Maritime Monday for July 24th, 2017: Slippery Sailors

Monkey Fist
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July 23, 2017

Not Vikings of the axe wielding variety but ships belonging to the Viking Ocean Cruises company which started operations in 2015. This year London was visited by all three of the ships that make up its current fleet of ocean going cruise liners. Officially classified as “Small Cruise Ships” they are still a tight squeeze through the Thames Barrier and have to moor at Greenwich.

Viking longboats on the Thames

U.S. Coast Guard Northeast – On this day in 1997 the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” set sail in Boston Harbor for the first time in more than a century. Prior to this her Navy crew received training in sailing a square rigger aboard United States Coast Guard Barque EAGLE. The Coast Guard then enforced security and safety zones around the Navy frigate during her brief voyage around the harbor. More than 800 Coast Guard personnel, 10 cutters, three helicopters, and 81 small boats were involved in the operation. #CGHeritage #CGcommunity
Now, after more than two years of restoration, the USS Constitution will be back in the water on July 23rd! #oldironsides2017 #Navy
British Trade Card – “Battles for the Flag” (series of 26 issued in 1939) The Somerset Light Infantry, Aboukir Bay, 1801 – see reverse
British Trade Cards – Demetri the Russian Dog Driver and Oscar Wisting at the South Pole: Player’s Cigarettes “Polar Exploration 2nd Series” (issued in 1916)

Oscar Adolf Wisting (6 June 1871 – 5 December 1936) was a Norwegian Naval officer and polar explorer. Together with Roald Amundsen he was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. In later years Oscar Wisting was an active force behind the preparations and building of the Fram Museum in Oslo, a museum built to store and display the polar ship Fram. On 5 December 1936 Wisting was found dead from heart attack in his old bunk on board the Fram, a few days before the 25th anniversary of the successful South Pole expedition.

Oscar Wisting and Roald Amundsen (center left) on board the Fram (7. mars 1912) – more on wikimedia commons
The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on Portsall Rocks, 5 km (3.1 mi) from the coast of Brittany, France, on 16 March 1978. It ultimately split in three and sank, resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date. Photos on The Industrialist – more on wikipedia
On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins The Compass, On The Black Sea Episode 1 of 5 A voyage across a mysterious sea where empires have clashed for centuries and tensions are rising again. By ferry, rowing-boat, horse-drawn wagon, the BBC World Service travels over, around, and under the Black Sea, to discover its ancient and modern secrets. As Russia and Nato build up their naval power in the region, presenter Tim Whewell meets the Istanbul ship-spotter who helped alert the world to the scale of the Kremlin’s military involvement in Syria. Tim embarks on his journey over the sea to Odessa in Ukraine. It is a city in love with the sea. But its character is beginning to change. (Photo: Istanbul panorama Credit: Tony Jolliffe/BBC (submitted by Simon Egleton)
Smithsonian – France’s Opal Coast is studded with pristine, sandy beaches that overlook the deep blue waters of the English Channel. But over the past week, this picturesque stretch of land was marred by yellow, spongy clumps that washed ashore in droves. The weird, fluffy balls numbered in the hundreds of thousands, affecting several beaches along the coast—including La Slack, Wimereux, Le Portel, Equihen-Plage, Hardelot, Le Touquet, Stella and Berck. Experts were initially befuddled at the cause, but the strange substances have now been identified, according to the CBC.

Thousands of Mysterious Yellow “Sponges” Wash Up On French Beaches

American Merchant Marine Veterans was formed in 1984 by WWII merchant mariners. Follow them on Twitter
Norwegian Claus Jørstad had a bad knee, so he decided that it would be a good idea to get a stool so he could sit down in the shower. After looking at different options at IKEA, he decided to go for the “Marius” stool since it was made out of steel and plastic, and was comfy. He shared his experience in a humorous Facebook post that soon went viral.

Man makes hilarious complaint to IKEA – and thousands laughed

“USS New York (BB-34) arrives at New York from the Pacific, circa 19 October 1945. She was featured in Navy Day celebrations there later in the month.” – lex-for-lexington
Cris Shapan posted a new Fantasy Pulp on Facebook
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students in training in 2014. The Navy now has two female candidates to join the elite special operations forces for the first time since front-line combat jobs were opened to women. MC1 Michael Russell/U.S. Navy

July 20, 2017 – The Navy says it has its first female candidates for two elite special operations jobs previously closed to women — including a prospective SEAL. One woman is in the pipeline to be a SEAL officer, and another is on the path to becoming a special warfare combatant crewman. The news was first reported by, an independent website. “They are the first candidates that have made it this far in the process,” Lt. Cmdr. Mark Walton, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command, told NPR…

Navy Gets Its First Female SEAL Candidate – A LONG-forgotten room on the Queen Mary has been discovered by workers repairing toilets on the Clyde-built ocean liner. The anchor room, which is an astonishing 1,500 square feet in size, is thought to have been sealed off in the 1960s when the ship was converted to a hotel and tourist attraction. Built by John Brown and Co, at Clydebank, the luxury liner was operated by solely by Cunard since its maiden voyage in 1936.

