Maritime Monday for May 2nd, 2016: Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility

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May 1, 2016

Flying the flag: Decoding sailing’s secret symbols

The Glenbervie, which was carrying a consignment of pianos and high quality spirits crashed into rocks Lowland Point near Coverack, Cornwall, in January 1902 after losing her way in bad weather. The British owned barque was laden with 600 barrels of whisky, 400 barrels of brandy and barrels of rum.

Stunning images of shipwrecks taken by one family over 130 years

Each and every photo was taken with same camera. The eerie, fuzzy black and white photos of ships moments away from death were all captured by the Gibson family and are now going up for auction, where it’s hoped the collection brings in thousands of dollars.

Spanning a period of 130 years, every generation of Gibsons provided a family member to be a photographer.  In their collection there were nearly 1,000 negatives that captured almost 200 shipwrecks smashed up against the rocks along the coast of Cornwall. keep reading on Vintage News

SEATTLE — Tokitae at the Clinton Ferry Terminal

OUCH! – Coast Guard fines man $100K for aiming laser at state ferry

A Freeland man has been fined $100,000 after a U.S. Coast Guard investigation concluded he intentionally pointed a laser at the pilot house of a state ferry, resulting in injuries to the vessel’s master and chief mate. In addition to laser strikes on Washington State Ferries, laser strikes involving Coast Guard helicopters and rescue boats in Puget Sound have continued to increase over the last few years, officials said.  keep reading


The Vintage News: In 1857, three thousand men were engaged in lumbering on the Wisconsin (river) alone. As the lumber had floated down the Mississippi, rafting grew into a great business, requiring a breed of hardy, rough, but industrious and reliable men, working under raft pilots. When they reached their destination the raftsmen would take passage on a steamboat going upriver and start work all over again.

photos and history

painting by Geoff Hunt showing Cook’s Endeavour leaving Plymouth in 1768

Discovery of the Endeavour fills gap in Australia’s history

A recent Australian National Maritime Museum grant helped the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) make its groundbreaking discovery. The Sunday Mail understands RIMAP’s research progress announcement this week will finally reveal the whereabouts of Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour.

RIMAP has been researching 13 ships, believed to have been scuttled during the American Revolution, which are lying at the bottom of Newport Harbour, 300km northeast of New York City.  more

Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay 1770, painting by E. Phillips Fox; State Library of Victoria
Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay 1770, painting by E. Phillips Fox; State Library of Victoria

Discover_Australia_w400HMS Endeavour, aka HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navy research vessel commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage to Australia and New Zealand, between 1769 and 1771. Launched in 1764 as the collier Earl of Pembroke; purchased by the Royal Navy in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean and to search for the rumored Terra Australis Incognita or “unknown southern land”.

Renamed and commissioned as His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour, she departed Plymouth in August 1768, rounded Cape Horn, and reached Tahiti in time to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun. She then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, and Raiatea, allowing Cook to claim them for Great Britain. 

Largely forgotten after her epic voyage, Endeavour spent the next three years sailing to and from the Falkland Islands. Sold into private hands in 1775, and later renamed as Lord Sandwich, she was hired as a troop transport during the American War of Independence and was scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in 1778.

A replica of Endeavour was launched in 1994 and is berthed alongside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbour. more about the ship


 Gorgeous, Weird Jellyfish Found Near Mariana Trench

What you’re looking at here is a jellyfish filmed just a few days ago by the 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition at a depth of 3700 meters (or 2.3 miles) under water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team (NOAA) identified this glowing beauty as a Hydromedusae, which is part of the genus Crossota. It was filmed in the Enigma Seamount region near the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest known area of the world’s ocean.  more on UPROXX

The dive that captured this footage was part of an expedition that runs from April 20 to July 10. Researchers onboard the NOAA ship the Okeanos Explorer will be exploring the deepwater environments of the Marianas National environment. You can watch live feeds of their dives in the Pacific on their YouTube Channel. 

more on Popular Science

pig eons
Photo by Tod Seelie/Gothamist

Artist Duke Riley Is Doing Something Crazy With 2,000 Pigeons On The Brooklyn Waterfront

Duke Riley (Photo by Tod Seelie/Gothamist)
Duke Riley (Photo by Tod Seelie/Gothamist)

Crafting a public art project that is literally sky-high, every weekend this spring (from early May through mid-June) Riley will release thousands of pigeons from a decommissioned naval ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

He will then orchestrate a series of “performances” as the birds flit and soar en masse above the East River.

