“There were no marks to separate one day from another, no rule whereby to measure time; all was one dull and cheerless uniformity of dark and cold…” *
A more than 160-year-old Arctic mystery has come to resolution: The HMS Terror, a vessel from a doomed Royal Navy exploration to chart an unnavigated portion of the Northwest Passage, has been found.
“On Sunday, a team from the charitable Arctic Research Foundation [maneuvered] a small, remotely operated vehicle through an open hatch and into the ship to capture stunning images that give insight into life aboard the vessel close to 170 years ago.
“We have successfully entered the mess hall, worked our way into a few cabins and found the food storage room with plates and one can on the shelves,’ Adrian Schimnowski, the foundation’s operations director, told the Guardian by email from the research vessel Martin Bergmann.
“We spotted two wine bottles, tables and empty shelving. Found a desk with open drawers with something in the back corner of the drawer.”
How researchers located the HMS Terror after all these years is also likely to become the stuff of legend. keep reading
‘Terror’ and her sister ship ‘Erebus’ are actually mentioned in Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, written in 1899, published in 1902, and mostly set in the Belgian Congo.
The tale’s opening narrator ponders on the Thames . . . “it had known and served all the men of whom the nation is proud, from Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin, knights all, titled and untitled – the great knights-errant of the sea”.
Musing further, the narrator concludes “what greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth? . . . The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires”.
Can a painting drive a person to madness? While there is no doubt staring at an unnerving painting for hours might be destabilizing, the powers of derangement in art are mostly superstition. Yet, at the University of London’s Royal Holloway, one painting is regularly draped in a Union Jack flag due to an old fear that its gruesome visuals could snap the sanity from a student’s brain.
Edwin Landseer’s 1864 “Man Proposes, God Disposes” has creeped people out since its debut with its dual polar bears scavenging at the wreckage of the ill-fated Franklin expedition to the Northwest Passage.
William Michael Rossetti mourned it as the “saddest of membra disjecta.” The widowed Lady Franklin was unsurprisingly dismayed, and some even asked if Landseer was getting a bit unhinged. keep reading
Sometimes you can’t get out of the office because your email inbox is overflowing. Sometimes it’s because there’s a pack of deadly polar bears outside the door. Five meteorologists posted on a remote Russian island have been trapped for nearly two weeks by polar bears who’ve swarmed the area. More on NBC News
Russia’s TASS news agency reports: “Two weeks ago, a polar bear ate one of the weather station’s two dogs — and hasn’t left the station since.”
Vadim Plotnikov, the head of the weather station on Troynoy Island, told the news agency on Monday that the staff there had seen 10 adult bears around the station, as well as several cubs. More on NPR
TASS initially reported that reinforcements would not arrive for another month, but in a stroke of good fortune, a passing ship delivered the flares and dogs by helicopter on Wednesday.
“A helicopter that took off from the Akademik Treshnikov expedition vessel of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring has delivered three puppies and pyrotechnical devices to the station to scare the bears away”, Vassiliy Shevchenko, the head of the Sevgidromet State Monitoring Network that owns the station, told (the news agency).
The Soviet Union outlawed polar bear hunting in 1957, and it is still illegal to kill the IUCN-listed vulnerable species, so flares and dogs are the scientists’ best defense against the bears. More on Smithsonian
LITTLE BREWSTER ISLAND — Dozens of visitors piled off a tour boat with their heads angled uphill toward Boston Light. A 76-step climb awaited them, but before they could summit the nation’s oldest light station, the historic site’s keeper wanted a word.
