Barge For Olympics Tower Strikes Teahupoo Reef

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

"The nightmare has started."

The message may be a little heavy on the melodrama but it's true that news out of Teahupoo has gone from bad to worse. After first having their new judging tower rejected, then finding similar opposition to their "sober" compromised design, Olympic organisers pressed ahead only to have the barge used to build the controversial tower get stuck on the coral reef.

According to Save Teahupoo, the local group fighting the tower, "the authorities had planned to take the associations on the barge tomorrow to show us how it works, but instead they went there today without us."

Even without Save Teahupoo aboard, the cameras were rolling, Teahupoo is a busy place after all, and they captured the barge plough into a coral head, causing damage to boat and reef.

The optics ain't great, as they say in the business, and the horrified response spread quickly. The most notable coming from current Gold medal Olympian Carissa Moore who replied:

"This doesn't seem worth it."

A furious comment thread follows, one that's very heavy on the righteousness with claims for competing surfers, and even viewers, to boycott the Olympics.

Feels like this story has a while to run yet.


radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 4:06pm

Its well over due for a well known, corporately savvy surfer to stand up and shut this idiocy down - did someone say Kelly Slater?

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 7:58am

My immediate thoughts when reading that this tower would cost 5 million was WTF it’s a 3 day event, what a waste of money that could be spent better in the local community, particularly when the village gets smashed by extra large swells . Later on in the article the goat gives similar thoughts. I find it hard to believe this tower will cost 5 million, there must be an error there .

icandig's picture
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icandig Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 4:08pm

Is that $5 M AUD or US? Regardless it's a shit ton of cash.....If I had the option, I'd park my $5 Mill here.

It'd be a waste though, because I'd never paddle out. Maybe donations are a better idea.

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 11:21am

Icandig > Thanks for the link. With all due respect to Kelly and his busy agenda; I was expecting him to use his power to influence change; that social media post could have been made by anyone on any platform. Social media is just a vacuous platform. Humans make change happen. Piss weak by all corporate surfers IMO. > RR

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icandig Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 1:04pm

Slaters environmental stance is ambiguous. He speaks out when it suits him and then promotes pools and jets around the world.... but where are the other pros? Tom Carroll (and the other guys I looked up) - Tom Curren, Martin Potter, Cheyne Horan all took a stance against apartheid in the 80's potentially ruining their seasons / careers. Standing up against the Olympics environmental vandalism is arguably as important.

icandig's picture
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icandig Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 1:08pm

.....not to mention his Turtle Sandals and clothing range.

Elliedog's picture
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Elliedog Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 4:07pm

Shame, shame shame… Take the Olympics and the WSL back to the beach breaks

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 4:27pm

Wankers , all so the judges can shit in comfort, let them do it in a bucket. 3 day event that no doubt will leave its footprint for who knows how long. Look how the g-land tower ended up , again I say WANKERS

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 11:10am

Could imagine being stuck in the tower and old mate just plowing one out in the corner .
You're too gnar supafreak

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rj-davey Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 1:42pm

haha now we're all imagining it

Andrew P's picture
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Andrew P Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 5:06pm

1 upvote for the wavepool!

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 5:24pm

Lets not mention what appears to be a complete lack of vessel safety standards for the personnel onboard

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 5:53pm

Any damage to the reef is no good, but how come the locals are all good with stinky, polluting boats and skis spilling out fuel and fumes into the channel?

Has there ever been a concerned insta vid about that?

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 6:00pm

Very valid point GF along with vessel safety viewing in the channel, only a matter of time before a tragic incident

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Tuesday, 5 Dec 2023 at 6:23am

Very good point GF , jetski’s have a purpose as in safety and towing when too big to paddle, it would be good to see electric skis at reef sensitive breaks . Stinking petrol run ones besides smell are farking loud. The amount of boats out at chopes is beyond stupid and surfers kicking out sometimes run into them . The amount of boats is an accident waiting to happen and I can imagine a boat load of spectators getting pitched into the drink then needing rescuing, nightmare waiting to happen . With today’s technology why can’t they just watch direct footage and replays from drone footage on a tv screen to judge a contest ? Slow motion replays and various angles would only make judging easier.

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean Friday, 8 Dec 2023 at 9:52am

An electric jet ski sounds dam sketchy!

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Friday, 8 Dec 2023 at 10:01am 2hr battery ain’t great but surely will improve in the future with new technology

burleigh's picture
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burleigh Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 1:25pm

Yep exactly goofy. That must be ok with them because they are getting photo/video exposure.

icandig's picture
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icandig Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 4:04pm

Mutually exclusive, but I see your point. The barge damage highlights potential further damage if this idiotic tower is built. Surely that's worth posting, even if most rational people can see through the rhetoric.

