Category Archives: History

Remembering Captain William A. Martin — Black Whaling Ship Captain From Martha’s Vineyard

As Black History Month winds to a close it seems worthwhile to recall Captain William A. Martin, the best remembered black whaling ship captain from Martha’s Vineyard. He is often referred to as the only black whaling captain from the island. … Continue reading

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Was Homo Erectus the First Sailor? Did Ancient Sailors Tell Sea Stories?

The timeline for when humans first took to the seas keeps getting moved back.  A few years ago, stone tools were found on the island of Crete which were dated to 130,000 years ago. Likewise, stone implements on the island of Flores … Continue reading

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Ocean-Aged Rum and the Democratic Party Ticket of 1896

Yesterday, we posted about four barrels of rum from Lunenburg’s Ironworks Distillery which are being carried around the globe by the barque Picton Castle on its seventh circumnavigation.  The sea voyage is expected to nicely age the rum.  Of course, distilled spirits being … Continue reading

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The Bones of Black Sam Bellamy — Captain of the Whydah?

The Whydah Pirate Museum announced this week, that last year human bones were found near the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah  on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The bones were located in an area close to where a pistol, which possibly belonged to … Continue reading

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Red Sails — Thames Sailing Barge Documentary

Red Sails is a documentary by Michael Maloney about the remarkable Thames sailing barges, which continued to ply their trade well into the 20th century before being replaced by diesel trucks. The documentary interviews bargemen about their lives aboard the … Continue reading

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Paul Cuffee, African-American Captain, Shipbuilder & Shipowner

The Maritime Administration identifies Captain Hugh Mulzac as The First African-American Shipmaster. Mulzac was the captain of the Liberty ship Booker T. Washington in 1942. Without intending any disrespect to the memory of Captain Mulzac, he was not the first African American shipmaster, … Continue reading

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Panther John Gomez & the Legend of Gasparilla

Last weekend in Tampa, FL was the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival.   The festival has been a yearly event for the better part of a century. It celebrates the life and times of the “Last Buccaneer,” the pirate Jose Gaspar, also known as Gasparilla, … Continue reading

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A Winter Taxi Across the Hudson River, or a Rickenbacker Doesn’t Float

Recently, we posted about the times when New York harbor froze solid. While that is a very unusual occurrence in New York City, a bit farther up the Hudson River, the river freezing over is a yearly event. In the summertime, before … Continue reading

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A Sideways Launch — Shipbuilding in Faversham, Kent

A documentary about a shipyard in Faversham, Kent where over 1200 vessels were built and launched between 1916 and 1969. The narrowness of Faversham Creek was no barrier to the launching of such large ship. Vessels were simply launched sideways. The … Continue reading

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Guest Post by Robin Denny: The Five-Masted Full-Rigged Ship Preussen

We recently posted about the five-masted full-rigged cruise ship Royal Clipper, a modern sailing ship designed as an homage to the great five-masted windjammer Preussen. We are very pleased to have a guest post about the mighty windjammer by Robin Denny:  With the Peking now … Continue reading

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Fifty Years Ago Today — North Korea Seizes USS Pueblo

Fifty years ago today, on January 23, 1968, North Korea seized the U.S. Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo while operating in international waters. One sailor was killed and 82 were taken prisoner. The Pueblo was commanded by Lloyd “Pete” Bucher. He and his crew … Continue reading

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Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin

The Great Lakes are rightly referred to the United State’s “fourth coast.” Here is a fascinating short video about shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay,  Wisconsin, off Lake Michigan. Historic Door County – Shipbuilding

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What Did Pirates Read? Blackbeard, Captain Cooke, and Woodes Rogers

A lump of paper wadding found in a cannon from the pirate Blackbeard‘s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge has been identified as containing scraps of paper from a book by Captain Edward Cooke written in 1712.  Researchers were able to identify … Continue reading

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Update: Looking Back at When New York Harbor Froze

Today, the East Coast is being pummeled by what meterologists are referring to as a “bomb cyclone,” a term which is equal parts concerning and confusing. A “bomb cyclone” is simply a rapidly intensifying low pressure front, which is now … Continue reading

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Five More Bodies Found on Batavia’s “Murder Island”

The story of the Dutch East Indiaman Batavia is as grim and tragic as it is fascinating. The Batavia was wrecked on her maiden voyage in 1629 when she ran aground on Beacon Island off Western Australia. Of the original 341 passengers and … Continue reading

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Christmas Night by C. Fox Smith, Adapted for Singing by Charlie Ipcar

 We hope that everyone is having a most merry Christmas. Here is a repost from 2014 of a poem by C. Fox Smith adapted for song by Charlie Ipcar.  Cecily Fox Smith was a Victorian poet best remembered for her poems about … Continue reading

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Australian Submarine Lost For More Than a Century Finally Located

After being lost for 103 years, the wreck of Australia’s first submarine, HMAS AE1, has finally been located in almost 1,000 feet of water east of Rabaul, not far from Duke of York Islands in Papua New Guinea.  The submarine, built in the Vickers … Continue reading

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Dressing for Tall Ships Sunderland — the Tall Ships Hat and the Belle Poule Pouf

The Sunderland Tall Ships Festival is projected to attract m ore than 1.5 million people next July. For those of us lying awake at night wondering what we should wear to the event, designer Kathryn Russell has at least one … Continue reading

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136 Year Old Steamer Jane Miller Found in Georgian Bay

On November 25, 1881, the steamer Jane Miller sank in the Georgian Bay off Lake Huron with the loss of 28 passengers and crew. This summer, American shipwreck hunters Jared Daniels, Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman, located the wreck in Colpoys … Continue reading

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Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph L. George, No Longer the “Unknown Sailor” on USS Vestal

Joe George is no longer the “unknown sailor” on the USS Vestal. The Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer has announced the posthumous award of the Bronze Star Medal with V device for valor to Chief Boatswain’s Mate Joseph L. George for … Continue reading

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