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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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Cuttlefish

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 29, 2014

Cuttlefish are not fish. Rather, they are of the order Sepiida and are cousins to the squid and octopus. They have eight short-ish arms and two longer tentacles. Inside the body is the cuttlebone. It is composed of calcium carbonate and is porous.

Refrigerated cargo ships

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 26, 2014

In the early years of the nineteenth century, improved technologies greatly reduced the cost of harvesting and storing blocks of ice obtained from frozen lakes in New England. It soon became profitable to transport those blocks of ice by ship to warmer US ports during the summer…

Medusozoa

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 22, 2014

Medusozoa is the scientific name for what are commonly and incorrectly referred to as jellyfish. They are free-swimming carnivorous marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. Medusozoa (or jellies) are found in all ocean waters at all depths…

Anaconda Plan

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 19, 2014

As southern states began issues proclamations of secession from the Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States in 1861, the federal government sought methods for reversing these actions while avoiding or at least minimizing actual armed conflict.

Attack on the SS Gulflight

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 15, 2014

The SS Gulflight, a 5,189-ton petroleum tanker, was launched in August 1914 (almost simultaneously with the outbreak of World War I) and owned by the Gulf Refining Company. Because the United States was officially neutral, its ships could trade with both the Allied and Axis powers…

Eagle boats

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 12, 2014

The Eagle boats were designed during World War I to serve the US Navy as submarine chasers. The then-existing class of submarine chasers had proven too slow and with insufficient range to counter the German U-boat menace. The problem was that…

USRC Bear

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 8, 2014

The steam and sail propelled ship Bear had a highly varied career during its 89-year lifespan. Built in Scotland in 1874 for operation as a sealer out of Newfoundland, her hull consisted of six-inch-thick strakes of oak bolted to oak ribs. While the decks were traditional teak…

Magnetic poles

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 5, 2014

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.

German New Guinea

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on August 1, 2014

Little-known today, the German colonial empire in the Pacific began with Hanseatic League merchant ships and traders establishing footholds in the South Pacific beginning in the early 1800s. By the 1880s, Germany dominated the copra trade throughout the New Britain, Caroline, and Marshall Islands.

Outrigger

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 29, 2014

An outrigger is a rigid part of a vessel’s rigging that extends outboard of the gunwale. While the term may be applied to a frame that holds a rowlock away from the gunwale in order to optimize the rower’s leverage or a frame that allows boats to troll multiple fishing poles without tangling lines…

Starfish

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 25, 2014

Starfish are not fish. Rather, they are radially symmetrical echinoderms with a shape that somewhat resembles our image of a star. Most have five arms, but some species possess up to 30 arms arranged around a central disk. The aboral or upper surface may be smooth…

Battle of the Yellow Sea

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 22, 2014

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 was, in many ways, the first modern war. It saw use of machine guns, rapid-firing artillery, and trench warfare. The navies of both combatants were also equipped with some of the first modern steel-hulled battleships.

Sand dollar

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 18, 2014

Sand dollar is a general term for various species of extremely flattened sea urchins of the order Clypeasteroida. They may be found in temperate or tropical marine waters worldwide and are also known as sea cookies, snapper biscuits, or pansy shells.

Cape Cod Canal

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 15, 2014

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.

English Armada

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 11, 2014

Many are familiar with the Spanish Armada of 1588, when a plucky band of English warships and armed merchantmen harassed the larger Spanish force as it passed through the English Channel, forcing it to sail around the British Isles and return to Spain with heavy losses.

Sawshark

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 8, 2014

There are nine species of sawsharks, divided into two genera. The Pliotrema genus has one member – the sixgill sawshark. As its name implies, it is the only sawshark with pairs of six gill slits and is found in temperate and subtropical waters of the western Indian Ocean.

Battle of the Virginia Capes

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 4, 2014

When British Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis got himself and his army cornered in Yorktown, Virginia in August 1781, he called upon the Royal Navy to exculpate him. At the same time, American General George Washington and French General Comte de Rochambeau showed that they could also play chess…

Battle of Lepanto

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on July 1, 2014

The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near the western end of the Gulf of Patras between the forces of the Holy League and the forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was the dominate military and naval force in the eastern Mediterranean.

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on June 27, 2014

Located at Kings Point, New York since its establishment in 1943, the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is one of five federal service academies and the only one not directly associated with the US military. The 82-acre Kings Point site was…

Taiping Island

Posted to Maritime Musings (by Dennis Bryant) on June 24, 2014

The Spratly Islands are a group of islets, cays, atolls, and coral reefs located in the southern portion of the South China Sea. Taiping Island (also called Itu Aba Island) is the largest of these islets and the only one with fresh water springs.