Sea-Fever blog


The Blink of an Eye – Building Boats with Kids (video) by Peter A. Mello
January 3, 2013, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Education, Experiential education, life, maritime | Tags: ,

Jamestown Distributors and Off Center Harbor.com produced this great video about building boats with kids. It’s definitely worth watching and is guaranteed to generate a smile or two. Enjoy.



60 Second Lesson on Tall Ship Rigs by Peter A. Mello
January 28, 2012, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Education, tall ships

Flag dip to the great Deep Sea News



Instructional Video: How to measure a sail cover by Peter A. Mello
December 30, 2011, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Education, sailing

Who knew? Thanks Lee Sail Covers!



FotoFriday: Surfin’ Snappin’ Learnin’ by Peter A. Mello

Alright, it’s mid February and the winter doldrums probably have you down a bit. Here’s a perfect educational boondoggle if there ever was one. The School of Visual Arts has a study aboard program which offers Action Surf Photography in Rincon Puerto Rico from March 5 – 13.

Pack your camera bag dude! Surf’s up! (Good luck getting your parents to pay for this)



New Bedford Whaling Museum’s 15th Moby-Dick Marathon by Peter A. Mello

Some might think that reading Moby-Dick is like running a marathon. Well, this weekend reading Moby-Dick actually is a marathon event at the New Bedford Whaling Museum which is hosting it’s 15th year celebrating Melville’s American classic.

Moby-Dick Marathon poster

Beth Perdue wrote a great article in today’s Coastin’ section of the New Bedford Standard Times about what you can expect which includes the below highlights so that you can chart your experience. Standing Watch – A marathon timeline (times are approximate)

Chapter 1-6, Noon, Saturday

These first few chapters are entertaining for several reasons, including the comical treatment Melville gives to the relationship of Ishmael and Queequeg and the rare and intriguing look at the city of New Bedford as seen through Melville’s 19th-century eyes. And, this year, the Whaling Museum returns the reading’s kickoff to the Lagoda, its 89-foot, half-scale whaleship replica, adding a new layer of atmosphere to the reading.

Chapter 7-9: Seamen’s Bethel and Father Mapple sermon, 1:20 p.m.

Being in the Bethel, the inspiration for this scene, is reason enough to make the trip up Johnny Cake Hill to hear the famous sermon by Father Mapple. The sermon, full of fire and brimstone and delivered with passion for the past few years by Rev. Dr. Edward R. Dufresne, is another great reason. If that’s not enough, the hymn (from the 1956 film) that kicks off the sermon will be sung by Joanna McQuillan Weeks, local choir singer and secretary of the Ladies’ Branch of the New Bedford Port Society.

Chapter 32: “Cetology,” 6:20 p.m.

This look at the scientific classification of whales is a “love it or hate it” kind of chapter with many votes landing in the latter category. In reality, Melville scholar Dr. Laurie Robertson-Lorant said, for those willing to dive in, the chapter can be very funny. “It’s hilarious because what’s he doing is deconstructing scientific classification,” said Robertson-Lorant. “He’s poking fun at this idea that now we have everything nailed down because we can make a chart.”

Chapter 40: “Midnight Forecastle” 7:45 p.m.

Written in theatrical style, this is an annual favorite among marathoners and this year promises to be extra special with the debut of Culture*Park, the New Bedford theater ensemble, to the mix. About 10 actors will perform the section which shows the ship’s watch, made up of representatives from many countries and cultures, eyeing a coming storm.

Chapter 69: “The Funeral,” 1:30 a.m. Sunday

Melville isn’t pulling punches with this powerful look at the 19th-century industry’s brutal treatment of whales. A key image here is the floating white mass of the whale’s corpse, according to “Moby-Dick” scholar and literature professor Robert Wallace, who called it one of the strongest ecological images in 19th-century literature.

Chapter 78: “Cistern and Buckets,” 3 a.m.

A short comic chapter showing Tashtego falling into a gutted whale carcass and then into the sea, only to be rescued by Queequeg. “It has what Melville calls ‘unspeakable horror’ as well as redemption and wry humor,” said Melville expert Mary K. Bercaw Edwards.

Chapter 81: “The Pequod Meets the Virgin,” 3:30 a.m.

A good example of the fun Melville managed to work into his tragedy, this chapter combines high nationalistic comedy — spoofing the futility of the German whalers — with deep Shakespearean tragedy — in the Pequod’s unnecessary cruelty to the old, blind, wounded bull whale, according to Wallace.

Chapter 87: “The Grand Armada,” 5 a.m.

In this chapter, the whaleboat enters a circle of mother whales and calves. Scholars say for all the novel’s focus on Ahab’s obsession, the whale is the book’s central figure and this chapter is its spiritual center. “Ishmael’s vision of the baby whale in the heart of the carnage “» is the spiritual touchstone for the entire book,” said Wallace.

Chapter 93: “The Castaway,” 6:10 a.m.

The beauty of Melville’s language, noted again and again in conversations about “Moby-Dick” is especially evident in this chapter about Pip going overboard and being dragged down into the depths of the sea, according to Robertson-Lorant.

Chapter 99: “The Doubloon,” 7 a.m.

