Maritime Monday for March 5th, 2018: Here’s Pitch In Your Eye

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March 4, 2018

Gastro Obscura: For several centuries, seafaring explorers remained relatively healthy by chugging spruce beer, a drink made by boiling the tree’s green tips. Voyagers recognized the evergreens were a source of nutrients in Scandinavia and the Great White North, even during the most barren and bleak of winters. Ancient Norwegians believed the brew offered strength in battle, enhanced fertility, and kept them healthy during long stretches at sea. 

Spruce Beer: This Christmas Tree Elixir Kept Vikings and Even Captain Cook Alive

Penny Dreadful: British boys’ weekly, The Nelson Lee Library (New Series) No. 25, July 12, 1930, “The Island of Ships” by H.B. Halstead (Edwy Searles Brooks)
Courtesy of Starz/David Bloomer on Variety

British Tars; 1740-1790: It has been a while since I dug into portrayals of eighteenth century common sailors in mass media. This is largely because there hasn’t been much recently in the way of mass media that includes common tars. That changed last year with the third season of the Starz time-travel-costume-drama-bodice-ripper Outlander.

Outlander Sets Sail and Brings Drama on the High Seas on The Hollywood Reporter

Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Developed by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television and Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show premiered on August 9, 2014. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings. more on wikipedia

OMG Posters: Half Hazard Press has a new art print from Joel Hunter available in their shop. UFO vs USO is a 16? x 20? screen print, has an edition of 100, and costs $30. Visit
May 1969: Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers cause stir at Southampton Docks – The pair were sailing to the United States to complete a new film called “The Magic Christian,” a screen version of Terry Southern’s novel. The Daily Echo (more photos)

On growing up in Liverpool: “Because it was a port, so all the guys in the merchant navy… in our neighborhood every other house there was someone in the Merchant Navy, and they were bringing all the records from America, so we had great country, great blues and great rock and roll. We were getting the first printings of rock and roll records that no one had ever heard.”  more

“You could always tell the sailors: they were the best dressed. That was my plan – going away to sea. I was in the Sea Scouts. We’d go to a hall and drill, and play with rifles – that was the big thing. I was thrown out because I ran away with a rifle. I never saw a boat. I was never in anything too long; I always did something that annoyed people.”  –Ringo’s Story on The Daily Beatle

“I wanted to go deep sea because everybody in our neighbourhood, there was always a lad in any family was in the Merchant Navy. “If you did those coastal boats you stood a good chance of getting in the union and getting your deep sea ticket. Anyway, it only lasted five weeks because they didn’t like my attitude. –Liverpool Echo

Ringo Starr & Peter Sellers on the 2nd voyage of the QE2 on Cruising the Past

A giant walrus sleeping on top of a Russian submarine – Pictures In History
A Maersk Line container ship lost about 70 cargo boxes overboard Saturday during rough weather off the coast of North Carolina. – Post and Courier; Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Update: How Great a Threat to Mariners are Overboard Shipping Containers? on Old Salt Blog

Eems Dublin (IMO 9613642) with a full load of windmill blades it picked up in Portugal – by Larry in Antwerp
The boy’s King Arthur; Sir Thomas Malory’s History of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (digitized) Illustration by Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) – from Notes From A Superfluous Man/The Fugitive Saint
Known as the “Germany’s Most Famous Pirate,” Kapitän Klaus Störtebeker was famous for downing beer and downing ships most quickly. The name “Störtebeker” actually stands in reference to his apparent ability to swallow a four liter mug of beer in one quick gulp. Born in Wismar in 1360, Kapitän Störtebeker engaged in daring exploits as commander of a privateer group known as the Victual Brothers (Vitalienbrüder).

10 Dastardly German Pirates

Abolition Teapot, by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, c. 1760. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

The tea table that we now associate with quaint rituals, scones, crustless sandwiches, and charming desserts served on porcelain with sterling silver cutlery was a more political space in the eighteenth century, and antislavery conversations played a big part of the politics of the time.

“If we purchase the commodity,” pamphleteer William Fox wrote in 1791, “we participate in the crime. The slave dealer, the slave holder, and the slave driver, are virtually agents of the consumer, and may be considered as employed and hired by him to procure the commodity.”

His “Address to the People of Great Britain, on the Propriety of Abstaining from West India Sugar and Rum,” teapots like this one were part of the campaign.

Serving Tea for a Cause

CSS Stonewall: the French-built ironclad served under six different national flags during her twenty-four year career. via macdarathelma

Ironclad ram warship built in Bordeaux, France (Originally named Sphynx) in 1864 for the Confederate States Navy as CSS Stonewall. Acquired February 3, 1869 by Japan, the first ironclad of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Scrapped 1888.   more on wikipedia

Museum of Found Photos: USS LST 899 – Commissioned in January 1945, by the time she got to the Pacific it was summer and the war was about over, she spent a year or so in China and when this picture was taken, if the date is correct, was a couple of weeks from decommissioning in Seattle. She was sold for scrap in December before her second birthday. (Landing Ship Tanks)
Lightship Scotland: (detail) 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative (1896) View full size on Shorpy

Location & historical notes: New Jersey, established in 1868 to mark the wreck of the SS Scotland. The wreck was removed in 1870 and the station was discontinued. Shipping interests considered the station necessary and therefore it was reestablished in 1874. Moored 3.2 miles and 103 degrees from the Sandy Hook Lighthouse and about 4 1/2 miles westerly from the Ambrose lightship. Used as a reference mark primarily by north-south coastwise traffic using the Sand(y) Hook and Ambrose channels in the approaches to New York Bay. The Scotland radio-beacon was said to have been widely used by commercial aircraft making an approach to Idlewild/JFK airport. The station was replaced by the Scotland Lighted Horn Buoy “S,” which was 0.4 miles and 143 degrees from the final lightship station.  more

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