Maritime Monday for May 7th, 2012

Monkey Fist
Total Views: 25
May 6, 2012


Die grosse Gruselserie von Jason Dark
see also: Das Ding ist da!


Die Neue Welt Illustriertes Unterhaltungsblatt für das Volk I (1882)
40 photos


The Departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol
on their First Voyage of Discovery in 1497

as painted in 1906 by Ernest Board

Discovery News:
Columbus May Not Have Been First to America

A five-century-old document has revealed that Italian bankers were behind John Cabot’s expeditions to North America.

An investigation worthy of a Dan Brown novel has shed new light on the voyages of John Cabot,‭ ‬the Italian navigator and explorer, revealing that he may have‭ ‬had‭ ‬knowledge of European expeditions to the‭ “‬New World‭”‬ that predated Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage…

Keep Reading on Discovery News


The Matthew, John Cabot’s ship, 1497


Replica of John Cabot’s sailing ship Matthew sailing across Mounts ay; West Corwall


Newfoundland – 1897
Cabot’s Ship Matthew
Leaving the Avon

In 1897, on the 400th anniversary of Cabot’s discovery of North America, the Newfoundland Post Office issued a commemorative stamp honoring Cabot and his discovery


Opening its doors on what would have been his 250th birthday in 1978, The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum is located as close to the actual spot he was born as one can get without being directly on top of the granite urn that marks the spot.

The legendary navigator and mariner is honored by themed gallery displays, events, temporary exhibitions and an education program. The museum’s more interesting features are the interactive displays, hosted by “Sidney Scurvy”, a computer generated sailor who takes you through the lives and times of the crew members on Cook’s ships.

more on atlasobscura

Sometime after midnight on June 4th 1629, “The Batavia” ran aground 80 kilometers off of the Western Australian coast. Commanded by Francisco Pelsaert and carrying 322 men, women and children, the Dutch East India Company flagship was on its maiden voyage. What happened next has inspired books, plays, film and television for centuries.

Unknown to the oblivious passengers, two men had been plotting to commandeer the voyage since before the wreck, and had steered the ship off course deliberately to act out a manipulation that would make other crew members join them in mutiny. The plan failed…

West Wallabi Island

see also:
Conflict Kitchen – A take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries
with which the United States is in conflict



Architectural Stationery Vignettes on Bibliodyssey

Birdseye map of New Orleans (1885) wide thumbnail image

Currier and Ives birdseye map of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1885 – BIG MAP BLOG


Photograph of San Francisco in ruins from Lawrence Captive Airship,
2000 feet above San Francisco Bay

Birdseye of San Francisco from Russian Hill (1862)


New York City’s harbor (1892) – Port of New York: birds eye view from the battery looking South New York City’s harbor (1892) Date: 1892 Author: Currier and Ives

Williams’ map of Manhattan (1879)

Map of U.S. Railroads and Water Courses (1861)

Foolproof Navigator (Sep, 1947)

from Modern Mechanix:

The revolutionary now Decca Navigation System is so simple that the navigators of “blind” ships or planes gel their fix by merely matching two sets of figures.

Though this revolutionary new device, called the Decca Navigation System, comes to us across the water, it is actually the invention of an American. William J. O’Brien, a young Chicago engineer, thought it up in the early days of the war. Like many another genius, he was unable to sell the idea at first.

His device proved so useful that it was included in the D-Day plan. When the first mine-sweepers and other vessels of the invasion fleet headed for the Normandy beaches on that fateful morning, they were guided accurately to their allotted destinations by those amazingly simple receivers that laugh at fog and darkness…

keep reading


Fram (“Forward”) is a ship that was used in expeditions of the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup, Oscar Wisting, and Roald Amundsen between 1893 and 1912.

imageIt was designed and built by the Norwegian shipwright Colin Archer for Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893 Arctic expedition in which Fram was supposed to freeze into the Arctic ice sheet and float with it over the North Pole.

Fram is said to have sailed farther north (85°57’N) and farther south (78°41’S) than any other wooden ship. The ship is preserved at the Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway.

right: Full resolution ‎(2,592 × 3,888 pixels)

Fram is designed as a three masted schooner with a total length of 39 meters and width of 11 meters. The ship is both unusually wide and unusually shallow in order to better withstand the forces of pressing ice.

Fram was built with an outer layer of greenheart wood to withstand the ice and almost without a keel to handle the shallow waters Nansen expected to encounter.

The rudder and propeller were designed to be retracted into the ship. The ship was also carefully insulated to allow the crew to live on board for up to five years. The ship also included a windmill, which ran a generator to provide electric power for lighting by electric arc lamps.

Initially, Fram was fitted with a steam engine. Prior to Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole in 1910, the engine was replaced with a diesel engine, a first for polar exploration vessels.


