Maritime Monday for December 19th, 2016: Minced Oath

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Rowers dressed as Santa take part in the seventh annual Father Christmas regatta organised by Ca’ Foscari University on the Grand Canal in Venice. Champions and amateurs, men and women all wearing Santa suits compete in traditional Venetian boats. The Guardian
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He flew in at 50 feet, barely skimming the surface of the waves, in a hail of bullets and shells, to get the best possible angle of attack on the ship and, at 9.05pm, dropped the fateful torpedo.

Royal Navy pilot Jock Moffat – credited with launching the torpedo which crippled the Bismarck in 1941 – has died at the age of 97

The torpedo dropped by his Swordfish at dusk on May 26 1941 jammed the rudder of Hitler’s flagship. Despite every effort by its crew, the battleship steamed in circles until the guns of the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet arrived the next morning to finish Bismarck off – and avenge the loss of the world-famous battle-cruiser Hood, which the German leviathan had blown up three days earlier.  Keep reading

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The sinking of the Bismarck by Charles E Turner, 1941

BBC – The Bletchley Park codebreaker who ‘helped sink’ Bismarck

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Hastings Pier looking east – passengers waiting for the arrival of the P&A Campbell paddle steamer “Brighton Belle” for an excursion along the Sussex coast; sometimes called “a shilling sicker” depending on the state of the weather. More
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These haunting portraits show the Lincoln assassination conspirators photographed aboard the USS Saugus by Alexander Gardner, April 14, 1865

USS Saugus was a single-turreted Canonicus-class monitor built in 1863 by Harlan & Hollingsworth of Wilmington, Delaware, for the Union Navy during the American Civil War.

The ship was 223 feet (68.0 m) long overall, had a beam of 43 feet 4 inches (13.2 m) and had a maximum draft of 13 feet 6 inches (4.1 m). After April 14, 1865, it was transferred to Washington, D. C. and used to temporarily incarcerate some of the suspected conspirators after the assassination of President Lincoln. more

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Saugus’s crew posing for the camera, prior to the assassination of the president. Full size

Saugus was condemned in 1886 and sold for scrap on 25 May 1891.  more

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A Flying Santa Ford Tri-Motor delivers a parcel to Graves Light off of Boston. Photo courtesy of Friends of Flying Santa.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard Lighthouses and the history of the Flying Santa

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William Wincapaw, originator of the Flying Santa program

Throughout the history of the U.S. Coast Guard’s aviation branch, the service’s aircraft have come to the aid of the American public in emergencies and in time of need. The holiday season provides a unique opportunity for private citizens to show their appreciation. Beginning in the Great Depression, aviator William “Bill” Wincapaw began the tradition of the Flying Santa.

Born in Friendship, Maine, Wincapaw oversaw flight operations for the Curtiss Flying Service in Rockland, Maine. He came to admire Maine’s lighthouse keepers and their families for standing the watch in isolated and often inhospitable locations. To show his appreciation for their dedication and self-sacrifice, Wincapaw decided to deliver gift parcels to local lighthouses on Christmas Day.

keep reading

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The Archaic British Dictionary blog; A History of the F Word

Whether You Say Freakin’, Friggin’, Or Frickin’ Depends On Where You’re From

There is a whole group of words that are etymologically related, throughout all the Germanic languages (English, German, Dutch, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic). “They’re all short words beginning with an “F” and ending in some kind of stop consonant, with something in between,” says Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer and author of The F-Word, a history of the word “f.. (well, you know).” These words all meant something like “to strike” or “to thrust,” which led to a sexual meaning… keep reading

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ex-HMS Illustrious being towed through the Strait of Gibraltar to the breakers yard in Turkey. Photo by David Parody
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To get its information, the PolarGAP team flew an instrumented Twin Otter plane across the polar landscape in grid lines that totalled some 30,000km.

