Thursday, September 29, 2016


29 September 2016: It is possible (I did not check) that we posted this last year, but as the event happens only once every five years, and it is beyond spectacular, we thought it might bear another (if indeed we have previously posted it) look. The following images from SAIL AMSTERDAM 2015 are amazing, some real "eye-candy" for those who love the sea and ships.

Every five years a parade of ships, 'SAIL Amsterdam' takes place. In August thousands of vessels, from small sailboats to large replicas of caravels, full rigged ships, and training vessels arrive at the IJ bay north of the city and then pass to the capital of the Netherlands: in 2015 IT involved 8,000 vessels and millions of spectators. I do not think this "show" occurs anywhere else on earth! Enjoy!




 Hope you enjoyed these great pictures of an amazing event. Well done, Amsterdam!
Until next time,
                             Fair Winds,
                                       Old Salt

Thursday, September 22, 2016


22 September 2016: Saw this quite interesting article written by Melissa Hobson this morning and thought it would interest many of our readers. I witnessed, a few years back, the sinking of a former US Navy ship off the beach in Grand Cayman and subsequently dove the wreck (It wasn't a wreck - it was in pristine shape, just "cleaned up" so as to prevent ecological damage). It is quite a sight to watch a ship do down, and at the event I mentioned above, there were huge throngs of spectators, both on the beach and on boats around the site. Here's a video of another ship being sunk (July 2016) to make a reef for recreational divers off the coast of Florida (click the name below):

Ana Cecila

Now, here's the article by Ms. Hobson (lightly edited) I mentioned earlier. I hope you will enjoy reading it and seeing some of the wonderful images included.

"Since I qualified as a diver nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to see more incredible marine life than I can name – from finding a turtle resting under some coral on my first ever night dive in the Great Barrier Reef to coming eyeball to eyeball with grisly-looking ragged tooth sharks in South Africa.

As well as the fascinating creatures you might spot on a dive, the non-living things can be a huge draw for divers too. Namely: shipwrecks – after some time underwater they gradually begin to deteriorate. The wreck becomes both a historical capsule frozen in time (with artefacts that went down with the ship – such as tools, maps in cabinets or medicine packets – still identifiable) and a diver’s underwater playground that changes over time and blends in with the marine habitat as it deteriorates and coral grows over it.

According to the United Nations, there are over three million wrecks at the bottom of the ocean. Thousands of these are popular scuba diving sites and many of those in shallower waters (such as the Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben, Bali) can also be visited by snorkelers.
"There are many ways in which a ship might have come to its final resting place on the seabed. By their nature, many wrecks will have been victim to a misfortunate incident: an accident or collision, a storm, warfare, piracy or just human error. Only last month I visited the wreck of the MV Christina with Scuba Safaris in Nevis – a passenger ferry that tragically sank on the crossing from St Kitts and has been preserved as a memorial site. Chillingly, some human remains are still visible as not all the bodies could be recovered from the wreckage.
"Yet, not all shipwrecks sink as a result of an accident or misfortune – many are put there on purpose. A recent example is the Ana Cecilia: a 170-foot cargo ship was sunk in Palm Beaches on 13 July 2016. She was once used to smuggle drugs into America and was seized when an investigation discovered more than $10 million of cocaine on board.
"Just ten days after the scuttling of the Ana Cecelia (video above) to make for an ecotourism attraction, another new diving attraction was created in Greater Fort Lauderdale: on 23 July 2016, a 324-foot environmental tanker, Lady Luck, became the latest addition to be sunk at The Shipwreck Park in Florida. Image below.

The underwater ‘cultural arts park’ is already home to 16 other wrecks but Lady Luck will be a special attraction: as well as exploring the captain’s deck, engine room and 16 staterooms, divers will be able to see the work of renowned local artist Dennis MacDonald, including a faux casino, on the deck. Lady Luck is expected to boost tourism to the area by attracting 35,000 divers each year."

