Maritime Monday for October 3rd, 2016

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October 2, 2016

magazine cover, October 1956

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Beer Company Develops Edible Six-Pack Rings That Feed, Rather Than Kill, Marine Life

A craft beer company and an ad agency brewed up a brilliant idea to save marine life if six-pack rings end up in the ocean. In partnership with We Believers ad agency, Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Fla., recently released edible six-pack rings, a brand-new approach to sustainable beer packaging that feed, rather than kill, marine life, and help offset the damage being done by plastic pollution. The rings are created from beer by-products during the brewing process, such as barley and wheat, and are completely safe for humans and fish to eat. In addition, the invention is 100% biodegradable and compostable.  more

Head of Brand at Saltwater Brewery Peter Agardy says, “It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fisherman, surfers and people that love the sea.” Brewery President Chris Gove notes, “We hope to influence the big guys and hopefully inspire them to get on board.”  source

And Speaking of Plastic in the Oceans…

A team at Plymouth University in the UK spent 12 months analysing what happened when a number of synthetic materials were washed at different temperatures in domestic washing machines, using different combinations of detergents, to quantify the microfibres shed. These microfibres track through domestic wastewater into sewage treatment plants where some of the tiny plastic fragments are captured as part of sewage sludge. The rest pass through into rivers and eventually, oceans. keep reading on The Guardian


Monster 50ft whale washes up on UK beach; Brits told to keep ‘safe distance’

Shocking photographs of the huge carcass, which was mistaken for an overturned boat, have emerged after it washed up on Red Rock beach, between Dawlish Warren and Dawlish in Devon this morning. Onlookers have described the “sad” but “extraordinary” sight. Apparently it’s been around for at least a month in the sea, (and) was last spotted off France; according to reports from passing ships.

“A cordon has been put in place to help manage this. We are looking at a number of options to dispose of the whale at an appropriate licensed facility.” Earlier this year a sperm whale “exploded” as it let out a “huge blast of air” when scientists carried out a grisly post-mortem examination. The 45ft monster washed up on Central Beach near Skegness. more

navyNavy scuttles sailors’ enlisted rating titles in huge career shake-up

The Navy deep-sixed all of its 91 enlisted ratings titles Thursday, marking the beginning of an overhaul of the rigid career structure that has existed since the Continental Navy in a radical shift sure to reverberate through the fleet and the veterans community beyond. Sailors will no longer be identified by their job title, say, Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor, effective immediately. Instead, that would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.

“We’re going to immediately do away with rating titles and address each other by just our rank as the other services do,” said Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke in a Sept. 19 interview. “We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.”

In June, the Marine Corps announced they’d take “man” out of 19 occupational titles, as well. -NavyTimes


Photos show child workers in New England sardine factories

In 1890 the number of underage children in the US who worked for miserable wages and in terrible conditions was 1.5 million, a number which climbed to 2 million by 1910. The National Child Labor Committee in 1908 hired the sociologist and photographer Lewis Hine to document the awful working conditions and the exploitation of underage laborers across the United States.

These photos were taken in Eastport, Maine, known as the birthplace of the American sardine industry. Hine documented the children working mostly as “cutters”- assigned to chopping off the fish’s tail and head. Working with sharp knives over long shifts and forced to prepare as many sardines as possible, the children frequently suffered painful cuts. more


Cats sailed with Vikings to conquer the world, genetic study reveals

The first large-scale study of ancient feline DNA has finally been completed, and the results reveal how our inscrutable friends were domesticated in the Near East and Egypt some 15,000 years ago. Found in more than 30 archaeological sites in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, ancient feline specimens are helping researchers to finally piece together the history of an animal that we now share our beds with, but know surprisingly little about. Analysing the DNA of cats found in ancient Egyptian tombs, burial sites in Cyprus, and an old Viking settlement in Germany, the team found that cats likely experienced not one, but two, waves of expansion during their early history. keep reading

The paddle-wheel raft-home, docked off of Tribeca’s old Pier 25, where a family known as the Floating Neutrinos lived from 1991 to 1995. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

The Floating Family of Tribeca: They Made a River Life All Their Own

It was 25 years ago this summer when a family of four plus two friends sailed into New York Harbor aboard a home-made paddle wheel raft and anchored it off Tribeca’s old Pier 25. Calling themselves The Floating Neutrinos, the family was headed by David Pearlman, known as “Poppa Neutrino,” a former merchant seaman, and his wife, Betsy Terrell, a licensed sail and motor boat captain.

During the four years they moored at Pier 25, the group, which included 7- and 8-year-old daughters when they arrived, built two more enclosed rafts, mostly from material salvaged from dumpsters, the street, and leftover wood. In an October 1994 Trib essay, Betsy Terrell wrote about the life that her free-spirited family had chosen to live in the waters off Tribeca. more


As I go to press, mariners, tourists, businessmen, and other travelers are keeping one eye on the horizon; tracking the progress of Hurricane Matthew.  Travel now is orders of magnitude safer than it was just a century ago. Due, in large part, to this man.

