Maritime Monday: A Diet of Worms

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 6
April 4, 2016

Editor’s Note: Attention gCaptain readers! We are happy to announce the return Maritime Monday with Monkey Fist, a smack-talking, potty-mouthed, yankee-hating, Red Sox fan in Portland Maine. Each Monday she will bring you the best in nautical art and history, folklore, bizarre happenings, and all-around wacky content from around the web. Be sure to check out the Maritime Monday archives for previous editions.

Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items to at [email protected]


A recent archaeological excavation of Viking latrine pits in Denmark has revealed something utterly amazing, yet quite disgusting. The latrine pits revealed that 2,000 years ago, many Viking populations suffered from massive infestations of intestinal worms.

The team of researchers ended up examining 1,000-year-old parasitic eggs recovered from the Viking feces. Their studies confirmed that both the humans and animals were plagued by the parasites. The eggs were found in soil samples in a latrine in a Norseman settlement near Viborg, Denmark, which has been dated from 1018 to 1030.

Vikings had a parasite that protected them from lung diseases

In Other Viking News:


View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America

last year, Sarah H. Parcak (pronounced PAR-kak), a leading space archaeologist working with Canadian experts and the science series NOVA for a two-hour television documentary, “Vikings Unearthed,” that will be aired on PBS next week, turned her eyes in the sky on coastlines from Baffin Island, west of Greenland, to Massachusetts. She found hundreds of potential “hot spots” that high-resolution aerial photography narrowed to a handful and then one particularly promising candidate — “a dark stain” with buried rectilinear features.

Radiocarbon tests dating the materials to the Norse era.  keep reading

Washington Post – An ancient site spotted from space could rewrite the history of Vikings in North America

Congress Authorizes Privateers April 3, 1776

privateTwo hundred and forty years ago today, the Continental Congress authorized the commissioning of privateers to attack British ships. It was still three months before the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.  The legislation was in many respects simply catching up with what was already going on in New England and elsewhere along the coast.   keep reading on Old Salt Blog

image rt: Recruiting Broadside, 1776


Boston Light, Boston Harbor

Happy Early Birthday to Boston Light!

(Both) Patriots and lightning (have) set it on fire, the British blew it up as they fled, and innumerable storms have pounded its tiny island perch, but for the past 300 years Boston Light has endured as a beacon for ships navigating the treacherous path through Boston Harbor.

Boston Light isn’t just long-lived. It’s also recognized as the first light station on the North American continent, the last to be automated (in 1998), the only one with an official keeper – and the first and last to be “manned” with a female lighthouse keeper.

keep reading on


Clouds form over St Mary’s lighthouse in Northumberland as Storm Katie brought gale force winds and heavy rain to large parts of southern and central England – TheTelegraph

The lighthouse and adjacent keepers’ cottage (built in 1898 on the tiny St Mary’s Island, just north of Whitley Bay on the coast of North East England) now occipies the site of an 11th-century monastic chapel whose monks maintained a lantern on the tower to warn passing ships of the danger of the rocks. Not electrified until 1977, St Mary’s was the last Trinity House lighthouse lit by oil. Decommissioned in 1984.

While it no longer functions as a working lighthouse, it is easily accessible (when the tide is out) and regularly open to visitors; in addition to the lighthouse itself there is a small museum, a visitor’s centre, and a cafe.  St. Mary’s Lighthouse on wikipedia

Two California fisherman pretend they are maritime pirates and hold an oceanographic mooring for ransom

WANTEDDeepSeaNews – USGS wants its mooring back and one of the fisherman has his father, an attorney, arguing that the fisherman are now “OWNERS” of the mooring and will “SELL” it back to USGS (their capitalization, not mine).

If you lose something in the ocean, it doesn’t stay yours forever.

I’m just going to file this under arcane misinterpretation of salvaging laws by a lawyer out of his element. It had a homing beacon on it. It was SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND. That’s how they found it on the dock. And it had a tag indicating it was owned by USGS with a phone number because you know, they wanted it back. 

keep reading


 An autonomous monitoring transponder doohickey of the type used in the Coordinated Canyon Experiment


Lake Champlain Maritime Museum gets CVNHP grant for nautical archaeology archive

In 2014, A. Peter Barranco, nautical archaeologist and historian, transferred his research collection to LCMM. “This is an amazing resource,” commented Eloise Beil, LCMM’s Director of Collections and Exhibits, who is managing the project. “Mr. Barranco’s life work has been to assemble comprehensive information related to Lake Champlain vessels. His collection fills an entire office with materials documenting Lake Champlain’s sailing vessels, naval vessels, steamboats, ferries, and canal boats, and the people who built, owned, and operated them.”  keep reading


Lincoln Paine“All History is Maritime History”

 Civilisation and the Sea: How maritime travel helped globalise our world

bookContemporary human civilisation owes much of its evolution to nautical enterprise: This was the subject of a lively discussion organised by Gateway House and Avid Learning in Mumbai this week, (featuring) maritime historian, editor and author of The Sea & Civilisation, Lincoln Paine. Whether as traders or invaders, the flagbearers for globalisation have stimulated the diversification of human civilisation.