“If anybody has any space issues, get over it,” Sally Snowman told the crowd, drawing a laugh with her warning. It’s never been roomy in the 89-foot tower, but as Boston Light’s 300th anniversary approaches next week, it is on pace to smash its seasonal attendance records. The interest and publicity surrounding the milestone have made for a busy year at the nation’s last manned lighthouse. keep reading
This private island is still in the family after a 400-year history including a witch hunt and a pirate
In 1639, this island in what is now New York State was settled by a man named Lion Gardiner. The island was made a proprietary colony, granted via a royal decree by Charles I that gave Gardiner “the right to possess the land forever.” The descendants of Lion Gardiner still hold the 3,300-acre island, making Gardiners Island the oldest estate in the United States and the only royal grant from the English Crown still intact in the country. keep reading
I have no interest in pirates other than to avoid them, and I certainly don’t want to talk or act like one. I enjoyed the Disney films for what they were, which was dramatic and comedic entertainment.
An unfortunate side effect of the massive popularity of these films has been the constant barrage of pirate references, costumes, and a Jolly Roger on every manner of craft emerging from the marina on a Saturday afternoon. keep reading
Brought into service just five months after Pearl Harbor, the USS Wahoo (SS-238) was built for size: 312 feet long by 27 feet across. This would allow it to stay out in the open sea, for longer periods of time. watch video on Smithsonian
Gato-class submarine on wikipedia
We won’t lie — the underwater photo contest is one of our favorite issues to produce here at Scuba Diving magazine. For the 12th year, we’ve asked underwater photographers of all skill levels to submit their best work to the Through Your Lens photography competition, and we marvel at how many beautiful images you all have shared. Our contest is divided into four categories — Wide-Angle, Macro, Conceptual and Compact Camera — with an additional grand-prize winner overall. Go see
Though a fort on Boyard bank was suggested as early as the 17th century, it was not until the 1800s under Napoleon Bonaparte that work began. Building started in 1801 and was completed in 1857.
It has been the filming location of both the French and international versions of the TV gameshow of the same name since 1990, and was also the location for filming The Last Adventure, starring Alain Delon.
As the historic stem ferry VIRGINIA V began her run south across Port Townsend Bay following the conclusion of the Sail By following the 40th Annual Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, the 1927 bridge deck cruiser RIPTIDE caught up with her for one brief glorious moment. The two vessels are seen here running about 25 yards apart. Photos by BlackShoe1
Chances are, eating any seafood that came out of the waters around New York City isn’t a good idea. While New York Harbor is somewhat cleaner than it was a few decades ago, centuries of heavy traffic, pollution and poor sewage infrastructure have taken their toll on the local environment. Now, one group of conservationists is trying to reintroduce oysters back to the area, and they’re starting off by dumping thousands of toilets into a nearby Jamaica Bay. keep reading
Peruvians were creating distinctive indigo-blue cotton fabrics long before the pyramids were built. This discovery came as a surprise to the researchers who analyzed eight fragments of cotton textiles excavated at Huaca Prieta, a site in northern Peru that was occupied between 14,500 and 4,000 years ago. keep reading
The plan was a very seriously considered proposal, mapped out a few decades earlier by the German architect Herman Sorgel who devoted his whole life to promote his grand scheme to drain the Mediterranean and unite Europe and Africa into one super continent.
Not hampered by any sense of reality or modesty, Sörgel’s Atlantropa design envisioned three gigantic dams which dwarf contemporary superstructures like China’s Three Gorges Dam. The biggest barrage would be built across the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, separating the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean.
A second dam would block the Dardanelles and shut off the Black Sea. As if that were not enough, a third dam would stretch out between Sicily and Tunisia, cutting the Mediterranean in two, with different water levels on either side. keep reading
Last week was a good week for shipwreck aficionados. Explorers made history by discovering the remains of the HMS Terror, one of the ships on the ill-fated voyage of Sir John Franklin. So just how many more history-making wrecks are still waiting?
Public curiosity surrounding these expeditions’ searches and/or findings is much greater than one might think.
The chances of finding a lost shipwreck, especially one with gold and silver or, at the very least, one that the general public finds interesting, are pretty slim. But that’s not for the lack of lost vessels. If the estimate is correct, there are at least 2,999,999 shipwrecks still sitting on the ocean floor waiting to be found. keep reading