Meet Robert FitzRoy: The father of forecast

Royal National Lifeboat Institution magazine – Charles Darwin’s fame obscures the lifetime’s work of an equally gifted pioneer. Robert FitzRoy, captain of HMS Beagle on that legendary voyage, was an extraordinary scholar, scientist and philanthropist – and a force behind the RNLI’s earliest safety work.

linocut by Sally Castle

It’s 26 October 1859 and a hurricane is tearing up the Irish Sea. The steam clipper Royal Charter breaks up off Anglesey and – despite desperate rescue attempts by villagers – 450 men, women and children perish. The storm rages for days, hundreds more ships are wrecked and the death toll almost doubles. The tragedy has a profound effect on a certain government official: Vice Admiral FitzRoy, member of the RNLI’s Committee of Management and head of a fledgling Meteorological Department.

FitzRoy is convinced that many of these lives could have been saved and demonstrates this by showing how storms can be predicted using data collected simultaneously from around the UK. A little more than a year later, he is breaking new ground – telegraphing shipping forecasts, installing storm warning systems and, with his RNLI colleagues, supplying barometers to get coastal communities weather-wise.  keep reading

Image from How The People’s Shipping Forecast was Created; a BBC Radio “We British” presentation. go listen

cautionHistory of the Shipping Forecast by The Met Office

harbor at Newcastle upon Tyne c. 1950

It is a bizarre nightly ritual that is deeply embedded in the British way of life. You switch off the TV, lock up the house, slip into bed, turn on your radio, and begin to listen to a mantra, delivered by a soothing, soporific voice.

“Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger ….” says the voice.

The Shipping Forecast: From Britain’s Seas Into Its Soul (audio)

heligovideo/audio: Heligoland by Overseer (with lyrics)

“Are we having fun, yet?” Timid sailor from Museum of Found Photographs
Smithsonian – Archaeologists excavating the Antikythera Shipwreck skeletal remains. (Brett Seymour, EUA/WHOI/ARGO)

Skeleton Pulled From the Antikythera Shipwreck Could Give Clues to Life Aboard the Vessel

Archaeologists hope to analyze DNA taken from a skeleton found among the wreckage – For years, a famous shipwreck off the coast of the Mediterranean island of Antikythera has provided archaeologists with all manner of artifacts, from statues to the ever-puzzling clock-like mechanism. The ship’s remains were discovered by Greek sponge divers back in 1900 and has yielded an impressive stream of treasures. The latest recovery from the ship: a human skeleton. 

Since the discovery, they have retrieved a skull, part of a jaw with teeth, and bones from the arms, ribs and legs, Olivia Quintana reports for the Boston Globe. Even more of the skeleton remains buried, yet to be excavated. “This is the most exciting scientific discovery we’ve made here,” WHOI researcher Brendan Foley tells Ian Sample for The Guardian. “We think he was trapped in the ship when it went down and he must have been buried very rapidly or the bones would have gone by now.”

keep reading

Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown, Underway in the Engine Room

The triple expansion reciprocating steam engine on the Liberty ship John W. Brown is a beauty to behold

Old Salt Blog – Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to spend a little time in the engine room of the Liberty ship, SS John W. Brown. The ship, normally based in Baltimore, was visiting New York and offered a full day “Living History Cruise.”

Victoria Embankment – An early 1970s postcard published by Colourmaster showing the view looking upstream from a boat moored alongside Victoria Embankment, probably from one of the Restaurant boats. The boats in the foreground are the Thames pleasure boats which take sightseers as far upstream as Hampton Court and downstream to Greenwich and later to the Thames Barrier.
1953 Lloyds Bank ad
twin Twinings Tea Shop in London, England

You’ll have to excuse the exoticized Chinamen figures atop the Twinings tea shop doorway at 216 Strand. They’ve been sitting up there for about three centuries.

modern tea caddy featuring the famous Cutty Sark, based on historic packaging. (

As a young man Thomas Twining (1675–1741) apprenticed under an East India Company merchant, importing goods from exotic locales, coffee and tea in particular. Twining’s mercantile career began in 1706 when he opened a small storefront on a busy London thoroughfare called the Strand. He called it Tom’s Coffee House, and it soon became a popular gathering spot for fashionable aristocrats.

Despite the fact that his shop was dedicated to coffee, Twining soon garnered a reputation for having some of the finest tea blends in London. Within a decade he ceased selling coffee entirely and almost exclusively sold dry packaged teas. This allowed women to partake in tea-drinking at home as well, as coffee houses were male-only establishments. more
Clipper ship Southern Cross leaving Boston Harbor, 1851, by Fitz Hugh Lane – see full size

Dryden, the English poet, used the word “clip” to describe the swift flight of a falcon in the 17th century when he said “And, with her eagerness the quarry missed, Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind.”

There is no single definition of the characteristics of a clipper ship, but mariner and author Alan Villiers describes them as follows:

To sailors, three things made a ship a clipper. She must be sharp-lined, built for speed. She must be tall-sparred and carry the utmost spread of canvas. And she must use that sail, day and night, fair weather and foul.

Not utilized exclusively by tea merchants; clipper-speed was also required for the Chinese opium trade between England, India and China. +

image leftimage rt

According to the American Antiquarian Society, “The publication of clipper ship sailing cards (“Clipper Cards”) began in 1853 and continued through the Civil War, reflecting the enormous increase in commerce between the east and west coasts after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California.” The ephemeral cards were made for advertising ship departures–“Current Rates and No Deception”–and they often feature full-color illustrations and beautiful design. (source)

see also Early Advertising; Clipper Cards

Friend posing with rusty valve – photo by Martin Goebel
A full moon rises near the Scituate Lighthouse. (John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Staff)

The Big Picture: Moon Photos from Around the World

Adventures of the BlackgangMaritime Monday Archives

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