Sea-Fever blog


All Aboard! Whales, Fish and a Crazy Goose!(video) by Peter A. Mello
July 23, 2010, 11:03 am
Filed under: reality tv, sailing

You’ve probably heard about the Moby-Dick impersonator that tried to board a yacht in South Africa but this is not an isolated incident. Here’s a CNN video about that incident and some other animals crazy about boating.



PSA: When visiting Guam, please wear a lifejacket 24/7! by Peter A. Mello
April 2, 2010, 12:52 pm
Filed under: reality tv | Tags: ,

I was not previously aware of this risk, but am thankful that one of America’s duly elected officials has brought it our attention recently during a House of Representatives Armed Services Committee hearing.

With this new found information, Sea-Fever issues the following Public Service Announcement:

All travelers to Guam should wear PFD’s 24 hours a day while on island.

We understand that Congressman Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr. (Democrat, 4th District of Georgia) is planning to float a bill that would require PFD’s to be issued to all visitors right at the airport. This legislation will appropriately be funded by the Bail Out Bill. (Please watch until at least 1:20 when it starts getting interesting.)

We are lucky to live in a country where our congressmen understand the real world challenges that all of us face each day.

We wonder how Admiral Robert F. Willard, the current Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Command was able to keep a straight face. Must have been all of that Navy torture training.

Finally, thank goodness for C-Span so that school children across America can see their government in action and learn about geography, geology and hydrodynamic stability in the process. Another extraordinary “teachable moment.”

Flag Dip to Mahalo



Tall Ships Sailors Never Do Anything Easy by Peter A. Mello

Think sailing a tall ship is challenging? That’s nothing compared to building one. Think building one is difficult, that’s nothing compared to finding the trees, cutting them down, dragging them out of the jungle, loading them on another tall ship and sailing them halfway around the world. Tall ships sailors never do anything easy.

Grab a beer and some popcorn because this will be the best reality TV that you’ll watch this week.

Flag dip to my friend Voytec on Facebook.



At Sea Reality TV: Pirate Hunters: USN by Peter A. Mello
April 13, 2009, 6:05 pm
Filed under: maritime, reality tv | Tags: , , ,

Via the Boston Globe's Big Picture blog - Search and seizure team members from the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf close in to apprehend suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden February 12, 2009. (Jason R. Zalasky/AFP/Getty Images)

You know that this wouldn’t take long. According to a report in Variety:

The Viacom-owned cabler, (Spike TV) has greenlit a pilot for “Pirate Hunters: USN” a docu series from 44 Blue Productions (“The True Story of Black Hawk Down“) that will focus on the U.S. Navy’s antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Spike and 44 Blue have struck a deal with the Navy allowing the producers and network to place cameras aboard both the USS Boxer and the USS San Antonio.

Hmmm, if Navy SEALs are involved this will certainly add a new dimension to the reality TV traditional “elimination round.”

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Sea(cret) Santa (9 Days Left): Must Sea TV by Peter A. Mello
December 16, 2008, 10:43 am
Filed under: life, maritime, reality tv, Sea(cret) Santa | Tags: , ,

imageSome of the all-time most popular and commented posts on Sea-Fever were about the PBS’s Carrier and Sea(cret) Santa thinks someone special in your life might enjoy this critically acclaimed documentary in a nice DVD boxed set. What better way to spend a snowy winter weekend than tucked up in a Carrier marathon viewing.

From PBS:

CARRIER is a character driven, edge-of-your-seat, nonfiction drama as well as a total immersion in the high stakes world of a nuclear aircraft carrier. CARRIER follows a core group of film participants aboard the USS Nimitz, from the admiral of the strike group to the fighter pilots to the youngest sailors, as they navigate personal conflicts around their jobs, families, faith, patriotism, love, the rites of passage and the war on terror. (Price $39.99)

Here’s a sneak peak:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88OzITEsiQc]
YouTube – Full Trailer 1 – Carrier On Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Not only will you be giving the gift of entertainment, but you’ll be supporting the great programming that PBS gives us.

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Casting Call: Salty Sea Star Sought by Peter A. Mello

Captain Ahab You’ve probably always thought that your name would look good in lights and you’re might be tired of working those dogwatchs. It’s time for a change. Get a haircut (or not) and navigate yourself to the Pacific Marine Expo or Workboat Show and stop by the Tiger Aspect Production’s booth because they might just be looking for you.

Tiger Aspect Productions is developing a series on maritime ships and vessels for a major US cable network, and we’re in search of diehard seamen who might host our new series. Think you’re right for the job?