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 6:56pm

GF > "how come the locals are all good with stinky, polluting boats" - maybe because it's a small impoverished village with very little cultural capital (formal education) or money capital to make change happen. Did it ever occur to you that superb athletes like Mathai Drollet would be sitting on the beach watching the Westerners, if not for free/heavily subsidised surfboards from people like Dylan Longbottom? We need to get off our colonial arses and save this reef from further plunder. Do you actually believe anyone in the village owns a jet ski? There must be 100's of corporate surfers out there, who could take charge NOW; stop this awful display of over-engineering for nothing. FFS they live a subsistence lifestyle, the reef and its "fish produce" is all they have. > RR

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goofyfoot Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 5:49am

“ Do you actually believe anyone in the village owns a jet ski? ”

You serious?

Mate it’s not Rwanda.

And I could be wrong but I haven’t seen anyone throwing a line in trying to catch dinner in the channel in the 2000 clips I’ve seen of the place.
Missed the mark with that one rr

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 10:26am

GF > my apologies to you for that post; I let my frustration with this issue turn into anger. You're entitled to your opinion, without me dismantling it. I stand by what I say in principle, but I definitely exaggerated to make my point. So yeah apologies for my aggression. > RR

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 10:44am

All good mate, hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

gnomen's picture
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gnomen Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 7:18pm

As a casual observer,that is i haven't been there, the congestion at there from the boats and skis etc is leading to an accident of some sort. The humans are overrunning the place, regulation? How? The proposed tower? the clip makes them look amateurish to say the least. Probably can't anchor a tower temporary or otherwise without damaging the reef.

Komodo's picture
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Komodo Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 8:16pm

Threaten to remove the event!
Then we will hear some screeching!

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter Monday, 4 Dec 2023 at 9:43pm

That's some real amateur shit from the IOC and barge operator.
Didn't look like anyone onboard was too keen to look at the cameras after that either.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Tuesday, 5 Dec 2023 at 1:58am

Officially Atomic Blasted Atoll Games Merch ~ Le Olympic Ideal Teahupoo Tiki...

Olympics Opening Ceremony ISA Showboat rehearsal...
Emmanuel : "Viva El Presidente Fernando Flotilla...Magnifique!"

Stupot's picture
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Stupot Tuesday, 5 Dec 2023 at 7:59am

A boat struck a reef. Can anyone please confirm if that is the first time this has ever happened?

nolocal's picture
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nolocal Tuesday, 5 Dec 2023 at 12:22pm

Pretty sure I remember at one of the early Teahupoʻo events the judges and competitors boat ran up on the reef.

Kham's picture
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Kham Tuesday, 5 Dec 2023 at 8:06pm

Clowns. As usual money talks and all the bullshit about saving the planet walks. Respect the Ocean, I am sure this could have been achieved at a more grass roots level.

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hazcam Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 9:10am

as i posted the other day, cake and eat it too, 6ft swells now means 20 outboards and 20 skis all day everyday . boat operator and deck crew look like local contractors. how often do craft hit reef out there, id say with the shit that we see its a daily occurence and faily common in indo and the rest of the region

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Wednesday, 6 Dec 2023 at 4:18pm

*Olympic Ideal Statue of Liberty
Paris 1924 Olympics (Total Games Budget) = 2023 : E 4,172,554.00
Paris 2024 Olympics Teahupoo (2 day) Surf Judges Tower = 2023 : E 4,600,000.00

* Big Chief Brotherson : "It was here that surfing was Born!"
Apart from the fact that people were surfing 1,000's years before first surf safaris to Tahiti.

*Teahupoo is Town #6 in long line of Tahiti Iti towns also once marketed as the Town @ End of the Road.

Check to East > Obliterated Atoll > Giant Chasms > Massive Bights...former Coast Road is in the Sea.
Without cutting Lagoon lifeline canals...there would be no people, trade, towns, boating or Mutant Slab.

Barge & all comp vessels access the mouth thru manmade reef canals that fuel the Mutant wave action.

Brings us to here and now...
New Aluminium tower has been constructed with cranes by Nautisport at Taravao.
New 9 tonne Barge must traverse 20km of Lagoon/s thru man made canal & over a high tide reef.

