfect destination for canoeing the boundary waters! 


Ravenger wins the 2021 superyacht race at Palma, Mallorca!

July 15, 2021
Photo by: Burgess, SuperYacht Times

The 43.31-metre Royal Huisman superyacht Ravenger was crowned the winner of the 2021 Palma Superyacht Cup on June 25, marking the 25th anniversary of the race. Ravenger is an aluminum-hulled boat with a 30-foot beam, built in 2015.

The Palma Superyacht Cup is Europe’s longest-running superyacht regatta.

Fast facts about superyachts and super yachting in Palma

An expensive hobby

First let’s talk about money. Only about 45 superyachts of the sailing type are built a year, and they appreciate in value quickly. While new ones run up to $25 million each, a used one can be had for the paltry sum of $7-9 million. Royal Huisman’s Ngoni, at 58.15 meters, is selling for $53 million.

It’s all about the wind

Why Palma? According to regular participant Bouwe Bekking, “The great thing about racing in Palma is the conditions. You can look at your watch and know that in a couple of hours you will have 12 or so knots of breeze, maybe even a little bit more.” Plus, after the serious race day is over, participants and spectators enjoy the ample nightlife.

Hiring a crew

Palma has several crew staffing services and a number of trained crews on hand, ready to treat your expensive yacht with kid gloves.

Yachts race by class

New this year at Parma was an event featuring a performance class of yacht. These Performance Yachts joined the original Superyacht Class and the non-spinnaker Corinthian Superyacht Class.

It’s all about the spectators

The Superyacht Club Palma regatta enjoys enthusiastic support from owners, crews and sponsors. Top national yachts show up because they can expect high-level competition and a huge crowd of spectators. 

Competitors are sleek and the world’s best

Here’s a look at some of the top competitors in 2021 in the 30- to 47-meter yacht race:

Magic Carpet3
Sailworld.com
Bequia (the 2019 winner)
Yachtsinternational.com

Mediterranean racing venues abound

Because of the reliable sea breezes, the Mediterranean is a popular location for sailing yacht races. Among the most popular in 2021, aside from the Palma Superyacht Cup, are the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, already held in May; the Ibiza Gold Cup, also held in May; The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League, held all summer; the Giraglia Rolex Cup in June; and the IRC European Championship in late June.


By 2050, Oceans Will Have More Plastics Than Fish

July 12, 2021

But efforts are underway to reverse the pollution.

Every mariner worth his or her salt will tell you they see more plastic waste floating in our oceans and waterways than they see birds or fish.

Now it’s becoming a fact: A 2016 Ellen MacArthur Foundation study predicts oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if no actions are taken to reduce the flow of plastics into waterways.

The numbers of plastic waste and their impact are shocking.

According to Ocean Crusaders, Australia’s waterway cleaners, consider these sobering global facts for all waterways:

  • There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean.
  • Each of us uses about 150 plastic bags a year; plastic bags are the #1 thing sailors see in our oceans.
  • The biggest plastics polluter is China. The U.S. ranks much lower on the scale, at 20th among all nations in plastic waste.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion. Ironically, when a fish dies, the plastic that killed the fish survives and is ingested into another fish.

What we can do to reduce plastic pollution

The U.S’s Ocean Society, with staff on both U.S. coasts, recommends six things each of us can do to clean up the world’s waters:

  1. Stop using single-use plastics. These include plastic bags, water bottles, straws, cups, utensils, dry cleaning bags and take-out containers. Switch to reusables.
  2. Recycle plastics. Only 9% of all plastic is recycled. Here’s a directory of where to go.
  3. Organize a beach clean-up party. You can do this with family and friends or join a clean-up organization.
  4. Support bans. Many communities have banned single-use plastics. Here are some resources to use when organizing a ban.
  5. Avoid microbeads. These are found in some face scrubs, toothpastes and bodywashes. They make their way into the ocean via sewers.
  6. Support organizations addressing plastic pollution. These include Oceanic SocietyPlastic Pollution Coalition5 GyresAlgalita and the Plastic Soup Foundation.

