Maritime Monday for January 16th, 2017- A Warm Broadside

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January 15, 2017

The Old Dragon Head (Laolongtou) scenic spot is located just 4-5 kilometres from the Shanhai Pass in the Bohai Sea (

Old Dragon’s Head: Where the Great Wall of China Meets the Sea

The Ming dynasty and its walls; referred to as “Great Wall” (changcheng) in modern times

Old Dragon’s Head (easternmost outpost of the Great Wall) is considered to be the start of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), and it does resemble a dragon resting its weary head by the Bohai Sea. Also known as the part of the Shanhai Pass, it served as a military fort, and a strategic defense from both land and sea attacks. Going down towards the sea, there are well-preserved remnants of the original wall, which was built using a mixture of glutinous rice syrup, earth, sand and lime. keep reading on Atlas Obscura

Built to keep out the invading Mongols

The Laolongtou Section (‘Old Dragon’s Head’) on China Highlights

Squid in the Night, by [email protected] [email protected]
vintage postcard; Tower Bridge, London

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London (over the Thames) built in 1886–1894.

Tower Bridge under construction, 1892 (Original file: 1,024 × 766 pixels)
Over 150 glass plate photographs of the moon, stars, and solar eclipses were recently rediscovered in the basement of the the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI) in Copenhagen.

Rediscovered Glass Plate Photographs Show the Skies 120 Years Ago

Astronomer Holger Pedersen described in a report from NBI that he’d gone down to the basement to make a cup of tea and “noticed some cardboard boxes from the Østervold Observatory. They had been moved there when the observatory was shut down many years ago. The boxes were full of cartons, so I took them up to the office to take a closer look at them.” What he discovered was an essential forgotten resource of what he calls “astronomy archaeology.”

The NBI photographs date back to 1895, when the Østervold Observatory telescope was completed. Astronomers can look at a glass plate of a lunar eclipse, for instance, and compare the craters to the moon we see today.

Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen

First prize goes to the copy-plate from the total solar eclipse expedition to Sobral, Brazil, in 1919,” Pedersen stated. The image by British astronomer Arthur Eddington provided important evidence for Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, something which was hard to prove. The bending of the sun’s light was visible in the eclipse, supporting Einstein’s description of gravitation from large objects.  keep reading

SS Gothic, the Shaw-Savile Line vessel that served as the Royal Yacht (prior to the construction of Britannia) for the bulk of HM The Queen’s Commonwealth Tour of 1953-54.  – See also Crossing the Line Ceremony

SS Gothic (built 1947) was a cargo liner ordered by the Shaw, Savill & Albion Line from Swan Hunter, Wallsend-on-Tyne, in 1946 for the UK to New Zealand service. Her maiden voyage was on 23 December 1948, sailing from Liverpool to Sydney.

Royal Yacht SS Gothic, in her white livery. Hobart; February 1954

In 1952, Gothic was sent to Cammell Laird shipyards to be refitted to become the Royal Yacht for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Although the tour was cancelled due to the death of King George VI, considerable work had already been completed and she returned in 1953 to complete the refit, which included painting the hull white. She was later designated for use by Queen Elizabeth II, on her coronation world tour in 1954. (wikipedia) Scrapped in Taiwan in 1969 (source)  – Shaw Savill & Albion Line Corinthic Class Liners

VIDEO – Royal Tour Yacht Ready Aka SS Gothic (1953)
Deep Sea News: For when it’s Thursday and everyone needs a little bit more cute, cuddly, and slightly slimey things in their life… Etsy never let’s us down.

I couldn’t help but SQUEEEE when I saw these adorable woolen nudis (Nudibranchs) by artist Arina Borevich. They are perfectly detailed, true to form, and I need them all. #SlugLyfe

Fanny is walking home from a frustrating evening with an impotent man when “a young sailor…seized me as a prize.” Despite her initial anger at his unwelcome kiss, she accepts his offer to join him in a tavern, and there they do the deed “with an impetuosity and eagerness, bred very likely by a long fast at sea.”
He fell directly on board me,” Fanny says. And when he “was not going by the right door, and knocking desperately at the wrong one, I told him of it.”
Pooh!‘ says he, ‘my dear, any port in a storm.'” When they came to their conclusion, he treated her with “a warm broadside.”

Fanny Hill and the Sailor, 1770 NSFW

Kyle Dalton’s British Tars 1740 – This engraving comes to us from the 1770 French translation of John Cleland’s famous erotic novel Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure; printed in London on the Strand by G. Fenton.  More

Jack Got Safe Into Port With His Prize, 1780; Robert Sayer, British Museum (Prints of Sailors Courting Women, also on British Tars)

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (popularly known as Fanny Hill) is an erotic novel by English novelist John Cleland while he was in debtors’ prison in London. It is considered “the first original English prose pornography” The book eventually made its way to the United States. In 1821, in the first known obscenity case in the United States, a Massachusetts court outlawed the book.  More on wikipedia

Diving on a barge wreck in Qatar – photo by Alif Ruzuar (click through for link to video)
Popular Science: Until recently, gyroscopic stabilizers were monstrous machines, weighing about 100 tons.