As the sun sets, the massive flock of trained flyers—each equipped with a leg band sporting a tiny LED light—will create what Riley has likened to a series of undulating constellations gliding through the dusk, before returning to a dozen specially designed pigeon coops built atop the ship’s gun-metal gray decks.  more

Humans at Sea: February 2014, Ngoc Nguyen boarded Thomas Maersk as captain. 34 years earlier he and his family were rescued in the South Chinese Sea by the Arnold Maersk.

Refugee rescued by Maersk Line becomes Maersk Line Captain 34 years later

Hospital ship SS Hope

HOPEProject HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is an international health care organization founded in the United States in 1958.

Its most visible symbol was the SS HOPE, the first peacetime hospital ship, which was retired in 1974 and not replaced, emphasis having switched entirely to land-based operations.

Today, there are organizations in Germany and the United Kingdom, in addition to the original headquarters in the United States. Project HOPE assists developing countries in efforts to eradicate infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and train health professionals in areas of need.

right: Project HOPE magazine advertisement, c. 1977

USS Consolation (AH-15) off Korea in May 1952

navy nurseOriginally, USS Consolation (AH-15) had been a hospital ship in service with the United States Navy from 1945 to 1955. After decommissioning, she was converted to the mercy ship SS Hope and served for another 14 years (eleven voyages) until being scrapped.

Built initially as Marine Walrus in 1944 by Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania; acquired by the Navy 30 August 1944; converted at Bethlehem Steel Co., Hoboken, New Jersey; and commissioned 22 May 1945. With a bed capacity of 802 and a complement of 564, Consolation joined the Pacific Fleet to provide hospital services, consultation, preventive medicine and casualty evacuation. She went on to receive 10 battle stars for service in the Korean war. 

On 16 March 1960, Consolation was chartered to the People to People Health Foundation and renamed SS Hopemore on wikipedia

 See also: Mercy Ships; Currently the Largest Non-Governmental Hospital Ship in the World

Cruel Sea – photo posted by Derk Remmers

More than 100 years ago, on an unpleasant January Night in 1914, the S/S (Steamship) Lina ran aground at the Croatian Island (of) Cres. It was a nvaigational error. Today, the amazingly well preserved shipwreck rests in 25 to 52m of depth and is one of the most photographed objects under the surface of the Kvarner Bay.  see full image

Video: NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A piece of local history is being preserved thanks to local organizations donating thousands to rescue the project.

Ghost Ship of New Haven to find new home in boathouse

The Ghost Ship of New Haven, which is part of city lore going back to its Puritan roots, will again have a maritime home. A massive terrazzo depiction of the ship that had been on a wall in the Exchange Building at 123 Church St. will be moved shortly to storage for safe keeping. It then will be installed in the New Haven Boathouse on Long Wharf, once that long delayed project is constructed.  keep reading

more about the mystery on Damned Connecticut

Carroll A. Deering – The Ghost Ship

Speaking of Ghost Ships… All sails were set but not a soul on board

One of the most written-about maritime mysteries in history – In late January 1921, less than two years after her maiden voyage, the Maine schooner Carroll A. Deering ran aground on Diamond Shoals off of North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras. The Deering was on a return run up the East Coast after delivering a load of coal to Brazil. All sails but the flying jib were set. Coffee and soup were on the stove, spareribs in a pan. The captain’s cabin was in disarray, the ship’s lifeboats, papers, and nautical instruments gone, and not a soul on board.

The mystery of the missing crew and abandoned ship was colored by international—and local—intrigue: prohibition bootlegging, international piracy, Bolshevik anarchy, rogue World War I German submarines, (or) a rebellious crew. Spearheaded by the missing captain’s daughter, the case attracted the attention of a future U.S. president and the national media.  keep reading

The investigation was closed in late 1922 without any official finding on the incident. more on wikipedia


Point Nemo: The Point in the Ocean Farthest From Land

It’s science, dude…

innsmouthThe point was named after Jules Verne’s submarine Captain Nemo—a Latin name that also happens to mean “no one.” Which is exactly what you’ll find there. On the surface, anyway.

