Sunday, April 26, 2020


26 April 2020: Well, here we are again, sheltering (still) in place, bored out of our skulls [like so many of you out there we suspect!] but staying healthy. Washing hands, wearing protective masks (the efficacy of which for non-medical users has yet to be proven!) and trying not to lose what's left of our minds!
Today's post comes from a UK newspaper, The Express, and deals with a WWI submarine wreck, sunk, according to its skipper, by a sea monster!

The SM UB-85 was a U-boat used by the German Imperial Navy during World War 1, commissioned on November 24, 1917. On only its second patrol, the vessel was picked up by HMS Coreopsis II off the coast of Belfast, Ireland, in April 1918 after suffering partial flooding through a semi-open hatch while trying to evade attack by the British ship. The ingress of water could not be controlled, since cables for a heater in the officers' compartment had previously been laid through a watertight door and so the submarine was forced to be abandoned and the crew was taken captive as prisoners of war.

Under interrogation, the captain – Gunther Krech – is reported to have claimed the U-boat had surfaced the night before to recharge its batteries and had been attacked by a large sea creature that had damaged the vessel and left it unable to submerge. 

But, in October 2016, engineers working on underwater power cables off the coast of Stranraer, Scotland, found the wreckage on the seabed largely intact and sonar images later confirmed their suspicions.

Innes McCartney, a historian and nautical archaeologist, concluded the discovery helped reveal the truth of what really happened to UB-85.
He said in 2016: "In reality, the real sea monster was the U-boat trying to sink ships.
"The submarine was caught on the surface at night, recharging its batteries.
"It saw the patrol ship coming and it attempted to do a crash dive to get away.
"Once the submarine was underwater, it rapidly started flooding from above so they had no option but to blow all the compressed air they had, bring the submarine to the surface at which point all they could do was surrender."

The historian said tales of sea monsters and haunted U-boats came about due to secrecy surrounding exactly what happened during the first U-boat war which meant that period was "ripe for conspiracies".

He said the stories were often concocted as a result of journalists and ex-Navy men "talking late at night, after having a nice time".[ed: translation: several pints of ardent spirits]

Dr McCartney said there were at least 12 British and German submarines known to have sunk in the Irish Sea.
He added: "The features of this particular wreck, which is largely intact, confirm it as a UBIII-Class submarine, of which we know of two which were lost in the area – the more famous UB-85 and its sister boat UB-82.
"While I can conclude that this wreck is likely to be one or the other, they would be practically impossible to tell apart, aside from the numbers painted on them in service, now obviously long gone.

Unless a diver can find a shipyard stamp, we cannot say definitively, but yes, we're certainly closer to solving the so-called mystery of UB-85 and the reason behind its sinking - whether common mechanical failure or something that is less easily explained."

The historic discovery was made by engineers involved in the £1billion Western Link project to lay a subsea power line between Ayrshire and the Wirral.
The 3239 miles long cable carries renewable energy produced in Scotland to England and Wales.
The engineers found the wreckage 120 metres north-west of the centre of the planned route, off the Stranraer coast.
The vessel is about 45 metres long, with debris spilling from the stern.

That will do it for this week. We wish you all good health, stay safe, and wash your hands! And just to offer a heads up, we may be late next week as it is possible Maritime Maunder will be shifting to our "non-winter quarters."

Until next time, 
                                    Fair winds, 
                                          Old Salt

Saturday, April 18, 2020


18 April 2020: While we here at Maritime Maunder continue to "shelter in place" many of you are beginning to see signs of loosening up of the restrictions that have kept us safe for the past month and more. We hope that continues and we can al get back to our lives soon! Confinement sits poorly with many and while some are very creative in discovering new ways to not only entertain themselves, but also to teach and entertain their children. Not to mention suppress the odd mutiny!
Last month a scallop boat succumbed to the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," Cape Hatteras. She sits on the hard now, but who knows for how long as the ocean frequently has a way of reclaiming her victims. The following from several North Carolina dailies:

The haunting sight of a large fishing vessel grounded at Cape Hatteras National Seashore has apparently become too much for explorers to resist, and it’s starting to worry the National Park Service.

A warning has now been issued for people to stay off the rusting hulk known as the Ocean Pursuit.

The 72-foot vessel is unstable in the sand and sits 50 yards from the dry land at high tide. Stay too long and you could be swimming to shore or even floating out to sea.

He didn’t detail the threats aboard the Ocean Pursuit, but the 72-foot vessel is unstable in the sand and sits 50 yards from the dry land at high tide. Stay too long and you could be swimming to shore, or even floating out to sea.

Boats that run aground on the Outer Banks are often broken apart by pounding winds and waves if left too long, experts say. They can also be dragged back out to sea in the right storm conditions.

In the case of the Ocean Pursuit, the vessel has begun slowly sinking into the sand, bow first.

The scallop vessel ran aground on Bodie Island for unexplained reasons on March 1, and its crew was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. It now stands as a visible reminder of the region’s reputation as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Hundreds of vessels have met their demise in the rough currents and shifting sands off North Carolina.

It’s unclear how long the wreck will remain, but all hazardous materials and fuels on board have been removed, Barber told McClatchy News.

“The owner of the Ocean Pursuit has been in contact with us, but is currently unable to provide a time frame for removing the vessel,” Barber said.

So, you folks in the Hatteras area, stay off the wreck! And all of you stay safe. We'll get through this mess and get on with our lives before long!

Until next time,  
                                   Fair Winds,
                                          Old Salt