A dramatic reading where Ahab nails a doubloon to the mast and each of the whaler’s crew members interprets its meaning, each according to their subjective view point, said Robertson-Lorant.

Chapter 110: “Queequeg in His Coffin,” 9 a.m.

“The fact that Queequeg cannot interpret the tattooing on his own chest even though his own heart beats against it is a lesson for us all,” said Wallace. “The dialogue between him and Pip in this chapter is unbearably poignant.”

Chapters 133-135: “The Chase,” 11:45 a.m.

The novel ends with an action-packed bang in these final chapters when Moby-Dick appears and the whalers begin their chase in earnest. “They’re chasing Moby-Dick, knowing that they’re doomed,” said Robertson-Lorant. “The language is so dramatic. The description of fear is the best there is.”

Want to experience things like Melville did as he prepared for his journey on the whaleship Acushnet, cross the street and step into the Seamen’s Bethel (aka Whalemen’s Chapel) where Father Mapple’s sermon will be delivered. Here’s a taste:

I’m proud to be a member of the Board of Managers of the New Bedford Port Society which is the organization that owns and manages the Bethel and the historic Mariner’s Home next door.  We are currently underway on a major restoration and preservation project and if you are interested in learning more and/or supporting this effort, please email me.  If you need or know someone who needs a new website or some digital marketing help, Sea-Fever Consulting’s digitsimple program will donate 25% of all revenues generated from new projects from now until the end of February 2011 that use the code SEAMENSBETHEL. More about our Good Neighbor Program can be found at digitsimple.

Back to the marathon.

  • The majority of the event will take place in the beautiful, newly renovated Bourne Building, the homeport of the Lagoda, the largest ship model in the world.
  • Can’t sail over to New Bedford for this happening? You can still experience it via the web. The Whaling Museum say they will be live-streaming the event via their website.
  • It’s doubtful that this event will conjure up the appearance of another white whale, but you can follow the event on Twitter via the hashtag #mdm15.
  • Think you know a lot about Moby-Dick? There’s a fun sounding Stump the Scholar’s quiz game with Melville Society experts matching wits. The free public program is patterned after National Public Radio’s popular show, “Wait, wait, don’t tell me.” No questions will be deemed too tough and prizes will be awarded. (10:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2011 in the Whaling Museum’s Cook Memorial Theater.

It sound’s like a whale of a weekend! Sea you there!



Tall Ship Concordia Sinking: In Their Own Words by Peter A. Mello
November 7, 2010, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Education, life, maritime, sail training, tall ships

Concordia Bell by Wojtek (Voytec) Wacowski

Earlier this year I devoted a lot of blogging space and time to the sinking of the Tall Ship Concordia. (High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinks Off the Coast of Brazil – Feb. 19, 2010)

It really was an incredible story. Now you can hear it straight from the mouths of some of the survivors, a very impressive lot.

Unfortunately, the CBC does not allow their videos to be embedded so you’ll have to sail over to their Land and Sea website to watch the video. I highly recommend it.



I’m off to SEA! by Peter A. Mello
November 7, 2010, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Education, life, maritime, sail training, tall ships | Tags:

Well, I’m actually off to the semi-annual Trustee and Overseer meeting at Sea Education Association in Woods Hole for the next 2 days.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s the coolest “overseas” college study program on the planet!

It’s Sunday, relax and take 5 minutes to watch this, then find a high school or college student and make sure they know about the adventure, benefits and college credit you get for going to SEA!



Help Schooner Ernestina Set Sail Again – Saturday, October 30, 2010 by Peter A. Mello

New Bedford Standard Times report and my friend Don Cuddy wrote a good overview of what’s going to take place on Saturday at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Supporters to meet to chart future of troubled Ernestina (Oct. 27, 2010)

For more information and to register for the event, visit the Sail Ernestina website or Facebook page.

This is Schooner Ernestina Week on Sea-Fever, so please make sure you check out all of the interesting and informative posts on one of the world’s most storied ships.



Schooner Ernestina 2002 Casualty Presentation by Captain Sophie Morse at the 2003 ASTA Conference (video) by Peter A. Mello

Schooner Ernestina has “educated” a lot of young people and few older ones over the years. Here’s a video of Captain Sophie Morse’s presentation at the 2003 Safety Under Sail Forum at the ASTA Conference. For professional sail trainers and mariners of all kinds, there’s a lot to learn from it.

On Saturday, October 30th the New Bedford Whaling Museum will be hosting an event to help chart a future course for the Schooner Ernestina. For more information, visit the Sail Ernestina website or Facebook page.

In honor of the grand old girl, this is Schooner Ernestina week on Sea-Fever. Navigate back here frequently and check out all of the posts!



Sail Her Home (The Schooner Ernestina Song) by the Rum Soaked Crooks by Peter A. Mello

Here’s a beautiful song that was written sung by the Rum-Soaked Crooks about the Schooner Ernestina. It was performed at the recent Concert for the Seamen’s Bethel Restoration Fund. (Please Help me Help the Seamen’s Bethel – Oct. 6, 2010) It was a fun evening with great songs for a worthy cause.

On Saturday, October 30th the New Bedford Whaling Museum will be hosting an event to help chart a future course for another worthy cause, the Schooner Ernestina. For more information, visit the Sail Ernestina website or Facebook page.




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