Monday, December 24, 2018


24 December 2018: As promised, herewith a favorite poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, who writes with the insight of someone who has been there! 

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.
They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day’
But ‘twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the main tops’l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day was cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide race roared;
But every tack we made brought the North Head close aboard.
So’s we saw the cliff and houses and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with this glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every longshore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we smelled the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all the days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
“All hands to loose t’gallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate, Jackson, cried.
….”It’s one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood;
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

This might be the final post of 2018 (not sure yet as we will be shifting to winter quarters this week), and we wish all of you a most happy Christmas (if that's your "bag") and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019. 

Until next time, 
                                     Fair Winds, 
                                              Old Salt 

Thursday, December 20, 2018


20 December 2018: As a little Christmas gift to our readers, the following is a fun musical celebration of the season. Even if you aren't a fan of this type of music, you will likely enjoy elements of the U.S. Navy Band playing something out of character. Click the link below: 

Dueling Jingle Bells 

We'll likely see you again right before Christmas another post of one of our favorite poems (yes, we have traditionally put it up at Christmas time as it's quite special). And then we will possibly be off the air until the new year begins (shifting to winter quarters!).

So until then, enjoy the music and share the love.

                                    Fair Winds, 

                                         Old Salt


Saturday, December 15, 2018


15 December 2018: Depending on your point of view, this could be a great step forward or one of the dumber ideas to appear in the past few years. You decide. We here at Maritime Maunder think it's great if it works, but it will surely slow down deliveries! 


Car manufacturer Renault has entered a many-year partnership to install sails on board vessels transporting cars to the US. The sails are expected to reduce CO2 emissions significantly. [duh! - ed]

The car manufacturer has just entered a three-year collaboration with start-up Neoline to build two wind-operated vessels to be constructed by 2020 to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the transport of cars in the routes between France and the US. 
artists rendition - note side-by-side masts

Close to 60 percent of Renault's cars and parts are transported via sea. The project contributes to Renault's total target to reduce its CO2 emissions in the supply chain by six percent in the period from 2016 - 2022, according to a press release

"In the context of our strategy to explore new sustainable mobility solutions and to continue along the road to reducing our carbon footprint, the solution designed by Neoline, which combines energy efficiency and operational relevance, has truly captured our attention," says Jean-Philippe Hermine, Vice President, Strategic Environmental Planning Groupe Renault. 

Renault is not the only company wishing to use wind power on large merchant vessels in the future. Product tanker carrier Maersk Tankers is currently in the process of testing large cylinder-shaped rotor sails on board one of its vessels.
Neoline is a French startup from 2015 and is referred to as a shipowner in Renault's press release. 


We assume from the wording of the piece that the ships will still be chugging across the pond should the wind fail or be contrary!  

Until next time, 
                                Fair Winds,            
                                       Old Salt

Thursday, December 6, 2018


6 December 2018: A good pal and tall ship sailor just sent me this and I could not resist sharing it with my readers.... think of it as a gift for years of faithfully slogging through some pretty dry posts! And laugh - even laughing out loud is permitted! 

Golden Hind Tour 

 Until next time,
                                 Fair Winds. 
                                       Old Salt 

PS Maritime Maunder has now passed 78,000  readers! We are amazed!  OS

Sunday, December 2, 2018


2 December 2018: Well, once again, I am late but with good cause (in my opinion!) - I have been kind of "hors de combat" with a total knee replacement and off my feet for a short while. I know, using a computer doesn't require standing per se, but getting to it does! So that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Following is an interesting (to us) article I came  across recently which sort of fits our model for Maritime Maunder. For those of you who might be "geographically challenged," Ile Sainte-Marie is a couple of miles off the coast of Madagascar.

For around 100 years, Ile Sainte-Marie was the off-season home of an estimated 1,000 pirates. A recently discovered map from 1733 refers to it simply as “the island of pirates.” Situated near the East Indies trade route, the beautiful tropical island’s numerous inlets and bays made it the perfect place to hide ships. 

Pirates from all over the world lived in wooden huts, adorned with flags that signified which captain’s “crew” they belonged to. It was a pirate’s paradise. There were local women to satisfy their lust, and plenty of tropical fruit to satisfy their hunger.
When one of the pirates died, they were buried on a scenic, palm shaded hilltop cemetery overlooking the water. Today, 30 headstones remain, including a few sketched with a skull and/or cross bones, the international symbol of piracy. 

Legend has it that the notorious William Kidd is buried in a large black tomb in the cemetery, sitting upright as punishment for his dastardly deeds. He was actually buried in England, but his legendary ship, the Adventure Galley (rediscovered in 2000), was left docked near the Island, and his booty is said to be buried somewhere in the surrounding sea. In fact, the prospect of undiscovered treasure, from at least half a dozen documented shipwrecks off the coast, continues to lure adventurous explorers to this very day.
The pirates were off Ile Sainte-Marie by the late 1700s, when the French forcibly seized the island. It was returned to Madagascar in 1960. Today, Ile Saint-Marie is a thriving tourist destination. The crumbling cemetery, its graves half covered by tall, swaying grass, is open to the public. It is an ironically peaceful and still place, filled with the bones of violent and restless men.


So if you find yourself in the neighborhood of Madagascar with time on your hands, it sounds like a day trip to Ile Sainte-Marie might be of interest. 

Until next time, (and yes, my knee is healing nicely; thank you for asking! 

                      Fair Winds, 
                       Old Salt