Protesters say the Barge was empty...not sure if they mean zero ballast?
Let's say the Barge only holds 8 tonne of ballast & needed 1 tonne of 15 crew to test the bathymetry.
All agree that's less humiliating than World seeing IOC Holy Grail stuck on the Reef until Cyclone!
Just saying this almost impossibly could've ended even worse...stop laughing...
Reef = Minced into a fine powder
2x Engines = Shot
2x Shattered Propeller Blades = Good fibre for IOC Ai Reef Shark's metal teeth

But! big BUT: "No Twin Towers were harmed during the filming of IOC Reefer Madness!"

So what to do with a Spy Cable Station that now costs more than entire 1924 Paris Olympic Games

Da Prez ...As it Stands
* Safety = (Saying one last time > We refuse to use old Tower or reuse old foundations)
It's actually the first time Da Prez said such!
* Tahiti is paying 20% for this Tower-cabling power hook up of once serviced now isolated coast towns
* Tahiti must compensate IOC if they pull outta the ideal deal.
Correct : IOC get paid more for each stuff chapter on Olympic Ideal Total Fuck up Gold Medals!
* Tahiti can't allocate another safer site as only the world's most dangerous site was filed by Olympics!
* Tahiti Olympics site Director : "A new tower & New foundations are The Only Way!"
* "If we don't manage it, all of us together will have to ask ourselves what happens next?"

How to massage IOC mandated Shitfuckery
* New tower can't access the reef until...
~ Reef Review & Repairs are undertaken
~ Plans or Tender for somebody anybody slightly more fit & proper to destroy the Reef more nicely.
~ Dependent on New successful trial in preparation for next trial failure.
~ Tower to be Disassembled into 2 or more lighter loads
~ 2 or more 20kms Tower Barge return journeys
~ New Tower needs Crane diss-assembly.
~ IOC now needs (4x 20kms return barges) or 2x Tower barges + 1 Drill Barge + 1 Crane Barge

* 9th Dec Sat : Project Manager Tech Meeting...looking at alternatives!
* Next Week : Olympics Disorganizing Committee Prez Tony's emergency Foamie Surf Soiree.

Big Chief Brotherson : "So the test went badly...We have 2 attitudes to this!"
1. Either we Give up!
2. Or we tell ourselves that we are no longer doing the Games!
Huh! Crew are right to read that as being a rather poor choice of no choices at all?

8th Nov 2023 : Da Prez : "There are only 5 options / 6 counting relocation!"
2 Dec 2023 : Da Prez : "There are not 36 options!"

Minus 2 new negative attitudes just proposed + Minus the 5 not 6 options leaves just 29 options?
29/36 options dismissed by 180,000 who never knew that juggling surf towers was an Olympic Event.
Think that sounds about right!

"If in the end we can't find a safe solution we must ask about sustainability of Teahupoo surfing events!"

More Pros are speaking out...Gold Medal Carissa & Joao are not onboard with Olympic Ideal Bulldozer.

ISA Fernando : "Just so ya know....we're the completely shocked innocent Good Guys in all this!"

Anyhow...French Govt just put the whole Tower of Power Shitshow on Pause.

Goldie Mayor is hosting 2024/2028/2032 King's Olympic Empire Parkwood Surf Village Schoolies Pro!
Replaced the squelchy Goldie Sand in Judges Booths with Kelly's lime dusted Kaseberga Sand Boxes.
Just waiting on Qld Govt World Wavepool Reserve 3 legged canine liquor Licence!

radiationrules's picture
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radiationrules Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 11:00am

TBB > I'm reading that presser from ISA as pretty positive, in that it fingered up the Polynesian government as the decision maker and it has led to a pause in construction. > RR

Lanky Dean's picture
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Lanky Dean Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 11:36am

Nailed it tbb!

tip-top1's picture
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tip-top1 Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 5:59am

koby abberton posted on insta , calling out any pro surfer that doesn't protest this as piss weak, or along those lines.

Bustard's picture
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Bustard Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 6:33am

Koby Abberton as a moral compass ?

…. Please spare me

seaslug's picture
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seaslug Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 12:09pm

He'll find GOD next and then say he's sorry for being a twat

tip-top1's picture
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tip-top1 Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 3:10pm

no moral compass , he does have a point though , surfers as a general have always stood up or called out shit like this in the past,
that horse probably bolted when bobby said his piece years ago though

Bustard's picture
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Bustard Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 4:10pm

I’m no beacon of carbon neutrality or whatever other barometric KPI one wants to put forward as a measure of being wholesome, sustainable etc etc but with honest inflection the surf industry, and by virtue those that consume it, ie surfers are generally hypocritical or at very least find convenient angles to raise their voice. I don’t support the Olympics in Tahiti at all but there’s a whole lotta other shit going down as a direct result of us consumers much greater than Tahiti that doesn’t get an equal voice…

icandig's picture
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icandig Thursday, 7 Dec 2023 at 7:06am

Dodgy Surfer Magazine reporting (or AI?) ....I'm almost embarrassed to post this - BG is not my usual fare, but it popped up on insta.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Sunday, 10 Dec 2023 at 10:55pm

7th Dec 2023 (Update)
TNTV News : "Are we experiencing the last hours of competitive surfing at Teahupoo?"
No Tour, No Olympic Games and potentially no Pro Tahiti.
Beyond a cancellation of the surfing events at Teahupoo!

