Archive for the 'History' Category

AC technology, back in the day

Interesting find posted to S/A, a July 1920 Popular Science article on the latest and greatest in AC technology.

The boats were slower then, but they sailing much longer legs and weren’t afraid to go in the ocean!

Ancient merfolk

Gavin from has kindly alerted us to some historic merfolk:

An ancient mermaid on the front of a building in Bayeux
A mermaid and a merman (attached) – on the ceiling of Eastgate House, Rochester.
The upper floors were closed but a nice caretaker guy took us up to see the ceiling. They’ll be 400 years old, or so…


Original art by NSL.

Mission to the West Coast’s Last Whaling Station

Inspired by posts from blog-pals  Monkey Fist (Adventures of the Blackgang) and Capt. Rodriguez (Bitter End Blog), the NSL investigative team of David and Char decided to see for ourselves what might be left of the whaling station at Point San Pablo, a 75 minute drive north of where we live.

A recently killed Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is suspended and about to be transported for processing at the Richmond whaling station. The Humpback was the most commonly hunted whale during the history of the whaling station, which was active from 1956 to 1972.   More pictures can be found at the KQED flickr site here.

Continue reading ‘Mission to the West Coast’s Last Whaling Station’

Bounty Boat Expedition


Following in the footsteps of William Bligh when cast adrift from the Bounty, Don McIntyre and the crew onboard the “Bounty Boat” will sail for Tonga to find extra food and water, then set off to sail across the top of the Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups, before setting course for the Queensland Coast and a landing at Restoration Island following four weeks at sea on light rations. They then sail north inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and across to Kupang and Timor.

If successful it will be the first time that anyone has ever sailed the same course, in the same way that William Bligh did 221 years before. (1983 and 1990 attempts both used almanacs and charts for navigation, torches, modern time pieces etc, and also made unscheduled stopovers or did not follow the same route or were escorted part of the way). We’ll have no charts, no nautical almanacs, no modern watches, no torches, no toilet paper, no extra landings, all in a boat less than half the size of Bligh’s original “Bounty Boat”…. But let’s get to the finish line and then talk about it.


Crew positions available!

Staten Island Boat Graveyard


Off the shore of Staten Island New York rests a veritable graveyard of decommissioned, scrapped, and abandoned ships of various sizes, ages, and states of decay. Things are constantly changing here; new boats are brought in and old ones are chopped up or sunk into the muddy banks of the harbor.

The beauty here is in the untouched rust and rotting wood, where weather and salt water accelerates the rate of decay, transforming these ships of the past into sculptures of steel rising from their watery grave.

 gallery of wrecks at opacity

Men with big oars


A photo gallery on Flickr.

The Swinging Sailor of Perryman

” The Swinging Sailor of Perryman” is a jolly calypso tune by pirate trop-rock band Captain Quint, which I first heard (where else?) on Bilgemunky.  The song tells the story of John Clark Monk, a skipper who when dying at sea requested his loyal crew to not let his feet touch dry land.   His body was therefore suspended by chains in its tomb, and his burial chamber flooded with rum, or so the legend goes.  His tomb is at Spesutia Church in Perryman, Maryland.  As a native Marylander, I’m proud. 

Detailed story from Weird Maryland  by Matt Lake, Mark Moranswinging1.JPG


  >> Captain Quint website, with audio clips

  >> More than you want to know about who all is buried in the cemetary

  >> Wikipedia entry

The Admiral Benbow

The “Admiral Benbow”, Penzance, Cornwall, U.K.

Admiral Benbow is remembered in pubs scattered throughout the English speaking world, and in literature in the opening scene of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The Admiral Benbow Inn, Penzance, is one of the most interesting.

And, as you will learn from the very comprehensive Brave Benbow site, there are at least a half-dozen pubs and inns in the UK that commemerate the great sailor and sea-fighter.  The Admiral is also the topic of a very stirring eponymous song, of which my favorite interpretation was done by Paul Clayton.

