The historic USCG CutterTamaroa will soon be sunk as an artificial reef in the Atlantic Ocean 25 miles south of Cape May Point, New Jersey. The old ship has had a remarkable history. Built in 1943 as USS Zuni, the 205-foot fleet ocean/salvage tug and one of seventy Cherokee-class fleet tugs saw service in World War II in campaigns in the Marianas, the Philippines, and at Iwo Jima. After the war, she was transferred to the US Coast Guard and renamed Tamaroa.
USCGC Tamaroa had a 48 year long career in US Coast Guard, serving on safety patrols, in drug interdiction and fisheries protection. She was the first Coast Guard Cutter to arrive at the sinking passenger liner Andrea Doria after the collision with the the Swedish liner Stockholm 1956. Tamaroa may be best known for rescuing the crew of the yacht Satori, as well as the crew of a downed Air National Guard helicopter during the “Perfect Storm” of 1991,
described in Sebastian Junger’s book, The Perfect Storm.
In just three years since the release of the documentary, Blackfish, the world of captive orcs in the United States has undergone dramatic change. The 2013 documentary focused specifically on the death of an orca trainer, Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by an orca named Tillikum at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. The documentary was also a broad indictment of the industry of breeding and training orcas to perform for public performances in large marine-parks.
The effect of the documentary was immediate and stunning. Despite a public relations campaign to counter the documentary, attendance and revenues at the company’s marine parks began to drop, in what became known as the “Blackfish Effect.” SeaWorld reported a 4th quarter loss of $25.4 million blamed on lower park attendance the year following the release of Blackfish. By December 2014, about a year and a half after the film’s theatrical premiere, the stock price of SeaWorld had declined by 60 percent.
The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is looking for crew for their December-April season in Florida, Bahamas, and Bermuda. From their announcement of their website:
After a successful first season underway, we are excited to continue our year round operations with a voyage south to Florida, Bahamas and Bermuda. This summer 160 students embarked on our programs, making our total count for trainees embarking on OHPRI programs to almost 600. We were warmly welcomes into 20 harbors and ports in New England and enjoyed many great days of sailing.
A repost from 2010 in honor of Trafalgar Day, commemorating Nelson’s great victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets on this day in 1805. I have always been struck that of all the commentary I have read on the famous battle, Joseph Conrad is the only writer I am aware of to have asked one simple question — what if the wind had changed? How would a wind shift have altered the history which we all take for granted?
The final essay in Joseph Conrad’s wonderful, if somewhat odd book, The Mirror of the Sea, is entitled “The Heroic Age.” It starts out rather disappointingly as a paean to Nelson. There is nothing wrong with praising Nelson, except that everyone does it, so another bit of hagiography doesn’t necessarily add anything new.
Then, well into the essay, Conrad does something rather remarkable. He wonders what would have happened if the wind had shifted on that morning of the 21st of October. Continue reading →
What an 800 pound West Indian manatee was doing hanging around Washburn Island, near Falmouth, MA at the end of September is unclear, and the manatee wasn’t talking. The waters near Cape Cod in Autumn are not a good place for a manatee to find itself. Manatees do not do well in water below 68 degrees F and in September in Massachusetts, the water temperatures were dropping fast. Fortunately, fisherman had been spotting the aquatic mammal since mid-August and notified the folks at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. IFAW developed a rescue plan, marshaled the three boats that they would need and got the necessary permits to capture and transport the manatee. Manatees are an endangered species so approvals were required. On September 22, they netted the 8 foot long, 800 pound manatee off Washburn Island and brought the mammal to the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic Connecticut to rest and recuperate until transportation to warmer waters could be arranged.
Nicknamed Washburn, for the island near where it was netted, the manatee proved to be a female and also to be four to five months pregnant. One of the reasons that manatees are endangered is their low reproduction rate — breeding and berthing one calf only once every two years — so, to save a pregnant manatee was particularly gratifying to all involved in the rescue.
Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko’s new sail-assisted motor-yacht, named simply, Sailing Yacht A, is undergoing sea trials. The $450 million yacht has a number of superlatives attached to it. At 12,700 tonnes, it is the largest sailing yacht in the world by gross tonnage. At 469 feet, she is the longest sailing yacht in existence. Its 300 foot tall carbon fiber masts are the largest composite freestanding structures in the world. And while not a superlative exactly, the yacht — a slab sided, eight decked, angular monstrosity — does qualify as the ugliest sailing vessel in the world. Continue reading →
Clausewitz wrote of the “fog of war.” Recent events in the Gulf of Yemen and the Red Sea are a good example of what he meant. The USS Mason, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, may have been attacked on Saturday, October 8th, off the coast of Yemen by anti-ship cruise missiles for the third time in a week. The ship was not hit. In response to the possible attacks, the destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94) fired Tomahawk missiles at three Houthi radar sites believed to have been used help target the anti-ship missiles. The Tomahawk strikes raised concerns that the US might be getting drawn into the Yemeni civil war. One critical question remains unanswered, however, — did the attacks actually take place?