USS Oriskany (aircraft carrier)
Hope you enjoyed this. Until next time,
                         Fair Winds,
                                  Old Salt

Thursday, September 15, 2016


15 September 2016: 186 years ago, the United States Frigate Constitution had been destined for the scrapyard, her timbers likely to be used for a more modern, updated warship. A young medical student, Oliver Wendell Holmes, heard of the disgrace and, moved by his outrage, composed the following verse which was published in the newspaper and credited with saving this paragon of United States supremacy on the seas.

A bit about Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. first:

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Holmes was educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard College. After graduating from Harvard in 1829, he briefly studied law before turning to the medical profession. He began writing poetry at an early age; one of his most famous works, "Old Ironsides", was published in 1830 and was influential in the eventual preservation of the USS Constitution. Following training at the prestigious medical schools of Paris, Holmes was granted his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1836. He taught at Dartmouth Medical School before returning to teach at Harvard and, for a time, served as dean there. During his long professorship, he became an advocate for various medical reforms and notably posited the controversial idea that doctors were capable of carrying puerperal fever from patient to patient. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in 1894.

Constitution 1812
Constitution 2012

The Poem:

"Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
and many an eye has danced to see
that banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout
and burst the cannon's roar -
the meteor of the ocean air
shall sweep the clouds no more!

Her deck, once red with hero's blood
where knelt the vanquished foe
when winds were hurrying o'er the flood
and waves were white below
No more shall feel the victor's tread
or know the conquered knee
the harpies of the shore shall pluck
the Eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered bulk
should sink beneath the wave;
her thunder shook the mighty deep
and there should be her grave:
nail to the mast her holy flag,
set every thread-bare sail,
and give her to the God of storms,
the lightning and the gale!                      
                                       September 16th, 1830

Well, it worked! Here she is just last year entering dry dock in Charlestown Navy Yard for her periodic overhaul.

Until next time,
                             Fair winds,
                                   Old Salt

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


6 September 2016: There have been several posts on Maritime Maunder regarding the inefficacy, poor design, and complex structure of the new LCS (Littoral Combat Ships) which were touted to be the  forerunner of the "new Navy." With changeable "modules" for different combat roles (they never worked), small crew, and diesel / turbine power, the ships were touted as the "cutting edge" of technology and foresight. Not so much! We received some "push-back" about our stance on these vessels from folks who must have been more hopeful than knowledgeable. 
Littoral Combat Ships actually underway

There have been a continual string of breakdowns of these fragile vessels, some as early in their careers as occurring on their shakedown cruise. And now, the fourth of them has failed, to the extent it had to be towed across the Pacific to Hawaii for repair/rebuild/replacement of machinery.

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado is returning to Pearl Harbor from the Western Pacific after experiencing an engineering casualty last week, officials with the Navy's Third Fleet confirmed.

The incident comes just days after the Navy acknowledged that another littoral combat ship, the USS Freedom, had sustained significant damage to one of its diesel engines.

The Coronado departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Aug. 26 for an independent deployment to the Western Pacific, Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry told in a statement.

"USS Coronado (LCS 4) experienced an engineering casualty today while transiting to the Western Pacific," Perry said in the statement. "The crew took precautionary measures and the ship is currently returning to Pearl Harbor to determine the extent of the problem and conduct repairs."

The Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship to be sidelined by an engineering casualty in less than a year, following breakdowns by the USS Freedom in July and the USS Milwaukee and USS Fort Worth in December and January, respectively.

However, the ship is the first of the Independence-class littoral combat ships, made by Austal USA, to suffer such an issue. The other ships are all part of the Freedom Class, made by Lockheed Martin Corp. The news of the Coronado's breakdown was first reported by Navy Times.

Third Fleet officials did not elaborate on the nature of the Coronado's engineering casualty, but said it appears to be unrelated to recent propulsion problems involving the Fort Worth and Freedom.

