Monday, December 9, 2019


9 December 2019: Things are getting a bit hectic now as the holiday season looms so we may not make our weekly schedule. That said, we will try to bring you something new about every week..... 
With the release of the film MIDWAY not quite a month ago (it was brilliantly done, by the way, and highly recommended), we thought the recent discovery by the late Paul Allen's Research Vessel Petrel would be an appropriate topic for this week's offering..... From LIVESCIENCE writer Nicoletta Lanese:

Long-Lost WWII Ship Found at the Bottom of the Pacific Ocean
Only one other ship sunk at the Battle of Midway has been found, to date.
After weeks spent surveying an area of ocean about the size of Houston, historians aboard the research vessel Petrel spotted the wreckage of a World War II ship on the floor of the Pacific. 
The Japanese vessel, a flagship carrier called Kaga, sank on June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway, a U.S. victory and major turning point in the war, the Associated Press reported. 

"You see the damage these things took, and it's humbling to watch some of the video of these vessels, because they're war graves," historian Frank Thompson told the Associated Press. Thompson, a historian with the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., was onboard the Petrel when the crew discovered the sunken ship. The Kaga sank after taking fire from 30 dive bombers and two torpedoes from an American submarine, the USS Nautilus. Researchers found it more than 17,000 feet (5,400 meters) beneath the ocean surface, according to a video released by the Petrel crew. 

gun turret base
The Kaga joins a list of 30 other warships uncovered by the research vessel Petrel, a 250-foot-long (76 meters) vessel whose crew has been tasked with locating historically significant shipwrecks and exploring underwater ecosystems, according to the R/V Petrel website. Funded by the estate of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the crew collaborates with the U.S. Navy and international authorities to explore underwater military gravesites and help solve lingering mysteries about WWII battles. Click the link below for information and comments from an American pilot who took part in the attack on Kaga:

video of wreck and pilot description of attack 

The Battle of Midway stands out as a decisive confrontation between Japanese and U.S. forces in the Pacific, but many artifacts from the clash have yet to be recovered, according to the AP.
"This mission is unique because we're surveying an entire battlefield," Rob Kraft, director of undersea operations for Vulcan Inc., the company that operates the Petrel, told the AP in a video interview. "This is one of the largest battles of World War II. … The information we have is limited, but the battlefield itself was extremely large."
The Battle of Midway took place between warships and aircraft near Midway Atoll, a group of islands about 1,300 miles (2,090 kilometers) northwest of Honolulu. Japanese forces intended to launch an attack in secret, but U.S. cryptographers decoded covert Japanese correspondence leading up to the attack, according to The National WWII Museum
Raging for several days, the battle took more than 3,000 Japanese and 360 U.S. lives. The Japanese lost four aircraft carriers, the Akagi, Soryu, Hiryu and Kaga; one cruiser, the Mikuma; and several hundred aircraft. The U.S. lost one carrier, the USS Yorktown; one destroyer, the USS Hammann; and 144 aircraft. Before the Kaga discovery, the only other sunken ship that researchers had found was the Yorktown, the AP reported. 
The Petrel crew found the Kaga wreck within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, an area of more than 580,000 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers) of the Pacific Ocean, according to the monument website. The vessel launched its two onboard robots, an autonomous underwater vehicle and a remotely operated vehicle, all charged with investigating and collecting video footage of the scene. 

There you have it, RV PETREL finds another historical ship sunk in the Pacific War. And if you have not yet done so, see the film MIDWAY. You won't regret it!

Until next time, 
                                  Fair winds, 
                                          Old Salt

Sunday, December 1, 2019


1 December 2019: We here at Maritime Maunder hope that those readers who celebrate Thanksgiving had a very pleasant and controversy-free day with family and friends. We did and thank our family for providing a wonderful repast and gathering. 
Today's offering is, to us, astounding: the University of Maine has produced in one piece a 3-D printed boat. And not just a little toy or a model; it's a substantial vessel capable of holding 8 or 9 people and weighs some 5,000 pounds! This came from SOUNDINGS Magazine just today:

 It only took 72 hours, the world’s largest 3D printer, and about 5,000 pounds of polymer and carbon fibers to produce 3Dirigo—a 25-foot center console boat that is now on the books as the largest boat ever to be produced using 3D printing technology.

The printer, manufactured by Ingersoll Machine Tools and developed with engineers at UMaine and the Maine Technology Institute with generous government grant support, can print objects 100 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 10 feet tall. But the printer is not just for boats. UMaine sees possibilities in industrial applications such as bridge supports, beams and other structural objects.
Since June, Habib Dagher and his team had watched their custom 3D printer being put together. Before that, it had taken them three years to find a company that could even build the kind of 3D printer they wanted, incorporating their patent-pending technology. And before that, it had taken them about 15 years’ worth of science to develop the materials the printer would use to create things once they turned it on. On a Thursday night this past fall, that moment finally arrived.
“We asked the team, what should be the first thing we print with this?” says Dagher, who is executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine. “We had the option of printing something small and meager, but we wanted to see where the glass ceiling was.” 

