Maritime Monday for May 16th, 2016; Or Should I Just Keep Washin’ Pavements?

Monkey Fist
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May 15, 2016

Body of Sperm Whale Washed Ashore in Port Arthur Shipping Channel, Texas, March 11, 1910


Artist makes street art using power washer on dirty pavements to raise awareness of littering

Campaign by Keep Britain Tidy – The (images) at King’s Cross were made by spraying water onto dirty pavements using stencils, which (create) outlines of animals to highlight how littering affects wildlife. Street artist Paul Curtis, who goes by nickname ‘Moose’, specialises in what he calls ‘clean art’. Moose hopes to show how urban litter can end up in waterways and impact marine life.

“With 80% of marine litter originating from land and more than 2 million pieces of litter dropped on our streets every day, littering remains a significant and growing environmental issue within the UK.” +

View the Facebook gallery of the #Street2Sea art taking shape at Kings Cross, London
Smoke from the Alberta wildfires in New York Harbor; Photo by Meow Man
The dessert for the Nordic leaders State Dinner is shown during a press preview.
Photo by Pat Benic; UPI

For dessert, each table will feature an illuminated edible fishing boat made of chocolate and gum paste. The boat will fly the American flag as well as all five flags of the honored countries. Miniature pastries will be placed around the illuminated hull of the boat, like so many fish in the sea. These sweets will include raspberry kringle, elderberry custard pie, ginger-gooseberry cookies and red currant chocolates.  +

“They can eat everything but the lights,” said White House pastry chef Susie Morrison. +


How Hedy Lamarr Invented Early Wireless Technology

At the time, the Navy was not receptive to ideas coming from outside the military and also felt Lamarr and Antheil’s design was too expensive and complex to introduce. Instead, Charles F. Kettering, a member of the National Inventors Council, told Lamarr she could better serve the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds — debt securities used to fundraise in times of war.

This Lamarr did with a sailor, Eddie Rhodes. At each fundraising event, Lamarr would call Rhodes onto the stage and agree only to kiss him once enough war bonds had ben purchased. The idea proved to be highly successful.

Although her invention was not used in World War II, by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, her frequency hopping technology was installed in US naval vessels. However, perhaps even more importantly, Lamarr and Antheil’s invention paved the way for today’s spread-spectrum communications technology, which includes GPS, Bluetooth, cell phones and Wi-Fi networks. +

 The Hollywood Bombshell Who Invented an Indispensable War Technology

How a sailor’s mom changed the world

Donald-DuckDuring World War II, Vesta Stoudt, the mother of two Navy sailors and a worker at the Green River Ordnance Plant in Illinois, read about a problem soldiers were having with troublesome seals on boxes of ammunition. Hoping to solve the problem, she wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt with an idea:

I suggest we use a strong cloth tape to close seams,… I have two sons out there some where, one in the Pacific Island the other one with the Atlantic Fleet. You have sons in the service also.  We can’t let them down…

Roosevelt passed along the letter to the War Production Board in Washington, D.C., who contacted Johnson & Johnson and told them to develop a product.

see what she came up with

Georges Lacombe Marine Bleue 1894-1895
Georges Lacombe, Blue Seascape, Wave Effect, 1893 (full size)
Bellerby & Co. Globemakers on © We Heart

The Small London Company That Makes the World’s Most Beautiful Globes

For Peter Bellerby, a passion for globes has quite unexpectedly turned into a successful business—his company is one of the world’s only remaining traditional globe makers.

Bellerby had been dealing globes of a much different nature, running a successful bowling alley, when he ran into difficulty finding a well-made globe to give to his father for his 80th birthday in the early ‘00s. So he decided that the only thing to do was to make one.

Today Bellerby & Co. is a team of 10 or so artists and globe makers operating out of a studio in North London.

keep drooling


more: behind-the-scenes with London globemakers setting new benchmarks

Here There Be Monsters

The Geographical Oddity of Null Island

 It doesn’t seem like much of a place to visit. Granted, I’ve never actually been there, but I think I can imagine it: the vastness of ocean, overcast skies, a heavy humidity in the air. No land in sight, with the only distinguishing feature being a lonely buoy, bobbing up and down in the water. It almost seems like a “non-place,” but it may surprise you to learn that this site is far from anonymous. This spot is a hive of activity in the world of geographic information systems (GIS). As far as digital geospatial data is concerned, it may be one of the most visited places on Earth! This is Null Island.

