Maritime Monday for July 11th, 2016: Sea of Humanity

Savage dive-bombing seagulls have resulted in residents of a British coastal town going without mail delivery (Getty Images)
Dumpster Ducks – Savage dive-bombing seagulls have caused residents of a British coastal town to go without mail delivery (Getty Images) Click through for more

Port of Hull

Nude models prepare to pose for a photograph by U.S. artist Spencer Tunick, for a project titled "Sea of Hull" in Hull city centre, northern England, July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Nude models prepare to pose for a photograph by U.S. artist Spencer Tunick, for a project titled “Sea of Hull” in Hull city centre, northern England, July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Thousands strip for “Sea of Hull” mass nude photograph

“It doesn’t look very big, does it?,” said one man to his wife as he examined the small pot of paint each of us had been given on arrival. “And I’ve got quite a bit of surface area to cover.” He needn’t have worried. There was more than enough paint – in four striking colours of blue, reflecting Hull’s maritime history – to go around and once Tunick gave the order to strip, all those British sensibilities were shed along with old hoodies and jogging bottoms. (Yorkshire Post >>)

 more on BBC

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A grave marker in Kingston’s Hunt’s Bay Cemetery carved with a skull and crossbones and Hebrew lettering (Jessica Antola)

The Forgotten Jewish Pirates of Jamaica

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Sephardic Jewish pirate Jean Lafitte – more on wikipedia

I was in Kingston’s spooky Hunts Bay Cemetery, located in a shantytown near the Red Stripe brewery, tramping through high grass with a dozen fellow travelers. We passed a herd of cattle that was being pecked by white egrets before finding what we were looking for: seven tombstones engraved with Hebrew benedictions and skull and crossbones insignia.

Centuries ago, the coffins buried here were ferried across Cagway Bay from Port Royal, once known as “the wickedest city in the world”. This was once the domain of the little-known Jewish pirates who once sailed the waters of Jamaica.  Many were successful gold traders and sugar merchants.

Some, like Moses Cohen Henriques, a crony of Captain Henry Morgan who once plundered the modern day equivalent of almost $1 billion from a Spanish galleon, were marauding buccaneers. Though today’s Jamaican Jewish population is fewer than 200, there are at least 21 Jewish burial grounds across the island.  keep reading

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Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
on Amazon

Falmouth Heritage Walks in Falmouth, Jamaica — a hub for cruise lines — also offers tours of Jewish cemeteries, as does Anna Ruth Henriques, a descendant of “Jewmaicans,” through Jamaica Jewish Tours.+

Determining the exact number of Jewish pirates is difficult because many of them traveled as Conversos, or converts to Christianity, and practiced their Judaism in secret. While some Jews, like Samuel Pallache, took up piracy in part to help make a better life for expelled Spanish Jews, others were motivated by revenge for the Inquisition. more

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Nat Geo – This punchbowl, found in a privy pit behind an illegal tavern, celebrates the vessel Tryphena. In 1765, the ship carried a message to Britain urging the repeal of the loathed Stamp Act. Photograph courtesy Museum of the American Revolution

What a Toilet Shows About Life During the American Revolution

Finds from an 18th-century Philadelphia privy have researchers flush with excitement

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A German tankard recovered from a privy highlights the cosmopolitan tastes of American colonists, as well as their love of beer.

Nat Geo – Latrines don’t generally stir excitement, but archaeologists were thrilled to find the brick-lined circular shaft while excavating a site at the corner of South Third and Chestnut Streets in the summer of 2014.

Privy pits are an unusual treasure trove for archaeologists. Along with their primary purpose, they often served as mini-garbage dumps in urban areas before community trash collection was developed.

The garbage from this privy pit, dug in 1776 (the year that American colonists declared their independence from Britain) and filled in 1786 (the year before the Constitution was written) provides a unique snapshot of life in the first tumultuous years of the United States.  more

Smithsonian: Tens of Thousands of Artifacts Have Been Found in Colonial Philadelphia Toilets

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Curbed Philadelphia: Archeologists have unearthed some 82,000 artifacts dating back to the 17th century at the Museum of the American Revolution construction site.

82K Artifacts Unearthed at Museum of the American Revolution Site

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more photos on Gizmodo
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66-year-old Mario Salcedo is among a small group of “frequent floaters” — people so enamored of the cruising life that they sail many times a year, often for months at a time – Sun Sentinel

The Life Aquatic: Meet Mario Salcedo, Full-Time Cruise Ship Passenger

On one of the rare days he finds himself on dry land, his legs sway involuntarily, bracing for the movement of the ship they’re accustomed to having underfoot.
“When I walk from my kitchen to my living room, I stumble,” Salcedo, 66, tells mental_floss.