But were you to board Captain Nemo’s (fictional) Nautilus and sink to the sea floor, you’d find a different (fictional) landscape altogether—a “nightmare corpse-city,” in fact. For the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility is also the home of H.P. Lovecraft’s eldritch god Cthulhu.  keep going

image rt: Joel Harlow – Shadow Over Innsmouth

Something Wicked This Way Comes – photo by Witta Priester

Astronomy Photo of the Day: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand

wreck of the HMS Erebus – The History Blog

Franklin Expedition: Exploration of HMS Erebus wreck may reveal more than artifacts

Parks Canada underwater archeologists are in the midst of planning for a return to the mid-19th-century wreck in Nunavut this summer, hoping to get a closer look inside those collapsed timbers. Using a combination of high-tech tools, perhaps including a new and nimbler remotely operated underwater vehicle — along with archeological sleuthing and DNA analysis down the road — they see potential for revealing much more than just a treasure trove of artifacts.

Last month, Parks Canada announced funding of $16.9 million over five years to continue exploration of the wreck, along with the hunt for HMS Terror and other initiatives in the Kitikmeot region.  keep reading

membra disjecta – Man Proposes, God Disposes; 1864 painting by Edwin Landseer

In 1864, Sir Edwin Landseer exhibited a painting he’d done inspired by the lost Franklin expedition. Entitled Man Proposes, God Disposes, it features two ravenous polar bears tearing into the wreck of a ship and the skeletal remains of one of its crew members.

It made a strong impression on critics who described it using words like “tragic grandeur” and “living fire of imagination” and was by far the most popular piece at the Royal Academy that year. Lady Franklin and the Admiralty were less enthused.

At best the scene was a horrific depiction of Franklin’s fate. At worst those bears were allegorical references to reports that the crew had succumbed to cannibalism which had been very much in the news since Captain John Rae of the Hudson Bay Company had returned from a rescue expedition in 1854 with Inuit testimony of mutilated bodies and bones in kettles.

more (scroll down to the painting)

Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier built on the modified hull of a partially completed Yamato class battleship. source


Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano: upper front right corner of ship’s main 18″ turret, 26 inch armor plate after being hit from 400 mm guns; Washington Navy Yard – see also (close up) – more info

Shinano was an aircraft carrier built by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. Laid down in May 1940 as the third of the Yamato-class battleships, Shinano’s partially complete hull was ordered to be converted to a carrier following Japan’s disastrous loss of four fleet carriers at the Battle of Midway in mid-1942. Her conversion was still not finished in November 1944 when she was ordered to sail from the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal to Kure Naval Base to complete fitting out and transfer a load of 50 Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka rocket-propelled kamikaze flying bombs.

Hastily dispatched, she had an inexperienced crew and serious design and construction flaws, lacked adequate pumps and fire-control systems, and did not even carry a single carrier aircraft. She was sunk en route, 10 days after commissioning, on 29 November 1944, by four torpedoes from the US Navy submarine Archerfish. Over a thousand sailors and civilians were rescued, 1,435 were lost, including her captain.   Americans only learned about the existence of Shinano after the war, and initially protested the Archerfish captain’s claim to having sunk her. After her discovery, he was eventually credited with her sinking and awarded the Navy Cross. She remains the largest warship ever sunk by a submarine.  more on wikipedia

Aegean Actions; 1945 by American painter Bernard Perlin – see full image on x-ray delta one

Bernard Perlin entered the Graphics Department of the Office of War Information in 1942, creating pro-war propaganda popular in the United States. The OWI was shut down in 1943 due to budgetary issues.  see full image with accompanying text

Above, a magazine illustration detailing maneuvers with the Sacred Squadron, a Greek special forces unit formed in 1942. This squadron was built upon the amphibious skills of the famous British Commando unit, the Special Boat Service (SBS).

perlin1944-The-Operating-Room crop

In September 1943, combined forces moved into the Italian-occupied but Greek-inhabited Dodecanese Islands. Section I of the Sacred Band was dropped by air to the Greek island of Samos on 30 October, while sections II and III moved in on fishing boats.  more on wikipedia

As an artist-correspondent for Life, he brought back to the U.S. the first news and sketches obtained in Greece since the German occupation began in 1941.

