Maritime Monday for January 2nd, 2017: Let the whale be the whale

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 3
January 1, 2017

Punch bowl, William Jackson, c.1765, Victoria and Albert Museum – more on British Tars, 1740
Whale spotted in New York’s East river thought to be a humpback

A large whale, believed to be a humpback, was spotted in the East River in New York City on Saturday.  The New York Police Department’s special operations division posted a photo of the sighting on its Twitter account, with the message that “even the wildlife want to ring in” the new year in New York.

The East river where the likely humpback was spotted has shorelines in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. It is in fact not a river but a tidal salt estuary, connecting Upper New York Bay to the Long Island Sound. Like the Hudson, it has become considerably cleaner in recent years, as the polluting effects of New York’s industrial and maritime heyday have receded.  keep reading

Towing Engine Going Up Slope Between Locks, Panama Canal; see full size
posted by Janna Johns-Friedman
The bright planets Venus and Jupiter will be exceptionally close in our skies in November. Illustration by Andrew Fazekas, SKYSAFARI

Top 7 Must-See Sky Events for 2017

Get ready to see an amazing eclipse, a comet encounter, close planetary pairings, and more celestial wonders. more on National Geographic

Also on Nat Geo – Belize confronts illegal activity with new technology; Watch How Drones Fight Pirate Fishing From the Sky
Cornish Megrim Sole being printed – landed by Beam Trawler ‘Billy Rowney’ at Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall – More Newlyn Fish Art
Building at Tin City, Stockton Beach; photo by C.marie on Wikimedia Commons

Tin City: Photographs of ramshackle sheds built for shipwrecked sailors in the late 1800s

There is a small town accessible only by 4WD from a long stretch of beach and positioned between two enormous sand dunes. Not many people are even aware that it exists. Tin City is steeped deep in history and serves as a time capsule from a different time period.

Dating back to the late 1800s when the settlement first started, there were only two tin huts built. They were used for shelter and contained provisions for sailors victimized by shipwrecks. 98 of which occurred along the coast between Newcastle and Nelson Bay. Keep reading on The Vintage News

A female peacock bass guards her brood in a freshwater lake in Miami, Florida. Michael O’Neill/ National Geographic

The winning photographs of this year’s 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

New drone footage from the Great Lakes Drone Company taken on Dec. 21, 2016 shows an iced over Lake Michigan lighthouse in St. Joseph from a bird’s eye view.

Sweeping 360° Video Shows Iced Over Michigan Lighthouse

Thames Mudlarkers* – A few years ago, a worldly friend who’s always in the know posted something to her Facebook wall that went something like this: Mudlarking on the Thames is the best way to spend a Sunday morning in London. She had me at “mudlarking”—I had no clue what it was. It seemed like something curiously obscure.
I immediately googled mudlarking and uncovered this amazing world of history and treasures waiting to be found on the Thames foreshore.

What you can find Mudlarking on the Thames Foreshore in London

*CGaptain reader Ian from Holbeach sends along the following admonishment, for which Miss Monkey Fist is most thankful:

“the scene is not the Thames in London but the banks of the River Esk where it forms the lower harbour of the town of Whitby in North Yorkshire. The buildings are on what is known as Tate Hill and the stone structure behind the boys is Tate Hill Pier. The scene is, apart from boats, virtually the same today. The photograph was taken by a local man called Sutcliffe.”

Dom Vasco da Gama – (1460 – 1524) Portuguese. Claim to Fame: Found a direct sea route from Europe to Asia, and was the first European to sail to India by going around Africa. More

The events of 1498 that changed our world

In 1498, Vasco da Gama rounded the southern tip of Africa and opened up trade routes with the Gulf, India and eventually beyond into South East Asia. Europe was transformed from being at the wrong end of the major global trade routes to being at their heart geographically, economically and strategically. Never before had the transformation of fortunes been so profound and so fast. For the first time in history, Europe became the centre of the world.  keep reading

On July 8, 1497, da Gama and four ships left the Lisbon coast for a voyage around Africa to Asia. About 170 men went on the voyage including interpreters who spoke Arabic and Bantu languages. There were four priests for each ship and some condemned criminals who were assigned the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs.
Up Helly Aa – Vikings Ready for Action; David Gifford Photography (MORE)

During this Shetland Islands celebration, hundreds of torch-carrying “guizers” lead a procession to burn a viking longboat

Atlas Obscure – Each year, about a month after Christmas, hundreds of torch-bearers in an assortment of silly costumes march through the streets of Lerwick to set fire to a viking longboat. Welcome to the Up Helly Aa. Keep reading

Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2015 – Video by Kevin Serginson
The Norfolk Knife – photographed in 2011

With 75 Blades, This Knife Was the Ultimate Multi Tool of 1851

Through the Eighteenth and Ninteenth Centuries, the John Rodgers firm of Sheffield, UK rose in prominence, developing a reputation for building the finest knives in Europe.

In 1851, Rodgers exhibited this marvel at The Great Exhibition, an international trade show in London.  keep reading

see also: These Guys Discovered They Can Go Anywhere While Wearing Hi-Viz Vests

Welcome Committee; Waiting for the pilot. Houston Ship Channel. Photo by OneEighteen
Time Ball at US Naval Observatory (Washington, District of Columbia)

Watching the Ball Drop — the Nautical Origins of a New Year’s Tradition

Old Salt – Last night in New York City, up to one million people watched a jeweled ball drop in Time Square at exactly midnight to mark the arrival of the New Year… The six ton Waterford crystal ball covered in 32,276 LED lights is not actually “dropped” but lowered from a flag pole on the roof of One Times Square. In New York City, the tradition dates back to 1908. But where did the tradition of dropping a ball to mark the time originate?

The practice dates back to 1829 and was related to helping sailors calculate their position at sea.  keep reading

The Greenwich Time Ball. The first time ball was erected in the harbor at Portsmouth, England. It worked so well that in 1833 another one was set up at the Greenwich Observatory on a hilltop —the same one that you see today. More on Amusing Planet (Photo credit: David Brossard/Flickr)
2017 New Year’s Fireworks on Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, by Jaws300

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