Author Archives: Rick Spilman

A Rainbow of Lobsters — from Blue to Calico to Striped

Recently, Meghan LaPlante, 14, and her father Jay, caught a blue lobster in one of their traps. Not a blueish lobster or blue tinted lobster but a extremely bright blue, cerulean lobster.  Said to be a 1 in 2 million catch, the … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Whaleship Charles W. Morgan Returns to Mystic — and the Voyage Continues

The Charles W. Morgan has returned to the Mystic Seaport Museum from her 38th voyage.  Her previous voyages, between 1841 and 1921, took her around the globe hunting whales, whereas the 38th voyage took the wooden whaling ship to ports in New England, … Continue reading

Posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Struggle over Kurdish Oil — Tanker United Kalavrvta Goes Dark in Gulf of Mexico

The Suezmax oil tanker United Kalavrvta has been motoring in large circles in the Gulf of Mexico for over a month. Today her AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder was turned off, making her far more difficult to track. The ship has, at … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rocking the Boat in Hunts Point — Where Boats Build Kids

I recently learned about Rocking the Boat, a wonderful organization in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, one of the five boroughs of the City of New York.  Since 1998, the after-school program has been teaching neighborhood kids to build wooden boats. In … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

30th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival

The schooners start arriving in Gloucester, MA tomorrow for the 30th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival.  Twenty three schooners are participating this year. The US Coast Guard barque Eagle, while definitely not a schooner, will also be visiting. On Saturday, the schooners will … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

John Broadwater’s USS Monitor – A Historic Ship Completes Its Final Voyage, a Review

On December 31, 1862 while under tow in a gale off Cape Hatteras, USS Monitor sank. The Monitor had been in service for only ten months and yet in that brief time had revolutionized naval warfare. The wreck of the … Continue reading

Posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

22nd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition, Sunday August 31st

The 22nd annual running of the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition is coming up on Labor Day off Pier 84, which is at West 44th Street and the Hudson River in Manhattan.  The race is sponsored by the … Continue reading

Posted in Lore of the Sea | Tagged | Leave a comment

Choking the Oceans With Plastic

Yesterday, we posted about a beach where the ocean has worn down glass, which once had been discarded as trash. The “glass beach” is now beautiful and enjoyed by thousands.  If only all our trash was glass. Another beach comes … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged | 2 Comments

Of Kwakiutl Shell Beaches and Beaches of Glass

Many years ago my wife and I kayaked with a group in Blackfish Sound off Vancouver. We paddled with orcas by day and by night camped on the many islands of the sound. On several nights, we camped at what had … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2014 Race to Mackinac

A beautiful short video. “The 2014 Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race aboard Chief was 289 non-stop nautical miles. For 106 years the race has been many things. It’s an annual ritual, a reunion, a test of skill, of boat handling and … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged | 1 Comment

SeaWorld, the Blue World Project and the Blackfish Effect

Last October, the documentary Blackfish aired on CNN. The documentary looked at the almost 40 year history of orcas in captivity, leading up to the killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau  in 2010 by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum, a whale previously associated with … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

USS Houston Wreck, Popular Dive Site for Years, Finally Confirmed by US Navy

This week, US Navy divers confirmed the location of the wreck of the USS Houston in Banten Bay off the Java Sea.   The heavy cruiser was nicknamed the “The Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast,” and sank along with the Australian light … Continue reading

Posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships | 1 Comment

Russian Barque Kruzenshtern Withdraws from Race After Sinking Tug

The Russian four-masted barque Kruzenshtern has been forced to withdraw from the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta, after it was involved in the sinking of a tug in the Danish port of Esbjerg last week. The Kruzenshtern, ex-Padua, was built in 1926 and is … Continue reading

Posted in Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Australian Salt Water Crocodile Kills Fisherman

A 57 year old fisherman, wading in the Adelaide River, south of Darwin, was attacked and killed by a 15 foot long (4.5 metre) crocodile.  The fisherman was attempting to unsnag his line when attacked.  As reported by the BBC:  The … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

From Lakes Freighters to Lake Houses — Benson Ford & John W. Boardman

Great Lakes freighters are known for their longevity. Compared to their salt water sisters, lakes boats, as they are called, rust slowly and tend to be around for a long time. Here are two lakes freighters, Benson Ford and John W. … Continue reading

Posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Slow Life — Time Lapse Sponge and Coral

A wonderful suitable video for a summer Sunday. From the video description – “Slow” marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima Fear Mongering & the Damage it Does

In March of 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was hit by a tsunami triggered by the magnitude 9.0 Tōhoku earthquake.  Three operating nuclear reactors suffered partial meltdowns and a fourth reactor which was not in service suffered hydrogen explosions which … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Cooperage at Mystic Seaport: A Woodworking Craft

Just about 40 years ago, while a student studying naval architecture, I had a summer job working for a major oil company in New York City. One weekend, two friends and I took a train out to visit Mystic Seaport. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Lore of the Sea | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Italy Bans Largest Cruise Ships from Venice

We posted in June 2012 about protests over the docking of large cruise ships in Venice, Italy.  The arrival of the MSC Davina at 139,400 GT, almost 1,100 feet long, about 125 feet wide and carries up to 5,329 passengers and crew, … Continue reading

Posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Last of the Caballito de Totora, the Little Reed Horses of Peru

For the last thirty five hundred years, Peruvian fisherman have paddled boats called caballito de totora, the little reed horses, out through the surf to cast their nets offshore.  At the end of the day, they ride the waves back to shore … Continue reading

Posted in Current, History, Lore of the Sea, Ships | Tagged , | 1 Comment