Wednesday, July 29, 2015


29 July 2015: Being a trifle pressed for time this week, I thought I would share this amazing story form WWII with you. I did not write it. It was penned by a young person named Emma Liem and posted on, a military blog on 21 July. I pass it along since I thought it not only amazing, but well written. Emma Liem is an undergrad student studying journalism and English at Lee University and is the managing editor of the school paper there.


Sometimes in life, the guy with the drunken, so-crazy-it-just-might-work ideas hits one out of the park and saves the day. This is clearly what happened in 1942 aboard the HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen, the last Dutch warship standing after the Battle of the Java Sea.
Originally planning to escape to Australia with three other warships, the then-stranded minesweeper had to make the voyage alone and unprotected. The slow-moving vessel could only get up to about 15 knots and had very few guns, boasting only a single 3-inch gun and two Oerlikon 20 mm canons — making it a sitting duck for the Japanese bombers that circled above.
Knowing their only chance of survival was to make it to the Allies Down Under, the Crijnssen‘s 45 crew members frantically brainstormed ways to make the retreat undetected. The winning idea? Turn the ship into an island.

The Abraham Cristessen in all its jungle finery Photo: Wikipedia
You can almost hear crazy-idea guy anticipating his shipmates’ reluctance: “Now guys, just hear me out…” But lucky for him, the Abraham Crijnessen was strapped for time, resources and alternative means of escape, automatically making the island idea the best idea. Now it was time to put the plan into action.
The crew went ashore to nearby islands and cut down as many trees as they could lug back onto the deck. Then the timber was arranged to look like a jungle canopy, covering as much square footage as possible. Any leftover parts of the ship were painted to look like rocks and cliff faces — these guys weren’t messing around.

Check out that boat-shaped island. Oh wait… Photo: Wikipedia

Now, a camouflaged ship in deep trouble is better than a completely exposed ship. But there was still the problem of the Japanese noticing a mysterious moving island and wondering what would happen if they shot at it. Because of this, the crew figured the best means of convincing the Axis powers that they were an island was to truly be an island: by not moving at all during daylight hours.
While the sun was up they would anchor the ship near other islands, then cover as much ocean as they could once night fell — praying the Japanese wouldn’t notice a disappearing and reappearing island amongst the nearly 18,000 existing islands in Indonesia. And, as luck would have it, they didn’t.
The Crijnssen managed to go undetected by Japanese planes and avoid the destroyer that sank the other Dutch warships, surviving the eight-day journey to Australia and reuniting with Allied forces.

Amazing story, don't you think!

Until next time, friends,
                                   Fair winds,
                                     Old Salt

Saturday, July 25, 2015


25 June 2015: A couple of weeks ago, I announced the release of my new book, IN HOSTILE WATERS, in digital format, i.e. KINDLE. The story is that of  the brig of war USS Argus on her cruise in the summer of 1813 to take the war to the British. An early review by George Jepson, editor of Quarterdeck Magazine stated: 

 I recall I also mentioned it would be out in physical form, i.e. paper, soon. Well, folks, for you traditionalists, that day has come! IN HOSTILE WATERS is now available through in physical book form and I expect, in a couple more weeks, will be available to book stores through the usual sources and distribution channels such as Ingram and others.

Front and back covers of IN HOSTILE WATERS

In case you wish to order it from Amazon, here's the link to the proper place in Amazon:

Hope you will enjoy the read.

Until next time, friends,

                           Fair winds,

                                      Old Salt

Saturday, July 18, 2015


18 July 2015: Paris, France 1792. John Paul Jones died alone in his apartment while awaiting word from the United States confirming his appointment as U.S. Consul to Algiers. 