Just 72 hours later, at 10:15 p.m. that Sunday night, they had created what Guinness World Records certified in October as the world’s largest 3D-printed boat and largest solid 3D-printed object, using the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer. “It was an exciting moment,” he says. “When we got it done, it was 5,000 pounds, printed all in one piece.”

The boat, called 3Dirigo, stands as a harbinger of how boatbuilding itself may evolve in the coming years. It is 25 feet long and made from bio-based feedstock—which means that instead of incorporating glass fibers, as a builder would to create a fiberglass boat, the 3D printer used biofibers that the center has figured out how to make from renewable resources including corn and trees.
“We break down the wood to a nanofiber structure, and we take that plus microfibers of wood, and we put that into a bio-based, recyclable plastic,” Dagher says. “These nanofibers do two things: They make the plastic stronger and stiffer. They’re about a thousand times smaller than sawdust. They have properties similar to metal, but it’s very challenging to work with them. If you take the fibers and put them in plastics, you can make very strong plastics.” 

Those plastics can have properties similar to aluminum, but they also are recyclable, which in theory could eliminate the entire problem of what to do with non-recyclable composite boats at the end of their days. “We’re looking at creating things that are 100 percent recyclable,” Dagher says. “Let’s say you use a boat for 50 or 100 years, you can grind it down and turn it into something else.”

The likelihood is that this - in future years - could revolutionize the boat building industry - not to mention all kinds of other large structural items... like bridges, walls, maybe houses and airplanes.... wow!

Until next time, 
                                          Fair Winds, 
                                              Old Salt


Friday, November 22, 2019


22 November 2019: This piece from the Associated Press caught our attention and we thought our readers might find it interesting. The state of preservation of this sunken schooner after 130 years on the bottom is absolutely amazing!


The remarkably intact wreck of a schooner that sank in 1891 has been discovered in Lake Michigan.
Shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson was traveling to South Manitou Island in northern Lake Michigan when his sonar picked up “something interesting” on the lakebed. Richardson made a record of the GPS coordinates and returned about a week later for a closer inspection. “The sonar showed something rising 90 feet off the bottom, which is very unusual,” he said.

Resting in 300 feet of water, the mysterious object was beyond Richardson’s diving range so he called in his friend Steve Wimer, a diver and underwater photographer, to examine the wreck site. On Sept. 30, Richardson, Wimer and their friend Brent Tompkins returned to the site and Wimer swam down to photograph what the website describes as a “mysterious ghost ship.”
Wimer described what he found on the lakebed as “the most intact shipwreck I have ever encountered,” The wreck was a small two-masted schooner, about 60 or 70 feet in length, with a lifeboat at its stern.

Eerie footage of the wreck shown below (click "video") shows the ship in its final resting place, with its masts clearly still intact. The ship’s deck, hull and stern cabin can also be seen, as well as its lifeboat.

The presence of iron rope offered a vital clue as to the ship’s identity, as was the schooner’s “sleek clipper bow.” Iron rope wasn’t widely used until the 1870s and the bow was typical of schooners built in Manitowoc and, later, Milwaukee, according to Richardson’s website.

After searching through about 6,000 schooner records in the Patrick Labadie Great Lakes Maritime Collection, and cross-referencing with Great Lakes databases and newspaper archives, the researcher said that the ship is likely the W.C. Kimball. The schooner was carrying a cargo of salt and wood shingles when she disappeared in May 1891.

MLive reports that the schooner, which was built in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1888, was lost in a gale with four people aboard.
The Great Lakes continue to reveal their shipwreck secrets. Two Civil War-era schooners that collided and sank more than 140 years ago were recently discovered near Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan

The wreck of a steamer has also been discovered 103 years after it was struck by a massive wave and sank in Lake Superior. Earlier this year, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum announced the discovery of the wreck of the S.R. Kirby off the Keweenaw Peninsula on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Researchers found what appeared to be wreckage near Eagle Harbor, Mich., in 2018 and returned to identify the wreck with an underwater drone this year. That same year, experts said that a shipwreck discovered in Lake Erie in 2015 may be the oldest found in the famous lake.
Also in 2018, researchers announced the discovery of the 119-year-old shipwreck Margaret Olwill at the bottom of Lake Erie. The wooden steam barge sank during an 1899 nor’easter.
In May 2008, two explorers discovered the British warship HMS Ontario, which was lost in Lake Ontario in 1780. The Ontario is the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes and the only British warship of this period still in existence in the world.

Later that year, the explorers - Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville, also discovered a rare 19th-century schooner sitting upright 500 feet under the waves of Lake Ontario.
In 2016, Kennard was also part of a team of underwater explorers that discovered the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes. The Washington, an American-built, Canadian-owned sloop sank in Lake Ontario during a fierce storm in 1803.

Apparently, Lake Michigan is a wreck-divers dream with new sites being found with some regularity.

Until next time, 
                                            Fair Winds,
                                                Old Salt