400-year-old ship found intact on the bottom of the Baltic

A ship that sank 400 years ago has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Ingredients for Salad Dressing Found in 2,400-year-old Shipwreck

Ceramic jars onboard a 2,400-year-old shipwreck, with starfish and sponges growing on them. DNA analysis shows these jars held olive oil flavored with oregano and possibly wine.

Genetic analysis has revealed the contents of an ancient shipwreck dating back to the era of the Roman Republic and Athenian Empire. The cargo was olive oil flavored with oregano.

Beyond discovering ingredients for Italian salad dressing on the sea floor, such research could provide a wealth of insights concerning the everyday life of ancient seafaring civilizations that would otherwise be lost at sea.

An international team of U.S. and Greek researchers investigated the remains of a 2,400-year-old shipwreck that lies 230 feet (70 meters) deep, roughly a half-mile (1 kilometer) off the coast of the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea.

 Link via Neatorama

Entre Terre & Mer (Between Land & Sea)

Entre Terre & Mer 

Beautiful celtic music & Britanny culture.   6 DVD series documentary & film at the same time of the Sailors, women & children’s life in the last century. 

We follow & boat equipage ” LA CHARMEUSE ” or the life of a little town in Britanny.  This one is the N°6 when the Sailors are back again after a very long fishing’s period.  It’s the story of a farmer, Pierre Abgrale who leave his land after his mother’s death & go to work near the sea.   He will decide to stay here, becoming a sailor & choose a pretty little woman Mary ( who lost her fiancée ).

Funky future-ology at Modern Mechanix







Cool retro-techno blog Modern Mechanix with hundreds of scanned pages of how the future used to be.  Be sure to check out their Nautical category.

The Battle of Trafalgar, EU-PC version



(Politically Correct version of events for the 21st Century)

(from the Interweb)

“Order the signal, Hardy.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

“Hold on. That’s not what I dictated to the signal officer. What’s the meaning of this?”

“Sorry sir?”

“England expects every person to do his duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What gobbledygook is this?”

“Admiralty policy, I’m afraid, sir. We’re an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘England’ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

“Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

“Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments.”

“In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle.”

“The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

“Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we’d better get on with it. Full speed ahead.”

“I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water.”

“Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest, please.”

“That won’t be possible, sir.”


“Health and safety have closed the crow’s nest, sir. No harness. And they said that rope ladder doesn’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected.”

“Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.”

“He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo’c’sle Admiral.”

“Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

“Health and safety again, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled.”

“Differently abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card.”

“Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

“Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

“A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without crash helmets. And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt – haven’t you seen the adverts?”

I’ve never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.”

“The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

“What? This is mutiny.”

“It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There’s a couple of legal aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

“Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

“Actually, sir, we’re not.”

“We’re not?”

“No, sir. The Frenchies and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

“But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.”

“I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity co-coordinator hear you saying that sir. You’ll be up on disciplinary.”

“You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King.” With our impending performance of the Nelson Mass to celebrate the’the Battle’next year,

“Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules.”

“Don’t tell me – health and safety . Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu. And there’s a ban on corporal punishment.”

“What about sodomy?”

“I believe it’s to be encouraged, sir.”

“In that case, kiss me, Hardy.”

Viking ship ‘buried beneath pub’

viking.JPGA 1,000-year-old Viking longship is thought to have been discovered under a pub car park on Merseyside.

The vessel is believed to lie beneath 6ft to 10ft (2m to 3m) of clay by the Railway Inn in Meols, Wirral, where Vikings are known to have settled.

Experts believe the ship could be one of Britain’s most significant archaeological finds.

Professor Stephen Harding, of the University of Nottingham, is now seeking funds to pay for an excavation.

The Viking expert used ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to pinpoint the ship’s whereabouts.

He believes the vessel could be carefully removed and exhibited in a museum.

Professor Harding said: “The next stage is the big one. Using the GPR technique only cost £450, but we have to think carefully about what to do next. 

“Although we still don’t know what sort of vessel it is, it’s very old for sure and its Nordic clinker design, position and location suggests it may be a transport vessel from the Viking settlement period if not long afterwards.

Link to full story on the Beeb

There seems to be very little in the UK that doesn’t involve pubs in some way.