Jones was born in Scotland 6 July 1742 as John Paul and went to sea at age 13 in the merchant service.  By 21, he was commanding ships sailing between the West Indies and the British Isles. After killing a man in what might have been a "fair fight" he adopted the name Jones and took up residence in Virginia.
Joining the Continental Navy at the start of the American Revolution, he conducted successful raids on his home country of Scotland on the ship Ranger and captured HMS Drake after a short battle. In 1779, Jones fought his most famous battle from the deck of USS Bonhomme Richard, a frigate, against a more heavily armed HMS Serapis  off the northeast coast of  Scotland. It was during this fight when he responded to the call from the British captain about surrendering that he gave his oft-quoted answer: "I have not yet begun to fight!" He subsequently went on to defeat the British ship even though his own was sinking, took the deck of Serapis, and continued his cruise of destruction.
Jones salutes his sinking ship Bonhiomme Richard from Serapis
Following the Revolution, Jones become a mercenary, fighting the Turks for Empress Catherine II of Russia - he was named an admiral in that service - and then retired to Paris.
He was buried there, but when the graveyard was given over to a car park, his grave site was lost until 1905 when the American Ambassador, General Horace Potter, discovered it. President Teddy Roosevelt organized the recovery and transfer to a crypt under the chapel at the United States Naval Academy. Great pomp and a naval coterie of ships escorted the body. When the tomb is open to the public for viewing, there is a Marine guard stationed there.
close up of the tomb
the crypt under the chapel
Jones, along with Commodore John Barry, is thought of as the Father of the American Navy. In reality, while those two naval officers were the early heroes of the navy, the real father of the navy would have to be John Adams at whose insistence, the navy was founded. But John Paul Jones is certainly the more romantic figure!

Until next time, friends,
                                fair winds,
                                    Old Salt

Saturday, July 11, 2015


11 JULY 2015: If you are at all like me, you most likely enjoy really good fireworks displays. Now, I am not talking about the grand show at over the Hudson and East Rivers in New York City for the celebration of America's Independence Day. That's spectacular to be sure, but I am talking here about fireworks like you've probably never seen before!  And since the celebration of America's Independence Day is only a short few days old, I thought this might be appropriate.

The link here will take you to a 2 minute show of Chinese fireworks which I think is probably the most amazing display I have ever seen. And yes, credit where credit is due: the Chinese invented the whole fireworks concept and has been at a bit longer than we in America have been. So without further ado, here is the chance to see colors you've never seen in fireworks before, shapes you've likely never seen, and a preponderance of pyrotechnics worthy of the finale of any U.S. display.

click here:         Chinese fireworks show

By the way, this is best watched on full screen with sound!

Enjoy and, until next time,

                            Fair Winds,
                                        Old Salt

Friday, July 3, 2015


3 July 2015: Well, here it is: another Independence Day
in the USA) - July 4th in the rest of the world! To my American readers, happy Independence Day. Show your flag and be proud of our country! It's not just beer, hotdogs, and beach!

USS Constitution, July 4th 2012

 The Color Guard aboard USS Wasp
Now for some really BIG NEWS:
My new book, IN HOSTILE WATERS, The Cruise of USS Argus, has been released in Digital format through Amazon, brought out by Sea Fiction Press. For those of you who do not chose to read on a KINDLE, fear not, the book will be available in physical, paper format in about two weeks. I will let you know when that happens right here in Maritime Maunder. The story is a good one, and I hope will entertain and educate my readers. This true story takes place in 1813, when the  United States Brig of War, Argus, commanded by W. Henry Allen, was tasked with carrying the U.S. Minister to France. Following the safe delivery of the minister, Argus was ordered to sail into British waters and become a commerce raider for as long as possible. Obviously, an open ended commission and one inherently perilous. Oliver Baldwin (The Greater the Honor, In Pursuit of Glory) sails as 1st Lieutenant. Edward Ballantyne (When Fortune Frowns, Gun Bay) commands the British ship sent to stop them.
A pre-release reader commented:
"White's well-known style of intermingling real historical characters with a few fictitious ones makes for a riveting read and, at the same time, enables the reader to learn a bit about one of the most heroic and little-known naval events of the War of 1812."

The link to amazon is:

Kindle edition IN HOSTILE WATERS

I will now leave you to your celebration of Independence Day and reading some American history!

Until next time,
                                    Fair Winds,
                                           Old Salt