Fram 1910-1912 Diesel Engine


Nansens Erfolge; Berlin 1897 (12 photos)


Implements belonging to a whale boat


The Sulphurbottom (Sibbaldius sulfureus, Cope.)
The Whaling Naturalist

Underwater hotel to be built in Dubai

A lavish, futuristic-looking resort is to be constructed 10m under the sea off the Emirate’s coast Shipbuilding company Drydocks World has signed a multi-million dollar deal with Swiss BIG InvestConsult to develop an underwater resort off the coast of Dubai.

The  development, named the Water Discus Hotel, will be partially submerged beneath the sea so guests can watch the underwater world go by in the comfort of their own room.


1951 LIFE magazine
Biological Warfare via submarine, from x-ray delta one

see also: Some Rules for Survival


The Crimean WarSebastopol from the sea
sketched from the deck of HMS Sidon

Print shows sailors and cannons on deck of the Sidon, with a distant view of the forts and other buildings in Sevastopol. right: study, left: final print, c. late 1850’s. Lithographic scenes from the Crimean War, based on sketches by William Simpson, were published in London in a couple of series by Colnaghi & co.

more on Bibliodyssey

HMS Sidon (1846) on wikipedia

HMS Sidon was a first-class paddle frigate designed by Sir Charles Napier: her name commemorated his attack on the port of Sidon in 1840 during the Syrian War.

Her keel was laid down May 26, 1845 at Deptford Dockyard, and she was launched on May 26, 1846. She had a fairly short career for a warship, but it included the rescue of the crew of the sinking Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation vessel Ariel on May 28, 1848, and a trip up the Nile that same year, when her passengers included the explorer and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker.

She served in the Black Sea during the Crimean War, 1854-55 under the command of Captain George Goldsmith. In April 1854, in company with HMS Firebrand (Captain William Houston Stewart), she blockaded the coast from Kavarna to the mouths of the River Danube



Isle of Wight, Alum Bay and The Needles in the 1890’s

Alum Bay is a bay near the westernmost point of the Isle of Wight, England, within sight of the Needles. Of geological interest and a tourist attraction, the bay is noted for its multi-coloured sand cliffs.

On the clifftop there is an amusement park, Needles Park, from which during the summer season a chair lift takes tourists to the pebbly beach below, where there is a pontoon for boat trips. On a map c. 1590 the bay is called Whytfylde Chine. Some of the Alum Bay sands are extremely pure white silica, and were formerly quarried for glass and pottery manufacture.

Guglielmo Marconi moved to Alum Bay in 1897 to experiment with radio. He set up a 40 metre radio antenna outside the Needles Hotel in Alum Bay. Initially establishing communication with ships offshore, he was able by early 1898 to successfully communicate with stations at Madeira House, Bournemouth and the Haven Hotel, Poole 20 miles away.

imageThe Isle of Wight is located in the English Channel, on average about 2–5 miles (3–7 km) off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent. The Island’s maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making, the manufacture of flying boats, the world’s first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain’s space rockets.

right: Isle of Wight Council Flag



Tynemouth Bar by Samuel Calvert 1883

Tynemouth is a town and a historic borough in Tyne and Wear, England, at the mouth of the River Tyne.

The headland towering over the mouth of the Tyne has been settled since the Iron Age. The Romans occupied it, and in the 7th century a monastery was built there and later fortified. A village had long been established in the shelter of the fortified Priory and around 1325 the then Prior built a port for fishing and trading.

Tynemouth Pier, a massive stone breakwater extends from the foot of the Priory some 1000 yards (metres) out to sea, protecting the northern flank of the mouth of the Tyne. It has a broad walkway on top, popular with Sunday strollers. On the lee side is a lower level rail track, formerly used by trains and cranes for loading ships. At the seaward end is a light-house. The pier’s construction took over 40 years (1854–1895).

The Black Middens are rocks in the Tyne that are covered at high water.  Over the centuries they have claimed many ships who “switched off” after safely negotiating the river entrance. In 1864, the Middens claimed 5 ships in 3 days with many deaths, although the wrecks were only a few yards from the shore.

Charles Dickens visited Tynemouth and wrote in a letter from Newcastle, dated 4 March 1867:

“…We escaped to Tynemouth for a two hours’ sea walk. There was a high wind blowing, and a magnificent sea running. Large vessels were being towed in and out over the stormy bar with prodigious waves breaking on it; and, spanning the restless uproar of the waters, was a quiet rainbow of transcendent beauty. the scene was quite wonderful. We were in the full enjoyment of it when a heavy sea caught us, knocked us over, and in a moment drenched us and filled even our pockets.”

In the late 18th century, sea-bathing became fashionable in Tynemouth. King Edward’s Bay and Tynemouth Longsands are very popular with locals and tourists alike. Tynemouth is also a surfing championship venue. This small beach within the mouth of the Tyne, sheltered between the Priory and the Spanish Battery, was popular with Victorian bathers and is now home to the local rowing and sailing clubs.



