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Underwater: Sound Effect, Episode 89

Underwater view in Biscayne National Park, Florida

This week on Sound Effect, we share stories that take place underwater.

A Meal Fit For An Otter

At the Seattle Aquarium, sea otters get a diet that would make any seafood junkie jealous. Not only do they dine on restaurant grade salmon, crab, shrimp and other seafood, but they get fed up to nine times per day.  

Remarkable Rescue

The MS Prinsendam was a Holland America cruise ship that left the Northwest in the fall of 1980. There were 324 passengers aboard, and 200 crew members. And they were on the adventure of a lifetime: A trip across the Pacific Ocean that would eventually take them to Japan. The Prinsendam never made it. It sank in the Gulf of Alaska. But amazingly, every single person aboard survived, in what is considered the largest high-seas rescue in maritime history.

The Whale Wiretap

Imagine you could listen in on the private conversations of whales. That's exactly what University of Washington oceanographer Kate Stafford does when she monitors a series of underwater microphones. She explains what those recordings have taught her and why she finds listening to them so deeply satisfying.

World Octopus Wrestling Championships

In the early 1960s, thousands of people turned out on the shores of Titlow Beach near the Tacoma Narrows for the World Octopus Wrestling Championships. It even attracted the likes of Jacques Cousteau. Gary Keffler was one of the event organizers and talked about what it was like doing an event like this.

Counting Underwater Life With DNA

The traditional way of counting life beneath the sea for scientists is not all that different than it would be if the average person was going to do it. You see a fish; you count a fish. But recently scientists have found a way to count and identify sea life by extracting DNA from the sea or ocean water, and the results have shown the traces of hundreds and thousands of creatures not visible to the naked eye.


Colin McDaniel is an English teacher at Federal Way High School, but he wasn’t always fond of school. Colin and his friend Adam weren’t popular or good at sports. Those early teen years were an awkward and insecure time for both of them. But that all changed with one magical boat: Seawolf.

Sound Effect is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KNKX's Jennifer Wing.