“I can’t walk a straight line. I’ll run into the wall. I spill coffee. I’ve lost my land legs.”

More than 7000 days at sea will do that to you. For the past two decades, Salcedo has been a full-time occupant on cruise ships, spending less than two weeks out of the year at his condo in Miami, Florida. The rest of the time, he’s taken up a floating, permanent residence on the numerous megaton cruise ships sailing out of Florida on the Royal Caribbean fleet.  keep reading

video on Sun Sentinel

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A ‘ghost’ fish has been caught on camera, marking the first time a fish in the Aphyonidae family has been seen alive. Video of the fish was captured during an expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to explore the unknown and poorly known areas deep waters of the Mariana Trench

Mysterious ‘ghost fish’ discovered 8,200 feet under the sea in the world’s deepest trench

The pale fish looks almost like an alien creature with its yellow eyes. ‘This is the first time a fish in this family has ever been seen alive,’ said Bruce Mundy, fishery biologist with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. ‘This is really an unusual sighting.’

Seen while exploring a ridge feature at a depth of around 8,200 feet (2,500 metres), the fish measured about 0.3 feet (10 centimetres) long. keep reading

WHOI
Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Oceanography: WHOI’s Got a Brand New Boat

The new red-white-and-blue vessel that’s joined the Woods Hole waterfront might look unassuming, but it actually has more in common with a spaceship than with any sailboat in Vineyard Sound. The ship is bound for missions to explore uncharted areas and scientific discoveries yet unforeseen – and it is named after one of the pioneers of space exploration.

The Neil Armstrong is the nation’s newest research vessel, part of a fleet of academic ships owned by the U.S. Navy and provided to universities and nonprofit organizations to study the marine environment. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will operate the Neil Armstrong, which clocks in at 238 feet and can accommodate up to forty-four scientists and crew members for voyages of up to forty days. keep reading

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antiquesandthearts.com

Long May It Wave: Rare 19-Star US Flag Gets Special Treatment By Conservator

ANDOVER, MASS. — A rare 19-star flag that once flew on America’s first battleship, the USS Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” is being conserved by Museum Textile Services, a textile conservation studio. It will be surface cleaned, stabilized and mounted for long-term display.

According to Camille Breeze, director and chief conservator of Museum Textiles Services, the flag is from a group of flags with provenance to the Constitution that had been in the same collection for 150 years. “It is a great historical coincidence that this particular flag is being worked on in the Boston area while the USS Constitution is presently in dry dock for maintenance and repair at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Given the 19 stars, the flag was associated with ‘Old Ironsides’ when the ship was also in dry dock from 1815 to 1821, just 100 years ago,” she said. “The flag was likely not flown over water or in battle, but would have served as an important patriotic symbol while the boat was out of the water.” keep reading

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Ford Reiche, who has been restoring Halfway Rock Lighthouse to federal historic standards since acquiring it two years ago, motors out to a larger boat while leaving the “Rock.” The remote lighthouse gets its name from its location in the middle of Casco Bay, halfway between Cape Elizabeth and Cape Small, on a 2-acre ledge 10 miles out to sea. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Maine man works to restore his own private lighthouse

Ford Reiche paid $283,000 for Halfway Rock, a former Coast Guard lighthouse four miles off Harpswell, and is undertaking a painstaking renovation.

HALFWAY ROCK — History records how one of the earliest keepers at Halfway Rock Lighthouse was driven nearly insane by the isolation of living on a two-acre rock ledge, more than four miles off the tip of Harpswell. He refused to speak to his assistant for up to 10 days at a time and after being deemed a safety risk, was forced to resign his duties. That was in 1883.

Stories like this resonate with Reiche, who bought Casco Bay’s most remote lighthouse at government auction in 2014. keep reading

The Night Boats… New York to Boston on The Fall River Line

Everyone from presidents to swindlers sailed the Sound on Mammoth Palace Steamers in the heyday of the side-wheelers and night boats. The Fall River Line was a combination steamboat and railroad connection between New York City and Boston that operated between 1847 and 1937. 