Robinson Crusoe (25 photos)
German children’s book from 1833; reprinted 1971


Killers of the Sea (1937, USA)
Wrong Side of the Art via Michael May

see also: Ocean Beach tourists hate cephalopods


Grace Line Pays Tribute to it’s Gallant Officers and Crew

THE GRACE LINE – In the mid 1800s, the Irish-born Grace brothers, William Russell and Michael, established a commercial and shipping business in Callao, the port of Lima, Peru. They prospered, especially in the exporting of guano from the Chincha Islands to the United States, where this fertilizer was in considerable demand…

(and you think you’ve got a shit gig)

more on Cruising the Past

see vintage brochures on Timetable Images


The first cruise-ship: Prinzessin Victoria Luise
THE GOLDEN AGE OF OCEAN LINERS; BBC Documentary on Cruising the Past

Prinzessin Victoria Luise was a passenger ship of the Hamburg-America Line of some 4,409 gross register tons (GRT). She is credited with having been the first purpose-built cruise ship. Launched on June 29, 1900 she served with HAPAG until December 16, 1906 after being accidentally grounded off Jamaica.

Early cruises, called “excursions”, were difficult to plan with existing ships. Constructed as ocean liners, they did not meet the requirements of the pleasure-seeking market. They offered few amenities aboard. This became apparent during long stretches at sea. Furthermore their construction as multi-class vessels also proved a hindrance as such vessels provided restricted access to deck space.

Whatever deck space there was, was mostly sheltered, and designed to accommodate the rigors of the North Atlantic instead of the seas of more southern climes. Ballin believed that only a vessel specifically designed for cruising would be appropriate. Furthermore, such a vessel could spend the entire year doing so…

more on wikipedia


When Jack Comes Sailing Home Again – sheet music 1908

I Love Uke: 100 Years After Its First Wave of Popularity, the Ukulele is Back

What’s going on? Why is such an old-fashioned instrument once associated with Hawaii and boater-wearing dandies of the early 20th century popular again?

imageIn 1879, a ship full of Portuguese travelers arrived in Hawaii’s Honolulu Harbor. Legend has it that one passenger was so happy to be ashore that he began singing Portuguese folk songs of thanksgiving. He accompanied himself on a small-bodied, four-stringed instrument called the braguinha. The islanders were enchanted by it. Soon, one of the Portuguese settlers had opened his own shop in Hawaii, making braguinhas.

The first stateside ukulele craze began in 1915, at an event in San Francisco called the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was there that the relatively new U.S. territory of Hawaii got a chance to strut its stuff. At the Hawaiian pavilion, the shows featured hula dancers and musicians strumming ukuleles. For the millions of Americans who laid eyes on this charming little instrument, it was love at first sight.

Keep Reading on Mental Floss

image: Ukulele Sailor, c. 1918 on Hawaiian Time Machine


Spewed up from the bottomless depths by a volcanic eruption that reached back 2 million years in time to give the world one horrifying glimpse of a species we had thought extinct. Gorgo came forth, a thing of terror with massive jaws and awesome fangs capable of crunching ships as a dog does a bone!

Gorgo‘s incredible strength was to paralyze the greatest city on Earth… Rout the mighty British Navy… and teach man once more that his own greed is his most terrible danger… and, if left unchecked, could someday destroy him!

Plucky Seamen Save the World (Again) from Undersea Monsters

read the entire comic here (scroll down to Gorgo, 3rd story halfway down the page)

“They come from out of the dark ocean”

Along with space, the monsters of 1950’s comics imagination, strange, powerful, destructive inevitably came from out of the sea. Amphibious invasions scattering defending armies before them and rampaging through cities like a single creature D-Day, until stopped by the luck of the newly discovered wonder weapon, mutant virus or heroic action of a chisel jawed hero or small kid.

The monsters were all about borders and fear. Fear of science, fear of the deep unknown (oceans and space) and fear that somewhere out there were angry things THAT WANTED OUR CITIES!

The ocean has always been part of the popular imagination: the 50’s and 60’s opened up the undersea to that imagination, welcoming and scary. Flipper and Jacques Costeau were responsible for more of your Cold War childhood nightmares than you’d think.


Safe Boating Week… Some poster nostalgia


Ship’s Figurine

From a series of photos I’ve taken over the years called “Ship Shrines, Icons, and Good Luck Charms”. Found on an inbound ship on the Houston Ship Channel.


The Connection; new photos by OneEighteen

The ship’s tankerman, usually known on board as “Pumpy”. Getting ready to connect to the shore pipeline. Taken on the Houston Ship Channel.


A tourist plays with a model of a giant shark in front of a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, April 17, 2012. (Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press) – The Big Picture on


Yog, the Monster From Space

Monkey Fist

Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland.  In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang.

Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected].  She can also out-belch any man.


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