The Milwaukee required repairs after a clutch failed to disengage while the ship switched from gas turbine to diesel engine systems, resulting in damage to the clutch gears and forcing the crew to cut short a transit from San Diego to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and receive a tow to Virginia for repairs.

And so it goes...

Until next time,
                                Fair Winds,
                                      Old Salt

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


30 August 2016: While many of us in the world of things maritime were aware of this, I am not sure the "general public" was. We did mention it in a post about Wavertree, the ship which shared dock space with Peking for years at South Street Seaport, but it was a passing comment. So, without further ado, here's the story of Peking's looming departure. It is courtesy of the New York Post.
Peking in her berth at South Street Seaport Museum

Last weekend was is the final chance step aboard  Peking — the storied, black and white ship that has towered above the South Street Seaport since 1974. She’ll be hauled back to her birthplace in Hamburg, Germany, next spring and will be replaced by the Wavertree, another tall ship that has more New York history than the Peking.

The South Street Seaport Museum has been in financial straits since Hurricane Sandy and started negotiating a deal with Germany back in 2012 to get the Peking back home.

The museum was willing to give her away as a gift but needed the cash to get her across the Atlantic. Finally the German government agreed to invest over $30 million in bringing the Peking back and restoring her for her new home at the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim, the maritime museum of Hamburg.

Captain Jonathan Boulware, executive director of the South Street Seaport Museum, said the decision to give Peking to Germany is in the best interest of the museum and the ship.

“It’s also good for Hamburg; they’ll have a restored ship they can be proud of. She was built in Hamburg and sailed from there. She belongs on the Hamburg waterfront. And it’s good for Peking; she’ll have the resources and the attention she deserves.”

Built in 1911 by the German company F. Laeisz,  Peking is part of the last generation of sailing ships, constructed right as steam-powered vessels started to dominate the market. She is reputed to be the last square-rigger to double Cape Horn.

The Peking arrived in the city in 1974 at the ripe age of 63 after narrowly avoiding spending the rest of her life in a scrapyard. She has a long history as a merchant ship from South America to Europe, where she transported nitrates, essentially bird droppings to be used as a fertilizer, between the two continents. She later fought in World War I, spent some time as a training ship and eventually became a school for boys in England, where she was briefly renamed the Arethusa. Peking eventually outswam her usefulness and was headed to the scrapyard when a wealthy navy lieutenant rescued her and brought her to the South Street Seaport Museum, where she has lived ever since.

Peking as she sits today
She will be towed to Staten Island on Sept. 6 where she’ll spend the winter on the island’s Caddell Drydock before heading to Europe. Wavertree is expected to return to South Street following her massive overhaul in September.

Until next time,
                           Fair Winds,
                               Old Salt

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


23 August 2016: While I am sure it's hard to believe (for us here at Maritime Maunder it is anyway) it has been two years since we began offering hopefully interesting maritime tidbits - mostly of little intrinsic value - but some fun, some historical, and some just noteworthy - and it is quite amazing the response we have received. We now have over 17,800 readers, world wide. Some of you make comments, add further insight, or just say thanks. Now it's our turn to say thanks to you, our readers, for continuing to follow Maritime Maunder.....

This week has had a couple of interesting historical events that should be mentioned, but we will not dwell on them as we have a brand new and I think interesting topic for you. Of note: 1851 (August 22) U.S. schooner AMERICA tops the best of the British fleet in a race around the Isle of Wight, winning the "100 Guinea Cup" which was then donated to the New York Yacht club with the understanding it would be contested internationally.

The "low black schooner" America

It became, of course, the America's Cup, named for the schooner, not the country. There are currently a series of races being contested that will eventually lead to a two boat match race in Bermuda in 2017 - for the Cup.

