Sunday, April 24, 2022


 24 April 2022: Back to the "World Headquarters" now from our winter quarters and spring is in the air; trees are turning green, flowering trees and shrubs are showing - or beginning to show- their glory and folks are getting their watercraft ready for another season of fishing, sailing, cruising, or just hangin' out. Speaking of watercraft, the following piece derives from two articles - one in the Jerusalem Post and one in the British publication, the Mirror. Imagine the excitement this find must have caused!


A ship dating back to 1298 was found 200 meters away from the shore in Tallin, the capital of Estonia. It is believed to have been a trading ship and was preserved exceptionally well.

A 700-year-old ship in extraordinarily good condition was found this week at a construction site in the Estonian capital Tallin on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The ship is believed to be a Hanseatic cog that belonged to the Hanseatic League - a medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in central and northern Europe.

Tallin, Estonia

 The ship was made up of oak logs about 24 meters long and sealed with animal hair and tar. Dendrochronological analysis (the study of the growth rings of trees in relation to time) found that the logs were from the year 1298 - 82 years older than the Bremen Cog.

 “We have found wool material used for packing, we have also found some tools and fragments of medieval leather shoes. Excavations are ongoing and we hope to find more.”

"800 years ago we had almost two meters of water here," the archaeologist in charge of the site, Mihkel Tammet, said to British newspaper, The Metro.

"There were probably shallower underwater sand ridges which were hard to map because they changed their shape and location because of ice drifts and storms," he explained.

"Our ship was found on one of these ridges under the sediments. It sank close to the Härjapea river mouth."

A separate, smaller shipwreck was unearthed on the property in 2008 but no new ones were expected, according to the archeology news outlet Arkeonews.

While the previous wreck was buried three-four meters underground, the new finding was unearthed one and a half meters underground, making it easier to extract, Arkeonews reported.

The site served as a port for centuries but was contaminated in the 1930s by ash and sewage. It is now 200 meters away from the waterfront, and it is not clear if the ship sank and was gradually covered or if it was deliberately sunk by local authorities after finishing its service, Arkeonews added.

Small items were unearthed along with the ship itself, such as a pigskin mallet used by sailors to tie the ends of rope.

The finding may be the most important archaeological findings in Europe this year, Tammet wrote on Facebook.


Hanseatic ships were only known in drawings until 1962, when the well-known Bremen Cog was unearthed in Bremen, Germany. That ship, however, may have been under construction, while the current ship had been serviced and used, Tammet explained. It is also better preserved than the Bremen Cog and also seems to have been built better, he said.

Tammet wrote that he hoped the ship would be extracted and preserved in its own museum. 


It will be interesting to see what happens to the remains; obviously, it should be preserved, but that takes a lot of money - which may or may not be available for a project such as this.

As a matter of interest, there will be no post next week as I will be traveling and away from a computer (thankfully!). So, see you in two weeks!

                                       Fair Winds,

                                         Old Salt

Sunday, April 17, 2022


 17 April 2022: Happy Easter and happy Passover to all those who celebrate! Once again, we are kind of flying in the face of precedent by posting a current event, but this is definitely in our wheelhouse. Museum ships are history and those charged with the "care and feeding" of one should do everything possible to ensure their continued viability. Sometimes, resources don't match the need, and then this happens. From FoxNews:


The USS The Sullivans, a decommissioned Navy warship, has partially sunk in waters near Buffalo, New York.

 The Navy destroyer, commissioned in 1943, began listing to its starboard side Thursday (14 April). Workers in the Naval and Military Park where it is held have begun efforts to save the ship with support from local and state politicians.

"USS The Sullivans is a National Historic Landmark and a true Western New York treasure. Just ten days ago, on the 79th anniversary of the vessel's launch, we announced $490,000 in federal funding to support repairs needed to protect the ship and the incredible history that goes with it," said Rep. Brian Higgins of New York.

"We were just at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park yesterday honoring veterans and join the community in being shocked and sickened to see The Sullivans taking on water to this extent today," Higgins continued. "We are in communication with the City of Buffalo and the Naval Park. We thank the United States Coast Guard Station Buffalo and local emergency personnel and the Naval Park team for all they are doing to save The Sullivans."

Officials report the ship took on upward of 3 million gallons as it began sinking. Crewmen continue to pump water out of the ship to maintain its buoyancy and integrity. 

"The state of The Sullivans today is an urgent reminder of the need to adequately fund the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program and ensure floating military history like those here at the Buffalo Naval Park and across the country are preserved for generations to come," Higgins concluded.

The USS The Sullivans has been battling damage and disrepair for years. In 2018, a breach in the hull caused the ship to begin sinking before the government supplied funds to renovate and secure the ship into the future.