Null Island is an imaginary place located at 0°N 0°E (hence “Null”) in the South Atlantic Ocean; where the Equator crosses the Prime Meridian. The zero latitude, zero longitude location of “Null Island” is based on the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84), a commonly-used global reference system for modeling the Earth that is the standard for the Department of Defense and the Global Positioning System (GPS).  more on The Library of Congress


Tomorrow’s Tug-Boat; BOHN Aluminum Corp. (see full size on X-Ray Delta)

Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation was a manufacturing company based in Detroit, Michigan and formed in 1924 from the merger of the General Aluminium and Brass Company and the C.B. Bohn Foundry Company. It produced a series of notable advertisements depicting applications of its product in futuristic settings.  Seymour

A letter from American Charles Wilkes to his wife in Washington, DC, sent during his pioneering 1838-42 expedition to the South Pole. (Photo: Courtesy of Hal Vogel)

Solving the Mystery of Early Polar Exploration Through Stamps

Just about every year since the 1980s, an illuminating piece of polar post turns up in someone’s attic, according to Hal Vogel, vice president of the American Society of Polar Philatelists (ASPP).

United States Antarctic Service Expedition (BYRD III) 1939-41

Members, who come from nearly 20 different countries, seek out and pore over envelopes and stamps sent home from exploratory expeditions, ships, and research stations in the world’s two extremes, mostly dating from the late 1800s to early 1900s.  full story


Royal Brothers Who Both Fought In WWI Had Vastly Different Experiences

Four kings: Edward VII (far right), his son George, Prince of Wales, later George V (far left), and grandsons Edward, later Edward VIII (rear), and Albert, later George VI (foreground), c. 1908 – full

Though both eventually went on to become King, letters written by them to their family during the war give insight into their different roles in the war. Heir: Edward joined the Grenadier Guards and served in the trenches on the Western Front. Spare: Albert, still in his teens when the war started, served in the Royal Navy.

Albert, who never expected to be crowned, was a Royal Navy cadet and joined the training ship HMS Cumberland in 1913. After the war was declared, he became a midshipman on the HMS Collingwood.

Bertie, crowned George VI in 1936 when his brother abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, was in the thick of the battle at Jutland. The prince was in charge of a gun turret on the Collingwood, and in his letters, he described having narrowly avoided death when his ship was targeted by a German U-boat.

A pair of torpedoes came within 10 yards of changing the course of British history. 

keep reading

dreadnought battleship HMS Collingwood at anchor, 1912
Optrex Eye Lotion advert; 1950, UK
Fifty shades of GAWK!!! (AFP / Eitan Abramovich)

Thrills, chills and penguin poo on Antarctica mission

 The brass in Paris had jokingly called it a “hardship mission”: 10 days on a cruise in the Antarctic, enjoying the view, at the invitation of environmental campaigners. Anyone free?

A few weeks later there I was, tripod in hand. (In addition to) filming the wildlife I had to shoot interviews with scientists and penguin-spotters. They were more elusive than the birds. You had to chase them over rocks and up snowy mountains and fix the microphone on them before they waddled off.

That evening, I put (my) bags wearily down on the floor of my cabin. A rotten smell filled up the warm, pokey space. I had scrubbed my baggage and outer clothes with disinfectant on returning to the ship, as required by Antarctic tourism regulations. But I had not scrubbed enough to cut through the guano.  keep reading

“Everything is reflective and everything’s white,” recalls Cornell

On vacation in Antarctica, filmmaker and photographer Alex Cornell captured an unusual sight.

Smithsonian: An Iceberg Flipped Over, and Its Underside Is Breathtaking

Photo by Alex Cornell (gallery)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 6, 2007) - Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) fires her 5-inch gun during a gunfire demonstration. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Wilson (RELEASED)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 6, 2007) – Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) fires her 5-inch gun during a gunfire demonstration. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Wilson (RELEASED)

Jamaican woman makes history, commands US Navy destroyer

NORFOLK (NNS) — Cmdr. Janice G. Smith assumed command of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) during a ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk, becoming the first immigrant of Jamaican descent to command a destroyer. Smith, from Morris Hall District, Saint Catherine, Jamaica West Indies, relieved Cmdr. Russel B. Sanchez, from Clarksville, Texas, on May 2. photos

Smith immigrated to Florida with her family in 1988 after attending Bog Walk High School, Saint Catherine. The following year, she enlisted in the Navy as a mess management specialist. In 1997, she earned her commission through Officer Candidate School.

more on


 video: George Formby/Bell Bottom George

bellbBell-Bottom George is a 1943 black and white British comedy musical film, directed by Marcel Varnel, starring George Formby and Anne Firth. Another wartime flagwaver for Formby, it features the songs, “Swim Little Fish”, “It Serves You Right”, “If I Had A Girl Like You” and “Bell Bottom George.”

