Author Archives: Rick Spilman

Glowing Coral in the Deep Red Sea

As reported by Slate Magazine: Scientists have discovered a trippy scene under the Red Sea, full of fluorescent, glowing corals. An international team of researchers discovered the colorful corals at depths of more than 150 feet below the surface and … Continue reading

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The Ballad of Preserved Fish

Puritans were notorious for weird names.  Some first names are strangely long, such as “If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned” or “Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith”.  Some names were short but just disturbingly odd. Fly-fornication, for example.  In 1766, Preserved Fish was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. His first name, Preserved, … Continue reading

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Droopy Duck — The Continuing Saga of the Philly Giant Rubber Duck

The 61′ high 11 ton inflatable Giant Rubber Deck, featured in the Philadelphia-Camden Tall Ships Festival 2015, had some problems in the “Parade of Ships” on Thursday.  The duck was being towed on a pontoon, which was found to have holes … Continue reading

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LightSail — Sailing on the Light of the Sun

This post is not quite nautical, but it does involving sailing. The Planetary Society, a non-government, nonprofit organization, is sending sailing ships out to explore space, sailing on the light of the sun.  The first prototype completed a generally successful test mission … Continue reading

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Artist’s Midsummer Party on the Cutter Lilac

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by the Cutter Lilac on Saturday for the Artist’s Midsummer Party at the Hudson River Park’s Pier 25. The ship opens to visitors at 2:00 PM. The party is from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

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Is the Philly Giant Rubber Duck an Imposter?

In addition to a fleet of tall ships attending the Philadelphia-Camden Tall Ships Festival 2015, there will be a 61-foot tall, 11-ton inflatable rubber duck. The duck is said to be based on a the plans for a inflatable sculpture originally made by Dutch artist Florentijn … Continue reading

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The Philadelphia-Camden Tall Ships Festival 2015

The Philadelphia-Camden Tall Ships Festival running from June 25-28th, promises to be something special. I am sorry that I will be out of town and will miss the festivities. The events begin on Thursday, June 25, with a “Parade of Ships” up … Continue reading

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Captain Hansen Gregory & the Birth of the Modern Donut

Some friends of mine think that I am crazy because I seem to find nautical connections in just about everything. (Other friends think I am crazy for other reasons.)  Take for example, the modern donut.  What about a donut could … Continue reading

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Summer Solstice – Moonlit Sailor

In honor the summer solstice today, Summer Solstice by Moonlit Sailor, a Swedish post-rock instrumental group.

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Why is the Ocean Salty? Is the Old Answer Wrong?

I remember when I was quite young, I asked the question, “Why is the ocean salty?” We had just visited my grandparents in Florida and I had discovered first hand just how salty the seawater in the Gulf of Mexico could … Continue reading

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Happy Juneteenth! Emancipation on Galveston Island 150 Years Ago Today

Today is Juneteeth, a commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the state of Texas, in particular, and  in the Confederate states in general, one hundred and fifty years ago today. On June 5, 1865, two Union Navy ships, USS Cornubia and … Continue reading

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Derelict Gunboat 55, Rainmaker, Spotted Adrift Off Cape Hatteras

After five months, an abandoned catamaran has been sighted by a passing container ship. On January 30th of this year, Rainmaker, a brand new a $2.5 million carbon fiber Gunboat 55 catamaran, the first of its class, set off on a voyage … Continue reading

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HMT Lancastria – A “Secret Sacrifice” No Longer

The tragic loss of an estimated 6,500 men, women and children on the Lancastria was covered up for more than seventy years. It was the greatest loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than … Continue reading

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The French Navy Ship Insere and the Statue of Liberty

Today’s “Google Doodle,” the changing graphic that appears at the top of the Google search page, is a whimsical memorial to the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York. “Google is celebrating America’s most famous gift from France … Continue reading

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Before Caitlyn Jenner, Louisa Jo Killen, Folk Song and Shanty Singer

Not quite two years so, we posted about the death of the British folk and shanty singer who as born as Louis Killen.  The post title was “Lou Killen, British Folk Song and Shanty Singer, Dies at 79.”  Now after the … Continue reading

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Bluenose II Sets Sail At Last

Millions over budget and years behind schedule, the Canadian schooner Bluenose II finally set sail last week from Lunenberg, Nova Scotia on a training sail. Bluenose II  is owned by the government of Nova Scotia and will serve as a … Continue reading

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Vampire Lampreys Falling From the Sky in Alaska?

The headlines are great. CBS News reports: Terrifying “vampire fish” falling from the sky in Alaska.  Huffington Post chimes in: Hellacious Eel-Like Fish Are Dropping From The Sky In Alaska. The Washington Post offered, Why these mysterious, blood-sucking fish fell from the Alaskan sky. … Continue reading

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Tall Ship Kruzenshtern Rams Icelandic Coast Guard Vessels

The Russian Sail Training Ship Kruzenshtern was maneuvering to depart the old harbor in Reykjavík, Iceland, yesterday, when she rammed two of the largest Icelandic Coast Guard vessels, Týr and Thor. Both ships suffered damage, although well above the waterline. … Continue reading

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Alaric Bond’s The Scent of Corruption — (The Fighting Sail Series Book 7)

Alaric Bond’s latest novel, The Scent of Corruption, the seventh in the Fighting Sail series, is now available on Kindle and will soon be available in print. A great read. About the novel:  Summer, 1803: the uneasy peace with France … Continue reading

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l’Hermione Greeted by Fireworks at Mount Vernon

The French frigate l‘Hermione was greeted by a dramatic fireworks display on its arrival at Mount Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s plantation home. In 1780, the original frigate L’Hermione, carried the 23 year old Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis … Continue reading

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