This latest threat to the historic warship is concerning for state citizens and lawmakers as The Sullivans struggles to remain above water.


Rep Higgins has been a national leader in the push to increase funding for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. The above effort is but one example of his efforts. Thanks to one of the few federal bureaucrats who actually cares! Sadly, this is but the tip of the iceberg. But at least it's a start - and timely! The program needs some serious funding!

Until next time,

                                       Fair Winds, 

                                              old Salt


Monday, April 11, 2022


 11 April 2022: Every once in a while, the US Navy decides to sink one of their own - usually a retired WWII vintage ship which has been in mothballs for some time and will not be needed going forward. The ships selected are generally smaller ships such as destroyers, amphibs, and utility vessels, and the method of sinking is often by using other ships and aircraft to use warshots weapons against them. It is a great opportunity for the crews of destroyers, submarines, and planes to see what their weapons can do against a "real" target, albeit one that is not shooting back!

Several years ago, the navy decided to see what effect their weapons would have against an aircraft carrier and they selected USS America CVA66 as the target. I spent time in the mid-60's both with and aboard America, and can personally attest that she was an amazing ship ... and huge, especially to a destroyerman! A further note of personal significance is that my nephew, a career Navy flyer, flew off her decks during the crisis in the Mideast. Here's the story of her demise. From an online post 1945.



What made the USS America, a fearsome aircraft carrier of the Cold War era, truly special? The USS America (CVA/CV-66)—which was one of three Kitty Hawk-class supercarriers built for the U.S. Navy back in the 1960s—was commissioned in 1965.

The carrier spent most of its time in the Atlantic and Mediterranean but also did make three deployments in the Pacific Ocean while serving during the Vietnam War. In addition, it took part in key operations during the Persian Gulf War. Here time on the high seas during the Cold War is nothing but pure legend and one for the history books.


Originally Enterprise-Class

According to, the supercarrier was “originally ordered as an Enterprise-class nuclear carrier, the ballooning costs of Enterprise during construction caused the cancellation of the nuclear CVAN-66 and her reordering as a conventionally powered Kitty Hawk-class carrier.”

The site continued: “Her keel was laid down on 1 January 1961 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corp.; launched on 1 February 1964, she was sponsored by Mrs. Catherine McDonald, wife of Admiral David L. McDonald, the Chief of Naval Operations at that time. She was commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 23 January 1965 with Captain Lawrence Heyworth Jr., in command.”

The supercarrier was stationed in Hampton Roads for operations off the Virginia Capes till March 1965.

Catapult Launch

Then “she conducted her first catapult launch on 5 April 1965, with Commander Kenneth B. Austin, the Executive Officer, piloting a Douglas A-4C Skyhawk. Later proceeding to the Caribbean, America conducted shakedown training and concluded it at Guantanamo Bay on 23 June 1965.”

“Entering the Norfolk shipyard for post-shakedown availability on 10 July 1965, she remained there until 21 August. She next operated locally through late August and then proceeded to the operating areas off the Virginia Capes and to Bermuda, arriving back at Norfolk on 9 September 1965,” it continued.

Then in late 1965, the USS America sailed off for its first Mediterranean deployment, starting a thirty-year adventure for her country.

Laid to Rest

USS America certainly saw serious action in hot spots all over the world. America would take part in military operations off the coasts of Libya, Iraq, Haiti and Bosnia, and many other areas around the world. Unfortunately, on August 9, 1996, after many years of faithful and dedicated service to the nation, a decommissioning ceremony was held.

After a long multi-decade career, she was finally pulled from service

However, in 2005, she was scuttled southeast of Cape Hatteras after four weeks of tests. She was the largest warship ever to be sunk.

“America was the first large aircraft carrier since Operation Crossroads in 1946 to be expended in weapons tests,” noted, adding that there were plenty of protests demanding that the supercarrier be instituted as a memorial museum. 

a truly sad image

According to the electronic ship transmission released by the Naval Sea Systems Command—garnered via a Freedom of Information Act request—the warship slipped beneath the ocean waves at thirty-three degrees, nine minutes, nine seconds north latitude and seventy-one degrees, thirty-nine minutes, seven seconds west longitude, per the Daily Press.

That places the USS America roughly four hundred eighty miles east of Charleston, South Carolina and about four hundred miles west of Bermuda.


Of note is that it took 4 weeks to sink the old girl! And ultimately, personnel had to board her and set demolition charges! America lasted so long because A) they were not trying to sink her immediately - the navy wanted to see how much damage the ship could absorb before succumbing (they did end up having to board her to make her sink) and B) her sheer bulk made it a lot harder to sink by being able to absorb damage better than battleships.

Until next time,

                                       Fair winds,

                                                Old Salt