Tuesday, December 29, 2020


 29 December 2020: Well, the end is in sight! The end of 2020, that is. While the year for most of us has been certainly less than inspirational, we have had the opportunity to get closer to our house mates, more distant from our friends, and more depressed over the constant stream of bad news! We have pretty much turned off the steady flow of "horrible, dreadful, shocking" mass media news blaring from the television and radio. Who needs it?! As long as the liquor cabinet is properly stocked (I have noticed I spend more time at the liquor store than I used to!) we can survive this. And here's hoping 2021 gets brighter! 

This Robert Louis Stevenson poem, titled "Christmas at Sea" is a favorite of ours, and has been posted in this site before. We have always received very favorable feedback on it and so, we bring this to you to close out the year.



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.


 It is possible that some of you eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that the image above is of the U.S. Frigate Constitution. It is indeed and for a good reason: on this date, 29 December, the (now) American Ship of State met, fought and defeated the second of five British men of war off the coast of Brazil in 1812 during the War of 1812. So in her honor, we posted the image.

As this will be the final post of 2020, we here at Maritime Maunder want to wish all of our readers a wonderful new year and offer the hope that it will be a significant improvement over the year ending. 

Until next year, then,

                                 Fair winds, 

                                          Old Salt

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


 22 December 2020: Well, Christmas (for those who celebrate it) is in a couple of days and it has become a tradition here at Maritime Maunder to post what has become, over the years, a perennial favorite: the Navy version of "Dueling Jingle Bells" played, naturally, on a guitar and 5 string banjo. These guys are good. I won't comment further except to say that they look like they're having a ball! 



Click the link here, turn on your sound, and enjoy. Maybe it will put a smile on your face!


 Dueling Jingle Bells


Fun, right? I hope your Christmas holiday is wonderful and peaceful! Enjoy being locked down with family! (something different, right?!)


Until next time, 

                                    Fair winds, 

                                            Old Salt 


PS Hope your noticed red date header above - for Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


 16 December 2020: Continuing with the wreck theme we seem hung up on, thought the discovery of an historic and divable historic submarine wreck in U.S. waters was interesting, if for no other reason that diving the wreck would involve warm water and we are currently enjoying this week's snow storm of the century" here on the U.S> eastern seaboard. From the CBS affiliate in Baltimore MD, the following:



The wreckage of an American submarine was found in the waters off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland.

Atlantic Wreck Salvage, which operated D.V. Tenacious, found the wreckage of R-8 (S.S. 85) using side scan sonar. The submarine was dispatched by experimental aerial bomb testing in 1936. The discovery is important because R-8 is one of the few American submarines resting in diveable waters and had yet to be located.

The crews must still dive down into the waters to visually confirm the finding.

According to AWS, the R-8 was one of 27 submarines commissioned by the U.S. Navy during World War I. Built in 1918 by Fore River Shipbuilding in Quincy, Massachusetts, the submarine transited the Panama Canal, became a part of a the Pacific Fleet and participated in Naval training off the coasts of California and the Gulf of Mexico.

 R-8 in better days


In 1923, it sailed to Pearl Harbor where it was involved in training and operations with fleet units for the next eight years. In 1927, R-8 searched for pilots who went missing during the Dole Air Race and returned to the East Coast in 1930, becoming a part of the Inactive Naval Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia.

Officials say the submarine sank in the Navy Yard on February 26, 1936 and was raised in April before being used as a target in an aerial bombing test in August. It was four near missed with 100-pound bombs that sent the vessel to the bottom of the ocean.

“The sonar data leaves little doubt that the R-8 has been located,” said world-renown sonar expert Garry Kozak of GK Consulting, who analyzed sonar data with the team. “The submarine in the image is the correct length, width, and height. One set of prominent features of the R-class subs visible in the scan image is the spray rail configuration on the conning tower.”


Wreck hunter Captain Eric Takakjian and D/V Tenacious Captain Joe Mazraani have been working to find the R-8 for years. Captain Ted Green assisted the team by providing information about potential targets he gathered over the years.

