Author Archives: Rick Spilman

An Icy Lighthouse on the First Day of Winter

Icy images on the first day of winter — the St. Joseph inner and outer lighthouses sit on a pier at the entrance to the St. Joseph River on Lake Michigan. The two lights were built in 1906 and 1907 and … Continue reading

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The Cluttered Ocean — UFOs and the Vendee Globe

The seas are growing increasingly cluttered.  In addition to all the other hazards of the sea, floating objects are a serious threat to sailors.  So far, of the  original 29 competitors in the Vendee Globe singlehanded around the world race, … Continue reading

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Deepwater Wind, First US Offshore Wind Farm Goes Live off Block Island

The great news is that the first US offshore wind farm is now online. Five 6 MW wind turbines installed by Deepwater Wind have begun commercial operation off Block Island, RI. The turbines should generate enough electricity for 17,000 homes. It … Continue reading

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The Wavy Navy, Stringbags and the Mighty Bismarck

We recently posted about the death of John “Jock” Moffatt, at 97, the Scottish pilot credited with disabling the German battleship Bismarck with a torpedo fired from his Fairey Swordfish biplane in May 1941. In the post, we included a photo of … Continue reading

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A Bit of Perspective: Slocum Glider, a Small Research Drone, not a “Naval Vessel”

As we posted yesterday, a Chinese naval vessel seized one of USNS Bowditch’s drone gliders.  Today there are news reports that the Chinese are giving it back.  Unfortunately, in the interim, several news outlets either misinterpreted what transpired, or, at the very least, led with headlines … Continue reading

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Chinese Navy Seizes a USNS Bowditch Drone Glider

In one of the stranger escalations of tensions between the US and the Chinese, a Chinese naval vessel seized one of USNS Bowditch drone gliders. USNS Bowditch is an oceanographic survey vessel which operates with a mix of civilian and military crew members. The … Continue reading

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Record Waves in the North Atlantic

In the last day or two, there have been numerous press reports of a 19 meter (62.3 ft) wave, recorded by an automated buoy in the North Atlantic between Iceland and the UK off the Outer Hebrides. This is a … Continue reading

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Royal Navy Pilot Jock Moffat, Torpedo Crippled the Bismarck, Dies at 97

On May 27, 1941, the German battleship Bismarck had just sunk the pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood. As she was close to escaping into safe waters, Bismarck was attacked by a swarm of obsolete Fairey Swordfish biplanes launched from the carrier HMS … Continue reading

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A Close to Unsinkable Titanic in China’s Sichuan Province

Back in 2012, we posted about Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s grand plans to build a sorta-replica of RMS Titanic. The Titanic II, as it was to be known, was supposed to be built in a Chinese shipyard enter with a … Continue reading

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A Video for a Monday — Epic Ship’s Horn Fail on the Oriana

I am not sure when this actually takes place, but it seems like an appropriate video for a grey cold and rainy Monday.  Here is the P&O Cruises Oriana departing Southampton’s City Cruise Terminal for a refit. As per the Rules … Continue reading

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Off Arromanches, a Drone over the Mulberry

Here is a lovely drone video by François Monier of what is left of Mulberry B just offshore near the French village of Arromanches. One of the reasons that the Germans were skeptical of an Allied invasion of Normandy was … Continue reading

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The Water Worlds of Kepler-62

I have always thought that our planet was misnamed. Earth is a synonym for dirt, even though 72% is covered by water. Now, it appears that scientists may have discovered two distant water worlds even wetter than our own misnamed … Continue reading

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Pristine Wrecks in Great Lakes, Baltic & Black Sea While Bacteria Devours the Titanic

Recently, the New York Times featured an article on 40 recently discovered wooden shipwrecks located deep in the Black Sea off the Bulgarian coast. In age, the wrecks span a millennium, from the ninth to the 19th centuries. What is … Continue reading

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The Fateful Collision of USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, October 22, 1941

I learned yesterday that USS Arizona was not supposed to be in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. This is one of those minor facts that invariably seem to pop up to remind us that history is just as often … Continue reading

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On the 75th Anniversary: Pearl Harbor Attack Radio Emergency Broadcast

Seventy five years ago today. Pearl Harbor Attack EMERGENCY RADIO BROADCAST announcement

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Pearl Harbor 75th : Remembering Dorie Miller, Messman with a 50 Caliber

On the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, it is a good time to remember Dorie Miller.  Miller was a Navy messman on the battleship USS West Virginia, who showed incredible courage … Continue reading

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Captain Radhika Menon, India’s First Female Merchant Captain Wins Bravery Award

Our belated congratulations to Captain Radhika Menon, who was awarded the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea at a ceremony at the end of last month. Captain Menon is both the first Indian female merchant marine captain and the first … Continue reading

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LCS — the Program that Broke the Navy

“The experience of LCS, it broke the Navy,” said Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition. The Navy’s ambitious Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program promised low cost, highly flexible, reliable, multi-mission ships. So far they … Continue reading

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Statsraad Lehmkuhl — Norway’s Oldest, Largest, and Very Fast Sailing Ship

The three masted barque Statsraad Lehmkuhl is many things. Based in Bergen, Norway, at 102 years old, she is Norway’s largest and oldest square-rigged sailing ship. She is also very beautiful and very fast. In this year’s Tall Ship Races, she … Continue reading

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Vendee Globe — Hugo Boss & Banque Populaire VIII Shot from French Navy Helicopter

Here is some remarkable video footage of the two leaders of the Vendee Globe single-handed around the world race, shot from a French Navy helicopter from the frigate Nivôse. The helicopter videoed Armel le Cleac’h, sailing Banque Populaire VIII, and … Continue reading

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