Sailing through Rock – Sailors Encounter Pumice Island the Size of Manhattan

An Australian couple sailing their catamaran towards Fiji, in the Pacific Ocean, encountered a 150-square-kilometer pumice raft drifting towards Australia.

Believed to have been produced by an underwater volcanic eruption near the island of Tonga, the pumice raft is over 20,000 football fields in size and several inches thick. Its existence was first reported on August 16, by a couple who encountered it while sailing towards Fiji. The vast expanse of floating volcanic rock slowed their catamaran to a speed of one knot and completely covered the ocean surface as far as the eye could see.


Photo: video screengrab

“We entered a total rock rubble slick made up of pumice stones from marble to basketball size,” Michael Hoult and Larissa Brill wrote on Facebook. “The waves were knocked back to almost calm and the boat was slowed to 1 knot. The rubble slick went as far as we could see in the moonlight and with our spotlight.”

The steering of the vessel reportedly became temporarily jammed by rocks between rudders and hull, but the couple somehow managed to clear the rubble and war other boats.

Another couple steering their yacht through the pumice raft described sound as “a cement mixer” and constant “grinding”.

“We sailed through a pumice field for 6–8 hours, much of the time there was no visible water,” sailor Shannon Lenz said. “It was like ploughing through a field. We figured the pumice was at least 6 inches thick.”

Pumice stone is a highly porous, lightweight volcanic rock, so even though the giant raft was a least six-inches-thick, it was very buoyant. But its most fascinating characteristic is that of temporary home for billions of marine organisms, like barnacles, crabs and snails. As it drifts towards the Australian coast, experts are hopeful that it will help revitalize the Great Barrier Reef.

“Based on past pumice raft events we have studied over the last 20 years, it’s going to bring new healthy corals and other reef dwellers to the Great Barrier Reef,” technology geologist Scott Bryan said. “It’s the right timing. So it will be able to pick up corals and other reef building organisms, and then bring them into the Great Barrier Reef.”

Stuntman jumps out of a plane at 25,000 feet without parachute and lands in a net

Skydiver Luke Aikins Sets Record For Highest Jump Without Parachute


Luke Aikins jumps from a helicopter during his training on Monday, in Simi Valley, Calif. Hong/AP


Luke Aikins on Saturday became the first skydiver to jump from a plane without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story.

In a stunt called “Heaven Sent,” the 42-year-old daredevil leaped 25,000 feet to Earth — setting a world record. To accomplish this feat, Aikins had to direct his body in free fall using only the air currents around him to land safely on the high-tech 10,000-square-foot net (about a third the size of a football field) laid out to catch him.

The jump was aired live on television via the Fox network during an hourlong special. Aikins fell for about two minutes above the California desert, appearing to soar effortlessly, arms extended, face downward. And as he neared the ground, with a mere second to go, he expertly flipped onto his back and landed without incident.

He then climbed out of the net and embraced his wife, Monica, who was among a cheering group of family and friends, including their 4-year-old son, Aikins’ dad, two brothers and a sister, who’d all anxiously watched the breathtaking spectacle.

Aikins, who said during the broadcast that he’d been preparing for this jump for two years, had previously done 18,000 parachute jumps and performed a variety of stunts, including for Iron Man 3.

“Everyone is calling this my ‘coming-out jump,’ which is ironic considering I’ve been skydiving since the age of 16,” he said in a press release prior to the jump.

In fact, Aikins, whose grandfather co-founded a skydiving school after serving in World War II, is a third-generation skydiver. The family owns Skydive Kapowsin near Tacoma, Wash.






Further to his credit, Aikins is a safety and training adviser for the United States Parachute Association (USPA), where he provides advanced skydiving training to elite military special forces.

Early in the broadcast of “Heaven Sent,” there was almost a change in the script that might have taken away a tad of the excitement around Aikins’ jump.

According to The Associated Press, “Just before climbing into a plane to make the jump, Aikins said he had been ordered to wear a parachute but indicated he wouldn’t open it. As the plane was climbing to 25,000 feet above the drop zone he said the requirement had been lifted and he took off the chute.”

Gyro Drop

There is a thrill ride called Gyro Drop at South Korea’s Lotte Amusement Park. However this video is substantially embellished. It’s just a basic free fall ride. The swing part doesn’t happen. But the video almost made me crap my pants.


The Very Strange Story of Jim Sullivan

Jim was a musician and had an album named Alien Abduction.


James Anthony Sullivan (August 13, 1940 – disappeared March 6, 1975) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist who released two albums before he disappeared without a trace in New Mexico.

Sullivan grew up in the Linda Vista area of San Diego, California, where his Irish-American parents had moved from Nebraska to work in the defense industry. A tall man, he was a high school quarterback. According to self-written liner notes on his first LP, he “grew up in a government housing project with a bunch of other Okies and Arkies,” and decided to play music after listening to local blues groups. He married, and played guitar in a local rock band, the Survivors, with his sister-in-law Kathie Doran. He and a friend bought a bar near to their college, but it lost money, and in 1968 he moved with his wife Barbara and young son to Los Angeles.

