Monday, May 30, 2016


30 Ma7 2016: OK- I promised no underwater stuff and no shipwrecks. So, while this isn't exactly maritime, it IS historical, not a shipwreck, and not underwater! And it is worth the time to take a look at this fine video. Sandy Hook is in New Jersey (USA) and close to my home. I have ridden my bicycle through the bike paths of Fort Hancock many times and seen most of the sites shown. Also appropriate for Memorial Day, when, here in the USA, we honor our fallen soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen.

You may recall sometime back we did a post on Sandy Hook Lighthouse, and one on the flag pole showing both American and British flags over a gravesite marker.... This video courtesy of Fox News is taken at the same place.

Click below for video:

Hope you enjoyed the story of Fort Hancock.
Until next time,
                            Fair Winds,
                                  Old Salt

Thursday, May 26, 2016


26 May 2016: OK - in the last post we promised - well, perhaps that's too strong a word - may I say, suggested? - that we would not do any more underwater archeology for a while....... so, what is this? Well, friends, and loyal readers, this one in NOT underwater; in fact, it's anything but. This shipwreck is in the middle of the desert in Africa and is so amazing, I felt you would allow me one more shipwreck post.... for now!

Anyway, here you are, courtesy of CNN. Enjoy it!
The long-ago mystery of a missing Portuguese ship laden with gold has been solved, with the discovery of 500-year-old coins and pieces of The Bom Jesus buried in the desert coastline of Namibia according to reports on Monday (23 May).
It's the oldest shipwreck ever found in sub-Saharan Africa. The first hints of the discovery were found in 2008 by miners bulldozing for diamonds in the sands of the Namib Desert.
Instead they found pieces of wood and metal that pricked the curiosity of Dieter Noli, chief archaeologist of the Southern Africa Institute of Maritime Archaeology, who was certain they had stumbled upon evidence of a shipwreck.
A massive treasure chest of 2,000 mint-condition gold coins were eventually unearthed and dated from 1525 to 1538 and helped to identify the exact name of the ship that they had discovered.
Because of the dates and the coins' perfect condition, the ship had to have set sail at the time dated on the currency. The money, and the other artifacts, fit the profile of The Bom Jesus, which set sail for India in 1533 before vanishing. The 16th century book, Memorias Das Armadas, lists the ship as lost, notes the Gainesville News.
Noli believes the coins were protected because of the nature of the shipwreck. The Bom Jeus likely broke upon rocks lining the coast of Namibia, before tilting and sinking to the bottom upended , with a broken piece of the ship's side thought to have protected the treasure chest when it hit the sea bed.
"We figured out the ship came in, it hit a rock and it leaned over," Noli told CNN. "The superstructure started breaking up. The chest with the coins was in the captain's cabin, and it broke free and fell to the bottom of the sea intact. In breaking up, a very heavy part of the side of the ship fell on that chest and bent some of the coins. You can see the force by which the chest was hit, but it also protected the chest."
Though the treacherous seas and burial by sand broke up the ship into bits, more than 5,000 artifacts of archaeological significance were recovered, including bronze bowls, pewter tableware, a musket, long metal poles later found to be canons, compasses, swords, astrological tools and even a time capsule. Five anchors, copper ingots and more than 50 elephant tusks were also were uncovered.
Have a look at this video of the site and the wreck found therein, under the desert sands. Click the link below:
Miners have been mining diamonds from a vast area of the Namib Desert called the Sperrgebiet (or "forbidden territory" in the language of the German prospectors who first ventured there) for more than a century. Due to the extreme security of the area (it IS a diamond mine, after all!) very few people have ever seen these amazing 16th century artifacts from the Bom Jesus.
Diamond company DeBeers and the Namibian government still run a joint operation in the area, where a drive for diamonds has now discovered an archaeological breakthrough, with security already in place for the diamond mining operation now protecting the remains of the shipwreck.
So don't book a plane reservation to go see it; even experts have been denied!
But you saw it here on Maritime Maunder, and we hope you enjoyed it. And ok, no more shipwrecks - for a while!
Until next time,
                             Fair Winds,
                                 Old Salt

Thursday, May 19, 2016


19 May 2016: I don't want you to think that I am focusing on underwater archeology or wrecks, even though it might seem that way with the last couple of posts. and this one is no different. We'll get topside with the next post (maybe).