The last major unknown region on Earth has just been surveyed: the South Pole

Although the Americans have had a base at the bottom of the planet for decades, what lies underneath the thick ice there has been a mystery. Now, European scientists have flown instruments back and forth across the pole to map its hidden depths. keep reading

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View from the Royal Navy warship HMS Prince of Wales as she passes a convoy in 1941. Photo via the National Museum of the US Navy

The Twilight of the Battleships

HMS ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Repulse’ sank off Malaya in December 1941. Big-gun warships never recovered. 

Read on War is Boring

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Cuba’s famous Havana Club rum. Chris Brown

Cuba Is Trying to Settle a $276 Million Cold War Debt With Rum

During the Cold War, when Cuba and what was then Czechoslovakia were part of the Communist bloc, the two shared business ties, which, today, linger on in the form of around $276 million in Cuban debt. But Cuba, these days, doesn’t necessarily have $276 million in cash lying around to settle up, so, recently, according to Agence France-Presse, the country made the Czech Republic an offer: to settle up in rum.

How much rum? According to AFP’s calculations, around 135,000 tons of rum, or enough for 130 years of Czech consumption. more

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Have you been nautical or nice? Take your present wrapping game to the next level on Deep Sea News

Deck the Halls with Bows and Tentacles…Fa la la la la lala la la

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Yachtsman; purchased on eBay Australia – Museum of Found Photographs Pool
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SEA CHALLENGER arriving in the River Tyne on 14-12-16: Photo by ericburn
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Ghost Shark on Discovery.com

Deep-Sea Ghost Shark Filmed Alive In Ocean For First Time

Dive deep deep down into the ocean, long past the point where the sun’s rays can penetrate, and you will enter the realm of the ghost sharks. Also called chimaeras, ghost sharks are dead-eyed, wing-finned fish rarely seen by people. Now, video recently released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California has shined new light on these mysterious creatures.  keep reading

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A Compass Jellyfish Heads for the deep. Photo by dave.thediver
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The world’s first polar icebreaker, “Ermak” – Colorized photo in which it is depicted when removing coastal defense battleship “Graf Apraksin” from the stones, 1899. Interesting And Rare Vintage Photos on English Russia
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The launching of the Yermak, 1898, Newcastle-on-Tyne. (Newcastle Libraries)

Yermak (sometimes spelled Ermak) was built for the Imperial Russian Navy in Newcastle upon Tyne and launched in 1898. She was named after the famous Russian explorer of Siberia, Don Cossack ataman Yermak Timofeyevich.

Commissioned on 17 October 1898. She arrived in Kronstadt on 4 March 1899 after breaking through ice and a formal reception was held to mark her arrival. Later in 1899 she reached 81°21’N north of Spitsbergen. She had been constructed to break through heavy ice (up to 2 m in thickness). Between 1899–1911 Yermak sailed in heavy ice conditions for more than 1000 days.  more on science20.com – see also The icebreaker Ermack, a great Tyne-built ship

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River Gannel, Newquay; purchased on eBay Australia – Museum of Found Photographs
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Kreidesee Hemmoor, Germany – photo posted by Jochen Petry
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USS Constitution undergoing refurb – photo by Tony Tomlin

Book Excerpt – Brian Kilmeade: What you don’t know about Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli pirates

Commodore Edward Preble, commander of the USS Constitution, had spent much of the summer of 1804 dealing with heavy seas of the Tripoli coast where he tried to maintain his blockade. He had been hand-picked by President Thomas Jefferson because of his reputation as a leader who would take initiative and press for his country’s bests interests—two traits that were necessary in the tense political climate of the early 1800s. The tension between the Barbary nations of Northern Africa and the United States had come to a boiling point in early August of 1804, leading to a battle now known as the Second Battle of Tripoli Harbor.

Keep reading on Fox News; Opinion

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Shipyard in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1890’s. The SS St. Lawrence is visible in drydock
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Marina at Night in Ships and Vessels Flickr group
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A young sailor proudly shows off his ink. via Rivet Head

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