While his wife worked at Capitol Records, Sullivan wrote songs and performed in increasingly prestigious clubs in the Los Angeles area. In particular, he became established at the Raft club in Malibu, where he became friends with Hollywood figures including Lee Majors, Lee Marvin, and Harry Dean Stanton. He appeared as an extra in the movie Easy Rider, and performed on the José Feliciano television show. His friends contributed the funding that allowed him to record an album of his songs with leading Los Angeles session musicians, keyboard player Don Randi, drummer Earl Palmer, and bass player Jimmy Bond, who was also the record’s arranger and co-producer. After Nick Venet at Capitol turned down the opportunity to release the record, it was issued by Sullivan’s friend Al Dobbs on a small record label, Monnie, a label he set up for that purpose. The album, U.F.O., was released in 1969, and featured Sullivan’s songs in a style blending folk, rock and country that has been compared with Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Gene Clark and Joe South, with arrangements in the style of David Axelrod.

The album was remixed and reissued by Century City Records in 1970, and the track “Rosey” was issued as a single, but they made little impact at the time. Sullivan continued to perform in clubs. In 1972, he recorded a second album, Jim Sullivan, arranged by Jim Hughart, produced by Lee Burch and released by Playboy Records. Again, however, the record was unsuccessful. As Sullivan increasingly turned to alcohol and his marriage began to disintegrate, he decided in 1975 to travel to Nashville, where Kathie Doran was working as a singer and songwriter, and try to find success there.

Sullivan left Los Angeles on March 4, 1975, to drive to Nashville alone in his Volkswagen Beetle. The next day, after being cautioned by a highway patrol officer regarding his driving, he checked into the La Mesa Motel in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. Later reports suggest he did not sleep there, and left his key inside the room, and that he bought vodka at the town store. He was seen the following day about 26 miles (42 km) away, at a remote ranch owned by the Gennetti family. His car was later found abandoned at the ranch, and he was reportedly last seen walking away from it. The car contained Sullivan’s money, papers, guitar, clothes, and a box of his unsold records.

He was never seen again, and reports have variously attributed his disappearance to being murdered, becoming disoriented and lost, or, particularly in the light of the title of his first album, alien abduction. Search parties failed to find any trace of him. A decomposed body resembling Sullivan was later found in a remote area several miles away, but was determined not to be his.

Sullivan’s records, especially U.F.O., developed a cult following in later years, partly because of their rarity and obscurity. In 2010, Matt Sullivan (no relation), the founder of Light in the Attic Records, decided to reissue U.F.O., and made serious attempts to uncover the mystery of Sullivan’s disappearance, interviewing many of those who knew him and those involved in his recordings, but revealing little new information. The album was issued on CD in 2011.

Shakin like a leaf on the desert heat,
his daddy’s got a bog that’s hard to beat
Bought me a ticket got a front row seat.
I’m checkin out the show with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?
Lotta tricks were pulled in a book I read.
Only man I know that got up from the dead.
Lotta people living by the words that he said.
I’m checkin out the show with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he come by UFO?
Think he’ll ever come again a different way
and maybe he has come and gone while I was away.
Too much goodness is a sin today.
I’m checkin out the show with a glassy eye.
Looking at the sun dancing through the sky.
Did he

Kazakh pensioner ‘back from the dead’


A Kazakh family was recently coming to terms with the violent and mysterious death of their elderly relative, when he just turned up at home.

“When Uncle Aigali walked through the door hale and hearty two months after we’d buried him, my daughter Saule nearly dropped dead of a heart attack,” Esengali Supygaliev told the news site.

The 63-year-old had left home one June morning and didn’t come back. “Aigali had been known to wander off for a week of two before”, Esengali said, so the family waited a month before contacting the police – who in due course asked them to identify a badly-burnt body.

Tea and sympathy
DNA tests showed that these were the mortal remains of Aigali Supygaliev “with 99.2% certainty”, the authorities said, and issued an official death certificate.

In September the family buried Aigali in the Muslim cemetery of Tomarly, their home town just north of the Caspian Sea port of Atyrau.

“We held a wake, and the extended family organised a traditional ‘konil shai’ ceremony,” where friends can share tea and sympathy with the bereaved, Esengali said.

The grave of Aigali Supygaliev, Kazakhstan, 2018The Tomarly burial plot still waits for Aigali

So, when Aigali walked through the door two months later, he had some explaining to do.

It turns out that he had taken up an offer of work in a nearby village from a man he’d met down the market that fateful day. Job done, four months later Aigali walked all the way back to Tomarly.

Neither the police nor the regional justice department were available for comment on the story. The forensic scientist who carried out the DNA analysis did tell however that she stood by her 99.2% findings, “but you must never forget that other 0.8%”.

The Supygalievs were not pleased that they had already paid for a tombstone, and commissioned a stone shrine over the grave in the Kazakh tradition. They had even returned the pension payments for the two months that Aigali was “dead”, and are considering legal action.

But the family are also contemplating a bigger question. “Who did we bury? Perhaps his family are looking for him,” Esengali concluded ruefully.

Aigali Supygaliev's death certificate, Kazakhstan, 2018Memento mori: Aigali Supygaliev’s death certificate

BBC: Reporting by Azim Rakhimov and Martin Morgan