Since the earliest days of Euro/American settlements on the Oregon coast, stories have been told of a shipwreck laden with large blocks of beeswax, candles, Chinese porcelain and other exotic artifacts from the Orient. At first, settlers thought it might be a Chinese junk, a Portuguese trader or an English pirate ship and referred to it as the “mystery wreck.”
It took 100 years for the story of the HMS Mesaba and the RMS Titanic to surface again from the deep part of the Irish Sea. The Mesaba, victim of German submarine U-118 on April 1, 1918, was found recently by scientists working from Bangor University’s research vessel Prince Madog (the captain’s pet pooch).
Coffins? That doesn’t sound too inviting does it? A conglomeration of coral reefs and sandy plains, Coffins Patch—six miles from Marathon, Florida, is a haven for shipwrecks. The reefs are “patchy,” hence the name, but where do the “coffins” come in? There’s a story of the diver who visited the area everyday for a week, searching for a ship that sank with a cargo of coffins in its hold. But the diver was quite disappointed when he learned this was just a rumor.
John Christopher fine is a busy man. He splits time between his horse farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Boynton Beach, Florida, where he conducts coral reef research, lectures on Oceanography and teaches scuba diving. Being a marine biologist and an expert in maritime affairs, he writes about the current conditions of our oceans and seas.
When Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper retired from the U.S. Air Force Space Program in1970, he left behind a legacy of flight success and intrigue. The flight aspect of his career is chronicled in the long list of awards he received during his military service in the U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force and finally as an astronaut.
During the “Gusher Age,” 1900 to 1940, there appeared to be as many oil rigs in Texas as desert cactus. But what became a trillion dollar industry, with rigs around the world, the search for “black gold” created a frightening scenario when a construction worker yelled, “Fire in the well!” When an oil company’s own “roughnecks” couldn’t extinguish the blaze, word went out fast: “Call Red!” they cried.
The press called the USS Bear a “storied” ship when its discovery was announced by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) at a waterfront news conference in Boston, October, 2021. The historic U.S. Revenue Cutter foundered in 1963, 260 miles east of Boston, while being towed from Nova Scotia, Canada, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The present day discovery of a 207-year-old whaling vessel appears to have renewed interest in an industry that thrived in the 18th and 19th centuries. Kerosene was yet to be invented and oil extracted from “monsters of the deep” was in demand worldwide. About 15 years before author Herman Melville introduced the world to his captivating book, Moby Dick, the Industry was a Massachusetts whaling ship that sank near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
There are lots of idioms floating around, some trite and others true, such as: “haste makes waste; fit as a fiddle, no pain no gain,” etc. The expression, “Bad things come in threes,” appeared years ago in the case of the SS Morro Castle, a ship whose story is one of the strangest in maritime history.
When a ship sinks, there’s usually lots of mass media hype that eventually calms down and becomes simple maritime history. But sometimes the vessel sails back into the limelight as disputes arise. Insurance companies for instance may claim the shipwreck from salvors or they might renege on payment to the owners. If a captain survives, he could be questioned for a bad decision which led to the tragedy.