Workers aboard The Queen Mary rediscover long-forgotten room

“Southern Venturer at Sea” By George Cummings, painter and former whaler

Britain’s Whale Hunters: Ships of the British whaling fleet in Antarctica on BBC

A glimpse into the world of British whaling in the 1950s

The Bradford family, clockwise from top, Tucker and Victoria and their children, Miles, 9, and Ruby, 13, on their sailboat, Convivia, moored in Thailand. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup – Portland Press Herald

Since 2011, Tucker and Victoria Bradford sailed around the world with their children. Six years ago, the family of four set sail from San Diego on a journey that spanned three oceans and took them to exotic locations. Tucker Bradford, 42, and his wife, Victoria, 40, both Maine natives, sailed more than 25,000 nautical miles with their children, Ruby, 13, and Miles, 9. They landed in Maine two weeks ago aboard their 43-foot sailboat, Convivia.

The Bradfords’ adventure required a leap of faith. Tucker left his job near San Francisco in information technology at the SETI Institute, a nonprofit scientific research center. In a blog he kept during the trip, he lists the uncertainties of embarking on such a journey, chiefly walking away from a job of 10 years, liquidating some retirement funds and “the omnipresent possibility that our tiny home and everything that we own might be destroyed by the force of nature.”

Family of 4 with Maine roots drops anchor in Portland after journey of a lifetime

More than 300,000 Allied troops were rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, with help from ships like the “Medway Queen.” – PS Medway Queen on Old Steamers

Retrofitted by the British Navy, the paddleboat saved 7,000 men over many dangerous trips across the Channel

Smithsonian – When Operation Dynamo began late on May 26, British officers charged with organizing the frantic escape estimated that only 45,000 men might be saved. But over the next eight days, nearly 1,000 British ships—both military and civilian—crossed the Channel repeatedly to rescue 338,226 people, while the Royal Air Force fought the Luftwaffe above. Another 220,000 Allied soldiers were rescued from the French ports of Saint-Malo, Brest, Cherbourg and Saint-Nazaire by the British.

The “Medway Queen” shown here before it was converted to a minesweeper for use in World War II. (Richard Halton Collection)

The events of late May, 1940, became the stuff of legend—as did the “little ships,” (civilian ships; many of which were actually manned by Navy personnel). Among the first to traverse the approximately 60 miles across the Channel to Dunkirk, and the last to leave on the final day of operations, was the Medway Queen. The former pleasure cruiser was 180 feet long, with paddle wheels on both sides of its hull. Built in 1924, the ship carried passengers on short tours on the River Thames and around Britain’s southeast side.

The True Story of Dunkirk, As Told Through the Heroism of the “Medway Queen”

A scene from Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” which focuses on a harrowing rescue effort during World War II. Warner Bros. (Miss Monkey blows a raspberry of green contempt at certain chuffing bastards she knows who get to see it at special screenings in 70mm.  Just know I will be sitting here all night Monday, killing you with my mind)

War movies tend to play out along familiar lines, including lump-in-the throat home-front tales like “Mrs. Miniver.” “Dunkirk” takes place in battle, but it, too, is a story of suffering and survival. Mr. Nolan largely avoids the bigger historical picture (among other things, the reason these men are fighting is a given) as well as the strategizing on the front and in London.

Dunkirk is big — in subject, reach, emotion and image. Mr. Nolan shot and mostly finished it on large-format film (unusual in our digital era), which allows details to emerge in great scale. Overhead shots of soldiers scattered across a beach convey an unnerving isolation — as if these were the last souls on earth.

(In one scene) British teenager, George (Barry Keoghan), is helping a father and son (Mark Rylance and Tom Glynn-Carney) unload a small yacht that’s been requisitioned for the Dunkirk mission. The three men instead set sail on their own, joining a civilian fleet — a rousing, motley armada of tugs, steamers, ferries and so on — that’s racing across the Channel…

NY Times Review: ‘Dunkirk’ Is a Tour de Force War Movie, Both Sweeping and Intimate

painting detail by Edward Hopper. 1930s – rickinmar

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