Author Archives: Rick Spilman

The Soaring Body-Count of the Migrant Flood

Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have been forcing upwards of 3,000 migrants a day from their homes. These desperate refugees often seek new lives in Western Europe, traveling by both land and sea. The most dangerous route is across the Mediterranean from … Continue reading

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Quadrofoil Electric Hydrofoil Watercraft

I hate jet-skis. They are noisy, exhaust-spewing and dangerous. I am amazed that more people don’t get killed by running them into other boats or seawalls, or just by falling off. I recently came across a potential alternative to these … Continue reading

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The Newest Oldest Message in a Bottle

In 2014, we posted about a German fisherman who found a 101 year old message in a bottle. It was then the oldest message ever found in a bottle. Now, a bottle containing a message that was tossed overboard between … Continue reading

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Where is the North Korean Submarine Fleet?

Something very strange has happened on the Korean peninsula.  More than 50 North Korean submarines — about 70% of the country’s known fleet — have reportedly left their bases and disappeared from South Korea’s military radar.  They also represent most … Continue reading

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Wreck of the USS Macon — Flying Aircraft Carrier

In Marvel comics and movies, the mobile headquarters of the fictional intelligence/defense agency S.H.I.E.L.D. is a flying aircraft carrier, referred to as a “Helicarrier.”  In the comic books, the flying aircraft carrier first appeared in 1965, which raises the obvious question — … Continue reading

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Snug Harbor Shanties, A Short Documentary — Singing the History that Can’t be Found in Textbooks

My novel, The Shantyman, begins with a fictionalized Bill Doerflinger recording the tale told by a retired ship’s captain of a shantyman who saved his ship and its crew. The old captain lives close to the sailor’s retirement home, Sailor’s Snug … Continue reading

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Pride of the Ladies’ Gunboat Association — CSS Georgia Artifacts Recovered

Navy divers, working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, are attempting to raise what is left of the 250′ long CSS Georgia, an ironclad warship from the Civil War, in preparation for dredging the Savannah River.  The river is … Continue reading

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Mysterious Whale Deaths on the Coast of Alaska

Since May, 30 dead whales have been found along the coast of Alaska. This compares to a total of five dead whales reported for all of last year.  According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 11 fin whales, 14 … Continue reading

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Spirits of the Passage: Stories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Opens on the Cutter Lilac

Spirits of the Passage: Stories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade opened yesterday on board the ex-USCG cutter Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25.  The exhibit explores the transatlantic slave trade through a display of nearly 150 historical objects, many salvaged from sunken … Continue reading

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Sail Amsterdam 2015 — Sail In Parade

Sail Amsterdam bills itself as the world’s largest nautical festival. Every five years, more than 600 ships navigate along the North Sea Canal before mooring in and around the IJhaven in Amsterdam. The ninth edition of SAIL Amsterdam takes place … Continue reading

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The Clipper Ship Noonday & the Ships of Badger’s Island

Last year, the wreck of a the clipper ship, Noonday, was located just west of San Francisco. There was no great mystery where the ship sank in 1863, as the submerged rock where she struck has been known as Noonday Rock ever since. … Continue reading

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Dame Ellen MacArthur — Circling the Globe and the Circular Economy

In 2005, Ellen MacArthur broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, sailing 27,354 nautical miles in 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes 33 seconds at an average speed of of 15.9 knots. Recently she gave a TED talk about the … Continue reading

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Dream Symphony — a Clipper Ship for the 21st Century

When delivered sometime in 2016, Dream Symphony will be a clipper ship for the 21st century. Like the 19th century clippers, Dream Symphony will carry an impressive cloud of sail and like the clippers, it will be built of wood.  That alone is remarkable … Continue reading

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One Leg of a Long Journey — S.S. Columbia Heading Soon to Buffalo

The 113 year old, SS Columbia, the oldest remaining excursion steamship in the United States, is one leg closer in her long journey to restoration and operation. She has just completed a drydocking in Toledo, Ohio and is being prepared … Continue reading

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500 Year Old Sea Monster Figurehead from the Bottom of the Baltic Sea

Divers exploring the wreck of the Gribshunden have recovered a figurehead of a sea monster with ‘lion ears and crocodile-like mouth’ which has lay on the bottom of the Baltic Sea for roughly 500 years off the coast of Ronneby in southern Sweden. … Continue reading

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South Street Seaport Museum to Get $10.4 Million Federal Funding for Superstorm Sandy Repairs

Great news!  Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and the South Street Seaport Museum announced that the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding the museum $10.4 million from FEMA’s Public Assistance Program as part of federal efforts to … Continue reading

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Massive Explosions in Chinese Port City Tianjin Kill at Least Fifty

Explosions at a warehouse containing hazardous materials rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Wednesday, killing at least 50 and injuring over 700, 71 critically. Tianjin, 100 miles east of Beijing, is the fourth largest urban area in China. Buildings within a 1.5 miles … Continue reading

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“Son of Migaloo” Sighted off Australia’s Gold Coast

Recently, there has been considerable excitement over the sighting of a white humpback whale off Australia’s Gold Coast.  Initially, the whale was thought to be Migaloo, an albino humpback first seen in 1991. The white whale, however, appears to be … Continue reading

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Sail the Seven Seas — the Seven Seas for Sale

Movie director Steven Spielberg is putting his $200 million, 282′ mega-yacht, Seven Seas, up for sale, reportedly because it is too small. He is having a new yacht built, costing roughly $250 million, which, oddly, at 300′, is only 18′ … Continue reading

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Pitcairn Island — Tropical Living, Free Land and Internet!

How would you like to escape to a tropical island, well off the beaten path, where land to build a house is free,  temperatures stay above 62F all year round and there is even an internet connection? If that sounds good to you, you might want to consider Pitcairn Island. Continue reading

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