Sea-Fever blog


Moby Monday — A few minor adjustments by MegDC
May 31, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: Book review, maritime, Moby-Monday | Tags: , ,

My friend, I give you perhaps the world’s first movie tie-in: a 1925 edition of Moby-Dick illustrated with stills from the John Barrymore silent-movie version, The Sea Beast. Slight problem—the film takes dazzling liberties with Herman Melville’s novel, giving young Ahab an evil half-brother, Derek, who pushes him into the jaws of the white whale that shears off his leg. Ahab also gets a love interest, Esther, but after said shearing, Derek convinces Ahab that she could never truly love a one-legged man. (One photo bears the caption, “Sensitive of his crippled condition, Ahab interprets her love as pity and self-sacrifice.”) Ahab ends things with Esther, sets off in search of the whale he blames for ruining his life … and kills it.

“In story, the screen version of Moby-Dick exceeds the book,” writes S.R. Buchman in an “Appreciation” that precedes Melville’s Derek- and Esther-free text. “The discrepancy between the two must not be considered as a profanely wanton alteration. The episode of the book has not been misused; it has been enlarged and clarified.” And Melville’s ending provides an “unreasonably cruel fate” for Ahab, Buchman complains. “In all justice, Ahab had suffered enough to be granted expiation and its rewards, but Melville killed him.” What a blunder! “It is a relief and satisfaction that the picture version allows Ahab to live,” Buchman concludes. I can think of at least one whale who might take issue with that.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.



FotoFriday: SW – Mattapoisett Shipyard Park by Peter A. Mello
May 28, 2010, 8:44 am
Filed under: FotoFriday, maritime heritage, photography

I took this photo the other night. It’s of the windvane on the gazebo located on Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett.

From  the pamphlet “Shipbuilders of Mattapoisett” by Charles S. Mendell, Jr:

The present Shipyard Park ( Mattapoisett) was the site of the famous Holmes shipyard, started in 1812 by Josiah Holmes Sr. and continuing until the Bark Wanderer, built where the bandstand sits now, slid down the ways in 1878, the last vessel ever launched in Mattapoisett.

The first seven years of the 1850’s marked the peak of the whaleship building in Mattapoisett.  Only three yards were in operation – Wilson Barstow, Holmes, and Meigs – but in eight years these three yards launched 47 vessels.  These were the yards that carried Mattapoisett’s reputation far and wide, and brought forth such comments as these in in the New Bedford newspapers:

“This thriving town ranks high in shipbuilding and is distinguished for its naval architecture.” (W.S.L.6/20/1851)

Here’s a very short slide show of the life the Shipyard Park Gazebo gazebo.

Happy FotoFriday and Memorial Day Weekend!



Tall Ship Captain Takes Over Coast Guard! by Peter A. Mello
May 25, 2010, 2:41 pm
Filed under: Leadership, life, maritime | Tags: , , ,

USCG Commandant Robert PappHuzzah to Admiral Robert Papp, former Commanding Officer of the USCG Barque EAGLE for becoming the 24th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

Congratulations and thanks to Admiral Thad Allen who retired during today’s Change of Command Ceremony. But don’t expect Admiral Allen to be sunning himself on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. President Obama had other plans when he appointed Allen to be the US government’s point person for the Deepwater Horizon sinking and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Allen does not shy away from tough assignments. (Remember Elián Gonzáles and Hurricane Katrina?)

One of the highlights of the first year of my Weekly Leader podcast was when Admiral Allen was our guest on episode 5.

Congratulations, good luck and great success to Admiral’s Allen and Papp. We’re counting on you both!



Moby Monday — Studious Digesting of Beer by MegDC


Dutch brewer Ramses Bier makes a wheat beer named after Moby Dick. According to a handy Babelfish translation, it’s “a zest Munich” style beer with “notige an aftertaste.” Proost!

Closer to home, Bluegrass Brewing Company of Louisville, Kentucky recently concocted a “white” (actually reddish-gold) porter called Melby Dick, named after Herman Melville’s novel and a brewing-company marketing staffer. One reviewer deemed it “terrific,” but unfortunately the brew was made only in a limited edition.