Remember Blackbeard the Pirate? Some of you might recall him as Edward Teach, but his fame as a pirate transcends whichever name you use. His ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, a former slaver, was run ashore, intentionally,  while trying to escape the Royal Navy off Okracoke, North Carolina, in 1718. Her wreck was discovered by divers in 1996 and ever so slowly, she is being explored, with treasures (no, not that kind) hauled to the surface. The most recent recovery was her anchor.

The nearly 3,000-pound anchor is the largest artifact yet recovered from the wreck of the notorious pirate's flagship.
The anchor was atop a pile of debris, which appears to be the remnants of the middle of the ship, including its cargo hold, said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge project. Next week, researchers hope to dig a small test hole into the pile where the anchor was removed to get a sense of what else might be hidden there.

Other finds include period guns, swords and other military hardware.
Queen Anne's Revenge was originally a French slave ship that Blackbeard and his band captured in the fall of 1717. Blackbeard, an Englishman whose real name was thought to be Edward Teach, was killed by British sailors in a battle near Ocracoke in 1718.
As more information and artifacts come to light (sorry about that!) I will try to update you. I hope you found this as interesting as I did. The website for the efforts in recovering Queen Anne's Revenge is It's interesting.
Until next time,
                             Fair Winds,
                                     Old Salt

Saturday, May 14, 2016


14 May 2016: Done traveling for a while so here we are, once again, with what I hope is of interest! A while back, we posted a story about the folks in Canada discovering the wreck of HMS Erebus - or possibly the other ship, HMS Terror, in Sir John Franklin's expedition - which disappeared in the ice in 1845. They were searching for the northwest passage, which, sadly, they did not find. It has now been satisfactorily proven that it is indeed the Erebus and a dive team has made several videos about it, including the two here, which show the ship as she is now, i.e. under about 35 feet of water.

First, here is how the ship looked in better times:

And here is how she looks now, on a sonar display:
The following link will take you to video showing the ship underwater, provided by Parks Canada. I apologize for the commercial (in French none-the-less) but it goes with the video!
 The second video is here: (and is really cool!) Sorry! couldn't resist that one.
HMS Terror remains among the missing, but I think you might agree, this discovery is certainly amazing!
Until next time,
                              Fair Winds,
                                     Old Salt
PS Maritime Maunder now has over 14,000 readers! I am stunned and humbled! thank you all!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


5 May 2016: Having spent the past week + on a ship, this occurred to me as a suitable, though short, offering for you today... and a big thanks to my good friend Hank Gulick for sharing it. Also appropriate is that as I write this, I am in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Hank is of Dutch extraction..... So thanks Hank!



The passenger steamer SS Warrimoo was quietly knifing its way through the waters of the mid-Pacific on its way from Vancouver to Australia. 

The navigator had just finished working out a star fix and brought the master, Captain John Phillips, the result. The Warrimoo’s position was latitude 0 degrees x 31 minutes north and longitude 179 degrees x 30 minutes west.
The date was 30 December 1899. “Know what this means?” First Mate Payton broke in, “we’re only a few miles from the intersection of the Equator and the International Date Line”.

Captain Phillips was prankish enough to take full advantage of the opportunity for achieving the navigational freak of a lifetime. He called his navigators to the bridge to check and double check the ships position. He changed course slightly so as to bear directly on his mark. Then he adjusted the engine speed.
The calm weather and clear night worked in his favour.
At midnight the “Warrimoo” lay on the Equator at exactly the point where it crossed the International Date Line!

The consequences of this bizarre position were many. The forward part of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and the middle of summer. The stern was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter. The date in the aft part of the ship was 30 December 1899. Forward it was 1 January 1900.
This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different months, two different seasons and two different years but in two different centuries-all at the same time.
Hope you enjoyed that bit of slightly "off-center" navigation as much as we did at Maritime Maunder!
Until next time,
                            Fair Winds,
                               Old Salt