Games coordinator and local WSL referent Pascal Luciani : "Today, the WSL insurance companies and it's legal department say that if they do not come to Tahiti in the best conditions and we use a non compliant tower, they will not endorse it, he warns. "No Way!"

tbb: With no means of safely barging Drill or Crane to erect the New Tower whole or in parts?

Extra : "Investigation had been opened by the prosecution into damage caused by the barge tests!"

Ok! So there's that too...reckon the Barge court case will blowout past the Olympic Opening...
All see about 101 ideal Marine Shipping lucky to hold onto yer snorkling licence!

In case of Emergency...

It's Marine Boy, Brave and Free
Fighting Evil 'neath the Sea.
He is a boy, a very special boy, powered by propeller shoes,
Flying Sub ahoy!
Whooshing thru the water on a his friendly Dolphin's back
Racing to the rescue of victims of Attack!
In a FLASH ''' He'll foil the foe '''
With a quick ''' Boomerang throw'''
Loyal friend of the sea through the end '''
Is our Marine Boy & his equal paid super heroine, topless surf grom tween Neptina
Dooda dooda doo
Dooda doo doo
Dooda dooda dooda dooda
Doo doo doo
Dooda dooda doo
Dooda doo doo
Dooda dooda dooda dooda doo ~~ ~~~~


truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Monday, 11 Dec 2023 at 12:15am

4th Dec 2023 (Clarification on Prosecutor's Investigation) by Oclaesp
Central Office for combating Environmental ans Public Health Attacks + Taravao Brigade gendarmes

"Not complying with one of the requirements or prohibitions laid down by the regulations of the protected natural area when this has caused significant damage to the environment" an offence!

4-6th Dec 2023 France Surf sites remain prepared to host Olympics
Prez Brotherson : " Moving to another Tahiti Site is ruled out as no Tahitian back up site was submitted!"
" Moving the event to French wave would cost several billion Pac/Francs...he warned...
IOC earlier said host Tahiti would be held to account & would need to pay for any alt French host site!

Meaning only the French sites that are willing & ready would likely be considered!
Are there any Sites in such ready position...
Lacanau ( Gironde )
Mayor : "We have remained on standby since last Summer's press articles of Site Difficulties!"

La Torche ( Finistere )
Mayor : "We have not been asked but would need to know by end of the year!"

Landes : "No this stage!"
Biarritz : "Did not respond!" Earlier Le Poo Pooed "The Choice of Surf Spectacle"

France Olympic Sports Minister :
"Test was not well prepared, ruling out a Plan B"
"(Next Test) must be carefully prepared!"

11th > 13th Dec IOC Prez Tony Estanguet's foamie surf safari has not been clarified.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Friday, 15 Dec 2023 at 6:20pm

8th Dec Surfrider Foundation

10th Dec Olympic ideal Local Pow Wow.
11th (#4/5) on below Map (Domain Rose) Olympic Village site is massive.

Local team of organizing committee.
11/12th Monday + Tuesday were spent marking out a new Channel...
" I think this is the best way to access the Tower without breaking anything. Well, not without breaking anything but with minimal breakage!"
"But with a barge could get closer to less than 100m from the foundations!"

Wed 13th "First Tests will be held of new route...
"Deciding future of holding Olympic surfing events here."

No news of these Tests as yet?

Thurs 14th : Olympic Info Unit opens at Teahupoo Town Hall Mon-Fri 7:30-11:30am for next 5mths.

Crew might be interested in the Paris 2024 Teahupoo Games Map...
If ya can't see / access thru the Photo gallery...or see next!
Can open in a new window & just make out translated details...
1 Athlete Cruise 2 Marina 3 Pass 4 Back off House 5 Athlete base 6 Pontoons 7 Judges Tower

Crew often note that near every Corp Ad has Surfing / Surfboards coming outta toothpaste!
Every Movie / Ad Director in the World : "Cut...needs more surfboards...Right...better! Action!"