At Ease on Unsteady Seas: Tech found in your cell phone could cure motion-sickness

A gyroscope is a spinning wheel, called the rotor, that rotates around an axis. The rotor is mounted between two rings, known as gimbals, that pivot around their own axes. This means that when pressure is exerted on the gimbals, the rotor is unaffected, making it a useful tool to measure compass headings and pitch, roll, or yaw angles—useful for sailors trying to find the horizon on a foggy morning, or in a spacecraft headed to the ISS. Gyroscopes are still used in many important tools, like the Hubble Space Telescope, race cars, airplanes, and cell phones.

In a boat, the natural rocking of the water moves the spinning gyroscope, producing pressure known as torc. “As the boat rolls, the gyro tilts fore and aft,” says Andrew Semprevivo, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Seakeeper, the maker of one of these stabilizing gyroscopes.

Seakeeper offered a free trail to the boats that service wind farms in the North Sea, some of the roughest waters in the world. “They said, ‘We don’t want it.’ We said, ‘Just try it.’” When the company took the machines back, “the crew essentially went on strike. So they bought units for the entire fleet.”  keep reading

USS Henderson
Two enormous gyroscopes being installed in the USS Henderson as a roll stabilizing system during its construction April 1917 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in World War 1.

The Henderson, a transport of 80 ton displacement, was the first large ship to be gyroscopically stabilized to prevent the ship from rolling from side to side with ocean swells.

The gyros, built by Sperry Rand, consist of two 25 ton, 9 ft diameter flywheels which during operation are spun at 1100 RPM in opposite directions by 75 HP AC electric motors. Each gyro case is mounted on a vertical bearing which can be turned by a 75 HP servo motor.

When a small sensor gyro on the ship’s bridge sensed the ship roll, it ordered the servo motor to rotate the gyros about the vertical axis in a direction so the gyro’s precession would oppose the ship’s roll.

During trials they were able to keep the ship roll down to 3 degrees in the roughest seas.

SS Conte di Savoia (“Count of Savoy”) was an Italian ocean liner built in 1932 at the Cantieri Riuniti dell’Adriatico, Trieste.

Conte di Savoia had one unusual feature designed to increase passenger numbers. Three huge anti-rolling gyroscopes were fitted low down in a forward hold. These rotated at high revolutions and were designed to eliminate rolling – a persistent problem on the rough North Atlantic crossing that affected all shipping lines. more on wikipedia

Red leading the bow; USS Manchester CL-83 – Museum of Found Photographs

USS Manchester (CL-83), a Cleveland-class light cruiser of the United States Navy, was laid down 25 September 1944 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation’s Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts; launched 5 March 1946; and commissioned 29 October 1946. Manchester received nine battle stars for her Korean War service, having successfully completed three combat tours with no major battle damage.  more on wikipedia

Pretty predator by richie rocket
James Lind started his medical training as a Surgeon’s Mate in the British Navy. Vitamin C (found in citrus and leafy greens) is essential for the production of collagen, our body’s main connective tissue. Sailors on British ships, with their diet of dried meat and biscuits, quickly grew deficient. Initially they’d develop bleeding from the gums and fatigue, which quickly progressed to teeth falling out, wounds opening all over the body, and eventually death from hemorrhage. Plus, people with scurvy stank horribly. source

The Nightmare Disease that Haunted Ships During Age of Discovery

National Geographic – The great voyages of discovery, when seafarers such as Magellan and Cook conquered the world’s oceans, brought immense wealth and knowledge to Europe. But they came at a high price. More sailors died of scurvy—more than three times as many—as soldiers were killed in the American Civil War. 

NatGeo caught up with the author of of a new book, Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery  by Jonathan Lamb… keep reading

Page from the journal of Henry Walsh Mahon showing the effects of scurvy, from his time aboard HM Convict Ship Barrosa. 1841/2 – The National Archives (United Kingdom)

Many of the early explorers lost great numbers of men to scurvy: Vasco de Gama lost 116 out of 170 men in 1499, and in 1520, Magellan lost 208 out of 230. +

At the time Robert Falcon Scott made his first expedition (1901–1904) to the Antarctic in the early 20th century, the prevailing theory was that scurvy was caused by “ptomaine poisoning”, particularly in tinned meat. However, Scott discovered that a diet of fresh meat from Antarctic seals cured scurvy before any fatalities occurred. +

During the Royal Navy’s Arctic expeditions in the 19th century, it was widely believed that scurvy was prevented by good hygiene on board ship, regular exercise, and maintaining the morale of the crew, rather than by a diet of fresh food. Navy expeditions continued to be plagued by scurvy even while fresh (not jerked or tinned) meat was well known as a practical anti-scorbutic among civilian whalers and explorers in the Arctic. +

38 year old man suffering from scurvy. Baumgartner, 1929

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