Sailors were the first Global Culture

While the Internet has accelerated globalisation, people from around the world have been brought together by maritime activity for centuries before technology came on the scene.

keep reading


Graphical representation of the size of fleet strengths, steam and sail, appearing in The Illustrated London News for January 28, 1911

AtlasObscuraPlaces You Can No Longer Go: HMS Diamond Rock


Neptune’s Staircase; British Pathe Newsreel via Mary A Whalen

Neptune’s Staircase is a staircase lock comprising eight locks on the Caledonian Canal. Built by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822, it is the longest staircase lock in Britain, lifting boats 64 feet (20 m). It consists of eight locks, each 180 feet (55 m) by 40 feet (12 m) and it takes about 90 minutes to pass through the system.

more on wikipedia


Expert leggers Daniel Jinks and Ernest Wood. The two men demonstrate the process of ‘legging’ through Barnton Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Early canal tunnels had no tow-paths, so to propel the boat through the tunnel two people had to lie on their backs on the boat, and push the boat along using their feet on wall of the tunnel. The Barnton Tunnel was over 500 yards long. via VintageNews

Legging (canals) on Wikipedia

The Leggers of Kidsgrove on

legging a narrowboat through a tunnel under Dudley on You Tube


Malpas Tunnel, Canal du Midi on Flickr

The oldest canal tunnel in the world is the Malpas Tunnel in France, built in 1679.


Long-awaited Stad ship tunnel

Construction of the Stad ship tunnel is planned for 2018, 144 years after the idea was first introduced

Canal tunnels had been built elsewhere to overcome terrain impediments. The first in Europe was the 541-foot long Malpas Tunnel built in 1679 on the Canal du Midi in France. The world’s longest was the 3,118-foot long Paw Paw tunnel built 1850 in Allegany County, Maryland, on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. In all, 50 some tunnels were built to accommodate canal freight and passenger craft. Until the 1874 announcement of a tunnel through the Stad Peninsula, none had been proposed, or even thought possible, for seagoing ships.  keep reading


more Classic Comic Covers on Null Entropy

 The Sea Devils are a team of conventional (non-superpowered) adventurers in a series published by DC Comics. First introduced in summer of 1960, it lasted 35 issues (1961–67).  Later re-introduced in 1997. 

In this universe, the Sea Devils are fish mutated into sentient humanoids by the radiation of an atomic exchange between the United States and Cuba, which destroyed most of Florida and Georgia. The Sea Devils’ city of Shaligo is built on the remains of Macon, Georgia, and is ruled by a charismatic red-skinned Sea Devil known as the Ocean Master.

Sea Devils (comics) on wikipedia


Crew of Discovery; NATIONAL ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1901 – 04

RRS Discovery marks 30 years back home

Thousands of people eagerly awaited the arrival of the Antarctic exploration vessel, which is now a proud feature of Dundee’s expanding waterfront. RRS Discovery was built in Dundee and launched into the Firth of Tay in 1901. The ship’s jubilant return in April 1986 was seen by many to mark a turnaround in the city’s fortunes following years of economic decline.

Gill Poulter, from Dundee Heritage Trust, which looks after the ship, said: “for the local people here in Dundee she’s a proud reminder of the city’s shipbuilding past and whaling heritage.”

keep reading


Discovery Today on Travel Photos by Randy Plunkett

more: Scott of the Antarctic


How artifacts from Alaska’s ghost ship mysteriously wound up in a Fairbanks museum

Alaska has its own ghost ship. Workers for the Hudson Bay Co. abandoned the S.S. Baychimo just offshore near Wainwright 85 years ago. Sea ice trapped the 230-foot cargo steamship during an early winter in October 1931. The captain and crew abandoned the ship, which carried furs from Canadian trappers and a variety of other cargo.

Following the ice-capture of the Baychimo, the captain and 14 men built a wooden hut on the sea ice to keep track of the ship. One month later, they weathered a great windstorm in that shelter. When they peered out after the storm, the Baychimo was gone. The Hudson Bay men figured the ship had sunk and most of them returned to Vancouver. But the Baychimo was not at the bottom of the Beaufort Sea… keep reading

SS Baychimo on wikipedia


photo via Yankee Magazine

The Oozing Whale Skeleton of New Bedford

In New Bedford, Massachusetts, the setting of Herman Melville’s story of the Great White Whale, there is a suspended whale skeleton that has been oozing oil for over 15 years.