George Blake (Formby) is a waiter with ambitions to join the Navy, although he’s been rejected several times because of a weak heart. During an air raid, he’s mistaken for a sailor by military police who think he’s gone AWOL. Back at the military barracks, he impresses the sailors with his songs and ukulele playing, and is recruited to play at the “Spick and Span” troop radio concert in London. Somehow, along the way, he stumbles on a group of Nazi spies using a taxidermists shop as a front, and foils their plot to blow up a British submarine. The film was a success at the British box office in 1944. +

The George Formby Story

Willemstad; Curacao
Capt. Ephraim Harding Jr.’s 1843 depiction of the ship Arab of Fairhaven. —New Bedford Whaling Museum

In Maritime Logbooks, a Trove of ‘Extraordinary’ Imagery

NY Times – During the 19th century, travelers on whaling ships used art to record dramatic and sometimes gory events. In official logbooks and personal journals, sailors and passengers listed sea routes, weather conditions, whale-oil harvests, ship repairs and stops for provisions. In pen, pencil and watercolor, they added drawings of heaving whales in their death throes dragging boats, bleeding whale carcasses being torn apart and seamen’s coffins lowered into the ocean.

Michael P. Dyer, the senior maritime historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, is tracking down these illustrations for a book, “The Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt: Manuscript Illustration in the Age of Sail.”  keep reading

Crewel Sea: Stitches of History; Art of the British Sailor


Astronomical Watch Gorgeously Depicts Real-Time Orbits of Planets


On the beach today, I found a pretty piece of Northern Quahog shell. It looked like a sky with new moons… The native people here named the Full Moons, but they did not name the New Moons. So, I suggest the following:

Vinegar Moon
(July 4) As jellyfish fill the bay, and bathers get stung, the smell of first-aid vinegar laces the sweet soft briny zephyrs. As the Natives know: when the jellyfish are in the bay, they are not in the Sound. When they clog up in the Sound, you’re safe in the bay. And in both, the fertilizer run-offs will give you ear infections. 

keep reading on Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook

Monitor on the James River, Virginia, 1862 – see reallyreally big

A year-long fundraising push has generated $1 million in donations which has allowed USS Monitor Center conservators to start a two-month campaign on the turret. 

Museum visitors can see Monitor’s iconic revolving gun turret’s draining and conservation from the massive viewing platform inside the Monitor Center Monday through Friday, May 2nd to July 15th during regular Museum hours, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with paid admission. Read about the conservation project and how you can help

video: USS Monitor gun turret: Ramping up to save a landmark artifact

Conservator Elsa Sangouard works inside the turret of the USS Monitor. Photo Adrin Snider/Daily Press – background article and photo gallery
The Battle of Jutland by Montague Dawson

The world’s largest battlefield isn’t on land, it’s on the seabed, and Dr Innes McCartney has mapped the whole thing for his new book

HMS Tipperary

The Battle of Jutland was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in the First World War. For years the myriad factors contributing to the loss of many of the ships remained a mystery, subject only to speculation and theory.

In this book, marine archaeologist and historian Dr Innes McCartney reveals for the first time what became of the warships that vanished on the night of 31st May 1916, examining the circumstances behind the loss of each ship and reconciling what was known in 1916 to what the archaeology is revealing today.

This is the first book to identify the locations of many of the wrecks, and – scandalously – how more than half of these sites have been illegally plundered for salvage, despite their status as graves to over 8,500. full

An entire Yarrow 3 drum boiler ejected from HMS Queen Mary when she exploded. Lots more images at @ Innes_McCartney on Twitter


“Approaching Tarbert, Harris September, 1963” – Found in a Thrift Store: 35mm Slides

Tarbert is the main community on Harris in the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides) of Scotland. It has a car ferry terminal, which operates to Uig on Skye. MV Lochmor was the David MacBrayne Ltd Outer Isles Mail Steamer from 1930 until 1964. 

Caledonian MacBrayne (usually shortened to Calmac) is the major operator of passenger and vehicle ferries, and ferry services, between the mainland of Scotland and 22 of the major islands on Scotland’s west coast.

MacBrayne’s, initially known as David Hutcheson & Co., began in 1851 as a private steamship operator. Their main route went from Glasgow down the Firth of Clyde through the Crinan Canal to Oban and Fort William, and on through the Caledonian Canal to Inverness. It remained in the hands of the MacBrayne family until 1928 when, unable to carry on, it was acquired jointly by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and Coast Lines. Its ships featured red funnels with a black top. +

Photographic postcard of Lochmor (full size)  – more on Simplon Postcards

Clyde, Loch Lomond and West Highland Ships (Past and Present) on Flickr

sign on the garden gate belonging to Hemingway’s next door neighbors; Key West, Florida 

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