Monday, December 23, 2019


23 December 2019: Well, another year is about done and this will likely be the final posting for this year what with Christmas looming and your humble scrivener heading to winter quarters. 

But before we leave you with our traditional year end Robert Louis Stevenson poem, "Christmas at Sea," I want to thank you all for your help in pushing Maritime Maunder over the 100,000 reader mark! We made it with a comfortable margin and time to spare. So those you who shared the site with your friends, thank you. We couldn't have made it without you. And now, our favorite seasonal poem:

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.

Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and a most happy, healthy,and prosperous new year to all of you. And thank you again for your interest and support of Maritime Maunder.

                                     Fair Winds,
                                            Old Salt

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


18 December 2019: Well, Christmas is almost upon us -one week from today in fact - and close behind it is the welcoming of a new year.
 This post we traditionally put up just before Christmas - it's a happy musical video - and then right at Christmas, we offer one of my favorite poems - and one than often causes one's vision to get a trifle blurry while reading it. Watch for it over the weekend.
And, on a different note, last week we mentioned we were some 700 readers away from our year end goal of 100,000 readers. We, now we are merely 150 away. Tell your friends and be sure to have a look next week, just before Christmas.

Here's the music video, courtesy of the Navy Band.  

 Navy Band - Dueling Jingle Bells

Until next time, 

                          Fair Winds,
                                  Old Salt

Sunday, December 15, 2019


15 December 2019: This is not strictly maritime but the lighthouse is, naturally, on the coast. So I am hoping you, dear reader, will afford us a bit of leeway on the issue of "maritime." 
But first, a couple of interesting (to us) notes about our readers: Interestingly, the largest block of readers last week were in Ukraine! And no, they have offered us no money., board positions, or any incentive - nor have we offered them any, nor have we threatened to hold back aid. We appreciate any and all readers with an interest in maritime ... stuff, and welcome any who wish to follow us. 
And further to that, we were secretly hoping to hit a benchmark of 100,000 readers by year end. We are, as of today, about 730 short of that number with two weeks remaining in the year so ... holding our breath, we are hopeful of making the number! Personally, I am stunned, gratified, and somewhat perplexed at the number who read us - after only five years four months.... Thank you all for your continuing interest in Maritime Maunder. And now, today's post, albeit somewhat shorter than usual. From Associated Press:

 A 120-year-old lighthouse was put on wheels and rails and moved back from the eroding North Sea coastline in northwestern Denmark on Tuesday.
The now-defunct Rubjerg Knude lighthouse was moved 70 meters (300 feet) inland, said Kjeld Pedersen, the mason in charge of the move, which took less than the expected 10 hours. Concrete will now be poured around the base of the roughly 1,000-ton structure.

The lighthouse is 23 meters (76 feet) tall and sits atop a cliff 60 meters (200 feet) above sea level.

When it first went into service in 1900, it was roughly 200 meters (656 feet) from the shore. But steady erosion meant that, by the time the move started on Tuesday morning, it was only about 6 meters (19 ½ feet) away.

Denmark’s environment ministry spent 5 million kroner ($747,000) to save the building, which officials say would otherwise have to have been dismantled. Environment Minister Lea Wermelin has called the white, square lighthouse “a national treasure.”

Local mayor Arne Boelt and the town of Hjoerring also chipped in to foot the bill.
The lighthouse ceased operating in 1968 and was briefly turned into a museum, including an exhibit about the structure’s struggle against sand drift.
In the end, it was closed because of shifting sands which slowly buried the two buildings adjacent to the lighthouse. The lighthouse, however, still gets more than 250,000 visitors each year.

The move was broadcast live on major Danish news outlets.

In 2008, a nearby church was dismantled to prevent it from falling into the sea. The Romanesque Maarup Church, built on a cliff around 1250, was picked for scenes in “Babette’s Feast,” which in 1987 became the first Danish film to win the Oscar for best foreign language film.


Again, our thanks for your continued support and interest. Until next time, 
                  Fair Winds, 
                          Old Salt

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