Meanwhile, be careful while fishing

Try to return from a fishing trip with all the gear and tackle you left port with. We know that at least 80% of marine plastic pollution comes from land-based sources. However, 10% is made up of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear. 

Start now!

July is “Plastic Free Month.” Check out this website for ideas on how to make our oceans cleaner.


Hurricane Season 2021 – Here We Go Again!

June 16, 2021

The 2021 hurricane season is upon us, and all we can say is: batten down the hatches!

This year is going to be another wild ride, possibly worse than 2020, which already was a Top 5 worst ever year. In this post, we’ll compare last year to this year, offer hurricane safety tips and link you to hurricane tracking maps.

Last year was a doozie

The Atlantic saw 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, double the long-term average. At least 430 deaths were directly attributed to the storms. Docked boats suffered $51 billion in damages from winds, storm surges and flooding. Iota, alone, blew sustained winds of 160 mph.

The Pacific hurricane season, too, was active, but mostly in the western Pacific. Waters along the U.S. west coast are too cool for damaging storms.

Here’s a map of what 2020 looked like in the Atlantic:

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season looks even more brutal

Experts predict another humdinger this year, for the sixth year in a row. Forecaster Xubin Zeng, from the University of Arizona, predicts 18 named storms. Forecasters use computer models that combine forecasts of sea surface temperature, wind, pressure, humidity and precipitation with the researchers’ understanding of hurricane formation and artificial intelligence.

The hurricanes bear down on the eastern U.S. like bowling balls. This 2020 graphic illustrates the “bowling alley” that spans the Atlantic.

Damage is extensive, on the water and off. Hurricanes crush and sink all sorts of watercraft, but the damage goes further and deeper. Debris or sea floor changes alter navigational channels. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 alone accounted for as many as 300 obstructions to navigation as charted by NOAA.

Taking steps to protect your boat this hurricane season

Hollywood loves to show intrepid sailors lashing themselves to the mast and staying with their craft during a hurricane. While this scene makes for a potential Academy Award nomination, in real life staying with your craft can be dangerous. The American Boating Association offers these tips for protecting you, your passengers and your watercraft going into hurricane season:

  • Do not stay with your vessel. Get to a protected area or emergency shelter.
  • Prepare hurricane moorings way in advance, in an inland area.
  • Check the moorings. Make sure they will be able to maintain their hold in a strong wind.
  • Remember, storm surge and associated tides can be 10 to 20 feet above normal. Prepare accordingly.
  • Wind directions change constantly in a hurricane. Make sure your boat is secured from all points of the compass.
  • Remove all items from the boat that could go airborne and become a missile. Lash down everything else.
  • Seal all openings. Protect portholes and other window-like structures.
  • When your local authorities issue a Warning, heed it and move your vessel to its hurricane mooring.
  • Make sure your vessel is not blocking movement in the area in which it is moored. In other words, be courteous to other boaters.
  • Remember chafing gear for your lines (however, make sure you get carried away with chafing gear, as winds and movement will be extreme, and you don’t want a line to be cut by a sharp edge).

Track the 2021 hurricanes

OceanGrafix offers three hurricane tracking charts that allow arm-chair storm chasers and nautical enthusiasts to track and record storm progress throughout the hurricane season. 

Eastern Pacific, size 35” x 24”

Full Atlantic, size 35” x 26”

Western Atlantic, size 35” x 31”


Celebrate Fresh and Salt-Water Fishing

June 9, 2021

June 5-13 is National Fishing and Boating Week

Fishing is a big sport. 

As of 2018, 49.4 million Americans fished, spending 883 million days fishing. Freshwater fishing represents the largest segment, with 39 million participants. With some overlap, 12.8 million saltwater fish.

Anglers spend $49.8 billion on fishing trips, with the average cost per trip of $1,290 in 2016. The biggest segment costs are bait, boat rental or purchase, guide and land-use fees. That is more money than was spent on either birdwatching or hunting, which are also huge sports.

