Maritime Monday, er Wednesday: Stuff the Flotilla


“Reporting to us this week, our gal live on the ground in London, Miss Monkey Fist….” (tone)


Regular readers of Adventures of the Blackgang know already, but for those of you who aren’t, (and shame on you!) things didn’t quite go as planned last week.

Your intrepid correspondent arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 1745 hrs, and after a brief wait at the check-in counter to sort the extra bag charges, I breezed thru security and plopped down in Terminal E1 to await the 2130 departure of my British Airways flight for London.

Duty-free cigs and USA-to-UK power adaptor purchase sorted; check…  Turkey and brie club, (yummy) last American candy bar (and a spare) purchased for trans-atlantic snacking, check.  All that remained was to wait.

Boarding began at 2035, assigned window seat was taken, and I hunkered down for the 7-and-change hour flight to Jubilee World.  A quite tasty chicken curry with rice and lentils was served, some cat naps caught, and an uneventful landing at Heathrow, 0930-ish, Greenwich Mean Time.

Now, all I had do was to clear Customs. And that’s where things got interesting.

Very, very long story short… my baggage, carry-ons, and passport were confiscated and inspected in intimate detail. I spent 6 hours under guard in Detention, then was escorted (in my sobbing tear-stained humiliation) by UK Border Agents from one end of Heathrow to the other and put on a plane back to The Colonies. One 30 second phone call allowed to pass along my flight number (destination unknown) and arrange pick up stateside, and off I went into the wild blue yonder back west, departing approx. 1750. To the UK and back in less than 24 hours.

Same chicken curry and lentils served for supper, too. Wasn’t quite so tasty the second time around.


Miss Monkey’s International Travel Tips:

Do Not:

– Put “internet publisher/graphic artist” under “Occupation?”, especially if you are travelling with your laptop. See, this enables you to work in the UK, and that’s a threat to the already precarious stability of the Commonwealth. Strike One. Never mind that your declared reason for travel was “vacation/pleasure” and your clients are all based stateside.

– Respond in the affirmative that you sold your half interest in a vacation home in Maine in this calendar year, even though it was never your primary residence. This indicates “recent liquidation of assets and obligations in the USA”. Strike Two. You obviously intend to remain in the UK indefinitely and become a burden on the Crown. HUH?

– Get all snarky, thank the UK Border Agent and ask if he’d like to buy a t shirt or signed, limited edition print when he compliments your artistic talent. Strike Three. Also: do not request complimentary cocktails or ask if you get the miles for the return flight.  My goose was cooked already by that point.

I thanked my UKBA escorts for their hospitality, waved as I descended the jetway and  remarked that I had very much enjoyed my stay in their wonderful country. Always, ALWAYS go out with style.


*Thank you DH

Call for inquiry into use of unpaid jobseekers as jubilee stewards

The former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has written to the home secretary to complain about a security firm that used unpaid jobseekers to steward the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in London.

He said he was “deeply concerned” by the revelations, published in the Guardian on Tuesday, that up to 30 unpaid jobseekers on the government’s work programme were asked to sleep under London Bridge before the river pageant on Sunday.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, later told the Guardian that they had to camp under London Bridge overnight, to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

“I am deeply concerned that a private security firm is not only providing policing on the cheap but failing to show a duty of care to its staff and threatening to withdraw an opportunity to work at the Olympics as a means to coerce them to work unpaid.”

keep reading on The Guardian


QDJ Avenue Of Sail – Part One on Ships and Boats in London

Before getting down to the Upper and Lower Pools a walk along the river from Blackfriars Station gave the sight of the Queen’s ride for Sunday. The Tender is from the former Royal Yacht BRITANNIA which the Queen used countless times to transfer form the yacht to shore. It was transported from BRITANNIA’s last resting place in Edinburgh where it took pride of place in the flotilla along with two of the yachts former escort vessels.

As there were a lot of boats seen that day I will split this post into three parts…

watch this space


Close to Blackfriars Bridge, the royal party will disembark and board HMS President, where Prime Minister David Cameron will greet them.

It is from this permanently moored corvette, built in 1918 and normally used as a party venue, that the Queen will watch the pageant.

