The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a member of the weasel family that ran away to sea. It is the smallest of the marine mammals and the only one that does not rely on fat (blubber) for warmth. Rather, it has the thickest coat of fur of any mammal – up to one million strands of hair per square inch.
The magnetic poles are the two points on the surface of the Earth at which the magnetic field points vertically down or up (in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively). These points are located near, but not at the northern and southern geographic poles.
The Cape Cod Canal is a seven-mile long sea level canal connecting Cape Cod Bay to the north with Buzzards Bay to the south. Maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it has a minimum channel width of 480 feet and an authorized depth of 32 feet at mean low water.
Teak is the common name for the Tectona grandis, a member of the verbena family native to the hardwood forests of India, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is a large deciduous tree, growing to a height of 130 feet, with gray and grayish brown branches.
Once the Dutch decided to compete with the Portuguese and the Spanish for maritime commerce with East Asia, they jumped in with both feet. After establishing a base in Batavia (modern-day Jakarta), they focused on trade with China and Japan.
The steam vessel Robert J. Walker was built in 1844 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the US Revenue Cutter Service. Proving to be too slow and inefficient for revenue patrols, the side-wheeler was transferred to the US Coast Survey in 1848. It was named for Secretary of the Treasury Robert J.
In a move reminiscent of the Athos Canal, built 483-480 BC at the direction of the Persian Emperor Xerxes, or the Corinth Canal, built in the 1890’s by the Greek Government, Norway has tentatively approved construction of a tunnel through the…
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was deactivated at Naval Station Norfolk on 1 December 2012, after 50 years of ground-breaking service. The 1,123-foot long vessel was laid down in 1958 and entered service in 1962 as the world’s first nuclear powered surface warship.
The albatross is the largest of all birds in terms of wingspan (up to 12 feet). It can be found soaring above all ocean waters of the Southern Hemisphere and above the North Pacific. It is largely absent from the North Atlantic, probably due to loss of habitat.
The Xue Long (Snow Dragon) is the premier polar vessel of the People’s Republic of China. It was built in the Ukraine in 1993 and modified upon its acquisition by China in 1994. Its major function is to serve as a resupply vessel and scientific research platform in the Antarctic and the Arctic.
Late on the night of April 14, 1912, the “unsinkable” passenger ship RMS Titanic, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York struck an iceberg. It sank about three hours later, at about 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912. Of the 2,224 persons on board, 1,514 lost their lives.
When the Union Navy learned that the Confederate Navy was building an iron-clad warship to threaten the wooden-hulled blockade fleet, it launched a crash project to build its own iron-clad warships. Of the 17 proposals submitted, the Union Navy selected three for construction.
Joshua James (1826-1902) served as a lifesaver for 60 of his 75 years. Born in Hull, Massachusetts, he joined the Massachusetts Humane Society (an organization modeled on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – RNLI) at age 15 after his mother and one of his sisters died in a ship wreck.
The United States Revenue Cutter (USRC) Thomas Corwin was built in Portland, Oregon in 1876, becoming the first federal government vessel built in the state. She was finished and commissioned in San Francisco in 1877. San Francisco remained her homeport for her entire period of government service.
Nikumaroro (previously known as Gardner Island) is a small coral atoll in the central Pacific Ocean situated just south of the Equator and just west of the 180th meridian. It lies in the Phoenix Island Chain and is part of the Republic of Kiribati.
Zheng He was a Muslim from Yunnan Province in southern China. As a youth, he was captured by forces of the Imperial Army, made a eunuch, and sent to the Imperial court. He rose to become a trusted adviser to the Yongle Emperor. In 1405, the…