He continued his focus on war as an artist-correspondent for Life Magazine from 1943–1944, moving on to Fortune Magazine in 1945.

image rt: Bernard Perlin The Operating Room, 1944 – and – Bernard Perlin: An Artist Goes to War (Video 2) a brief video abt the painting’s context

black seadevil; drawn by Fritz Winter for ‘Die Tiefsee-Fische…’ (‘The deep-sea fishes…’) (1906–08) by August Brauer, written during the German Deep-Sea Expedition of 1898–1899, which discovered an array of fishes at depths between 3,300 and 13,000 feet, where scientists once believed no life could survive.

Illustrated Dolphins and Vampire Squid from the Dawn of Ocean Exploration

Extraordinary rare book selections from the American Museum of Natural History

Haeckel_ActiniaeHyperallergic – According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 95% of the ocean “remains unexplored, unseen by human eyes.” Whether the bioluminescence of copepods (small crustaceans), illuminated in the 1892 work of Wilhelm Giesbrecht, or the delicate single-celled radiolarians published in 1887 by Ernst Haeckel, Opulent Oceans demonstrates the diversity of a world we are still discovering.  see more

Exhibition Information on American Museum of Natural History website

Installation view of ‘Opulent Oceans’ at AMNH (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

American Museum of Natural History’s (AMNH) Opulent Oceansshowing the visual side of early ocean science. Opulent Oceans continues at the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West and 79th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan) through October 2.

Found in a Thrift Store: 35mm Slide; Kessock Ferry 1963

The Kessock Ferry used to ply across the Beauly Firth, between Inverness and the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Over the years sail, steam and diesel-powered ferries have crossed the narrows to provide a direct link between the Black Isle and Inverness.

The Eilean Dubh was the first purpose-built vehicle ferry on the route, launched on 7 February 1951. She was capable of carrying eight cars, and had a small indoor passenger cabin. Service ceased with the opening of the Kessock Bridge in 1982.  more on wikipedia

French battleship Richelieu under Brooklyn Bridge, February 1943 – full size

Battleship arriving at the shipyard of New York for repair. Damaged in battle with British warships in the French naval base of Dakar, during the implementation of Operation Menace on 23.09.1940. After refitting in New York Navy Yard, she operated with Royal Navy forces in the Indian Ocean in 1944 and 1945.

See also Richelieu transiting the Indian Ocean 1944

French pre-dreadnought battleship Carnot underway

  Laid down July 1891, launched July 1894, and completed in July 1897; top speed of 17.8 knots  more

 The mighty ironclad warships, 20 gorgeous images; something out of a Jules Verne book?

MV Wilhelm Gustloff (1936-45)

Trivia Night: Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff; Biggest Maritime Disaster in History

Over 9,000 people – mostly women and children – perished in the Baltic Sea when a Soviet submarine fired three torpedoes into the port side of the Gustloff on January 30, 1945.

Constructed as a cruise ship for the Nazi Kraft durch Freude (Strength Through Joy; a program to enhance the quality of life of average work-a-day Germans through organized leisure activities) organisation in 1937, she had been requisitioned by the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in 1939. Later served as a hospital ship; 1939 and 1940. Then assigned as a floating barracks for naval personnel in Gdynia before being put into service to transport evacuees in 1945.

Built by Blohm & Voss, measuring 208.5 m (684 ft 1 in) long by 23.59 m (77 ft 5 in) wide with a capacity of 25,484 GRT; 417 crew and 1,460 passengers- full history on wikipedia

“I heard [the] explosions,” wrote engineer Knust, “and I knew what had happened at once, because the engines stopped and then I saw a rush of water through the engine room. First the ship lurched to starboard under the force of the blast. Then she rose and began listing to port. I put on my shoes and jacket and hurried out into the corridor.” — Renegade Tribune

 At ten o’clock a heavy tremor ripped the Gustloff as the bulkheads broke and the sea rushed in. Within seconds, the big ship began to roll on its side. full story

video: M.V. Wilhelm Gustloff – Ship without classes – (Part I) – German Propaganda film


Legendary Tattoo Artist Jonathan Shaw Explains His Old-School Obsession
Meet the man behind the new book Vintage Tattoo Flash

flash2Esquire – I was already interested in drawing since I was a little kid… One thing lead to another, and I wound up leaving home at a very early age, and traveling around the country. Then I ended up getting work on a ship and living a lifestyle that brought me into close contact with a lot of tattooing.