“The discovery of any new vessel is exciting,” said Captain Takakjian, who has discovered more than seventy shipwrecks in his career. “It appears from the sonar images that the site will reveal a very well-preserved example of an R-class submarine in existence anywhere. We are looking forward to conducting additional research and to diving the wreck in 2021.”

The team is not releasing additional information about the depth or location of the submarine until they can dive and make a formal identification.

The side scan sonar shows the vessel is intact and sitting upright on the ocean floor.


There is likely to be a confirmation dive made once the weather turns warm again and when that occurs and the team announces their find, we will let you know. 

To our readers - all 116,000 of you - a most happy Christmas if that's your tradition and a most happy Hanukkah or Kwanzaa if that's your habit. Stay safe and warm!

Until next time, 

                                          Fair Winds, 

                                               Old Salt

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


 8 December 2020: We seem to have been concentrating recently on shipwrecks and this week's post will continue that trend, but with a different - a very different - slant. The Vendee Globe race is a single handed non stop round the world race that encompasses the three "capes" - Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Leeuwin. Basically the race instruction says "leave Antarctica to Starboard." The 2nd to last leg, west to east in the Southern Ocean (the roaring forties) is down wind and leaves Cape Horn to port. Then up the Atlantic to finish off France.  Did I mention two key phrases: "non-stop" and "single handed." The race is 24,000 miles (44,000 KM). There is frequently a problem in those waters with one or more boats and this year is no exception.The race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989, and since 1992 has taken place every four years. It is named after the Département of Vendée, in France, where the race starts and ends. The following from the British Guardian:


 From 2008/9 Vendee Globe

In the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race, Jean LeCam’s Imoca 60 capsized 200 miles west of Cape Horn, trapping him inside for 16 hours. He was rescued by Vincent Riou, the skipper of the Imoca 60 PRB.

On November 30, almost twelve years later, the rescued became the rescuer when Le Cam plucked the 2020 skipper of PRB, Kevin Escoffier, out of his life raft, in a dramatic rescue, 840 miles south west of Cape Town, South Africa.

 Le Cam's PRB at speed

 Escoffier’s foiling Imoca 60 PRB had snapped in half on Sunday when it slammed into a wave at 27 knots while competing in this year’s Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race. Escoffier said the bow bent up at a 90-degree angle and that he only had seconds to send a text before his electronics were fried by the incoming water.

 Artist conception of the disaster


“I didn’t have time to do anything,” Kevin Escoffier said. “I just had time to send a message to my team. ‘I’m sinking, I’m not joking. MAYDAY.’”

Escoffier abandoned ship and took to his life raft. Race management used an EPIRB signal and drift prediction software to put Le Cam in a position to locate Escoffier.

it took Le Cam multiple attempts to get Escoffier on board, at one point losing sight of him for hours, and finally retrieving him in the dark in 25 knot winds while slowing his boat to 1.5 knots with a triple-reefed main. Spotting the life raft a second time, Le Cam’s boat reversed to within 6 feet of Escoffier. Le Cam tossed a life ring to his fellow Frenchman and hauled him on board.

Escoffier after rescue
 Afterwards, in a video transmitted from Le Cam’s boat, Escoffier can be seen alternately joking with his rescuer and wrought with emotion, knowing he may have ruined Le Cam’s chances of winning the race and also coming very close to losing his own life.

Vendée Globe race management will have to get Escoffier off his rescuer’s boat so Le Cam can continue the solo race alone. Le Cam will be credited for the time he lost while retrieving Escoffier. Meanwhile, Escoffier will merely be a passenger. Race rules do not allow him to assist Le Cam in sailing the boat.



Escoffier was subsequently (a couple of days later) transferred to a French warship in the waters near Reunion Is. and Le Cam continued the race alone, having received time credit for his rescue of Escoffier. Truly a paragon of sportsmanship and one the things sailing is all about! We'll let you know who wins when they return to Les Sables France next year!

Until next time,

                                      Fair Winds, (and not the Southern Ocean kind!)

                                       Old Satlt







 The Vendée Globe is a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race. Wikipedia

Start: Les Sables-d'Olonne
Finish: Les Sables-d'Olonne
Length: 24,000 nmi (44,000 km)