The Fall River operation, then called the Bay State Steamboat Company, launched in 1847, was financially backed, among others, by members of the famous Borden family (otherwise celebrated for their sinewy if ill-tempered Lizzie, the ax-wielding relative).

keep reading on Cruising the Past

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Grand Saloon, Steamer Puritan of the Fall River Line
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Fall River Line Boats and dock, Fall River, Massachusetts
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Fall River Line, Steamer “Priscilla” – Fall River Public Library (click to see full size)

more postcards

Fall River Line on wikipedia

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George Thomas Downing (seated front and center) followed his father into the restaurant business. The elder Downing owned the fabled “Downing’s Oyster House” in New York City. George T. Downing first opened a restaurant in New York in 1842, then a branch of his father’s restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island in 1846, then a catering business in Providence in 1850. Later, the Sea-Girt House in Newport in 1855. source

Places You Can No Longer Go: Downing’s Oyster House

Thomas Downing, a freed slave, built one of New York City’s most famous restaurants of the 19th century—which doubled as a stop on the Underground Railroad

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Not yet considered a delicacy, oysters were abundant, sloppy and dished out in seedy dens. Downing the elder brought respectability to New York’s ubiquitous oyster cellars with a conspicuous consumption that drew in the upper crust.

Filet of Soul – One of the curious outcomes of American slavery was a culinary mastery. In Rhode Island this reached a level of extraordinary artistry. Newport in particular was a wellspring of exceptional children of Africa who perfected special skills in gastronomy (sufficient) to satisfy the rich and pampered citizenry.

By the mid 19th century, successful African American catering establishments under the ownership of Isaac Rice, Steven Payne, D. B.  Allen and Jacob Dorsey indulged a burgeoning vacationing class of New York scions and swells who would eventually line Bellevue Avenue with gilded summer cottages.

Joining these ranks and soon surpassing his competition was one George T. Downing of New York City. Following the example of his celebrated father, Thomas, whose lavish Wall Street oyster house served up pickled oysters and boned and jellied turkeys to Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria and Gotham gentry for two generations. more on Edible Rhody

also: Anatomy of a Restaurant Family: The Downings

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“The Jovial Crew,” Thomas Rowlandson; 1786, Royal Collection Trust

Pyrates in the Bay of Maryland:
Race and Resistance in the Chesapeake

Slavery and convict servitude at times defined sailors in the eighteenth century Chesapeake. British sailors could negotiate wages and hold merchant officers accountable if they stepped out of line. While convict servants possessed some rights, enslaved sailors held virtually none. Both groups were subject to the whims of ship owners and sea captains.

A four part series entitled “Race, Revolt, and Piracy” on the blog British Tars

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A humpback whale feeds less than six miles from New York City in 2014. Waters off New York City and the greater New York Bight serve as a feeding ground, nursery, and migratory corridor for many species of marine life including whales, dolphins, sharks, fish, and sea birds. Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher/REUTERS

 New York’s whales to be studied for the first time

The Guardian – The habits of New York’s little-understood whale population are to be fully analysed for the first time, with scientists hoping the new information will help protect the marine behemoths that navigate one of the busiest shipping areas in the world.

An acoustic monitoring buoy has been deployed off the coast of Long Island to eavesdrop on the cacophony of underwater noises made by whales that feed and travel through New York waters. Humpback whales are regularly spotted off areas such as Brooklyn, while fin whales are known to inhabit the waters around the eastern tip of Long Island.

Five other species, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale and minke and sperm whales, have also been seen or heard in New York waters. keep reading

Zachary Heistand use
Sunrise from the ferry at Bainbridge Island before going into service for the day

photo by Zachary Heistand; Able Seaman at Washington State Ferries

Zach’s transportation photos on Flickr

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video: Heroic Crowd Saves Beached Dolphins from Death

Who knew evolution had goalies?

We’ve all seen these videos… frantic dolphins flapping on the sand, a crowd of folks come running in and drag them back out to sea and Mother Nature is Happy.  But… what if instead of accidentally committing harikari, the dolphins were trying to make contact with us?  And us dumb humans just kept tossing them back into the sea?  What is it they so urgently need to say to us?  What secret knowledge would they impart, if we would only listen? 

“Hey, People…   we know how to cure cancer!  Hey, wait, no, stop…   Ahhhh!”

“Humans, come near, we have news of Jimmy Hoffa…  HEY GET YOUR FILTHY PAWS OFF ME YOU, WAAAAAH!” (splash)

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CUNW JULY 11
Museum of Found Photographs 

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