Saturday, May 25, 2019
Quite by accident, I found this review in the Marianas Variety -- and, having researched Micronesian whaling, piracy, and castaway history many times over the years, it was fun as well as pleasing.
The writer of this piece, BC Cook, PhD, lived on Saipan and has taught history for 20 years. He travels the Pacific but currently resides on the mainland U.S.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
In the picture above, believe it or not, the two pilots of a seaplane are releasing a pigeon.
Because it was the early days, before radio, and so the only way of communicating with the mother craft was by pigeon!
Read more from the Naval Institute blog:
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Well, here I am with more on the Alaric Bond "Fighting Sail" series, as promised. Having read Sealed Orders for the fourth leisurely time, I raced onto my proof copy of Sea Trials, and finished it within two days, having found it almost impossible to put down.
Not only is Sea Trials a page-turner, but it storms on at a cracking pace. In fact -- as you will be astonished to learn -- it reminded me a great deal of episode three of the eighth season of nothing less than GAME OF THRONES!
This is because episode two of the eighth season of GoT -- currently streaming round the world, to a rapt and fixated billions-fold host of fans -- was relatively quiet. There was a lot of chat, and character development. This was very much like Sealed Orders, the prequel to Sea Trials, perhaps because of the evolution of the dramatis personae. A major player in this exploration of the characters crewing Mistral was a shady cove by the name of Russell, who was pressed into the navy after being uncloaked as a crook, but who carried on to become a promisingly likeable person. I do so love Bond's depiction of the ordinary jacks of the lower deck, giving them a voice that no other writer in the genre has managed. And his development of this gutter rat into a decent seaman was truly exceptional.
But back to Game of Thrones, and why I was reminded of the current series as I raced through the pages of Sea Trials. Episode three of the eighth season of GoT is mostly a cracking battle, perhaps the best battle of all the series. Sea Trials has more than one battle (and there are no dragons), but the actions follow so closely upon each other that the story reads like one vast conflict, with Captain King, in command of the Mistral, seemingly taking on the might of the Napoleonic Navy all by himself.
And with the help, by the way, of very lowly crew member Russell, whom we left at the end of Sealed Orders minus a leg. At the time the budding able seaman's only ray of hope was the assurance of the job of cook. It was traditional in the British Navy, you see, for chaps who lost a hand or leg -- and therefore could not mount the rigging -- to turn to the galley stove instead. And this is where Russell ended up -- but with unexpected results. Not only did every jack on board loathe his cooking, but he proved to be a capable hand at ....
But I leave it to you to find out. Buy the book to solve the mystery, and you certainly won't be sorry.
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Monstrous waves in the Southern Ocean, wild winds at the Equator
The natural world sure is changing.
Waves in the Southern Ocean have already been recorded over 20 metres in height, but new research shows they're getting higher.
A small but significant increase of 1.5 metres per second - 8 per cent - was noted by researchers who analysed approximately 4 billion observations from 31 satellites and 80 ocean buoys worldwide.
"Although increases of 5 and 8 per cent might not seem like much, if sustained into the future such changes to our climate will have major impacts," said Professor Ian Young from the University of Melbourne.
The study - published in Science - analysed data from 33 years and detected an increase in winds in the Antarctic Ocean, which increased by 30 centimetres or 5 per cent.