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The Crown of Thorns Starfish is destroying coral reefs around the world.

The Crown of Thorns has an affinity for coral polyps, and when conditions are favorable for their proliferation, the Crown of Thorns can destroy a coral reef that took hundreds of years to develop.

As we were snorkeling a few days ago, we discovered that the Crown of Thorns Starfish is here in the Sea of Cortez.

This is not good news for the reef, especially in this region where there is minimal coral.

The Crown of Thorns is a big problem on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia where this aggressive invader is destroying large sections of the reef. Fortunately, they are not evenly distributed throughout the Great Barrier Reef which means efforts to control them can be focused on specific areas.

Destroying the Crown of Thorns is not easy. It’s expensive, labor intensive, and smashing the Crown of Thorns with a spear or knife does not work. It will regenerate and live to terrorize the reef once again.

Killing this invasive species is done by injecting bile salts or other toxic chemicals directly into the starfish to insure the Crown of Thorns is sincerely and monumentally dead.

Keeping up with a starfish infestation used to involve putting divers into the water to inject the Crown of Thorns with toxic chemicals, but not anymore.

Scientists in Australia created robots that autonomously detect, attack, and destroy the Crown of Thorns.

The robot has cameras and software that allow it to identify the offending starfish. After confirming their target, an arm descends from the autonomous aquatic drone, and the drone injects chemicals into the Crown of Thorns that kills it.

Marine biologists deploy the drones in the areas having the greatest infestation. Once the drones hit the water, they are on their own. They seek out the starfish and destroy them with lethal injections.

It’s amazing that the technology exists for a drone to select a particular target on the reef and to successfully destroy it. It’s equally amazing that these drones operate autonomously all day long.

It’s great to see drone technology being used to do something good - to preserve the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.

It’s also frightening knowing that the technology already exists for autonomous drones to detect and eliminate targets on planet earth.

What is happening on the Great Barrier Reef is a drone war.

I have to admit that drones make me nervous.

When we camped in the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, we were warned to not turn on satellite phones as they would become a homing signal that attracted predator drones, and our campsite might be destroyed by a hellfire missile launched from a drone.

In the future, there is a 100% chance that drone warfare will wreak havoc on planet earth.

There is already a major movement in the US Air Force to make fighter aircraft into pilotless drones. No one will be on board the aircraft to have the final say whether the missile should be fired or the bomb dropped. Instead, someone in a safe bunker somewhere will make those life and death decisions. We will see collateral damage on a scale that has never been seen before as innocent people die because drones don’t care about humans or anything at all. They are just a machine with lots of sensors and software that drops bombs and shoots missiles.

The drone wars have already begun - predator drones are being utilized on a daily basis.

Whether you or anyone else lives or dies in a drone war will be a decision made by morally bankrupt politicians advised by lawyers who decide whether a target is legal. It’s only a matter of time before there is a digital ombudsman programmed to apologize for the collateral damage caused by drone warfare.

The Reef Wars are a reminder of what’s to come. It’s going to happen - it’s only a matter of time.

Dr. Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.

Red Sea Blues

Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.

Patreon - Maxing Out

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.

The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.

The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.

And don't forget the two Music Videos: "The Red Sea Blues", and "Captain - Save Our Souls".

The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.


    Team Maxing Out Sails Around The World On Their 39 Foot Catamaran

    Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea


    Give your dream machine a shot in the arm

    See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one


    View the storm management video to learn how Captain Dave dealt with storms at sea

    After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams

Red Sea Chronicles

Save A Tree Bookstore

Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.