Filed under: maritime heritage | Tags: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Moby-Dick Marathon, New Bedford Port Society, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Seamen's Bethel
You really should try to make the Moby-Dick Marathon which begins shortly at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. It’s a great and unique experience in one of America’s most historic downtown districts. The event starts at noon and runs all through the night until about midday tomorrow. The majority of the reading takes place in the museum but this afternoon the crowd ambles across the street to the historic Seamen’s Bethel which is always a highlight. Get there early because the pews are as full as an Easter Sunday service!
In case you can’t make it, the museum has set up a live stream so you can experience it from the comfort of your own berth. Enjoy!
Filed under: life, maritime, maritime heritage | Tags: Charles W. Morgan, Mystic Seaport, Samuel Nevins
Seventy five years since his last visit, Samuel Nevins tours the Charles W. Morgan being restored in Mystic Seaport.
My favorite line: “Without a comfortable wife, you don’t have a life.”
Filed under: Book review, maritime, maritime art, maritime heritage, Moby-Monday, storytelling | Tags: Google, Herman Melville, Moby Dick Big Read, Moby-Dick, PowerMobyDick.com, Tilda Swinton
We love Moby-Dick at Sea-Fever so it was fun to stumble upon Google’s Doodle celebrating the 161st birthday of it’s publication in England. We can celebrate again next month because it was published in the US on November 14, 1851!
As a present to Sea-Fever readers, here’s the 1st chapter of the Moby-Dick Big Read. Here’s what’s that’s all about:
…an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud, by a mixture of the celebrated and the unknown, to be broadcast online in a sequence of 135 downloads, publicly and freely accessible.
They started posting a chapter a day on Sept. 16, 2012. Tilda Swinton spins an awesome yarn in Chapter 1 – Loomings. There are many other interesting readers and the artwork on the website is definitely worth a visit.
Of course, if you need any help deciphering Melville’s lexicon, there’s no better place to go than Meg Guroff’s awesome PowerMobyDick website.
Filed under: life, maritime heritage, new media | Tags: Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Here’s an amazing image by Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter projected onto an iceberg.
Closer to home, this plaque is affixed to the side of a house across the street from where we live.
Francis Davis Millet was an extraordinary man. Here’s his entry on Encyclopedia Titanica.
Filed under: maritime heritage, photography, storytelling | Tags: Mattapoisett, Shipyard Park, ShipyardPark.com, whaling
I started a new photoblog called Shipyard Park.
Back in the whaling days, there were six shipyards that built the whaling ships that sailed out of New Bedford and Nantucket. It was a busy, rough and tumble type of place back then. But no longer. I’ll be telling more of the story of Shipyard Park in the future, but for now suffice it to say that it’s a beautiful spot in every season and I’m trying to capture and share just a little bit of that.
I’ve been taking a photo every morning for the past month. It’s kind of like a local weather report. It’ll be interesting to see how things change over the seasons Let’s see how long I can keep this up. I’ll do some other things there too because Shipyard Park is a very cool place and you should be able to experience it too! I’d love to hear what you think about the park and project/website.
Filed under: maritime, maritime art, maritime heritage, seafood, storytelling | Tags: Dock-U-Mentaries, Phillip Mello, Working Waterfront Festival
New Bedford’s Working Waterfront Festival recently announced an interesting new program: Dock-U-Mentaries, a monthly film series presented in conjunction with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. (download PDF flyer)
Films will be presented free of charge at 7pm on the third Friday of each month at the Corson Maritime Learning Center (33 William Street) in downtown New Bedford.
The first program takes place on Friday, January 21st featuring:
- Pearl of the Atlantic a 1960s era film produced by the New Bedford Seafood Council to promote scallops AND
- A narrated slide show of the contemporary Port of New Bedford and its workers, presented by photographer Phil Mello.
Working Waterfront Festival and National Park team up for Dock-U-Mentaries – New Bedford Standard Times – Jan. 10, 2011
Filed under: Book review, Education, life, maritime heritage, Moby-Monday | Tags: #mdm15, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Moby-Dick Marathon, New Bedford Port Society, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Seamen's Bethel, Twitter
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.
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!
Filed under: life, maritime heritage | Tags: Edmund Fitzgerald, Gordon Lightfoot, History, maritime, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
I originally posted this 2 years ago today. I think it’s definitely worth revisiting.
Thirty three years ago today the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with 29 souls. Here’s a very moving video about this tragic event.
At the recommendation of the Just One More Book podcast, last year I purchased the children’s book The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell for my then 4 year old son Luke who not surprisingly loves ships. (Listen to the podcast here) The book is beautifully illustrated and the authors do a great job telling the story of this magnificent ship and her loss. Death can be a challenging subject for young children but the authors handle it superbly. I highly recommend it.
The fateful voyage of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Jenny Nolan / The Detroit News (Nov. 11, 1975)
US National Transportation Safety Board Report (PDF)