Author Archives: Rick Spilman

From Dazzle Ships to Dazzle Faces — Camouflage Meant to Confuse

We recently posted “The Dazzle Ships, Then and Now,” about the use of wild geometric patterns painted on ships, which do nothing to hide the ship, but are/were meant to confuse enemy weapons targeting.  Recently, the artist, designer, and entrepreneur, Adam … Continue reading

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The Demise of Ocean Classroom Foundation

Ocean Classroom Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Maine, has run educational programs for students aboard schooners for almost 20 years.  Sadly, it will be closing down at the end of the summer; it’s three schooners will be put up for sale … Continue reading

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HMS London Shipwreck — Glimpsing a 300 Year Old Disaster

In 1665, HMS London, a 64-gun second-rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, exploded in the Thames Estuary off Southend.  Recent dives on the wreck have recovered a wide range of artifacts and remains.  As reported by the … Continue reading

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Schooner Virginia Cuts Season Short, Will Be Put Up For Sale

The bad news just keeps coming.  The Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation has announced that the schooner Virginia will be suspending the remainder of her 2014 season and will be returned to Hampton Roads in August, where she will be put up … Continue reading

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What is the Bloop? Giant Sea Monster or Calving Ice Shelf?

In 2009, we posted about the “bloop.”   What is the “bloop,” you well may ask?  The “bloop” was an mysterious ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) several times during the summer of 1997. NOAA … Continue reading

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Final Voyage of the Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia has begun her final voyage from the Tuscan island of Giglio to the scrapyard in Genoa, Italy, the port city where the ill-fated cruise ship was built.  The ship sank and partially capsized in January 2012 after striking … Continue reading

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Update: Sewol Ferry Disaster — Ferry Owner Yoo Byung-eun Found Dead

Last April, we posted about the capsizing and sinking of the South Korean ro/ro ferry Sewol with the loss of over 300, dead and missing.  Yoo Byung-eun, the effective owner and manager of Chonghaejin Marine Company, which operated the ferry, had been the … Continue reading

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PortSide’s “Heavy Metal” Fundraising Sale!

PortSide New York, the organization behind the historic tanker Mary A. Whalen,  is having an amazing marine hardware fundraising sale.  From their press release: If you think a full-sized bollard makes the perfect doorstop, or that a collection of shackles … Continue reading

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Isabelle Autissier: Lessons from the Sea

Isabelle Autissier is a French sailor who has sailed around the world four times. In this TED talk, she shares some of what she has learned about life and living from the sailing the world’s oceans. She speaks of the … Continue reading

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LaSalle’s Freeze-Dried Shipwreck La Belle on the Move

Two years ago we posted about how a team of scientists at the Texas A&M University Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation were using freeze-drying to preserve large sections of French explorer’s Robert LaSalle’s flagship, La Belle, which sank in Matagorda Bay in … Continue reading

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“No Ordinary Women” — Reality TV and the Hyping of the Volvo Ocean Race

A few days ago, a trailer was posted on the internet for a four part documentary television series called, “No Ordinary Women.”   The voice over for the trailer begins, “‘No Ordinary Women’ is the story about eleven women ready … Continue reading

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Crow’s Nests : Part 2 — Floki, Ravens and Fighting Tops

The crows nest, as a shelter for the lookout on whaling ships sailing the icy waters of the Arctic, was by all indications, invented by Captain William Scoresby around 1807.  (See yesterday’s post:  Crow’s Nests : Part 1 — Melville & … Continue reading

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Crow’s Nests : Part 1 — Melville & Captain Scoresby

The first of a two-part post on crows nests. Who would have thought that a crow’s nest deserves such attention? A reader commented on the lack of a crow’s nest in the video of the Charles W. Morgan under sail … Continue reading

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Congratulations to Joan Druett — The Beckoning Ice Makes the Long List

Congratulations to Joan Druett! Her crime thriller, The Beckoning Ice, the fifth of her Wiki Coffin series of maritime mysteries, is one of the longlisted titles for the 2014 Ngaio Marsh Award.   We reviewed The Beckoning Ice in December 2012. … Continue reading

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Refloating the Costa Concordia

Two and a half years ago,  the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground, sank and capsized with the loss of 32 passengers and crew, off the island of Giglio in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Tuscany.  This morning, the ship was re-floated  as … Continue reading

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Captain William Thomas Shorey, the Black Ahab

Today is the 155th anniversary of the birth of Captain William Thomas Shorey, a famous captain in the last days of whaling,  who was affectionately nicknamed “Black Ahab” by his crew.  Shorey was born in Barbados in 1859 and ran … Continue reading

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Whaler Charles W. Morgan Sails with Whales off Stellwagen Bank

What a wonderful juxtaposition. The whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, and recently rebuilt by the Mystic Seaport Museum, sailing with humpback whales as they migrate across Stellwagen Bank off Massachusetts. No harpoons were in evidence and the whales did … Continue reading

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New London’s SailFest 2014

New London’s Sailfest kicked off yesterday and will continue through Sunday, Jul 13th. It is billed as Southeastern Connecticut’s premier summertime event attracting over 300,000 people over the three-day festival. The festival features a major fireworks display, amusement rides, and over … Continue reading

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Update: Yang­­-suis & Archimedes Burning Mirrors

One of the great stories from ancient history is of Archimedes Burning Mirrors.  Legend has it that Archimedes designed a series of curved mirrors to reflect and focus the rays of the sun and that these mirrors were used to set a … Continue reading

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City of Water Day Festival, July 12th in New York Harbor

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is hosting its seventh annual City of Water Day festival this Saturday, July 12th, at multiple locations in New York Harbor.  Festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This year Hoboken is joining in the fun, hosting … Continue reading

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