Back in those days in the mid-’70s there really wasn’t a tattoo culture like there is today, where it’s accessible and you walk down the street of any town and you see tattoo parlors and people sporting a lot of tattoos. It’s kind of turned into this very acceptable, mainstream, kind of boring thing. It’s become like a cliché, the tattoo. But back in the ’70s it wasn’t that at all. It was something edgy, underworld, kind of dangerous, mysterious, and weird. The average person would not come into a lot of contact with tattooing. 

So I was working on ships, around sailors, and I was in a lifestyle where tattooing was part of the cultural currency. Third world, blue-collar lifestyle. Honestly I got into tattooing more through the lifestyle than I did through the art…  keep reading

witch grab
The Spectacular, Rip-Roaring Waves of Lake Erie’s November Witch. Photo by Dave Sandford

The Witch of November – or November Witch, refers to the strong winds that frequently blow across the Great Lakes in autumn. The “witches” are caused by intense low atmospheric pressure over the Great Lakes pulling cold Canadian/Arctic air from the north or northwest and warm Gulf air from the south. When these cold and warm air masses collide, they can result in hurricane force winds that stir up large waves on the Lakes. more

Eighteen years as a sports photographer provided a solid baseline for capturing just the right moment, said Sanford. “You don’t get do overs with sports, and you don’t get do overs with waves either,” he says. “It happens once and it’s done.” *

Sandford captures that power perfectly in his series Liquid Mountains, which he shot during four weeks on the shores of Port Stanley, Ontario. Go looky


Witchcraft on the High Seas: The Voyage of King James and the North Berwick Witch Trials

In 1589 King James VI sailed to retrieve his betrothed, Anne of Denmark. (She) was supposed to have sailed to Scotland alone, but her ship had been forced to turn back due to storms. On the return voyage to Scotland, the King’s entourage was beset by a terrible storm. The tempest caused the ships to turn back and dock in Norway to wait it out. Since the company carried royal personages, they were escorted by the Danish Royal Navy.

cauldronIt (was the impression of) those involved that the ship carrying the King (had been) jostled more so than the others. The admiral in charge of the fleet was insistent that witchcraft was to blame, and James believed it to be true. Witches in both Scotland and Denmark were suspected, and witch hunts launched in both countries, culminating in the North Berwick Witch Trials.

Soon, more than a hundred suspected witches in North Berwick were arrested. Many confessed under torture to having met with the Devil at night and devoted themselves to doing evil, including attempts to poison the King and summoning storms to sink his ship. Scotland would (go on to) become one of the worst perpetrators of witch hunting, accusing and killing a higher proportion per capita of its own population than most of its European neighbors.  more

rt: witches summoning bad weather

Sir Patrick Spens
Sir Patrick Spens – “Now, Ever Alake My Master Dear, I fear a Deadly Storm” by Anne Ryan, 1947

 “Sir Patrick Spens” is a Scottish maritime ballad about a disaster at sea, first published in eleven stanzas in 1765 in Bishop Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. The King of Scotland has called for the greatest sailor in the land to command a ship for a royal errand. Sir Patrick is dismayed at being commanded to put to sea in the dead of winter. The courageous knight dutifully obeys the command of his king despite the knowledge that he will almost certainly be going to his death.

Nearly all versions, whether they have the wreck on the outward voyage or the return, relate the bad omen of seeing “the new mune late yestreen, with the auld mune in her airms.” Modern science agrees the tides would (have been) at maximum force at that time. The winter storms have the best of the great sailor, sending him and the Scottish lords to the bottom of the sea.

The events of the ballad are similar to, and may chronicle, an actual event. 

keep reading

Sir Patrick Spens videovideo: spoken word with text

video: Fairport Convention performing Sir Patrick Spens (2012)


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