- Published on Friday, 09 September 2011 12:25
- Written by Tom Haugen
- Hits: 725
- Category: News and Commentary
Rescue at Water's Edge: The U.S. Merchant Marine Response to 9/11 (via YouTube) Members of the U.S. Merchant Marine share how they helped evacuate people from lower Manhattan and brought supplies and first responders back to the World Trade Center site after the attacks of 9/11.Add a comment
- Published on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:03
- Written by Sunshine Sachs & Associates
- Hits: 1647
- Category: News and Commentary
Traditional ocean-going canoes of the Polynesian culture will sail into San Diego for the first time to participate in the annual Festival of Sail Tall Ship Parade. The Pacific Voyagers are on a 15,000 nautical mile journey to reconnect with their ancestors and raise awareness for the ongoing environmental issues facing the Pacific Ocean. The canoes arrive Thursday, September 1, and they will participate in tall ship festivities over the Labor Day weekend.
The canoes are called Vaka Moana, which translates to "ocean canoe." These are the same type of canoes ancient Polynesians used to explore, settle and populate the islands of the southern Pacific Ocean. Since April, the Pacific Voyagers have been sailing across the Pacific Ocean guided solely by celestial navigation and powered only by solar energy from the wind and the sun. This is the first time in modern history that a voyage like this has been made and their participation in the Festival of Sail brings a new level of excitement to the parade.
"We are very excited to have them join us. We are thrilled to have these canoes sailing behind the tall ships this year, and we are delighted to host the Pacific Voyagers," said Robyn Gallant of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Twenty tall ships from all over the world, including the canoes, will parade Thursday around San Diego Bay, ending at the maritime museum's docks. The festival will transform the city's North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park. The festival provides the public an opportunity to tour these vessels and meet the Pacific Voyaging crews from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Tonga. The Vaka has also visited San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles, and Dana Point.
The parade kicks off the four-day festival, which is expected to draw more than 200,000 people to the San Diego Bay for music, cannon battles, petting zoos, pirate cruises, arts and crafts, and food vendors. To learn more about the festival, visit the Maritime Museum of San Diego website. Information about the Pacific Islander project is at www.pacificvoyagers.org.
View the trailer for the upcoming documentary about the Pacific Voyagers.Add a comment
- Published on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 07:50
- Written by Joe Follansbee
- Hits: 1588
- Category: News and Commentary
The iconic shape of the classic lighthouse—tall and thin against a nearly featureless seascape—invites the viewer to wonder about the view from the top. Fortunately, many lighthouses open to the public allow visitors to climb a spiral staircase and take in the vista. Most of these climbs aren’t for the faint of heart—literally—and the interiors of lighthouses can be hot on a summer day. Parents should also be careful about bringing a small child along; some lighthouses have a minimum height requirement for youngsters, usually around 45 inches. But the visual reward after a good workout is always tremendous.
Lighthouses allowing climbs have varying operating hours, often only during the summer months. Most charge a fee ranging from $2 to $10 for climbing to the lantern or an exterior gallery. The money often supports restoration efforts by a local historical society. Some lighthouses offer guided tours; other climbs are self-guided. Be sure to call ahead to check hours and availability.
Here’s Fyddeye’s recommended lighthouses climbs, with input from Fyddeye’s friends on Facebook’s “Lighthouse Hunters” group. Click the links in bold to find a map and contact information.
Assateague — At 154 feet, the Assateague Lighthouse is one of the tallest on the Atlantic Coast. Located in the Assateague National Seashore in Virginia, the 1833 structure is just a five-minute drive from the community of Chincoteague. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s still an operational beacon; the light can be seen 19 miles out to sea.
Cape Hatteras — “The climb is strenuous!” That’s the description that goes with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse climb on the National Park Service’s website for the tallest lighthouse in America. The barber-pole stripes on the exterior of this 1870 beacon, located in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, echo the spiral staircase on the interior. You’ll climb 248 cast iron steps to the top, the same height as a 12-story building (200 feet).
Cape May - Marking the New Jersey side of the entrance to Delaware Bay, the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse is one of the best preserved 19th century beacons on the Atlantic Coast. You'll climb 199 steps to reach the gallery 157 feet above ground level, and you'll see a panoramic view of the Jersey Cape, Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. It's a busy place; more than 100,000 visitors a year. But the experience is well worth braving the crowds.
Currituck Beach — Lovingly restored by a local non-profit preservation society, the 1875 Currituck Beach Lighthouse features 214 steps that lead to an outdoor gallery 158 feet from the ground. During the summer, the lighthouse is open Thursdays until 8 p.m., giving visitors a chance to see the operating light shine out to sea. guiding ships and small craft along the Outer Banks.
Grays Harbor — Located in the small town of Westport, Wash., on the Pacific Ocean, the 107-foot Grays Harbor Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Washington state. Volunteers at the Westport Maritime Museum welcome you to climb the 135 stairs to the lantern room, where the original Fresnel lens is still installed. A modern light maintained by the Coast Guard guides vessels into Grays Harbor, which the lighthouse has guarded since 1898. (Watch a Fyddeye video tour.)