2023 Tahiti Tourist Promo (Full Edit 90 secs) 50 second mark '1 sec' underwave shot of anywhere? That's it > For $Gazillion Olympic Games #1 Iconic Surfing Venue Promo...
In fact the new Xmas Tahiti Ad dumped the blurry surfer shot...Now Zero Tahiti Surf Promo

Least valued Tokyo Tickets > Now 2024 Zero Tickets > Zero Promo > (Worth Zero)
Worldwide news as Surfing #1 Eco vandal Sport that destroys Pacific Islands!

See for yourselves...6 months out & still no such sport called surfing at Paris Olympics..
Paris could not give a shit...just the Secret Spy Cabled Judging Tower thanks...

Do they have Olympic Surf Merch...Yep!
It's just Town skateboard Merch without the wheels but still with Skate Shoes...
Instead of riding the board...rather just model it as a Prop as rest of World does...
"Which way to Le SkatePark / Wave Pool?" Again...No Tahiti Olympic Surf Merch...

Bustard's picture
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Bustard Saturday, 16 Dec 2023 at 7:25am

The skate merch looks like a butt plug… apparently, we’ll that’s what I was told by a friend who saw one once

dandob's picture
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dandob Sunday, 17 Dec 2023 at 5:32pm

Can I ask an ignorant question? Surely those code red type swells are ripping big chunks of reef out yer? Why the worry over a couple of reef strikes?

Reform's picture
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Reform Sunday, 17 Dec 2023 at 9:27pm

@Dandob, Hi, both have monumental strength and repercussions of course.
One is a natural occurrence that has been thrusting itself onto the reef for ever, The reef is still intact with this one!
The other is man made, engineered and requires a substantial interference to drill decent sized holes into the reef by whatever depth they deem necessary to find solid bearing to take the weight of the new structure. Then pump it full of concrete or some other chemically induced material that sits in there for eternity or until the structure above gets wasted.
This is an interference that cannot be acceptable as it cuts through the living corals, then into the sea bed below it sending out plumes and plumes of sediment into pristine environment effecting the livelihoods of all sea creatures that call the reef their home. Dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles, fish, octipussy, you name it, sea grass beds its all there!
This is just another example of the exploits of human activity that is sending the earth, rapidly, into a rather deteriorating depressing state of being.
You would agree?

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Wednesday, 20 Dec 2023 at 8:18pm

Barge Update/s

1999 Recap original Wooden Tower transit routes & water Patrol by Moana David
IOC engaged Moana earlier on but saw the urgent need to employ Moana to sort the mess they're in.

Watermen & crew would understand he is the right man for the job.
After defending his original wooden tower expertise he must now marshal troops for the new tower.

Crew are wise to the fact he must walk a fine line between old & new worlds.
It also signifies a turning point from Mission Impossible to Old Salt Moana will sort out our Mess.
Crew are even more wise on how that sits with the locals...Moana is now wading thru murky waters!

The New Tower Lagoon Diary
1st Dec : Coral Mincing Party...
11/12th Dec marking out new channels > 13th Test + 15th New Tests under Moana's guidance!
Test Results...Note 13th Dec Test resulted in restricted main barge access...not quite near enough!

15th Dec Test : 3 types of Barges from 6cm -20cm draft are now planned for Operational Phases.

Unsure if this also means each barge has it's own specific route or restricted range ...(That's not said!)
Operational Phases : Drilling / Foundations / Assembly of Tower / Installation of Technical Ducts.
Followers of saga will recall Crane is building or has built the New Tower at Marina
Seemingly the Tower will be dismantled into sections...on suited barges.
Then reassembled manually on site! (Again...not said if by Light-robust Palfinger or Hoist?)
Crew can guess that's exactly why they need Moana's unique expertise with at sea Tower Assembly.
How ya like me now!

The Test Routes trialled barge sizes without engaging mass weight...but are confident to start works.
It must be said that further Coral damage is expected and tolerated for end result!
That don't sit well with locals!

"Nevertheless, tensions remain palpable!" (Their fightin' words... not tbb!)

Exactly! After such determined local tests enabled progress...was matched by a shot across the bow!

"Sabotage of the Eternally inflamed Beacons!"
Sunday 17th Dec...Someone had cut & removed the new IOC Barge route Marker Buoys!
Around 10-15 Marker Buoys were found in a Garbage Bag on Mahora Point.
Moana : "Yep! That suspiciously looks exactly like our Buoys!"
Some fear a Coral Cemetery!

swellnet latest report...