So if you’re in the mood for a frosty whale-related beverage (and there’s no flip on hand), consider Cisco Brewers’ Whale’s Tale Pale Ale or North Coast Brewery’s tasty Scrimshaw pilsener. Then all you’ll need will be an abominable tumbler etched with measuring lines, to be sure you’re getting the full Cape Horn portion.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.



FotoFriday: Holy Carp! by Peter A. Mello
May 21, 2010, 11:21 am
Filed under: FotoFriday, photography | Tags:

Photography is about catching moments in time. This amazing photo by French photographer and biologist Laurent Ballesta does just that. I first saw it on the equally amazing Guardian UK iPad app. If you own an iPad and love photography, download it now.

Carp Fishing by French photographer and biologist Laurent Ballesta



Energy Showdown: Windfarm vs. Oil Spill by Peter A. Mello
May 20, 2010, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Environment | Tags: , ,

Fast Company magazine has an interesting infographic pitting the recently approved Nantucket Offshore Windfarm vs. the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. According to their calculations, even the long term positive impacts of the renewal wind energy project is no match for it’s slick competitor.



Moby Monday — Pamphlet appreciates one kabillion percent by MegDC
May 17, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: maritime, Moby-Monday | Tags: ,


An eight-page pamphlet that sold for one (British) penny in the 1820s is for sale on eBay at $999.99. Its subject: the 1820 wreck of the whaleship Essex, upon which Moby-Dick is partly based.

Author Herman Melville read the horrific story of castaways and cannibalism in a memoir by Essex first mate Owen Chase, who was rescued after three months spent floating in a whaleboat in the Pacific Ocean. This booklet comes at the story from a different angle: that of the three crewmen who chose to stay behind on desolate Henderson Island and were later rescued.

If this pamphlet isn’t expensive enough for you, there’s another copy online priced at $1,950.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.



It’s an Ocean Out There! Shark vs. Octopus by Peter A. Mello
May 14, 2010, 9:36 am
Filed under: Oceans

You might recall our first “It’s An Ocean Out There!” post, “Sea Lion vs. Octopus” and our second, “Octokleptomaniac.” Well, it’s still dangerous “out there” as you will see in this National Geographic video: “Shark vs. Octopus.”

Flag dip to Guy Kawasaki on Twitter.



“Oh, how she scoons!” – Adventuress wins $125k Partners in Presevation Grant by Peter A. Mello

Great news today for the tall ships / sail training world!

Schooner Adventuress

Schooner Adventuress won the Seattle/Puget Sound Initiative of the Partners in Preservation $125,000 Grant. The program is sponsored American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. People were encouraged to visit the website and vote every day for one of 25 special historic sites, many of which have maritime significance.

The final vote was extremely close with Adventuress edging out Town Hall Seattle by a single percentage point (20% to 19%). Recognizing the incredible support that both organizations received in the competition, and as a demonstration of solid corporate social responsibility, Partners in Preservation decided to award two full $125,000 grants, the first time in the program’s history.

Sound Experience did an amazing job using social media to engage stakeholders and mobilize support. From Zachary Simonson Bond’s fantastic introductory YouTube video with it’s clear calls to action …

…to Frank DePalma’s screencast

…to the daily Twitter and Facebook follow-ups which often pointed us to their creative blog (My Fair Vote, Romeo and the VoteGone with the Vote).

All of this made it fun to be involved. Of course, they sweetened the pot by giving voters the opportunity to win a daysail for 45 on the historic schooner. Who wouldn’t want a chance at winning that?!

It takes passion for the cause, creative ideas and lots of hard work to pull off something like this. Hat’s off to Zach and Sound Experience Executive Director Catherine Collins for charting and sailing a proper course that other nonprofits would do well to study and follow.

By the way, here’s a link to an article from February 25, 1897 that appeared in The Day (New London) explaining how the term schooner came about.



Google, Hauls on the Bowline! by Peter A. Mello
May 11, 2010, 7:37 am
Filed under: maritime, maritime heritage, Marketing, social media | Tags: , ,

I love when technology companies celebrate maritime culture in their marketing initiatives. Remember when Microsoft caught Sea-Fever marketing Vista a few years ago?

Not to be outdone, here’s a new cool new video by Google that promotes the lightning fast speed of their new Chrome browser. Stick with it to the end for their little maritime ditty.

Here’s Bob Neuwirth’s version of Haul on the Bowline from the great Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Song And Chanteys.




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