Marblehead, Ohio — At just 50 feet, the Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio is one of the shorter lighthouse climbs. On the other hand, Marblehead is one of the oldest, just 11 years shy of two centuries. And the view from the top is just as thrilling as for taller, younger structures. The tower is located in Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, and tours are offered during the summer months.
North Point — The 1888 North Point Lighthouse is a prime example of historic Wisconsin lighthouses that have comforted ship captains on Great Lakes voyages. At 74 feet, the lighthouse is an important landmark in Milwaukee’s Lake Park, adding an extra dimension to a beautiful lakefront setting designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Unlike many lighthouses, North Point’s site includes a fully restored keepers quarters.
St. Augustine — Easily one of the most popular and well-preserved lighthouses in America, the 1874 St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Fla., is a challenge for climbers aiming to reach the top of the 165-foot tower after 219 steps. If the climb seems daunting, the amazing museum will more than satisfy. New this year is a series of moonlight “paranormal” tours of the tower, which examine whether or not the lighthouse is haunted.
Point Vicente — One of the lesser known climbable lighthouses on California’s rugged coast is Point Vicente Lighthouse, located in Rancho Palos Verdes. The 1926 cylindrical concrete tower is just 64 feet tall, and it’s only open a few days of the year by a local Coast Guard Auxiliary. But given its proximity to Los Angeles, and the nearby interpretive center, Point Vicente is one of the most accessible to a large population of lighthouse lovers.
Updated 9/8/2011 — Our sources have suggested these lighthouses as great climbs, especially for kids: Yaquina Head (Oregon), Hunting Island (South Carolina), North Head (Washington), Mukilteo (Washington), and Crisp Point (Michigan).
Do you have another lighthouse climb to suggest? Say so on our Facebook fan page.Add a comment
- Published on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 08:03
- Written by Sonoma State University
- Hits: 779
- Category: News and Commentary
The trials and triumphs of a 1905 ocean expedition have come to life in Professor Matthew James' story of the eight young scientists who helped further Charles Darwin's work on evolutionary theory by sailing to the Galapagos Islands and collecting specimens for the California Academy of Sciences.
James, a Sonoma State University geology professor, uses evocative imagery to take the reader back to the world of early 20th century natural science in such a unique way that is has been honored by the Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library with the 2011 Karl Kortum Award for Maritime History.
By collecting some 78,000 specimens at a crucial time when conservation and preservation concerns were growing all over the world, the expedition essentially brought the Galapagos to San Francisco, James says.
The enduring legacy of the 1905-06 scientific expedition rests with both the destruction of the California Academy of Sciences in the April 1906 earthquake and fire, and in the vindication of Charles Darwin by the numerous scientific specimens collected during the 17-month expedition. Those specimens are now housed safely at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They are used extensively by researchers from around the world.
James has also written extensively about the maritime history of the 89-foot schooner Academy used in the 1905-06 expedition. It was built in 1875 in Baltimore, Maryland for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. This sailing vessel shared similarities with HMS Beagle, the ship that Charles Darwin sailed on during his famous voyage that led to his celebrated 1859 book “On the Origin of Species.” Both vessels were built for coastal surveying and both were about 90 feet long, although the Academy was a schooner and the Beagle was a square-rigged barque.Add a comment
- Published on Friday, 24 June 2011 08:04
- Written by Operation Sail, Inc.
- Hits: 4378
- Category: News and Commentary
The tall ships of the world return to U.S.
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and the chairman of Operation Sail, Inc., Jose Fuentes, announced this week a seven-port public/private partnership for the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner.
“From 2012 to 2015, the United States Navy and its partners, including Operation Sail, Inc., will commemorate the War of 1812 and the writing of our national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner,” Mabus said. “It is remarkable that 200 years ago, one of the first wars in our country's history was fought against nations who have become our closest allies.”
Mabus and Fuentes said that week-long events, including parades of sail, public visitation, spectacular air shows, international athletic competitions, and community relations activities will mark the occasions in New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Baltimore/Annapolis, and Boston/New London. Similar events will take place in the Great Lakes ports of Milwaukee, Chicago, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo.
They made the announcement in a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home of the Star-Spangled Banner, the actual flag that inspired the national anthem. The unifying theme for the events is drawn from the anthem itself: ‘Our Flag Was Still There.’
The Chief of Naval Operations has invited 120 countries to send appropriate combat ships as well as their national academy sail training tall ships to America, Mabus noted.
“Navy and Operation Sail have partnered in producing major patriotic events for more than 50 years, and we look forward to another majestic spectacle of tall ships and international navy ships next year,”
OpSail, the Congressionally chartered non-profit producer of tall ship events, has partnered with the Navy for previous American milestones such as the 1976 bicentennial of American independence, the 1986 State of Liberty centennial, and Millennium in 2000.
“Bringing the tall ships of the world back to U.S. waters for the commemoration of this glorious American milestone excites the imagination,” Fuentes said. “Throughout 2012-2015, millions of people will witness these graceful and majestic sailing ships as they parade in together, and celebrate brotherhood of the sea, and of our freedoms.” States, municipalities and civic organizations have formed host committees to organize the details of the week-long events in each port in concert with Navy officials and OpSail executives.
Tall ship participants in the events will be named later.Add a comment