In 2014, we posted about Joel Abrahamsson, from Gothenburg, Sweden, who set a record for kayak fishing by catching a 15′ long 1,247 pound Greenland shark while fishing from a kayak near the island of Andoria, in Norway. We noted that the fish, which was released, was believed to be over 200 years old. It turns out that the shark could have been much older. Scientists now believe that the Greenland shark is the longest living vertebrate in the world with a lifespan of up to 400 years.
The last time we posted about the schoonerHarvey Gamage, was in 2014, when she and several other vessels were due to be sold at auction following the failure of the Ocean Classroom Foundation. She was subsequently purchased by Phineas Sprague and refit at his Portland Yacht Services in Portland, ME. Harvey Gamage was built in 1973 in the Harvey Gamage yard of South Bristol, ME and is a gaff-rigged wooden schooner with a sparred length of 131 feet. She is now managed by Ocean Passages which operates programs between Maine and Cuba. Here is a wonderful video of the schooner in Cuban waters.
Australia is, literally, on the move. A year ago, we posted about how the Prime Meridian, the arbitrary line in Greenwich, UK, marking 0 degrees of longitude, had to be adjusted by slightly over 100 meters after the discrepancy was noted by GPS. While the position of the Prime Meridian marker is interesting and yet of no real practical consequence, on the other side of the world the maps of an entire continent are now continually in need of adjustment. Chances are that any map or chart you may have of Australia has its position at least slightly wrong.
All the world’s continent are moving due to plate tectonics, also known as continental drift. The continent also has a slight clockwise rotation. Whereas North America drifts at around one inch per year, Australia is moving at the relatively breakneck speed of 2.7 inches northward per year.
Originally posted by gCaptain. Reposted with permission.
Last Saturday, the 30 passengers aboard Khaleesi, a Silverton 34 power boat,were watching the Navy Blue Angels over San Francisco Bay as part of Fleet Week. On the way back to the dock, Khaleesi capsized and sank. Miraculously, no one died, although two children were rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. (Initial reports, incorrectly described the boat as a recreational sailboat.) Sadly, this incident sounds far too familiar.
This is not the first time that an overloaded Silverton 34 has capsized. Four years ago, under remarkably similar conditions, another Silverton capsized and sank with tragic results.
The City of Adelaide is the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship and one of only three remaining composite clipper ships. She was built in 1864, in Sunderland, England by William Pile, Hay and Co. for transporting passengers and goods between Britain and Australia. Between 1864 and 1887 the ship made 23 annual return voyages from London and Plymouth to Adelaide, South Australia. After a long and varied career the City of Adelaide has returned to her namesake city. A short documentary by Tasha Trebeck.
We recently posted that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the 1926 built sternwheel steamboat Delta Queen as one of America’s 11-Most Endangered Historic Places. In researching the post, I learned several new things. The first was that the “Delta” in Delta Queen, which I had always assumed was referring to the Mississippi River Delta, was in fact, the San Joaquin River Delta. The other thing I learned is that, in addition to the Delta Queen, there is also a Delta King, now a dockside restaurant, bar, theater and hotel in Old Sacramento, CA.
UPDATE: The initial reports of the capsize identified the boat which capsized as a sailboat. Even the Coast Guard’s website said that the boat named Khaleesi was a 34-foot sailboat. As initial reports often are, these reports were not accurate. The boat is not being reported to be a Silverton 34′ cabin cruiser. Thanks to Greg Davids for his eyewitness account in the comments section below.
On Saturday, a 34′ recreational sailboat powerboat with 30 people aboard capsized in San Francisco Bay near Pier 45. All aboard were rescued but eight were injured, with at least one, a child, in critical condition. It could have been much, much worse.
When Hurricane Matthew approached, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Montgomery and several other Navy ships were ordered out of port in Mayport, FL. Unfortunately, in the process of leaving port, the USS Montgomery took a hard knock from a tug, which cracked the hull and bent five hull stringers. The crew was able to control the flooding. This, however, was not the first of the LCS’s troubles.
The US Navy is sending a flotilla of ships to help the relief effort in the Haiti, devestated by Hurricane Matthew, the first Category 4 storm to hit the island nation in over 50 years. USS Mesa Verde, a San Antonio-classamphibious transport dock, is steaming toward Haiti. The ship is carrying three heavy-lift helicopters, a landing craft, bulldozers, fresh-water delivery vehicles and two surgical operating rooms.
Germany’s Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation has released a preliminary report suggesting that a mast repair on the ketch Amicita may have been the cause of a fatal accident in which three male passengers were struck and killed by falling rigging on August 21th.
The ketch Amicita was built in 1889 and worked as a sailing cargo carrier. In the 90s, she was converted for passenger service. A German family of twelve had chartered the ketch with the captain and his wife, for a family vacation on the Wadden sea. On a Sunday in the early afternoon, on the last day of their vacation, the main mast broke. The falling mast and rigging killed three men aged 19, 43 and 48.