Water spectacle: 1,000 boat Thames Pageant is a once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza

VIDEO: Diamond Jubilee River Pageant: The Best Bits

Weird and wonderful British public line Thames for Diamond Jubilee pageant

imagePictures of British crowds sporting outfits from the sensible to the sublime have been flooding in as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant goes ahead, despite the miserable wet weather on the banks of the River Thames in London.

Huddling together in sunglasses, fans of the Royal Family were clearly expecting better weather when they set out this morning along with the one million others lining the banks of the river.

Elsewhere, an extravagant couple didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits and went all out for the Queen’s special day.

They impressively coordinated their outfits and were more than willing to strike a pose as they waited for the 1,000-strong flotilla to pass by.

A huge variety of vessels made their way down the Thames, from kayaks and dragon boats to tugs, barges and ships that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation.

keep reading & many more photos on

A mixture of 17th century riverine spectacle and 21st century party…

It was at times hard to decide which would have been the drier: standing in the open air waving at the crowds on the banks of the Thames or simply diving in and swimming to join them. When the Diamond Jubilee river pageant of 2012 is written up for the history books, precipitation is likely to figure prominently in accounts. Yet, it really didn’t dampen the atmosphere; it simply made it more British.

River pageant condensed: The Diamond Jubilee flotilla squeezed into 100 seconds

If you missed it – or if you want to relive the spectacle – here’s your chance with our stunning time-lapse video

More than a million spectators braved the rain yesterday to watch the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla.

Millions more watched on TV as the record-breaking pageant of 670 boats sailed the Thames to celebrate the Queen’s 60-year reign.

The number of revellers passed the expectations of organisers, who said an estimated 1.25 million people lined the banks of the Thames.

Videos and more on The Mirror

imageQueen’s Diamond Jubilee: A day at the Thames Pageant with the injured soldiers of boat number 1,000

The Shropshire Lad narrow boat, manned by military personnel, some injured in Afghanistan, sailed down the Thames in the pageant, marking a poignant moment for the soldiers. Manned by military personnel, the boat took three weeks to reach its destination.

video and more on The Telegraph


Flotilla on Humber recalls Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

Gibraltar Emulates London with remarkable Diamond Jubilee Flotilla


The Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocks Piers Morgan and CNN’s coverage of Diamond Jubilee flotilla

There was no doubting Piers Morgan’s breathless enthusiasm for Sunday’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla. But the broadcaster’s hyperbolic commentary for CNN has been skewered by the US satirist Jon Stewart, whose ruthless lampoon on the Daily Show became an instant web hit.

Morgan hit back at the “sneering” Stewart after watching his awestruck analysis of the boat parade torn apart on the Comedy Central show…

John Oliver, the Daily Show’s Senior English Correspondent, delivered the coup de grâce, from London: “Obviously it’s impossible to look at what’s happening here and not think about what it represents. The sad, last gasp of a once-powerful empire, its best days long behind it, desperately trying to conjure up a happier time when it was something more than a decaying wreck.”

Stewart replied: “That’s a harsh thing to say about your own homeland.” “No, I was talking about CNN,” said Oliver. The station that once “owned the Gulf War, reduced to Piers Morgan spending two hours talking about barges.”

keep reading on The Independent

Diamond Jubilee: Jon Stewart lampoons jubilee coverage (VIDEO)


Charles sailed from his exile in the Netherlands to his restoration in England in May 1660. Painting by Lieve Verschuier. See full size.


– Canaletto’s study of the Thames –

It was back in 1662 when King Charles II introduced the country to his Queen, Catherine of Braganza – on the waters of the Thames. The river thronged with lavishly adorned boats and barges, and the King’s wife was saluted with music and cannon fire.


British ironclad battleship Royal Oak as she appeared after being rearmed in 1867

The Royal Oak is the English oak tree within which King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The tree was located in Boscobel Wood, which was part of the park of Boscobel House. In commemoration of the tree’s significance in British history a number of places and things have been named after the Royal Oak. The Royal Oak is the third most common pub name in Britain.


*Eight ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Royal Oak


The Havengore


The State Funeral for Sir Winston Churchill on The BBC

DV1189434Havengore will sail with the Royal squadron. On board will be the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and London mayor Boris Johnson.

The craft is most famous for bearing the coffin of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill up the Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier at his state funeral in 1965.

His last journey was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of Londoners along the river bank and on bridges, as well as 350 million TV viewers around the world.