Another item of interest, though not really maritime, is the landing of the British at Benedict MD from whence they marched through Bladensburg, shredding the American forces positioned there to stop them, and marching on to the American capital, Washington City, and burning a number of public buildings, including what is now called the White House (then it was the Presidential Mansion). A thunder storm of stunning intensity put out the fires and the British left, returning to their ships to sail on to Baltimore where they met a quite different reaction. More on that in a few weeks.

But the item of focus for today is the exploratory expedition of E/V Nautilus under auspices of Naval Historical Foundation and NOAA to film and explore the WWII light carrier Independence sunk off the coast of California in some 2600 feet of water. Of note is that the expedition will be broadcast live over the internet, something which world, renown undersea explorer, Dr. Bob Ballard, has fostered for some time. Following is the NFH article only lightly edited about the event and we will post more as more is available.

The Corps of Exploration on E/V Nautilus and scientists on shore participating via telepresence will conduct the first-ever visual survey of the sunken aircraft carrier USS Independence. In 1951, Independence was scuttled offshore San Francisco where she now rests within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The wreck was acoustically surveyed in 2015 by The Boeing Company and Coda Octopus working with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Maritime Heritage Program and West Coast Region, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Our expedition will be the first time humans will lay eyes on Independence in over 65 years.
At her christening, Independence represented the first of a new class of carriers built on converted cruiser hulls. She joined the Pacific Fleet in June 1943. She participated in major campaigns of the Pacific front in attacks on Rabaul, Tarawa, Luzon, and Okinawa. Most notably, Independence was part of the carrier group that sank the last remaining vestige of the Japanese Mobile Fleet at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, including the battleship Musashi. USS Independence received eight battle stars due to the heroic actions of the Sailors, Officers, Pilots and Marines who served onboard. To learn more about the history of Independence’s service in the war, visit

 After the war, the ship had another important national service yet to perform. Selected as a target vessel for the Bikini atomic bomb tests - code named Operation Crossroads - she was placed within one-half mile of ground zero for the 1 July explosion (Test Able). The ship was severely damaged but did not sink and took part in an underwater detonation test 25 July (Test Baker).
 The third atomic test (Test Charlie) was canceled due to growing concern over the water conditions within Bikini Atoll. Decommissioned at Kwajalein Atoll on 22 August 1946, the “ex-Independence” was towed to San Francisco by ocean tugs USS Hitchiti and USS Pakana, arriving at Hunters Point in the San Francisco Bay in June of 1947.  

At Hunters Point the Navy would establish the NRDL – Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory and Independence became a training school to study the aftereffect of the atomic bombs on the target vessels. To learn more about Independence’s role in Operation Crossroads, visit
Now this old warhorse rest at the bottom of the Pacific, home to a myriad of sea creatures and the ghosts of warriors who helped shorten the Second World War.
The lower image represents a high gain sonar shot of the ship as she lays on the bottom, with pertinent features identified with the ship as she once was.
For more info and a "sometimes" live link, check  They will be broadcast their dives as possible. You can also follow them on twitter: @EVNautilus for updates.
Until next time,
                                      Fair Winds,
                                              Old Salt

Friday, August 19, 2016


19 August 2016: In celebration of the unqualified victory enjoyed by the US Frigate Constitution over the British HMS Guerrier, we want to share a few lovely images today of that momentous engagement, one that was such welcome news to a struggling young country engaged in a war with Great Britain; the War of 1812 as it's known here in America or the "American War" as the good folks in England call it. First a couple of images of that most beautiful vessel:

CONSTITUTION sails on 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerrier

Britannia ruled the waves at the onset of the War of 1812. When the British frigate HMS Guerriere dueled USS Constitution in the war’s first major naval engagement, the outcome was swift, decisive and surprising. In less than an hour of fierce fighting, Guerriere was in tatters and Constitution had been transformed into an American icon: “Old Ironsides.”
Her victory in August of 1812 cheered a depressed population, and changed the dynamic of sea battles during that conflict, and after.

Bravo Zulu, Old Ironsides!

Until next time,
                                Fair Winds,
                                    Old Salt