In 1998 KOBO (“King of the Blue Ocean”) was accidentally struck by a tanker off the coast of Nova Scotia, and his carcass was saved for research and education. He is one of only four blue whale skeletons on display in the world, and at 66 feet long, with a one-and-a-half ton skull, KOBO makes your head snap back in awe. It’s probably a good idea to keep your mouth shut if you do, to avoid the occasional drips of oil still oozing from his bones almost 20 years after the tragic accident. Whales are so oily, KOBO’s bones will keep leaking for many years to come.  keep reading


The Plague Island of Poveglia

The island of Poveglia is one of the many small islands located in the Venetian Lagoon between Venice and Lido. It is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of thousands of people that allegedly died here when the island served as a quarantine colony for plague victims at the time of Napoleon, and later as an asylum for the mentally ill. The psychiatrist who ran the hospital was a psychopath who butchered and tortured his patients, and later took his own life by throwing himself from the island’s bell tower. Fishermen avoided it for fear of netting human bones. After the hospital closed, the island lay abandoned for nearly fifty years.  keep reading


Latest Addition to #MyDaguerreotypeBoyfriend Is the American Civil War’s Most Daring Naval Officer

He stands on the deck of the USS Malvern in December 1864, under the lens of Alexander Gardner, one of the country’s most famous photographers. He is the youngest lieutenant commander in the Navy, and in fact the Malvern is his ship, although his posture in this unusually casual portrait—recently donated by the collector Peter Tuite to the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, which has granted Smithsonian permission to publish it for the first time—is more a pool sharp’s than a naval officer’s.  keep reading

HMS Unicorn

HMS Unicorn, Dundee, 1987 by Rudsambass

Surviving sail frigate launched in 1824 then converted to a powder hulk in 1860. Royal Naval Reserve drill ship starting 1873. Renamed Unicorn II in 1913 and Cressy from 1941 until 1959. Handed over to a preservation society in 1968 and preserved. Listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, Unicorn is now a museum ship in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Unicorn was never rigged, and only went to sea for one voyage from Chatham to Dundee, during which she was under tow. A superstructure was built over her main deck and she was laid up “in ordinary”, serving as a hulk and a depot ship for most of the next 140 years. HMS Unicorn – official site


His Majesty’s Frigate Unicorn (1824) in Dundee

Sister ship to HMS Trincomalee


Built of teak in Bombay, India due to oak shortages in Britain – named after the 1782 Battle of Trincomalee off the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) port of that name. Photo via The Trincomalee 1817 Ship Project

£1million appeal to save future of Hartlepool’s historic HMS Trincomalee

Launched in 1817, HMS Trincomalee has sailed waters the world over and served as an active warship protecting British interests in the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean, before going into semi-retirement as a training ship, renamed Foudroyant. She is in the Core Collection of the National Register of Historic Vessels in the UK, because of her importance to the maritime heritage of the country and also has the proud claim of being the oldest British warship still afloat.    more on the HartlepoolMail

HMS Trincomalee on wikipedia


photo via Spirit Yachts

You Can Buy James Bond’s Classic Yacht For $850,000

The classic 54-ft. mahogany sailing yacht helmed by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, and was the first sailing yacht to go up Venice’s Grand Canal in 300 years, will be offered for sale during the London On-Water Show May 4–7 with an asking price of about $850,000.

The beautiful vessel was built entirely by hand at Spirit Yachts’ boatyard in Suffolk, UK in 2005. Keep reading

Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford, Steward of New York’s Maritime History, Dies at 89

Peter Stanford, who turned a boyhood obsession with boats into a commitment to preserve the South Street Seaport and commemorate New York City’s maritime history with a museum and a parade of tall ships celebrating the nation’s bicentennial, died on Thursday in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. He was 89.

As the founding president of the South Street Seaport Museum and president of the National Maritime Historical Society, Mr. Stanford (is) credited with helping to organize the flotilla of windjammers that assembled in New York Harbor to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, and a similar event to celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s centennial in 1986.

more on NYTimes


marker buoy anchor chain at Grimsby docks by CompundEye


“One of the things I’ve learned from being the curator of the most desolate gallery of food photography on the planet is that loneliness and an inability to cook is a truly global phenomenon.” –Courtesy of Dimly Lit Meals for One, John Blake Publishing Ltd.

In Dimly Lit Meals for One, author Tom Kennedy pairs grainy photos of barely (if at all) plated culinary monstrosities with a fictional tale about the sad-sack person who is likely eating it. Real people submit the photos, often with a brief description of what the food in the image is — “because it’s not always very easy to tell,” Kennedy says.

Intentionally Awful Photos Of ‘Dimly Lit Meals For One’


Digital Public Library of America

___monkeysig today

 Maritime Monday Archives »


Back to Main