What do these anglers catch?

Top three freshwater fish caught: 

  1. Trout
  2. Catfish
  3. Bass

The top three saltwater fish caught:

  1. American red snapper
  2. Mahi-mahi
  3. Scamp grouper

Men, women and fishing

While fishing was once a male-dominated sport, about 45 percent of new anglers are female. Half of these are girls ages 6 to 12. When you look at the overall fishing population, women represent about 35 percent of the total.

When you ask a man why he fishes, he usually answers, “To catch fish.” When you ask a woman, she typically says, “To relax and unwind.”

While the differences and similarities are fascinating, two stand out: Considerably more men than women will ice fish; women get their fishing information from the newspaper and men watch fishing shows!

Much is behind the allure of fishing

Fishing is popular for different reasons, but all of them are compelling.

Fly fishing requires an intense concentration on currents, food sources and the technique of presenting the right fly at the right place at the right time. In these moments, while standing in a beautiful stream or lakeshore, you are immersed in nature and not thinking about the mundane and sometimes unpleasant realities of your job, mortgage or pressing home repairs. You have a simplified life.

Boat fishing attracts people who love to study where the fish hang out depending on currents, water temperature and bottom structures. Catching fish can be as simple as having a cane pole and bait, or as gear-intensive as having a motorboat with an outboard or inboard, a trolling motor, sonar, bait and fish wells, expensive rods and reels and GPS tracking. 

Fishing is a sport that attracts both introverts and extroverts. You can fish alone or make it a social outing. But in all cases, the goal is to be outside in nature and outsmart the fish, which are plenty smart themselves, and either catch and release or bring home a fresh fish dinner.

Some helpful fishing resources

Ready to wet a line? Here are resources to help you out:

Fishing tips for beginners
Saltwater fishing gear
Freshwater fishing tips for beginners
National Coast Guard Boat Safety Guide
Find places to fish or boat
Free fishing days 2021


Reversing Reef Destruction

June 7, 2021

World Reef Day was June 1. Help rehab coral reefs year-round.

Warmer seas due to climate change have destroyed half the coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1995. The problem is broader: scientists estimate that we’ve lost half of all coral reefs worldwide since 1980 and we could lose the rest by 2050.

Hot sea water “bleaches” or kills the organisms that feed the coral, which then turns white. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the cause of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is from burning fossil fuels. 

Coral reefs are so sensitive to water temperature change that a one-degree Centigrade change, which has occurred to date, is enough to kill the reefs. Scientists say without changes in human behavior, the world is headed towards a three-degree Centigrade warming, or another two-degree Centigrade increase.

Warming water isn’t the only problem. Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning. Over time, sea water becomes acidic, destroying coral that is made largely of calcium carbonate. 

Why we depend on coral reefs

Why should we be concerned about the loss of coral reefs? After all, they only cover less than 1% of the ocean floor. The answer is that reefs:

  • support 25% of all marine species
  • prevent coastal erosion
  • protect oceanside development from storm surge
  • support a $30 billion industry of seafood and tourism

Each of us can make a difference

June 1 (every year) is World Reef Awareness Day. Scientists remind us that there is much we can do to bring back healthy coral reefs. Beyond reducing the use of fossil fuels, we can:

  • Wear non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens when diving in reefs. These sunscreens enter the cells of invertebrates and fish, causing cell damage.
  • Reduce single-use plastic, which makes it to landfills and then into the oceans, choking the reefs.
  • Actively support reef health and be a spokesperson on your social media. The World Reef Day toolkit will get you started.

Tour the Great Barrier Reef

Want to take a closer look at the world’s largest reef? At OceanGrafix, we have an NGA chart of the Great Barrier Reef on the eastern shore of Queensland, just south of Papua New Guinea.

Here are a few more resources:

Anyone who has seen the colorful coral of reefs and the sea creatures who call the reef home understands the fragility of the world’s coral reefs. Help celebrate World Reef Day every day.