Diamond Jubilee: Explore the Pageant; on The BBC

inset image: A crewman aboard the boat Havengore stands waiting for the royal party at the start of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames (LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…


Blueseed’s start-up ship Plans to Steer Past US Immigration Laws

A Silicon Valley start-up called Blueseed wants to convert a cruise ship into a floating centre for foreign workers who cannot get visas to work in the US.

The ship would sit in international waters roughly 12 miles (20 kilometres) off the California coast in order to bring foreign entrepreneurs closer to the technology capital.

Blueseed president Dario Mutabdzija says ferries will take the heads of the small companies back and forth each day to attend meetings on land with venture capitalists.

more on BBC


Noelle Finch of Great Britain sits on her board on Feb. 27 in the bay of Funchal on the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira as the 6 races of 2012 European Windsurfing Championships of the day were cancelled due the lack of wind. (Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Ways of the wind

It’s something often ignored unless it’s annoying, harnessed for sport or energy, the cause of great damage, or sometimes used for fun. Wind is simply defined as “a natural movement of air of any velocity.” Here is a collection of images showing its effects on us and nature.
Lloyd Young (40 photos total) on The Big Picture


left: 1942; Alcoa Aluminum
1942 … Victory on Elgin Time
X-Ray Delta One


The Rover; British Lighthouses and Ships c. 1950


Broken pottery from the wreck of a 3rd-century, Roman-era ship litters the seafloor off the western coast of Greece in a photo issued by the Greek Culture Ministry.

Roman shipwrecks found nearly a mile deep

ATHENS, Greece — Two Roman-era shipwrecks have been found in deep water off a western Greek island, challenging the conventional theory that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal routes rather than risking the open sea, an official said Tuesday.

Greece’s culture ministry said the two third-century wrecks were discovered earlier this month during a survey of an area where a Greek-Italian gas pipeline is to be sunk.

keep reading on MSNBC

VIDEO: The Story of Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka

Two weeks adrift at sea inspire a glass-worker to create museum quality glass models of marine life. See also: Corning Museum Hot Glass Show at Sea


Mad About Octopi on English Russia


Venus Point, Tahiti: Site of James Cook’s historic observations of the 1769 transit of Venus

“…we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet…”
-James Cook, June 3, 1769 at Venus Point, Tahiti

Getting to Tahiti from England in 1769 to observe the century’s second transit of Venus was no small undertaking, and James Cook and his companion astronomers took their obligation to observe and record the passage of the second planet as it partially eclipsed the sun very seriously.

keep reading on Atlas Obscura

Discovery News: Watch the 1882 Transit of Venus

See also: Graves of the Smuttynose Murder Victims:

Just off the coast of New Hampshire but in the purview of Maine is a 25-acre island called Smuttynose. On March 5, 1873, two women who lived on the island, Karen Christensen and her sister-in-law Anethe, were brutally murdered. A third, Maren Hontvet, who was Karen’s sister, survived the night and accused a man named Louis Wagner. With the help of Maren’s testimony, Wagner was hung for the brutal double murder, although there was some that believed he was innocent…


– Tim Jarvis’s Plan to Cross the Antarctic in an Exact Replica of the James Caird
(above: Launching the James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916)

Reliving Shackleton’s Epic Endurance Expedition

Legend has it that Antarctic adventurer Ernest Shackleton posted an advertisement in a London paper before his infamous Endurance expedition:

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”

Although no one has been able to find the original ad, the sentiment, at the very least, should serve as a strong warning to Tim Jarvis, the British/Australian adventurer who is attempting to recreate the expedition as authentically as possible…

keep reading on The Smithsonian

*See also:
Impressment May Have Been a Trumped-Up Charge: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the War of 1812 and The War of 1812: 200 Years Later


The James Caird, from Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 open boat journey, now on display at Dulwich College, South London


June 6, 1977 The Sex Pistols, banned from playing on English soil, give a performance on board a boat sailing down the River Thames to promote their controversial new single “God Save The Queen”. With the law right behind ’em and an entire nation up in arms, all hell breaks loose before the night is over…

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.


England’s safe from any mob
while men like me are on the job!

Grenadier Guards officer. Originally (1656) a regiment of bodyguards for the exiled Charles II

Military Uniform Caricatures on Bibliodyssey

*Editor’s Note; Sarcasm very much intended.