An Arctic “miracle“: Icebreaker salvages lost recordings of Beluga whales

A helicopter from the Swedish icebreaker Oden lands on an ice floe to pick up crew members involved in the retrieval of a scientific acoustic recorder containing valuable data on Arctic marine life movements in the Canadian Arctic July 25, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 August 2019
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An Arctic “miracle“: Icebreaker salvages lost recordings of Beluga whales

  • Loose was speaking in video footage transmitted from the Oden to his university and shared with Reuters

KIRUNA, Sweden: A year-long recording of the songs of Beluga whales has been salvaged from the Arctic after the crew of a Swedish icebreaker chanced upon a research buoy adrift in hazardous pack ice.
A team tracking the device from California said they had almost given it up for lost when a “miracle” run of events allowed the vessel, the Oden, to stage an impromptu rescue while navigating through a channel in the far north of Canada.
“We were watching it drift away via satellite and it happened to drift past the Oden. It’s great, amazing luck,” said Josh Jones, a graduate student researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
“Because it was stuck in heavy pack ice, it would have been only a matter of time before it would have been torn apart,” Jones told Reuters by telephone.
Scripps began deploying the buoy for year-long stints on the seabed in the Barrow Strait in the Canadian Arctic in 2013, aiming to use the sounds it registered to better understand the impact of climate change on the region’s marine life.
The buoy would record ambient ocean noises, from the whir of passing ships’ propellers or the vibrations of distant offshore oil drilling, to the high-pitched clicks of Beluga whales. The sounds — inaudible to humans — have earned the gregarious species the nickname “canaries of the sea.”
The eerie music of narwhals, known for their long “tusks,” and the sounds made by bowhead whales and bearded seals were also captured by the sensitive underwater equipment.
But two consecutive summers of heavy pack ice have prevented Jones and Randy Nungaq, a resident of Resolute Bay, from conducting their annual boat trip to maintain the buoy since 2017. The instrument only resurfaced in mid-July when a passing iceberg appears to have dragged it up from the seafloor.

MENACED BY ICE
Jones said he monitored the buoy as it drifted loose for about 10 days, fearing all the while that massive ice sheets would crush the device like a “trash compactor.”
It was pure chance that the Oden was passing nearby, carrying US and Canadian scientists on a 2,000-nautical mile voyage through the Northwest Passage to raise awareness of the risks fast-melting sea ice pose to Earth’s climate.
The Oden, operated by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, scrambled a helicopter to pinpoint the buoy.
The crew initially tried to retrieve the instrument using a small boat, but then resorted to the riskier option of using the Oden’s thrusters and reinforced prow to prise it from an ice floe on July 25.
Two men were hoisted over fast-flowing water by a crane then lowered to the level of the ice, where one of them crouched down to hack through the buoy’s mooring with a knife.
“I think it’s groundbreaking because it’s basically mapping the passage of whales and other marine mammals through these really important passageways between the Pacific and the Atlantic,” said Brice Loose, the chief scientist for the Oden expedition, known as the Northwest Passage Project.
“So really more than the loss of the instrument, it’s the loss of the data if we weren’t able to recover this, and so that’s why we’re here,” said Loose, a professor at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.
Loose was speaking in video footage transmitted from the Oden to his university and shared with Reuters.
The Northwest Passage Project, which groups various academic institutions, has staged three live broadcasts from the Oden via social media and dozens of public events in the United States.
The icebreaker cast off from Thule, Greenland on July 18 and has conducted a series of experiments with the help of students on board. The vessel is due to return to Thule on Sunday. 


Mo Salah’s wife: Egyptian women’s icon who shuns limelight

Updated 18 September 2019

Mo Salah’s wife: Egyptian women’s icon who shuns limelight

  • Salah prefers to keep his private life in general away from the glare of the media

CAIRO: Magi Sadeq, 25, is known for keeping a low profile in the media compared to the wives of other footballers. 

The wife of Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah has become something of a celebrity in her own right after appearing with her husband while maintaining a conservative look.

Salah prefers to keep his private life in general away from the glare of the media, but sometimes there is no escaping the spotlight for his wife and daughter.

Sadeq appeared with her husband at celebrations held by the Confederation of African Football when Salah won the African Player of the Year award. She also appeared with their daughter Makka during celebrations marking Salah’s winning of the Premier League Golden Boot award, and after Liverpool won the 2019 UEFA Champions League.

Sadeq was born and raised in Nagrig, a village in Gharbia where Salah was also born. It is the same place where they like to spend their holidays and special occasions whenever they have the chance.

FASTFACT

Sadeq appeared with her husband at celebrations held by the Confederation of African Football when Salah won the African Player of the Year award.

She has a twin sister, Mohab, and two other sisters, Mahy and Miram. Their parents were both teachers at Mohamed Eyad Al-Tantawi School, where she met the future Egyptian international.

Sadeq, who maintains a simple lifestyle, fell in love with Salah 10 years before they married. Their love story was the talk of the town where they lived.

They were married in 2013 as the player started taking his first steps in Europe with Swiss football club Basel. They married when he returned home for his first holiday.  

She keeps her husband connected to his rural roots. She doesn’t have any social media accounts, and unlike other footballer’s wives, she is not interested in appearance and makeup. She prefers to wear body-covering conservative clothes.

Sadeq and her twin sister both obtained their degrees in biotechnology from Alexandria University. She is responsible for her husband’s charity work in Egypt. Her neighbors say that she helps in buying the necessary home appliances and other needs of newly married couples. She also supervises charity work and regularly attends the special events staged by her village even though she has been made busier after her husband joined Liverpool.

Salah once said of his wife: “I am unfair to Magi as I give her the least of my time due to the nature of my work. I would like to thank her for her support and for being in my life.”