The ideal candidate would be a credible “insider”, think Discovery’s “Future Weapons“, or History Channel’s “Tougher in Alaska“. It’s not necessarily a veteran historian we’re looking for, but rather a true passionate fanatic of ships and the maritime world that can help communicate this passion to our audience. We’re looking for someone the viewer can connect with as the “real-deal”, someone with real-world maritime experience – i.e. a former captain from a naval fleet, or freight cargo ship, or a tugboat operator. The ideal candidate is a male, aged early 30’s to 40’s, though we’re open to people who don’t necessarily fit this mold.

The show is in development, but the concept is to travel around the country/ world and get up close and personal with the past, present, and future of ships. From ice breakers in the Arctic to the biggest cruise liners sailing the Caribbean, from oil tankers cruising the Persian Gulf, to fishing vessels pulling pots out of the ocean.

Pack your duffle, hop aboard a new career and break a leg!

Captains Kangaroo, Stubing and Feathersword need not apply.


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On A Boat In Upper Galveston Bay in the Middle of Hurricane Ike by Peter A. Mello
September 22, 2008, 9:48 am
Filed under: Experience, life, maritime, reality tv, social media, work

Without comment.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0csM7lC0mc]
YouTube – On a boat in the middle of Hurricane Ike

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovlEyH6VK3U]
YouTube – Hurricane Ike hit a crew of 4 in Galveston Bay

R/V Odyssey

Odyssey

As always, you can find more of this great stuff posted by Fred for Maritime Monday over at gCaptain.com.


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Be a Virtual Lobsterman by Peter A. Mello
June 20, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Experience, reality tv, work

Fresh Maine Lobster copy

So the Deadliest Catch or Lobster Wars might be just a tad more of an “Experience” than you’re ready for but thanks to the Internet, now you can be a virtual lobsterman with Catch a Piece of Maine. Never get wet, seasick or have to handle that stinky bait while having pride of ownership of your own lobster trap and being able to eat the critters whenever you like.

Here’s the part you’ll be missing:

[YouTube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=mGIs8qKOew4]

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PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 9 and 10 by Peter A. Mello
May 2, 2008, 12:02 am
Filed under: Leadership, life, maritime, reality tv, storytelling, work | Tags: , , ,

Carrier home_grid_main_01

It’s always tough to say good bye to old friends and that was the theme for CARRIER tonight. Lots of good byes to the shipmates, friends, relationships, careers and even USS Nimitz herself.

I’ve spent 10 hours over the past 5 consecutive evenings so captivated by the show that I was afraid to step away for a moment out of concern of missing something. That’s really crazy since I Tivo’d the entire series.

While I’m not a veteran or military man or naval history enthusiast, I do enjoy a good story and PBS delivered more than 5,000 of them over the 10 hours of CARRIER. We got an intimate view of the lives of a handful of sailors and a broader view of many more. It’s certainly easier now to appreciate what life is like aboard a United States aircraft carrier; frankly it’s not all that different than life anywhere else. Or is it?

I have spent the last decade of my professional life observing life at sea and promoting the opportunities to experience it. In my younger days I had the great fortune to live it first hand and have written about it on number of occasions. (Here, here, here and The Tabor Boy Project). I passionately believe in what the sea can do to change lives and after watching CARRIER I am even more convinced that it ain’t necessarily the size of the boat. Put any number of people in a confined space in an alien environment and chances are they will figure out the need to work together and support each other. Of course, shooting high performance aircraft off a moving and abbreviated strip adds a whole other level of complexity. But in the end, life at sea is a unique and powerful personal development experience.

Thanks to the amazing, charming, intelligent, funny, dedicated and hardworking crew of the USS Nimitz for giving us this incredible opportunity to peek into their lives and get a better understanding of the challenges of life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Also an even BIGGER THANKS to them for serving our country. Thanks to the filmakers who IMHO created something absolutely riveting. Thanks to PBS and all of the sponsors including the organization that I work for, Northeast Maritime Institute, for making this show possible.

I would typically never sit and watch so much television over the course of 5 days, but like many of the sailors leaving Nimitz after her deployment, I’m a bit melancholy wondering what I’m going to do tomorrow night.

Episode 9: “Get Home-itis”

A six-month absence places a heavy burden on relationships. The Navy holds seminars to counsel sailors on what to expect when they return home — and how to make the transition smooth. The “Tiger Cruise” ritual allows sailors to invite their family members aboard for the last leg of the deployment.

Episode 10: “Full Circle”

As the Nimitz makes its final transit from Hawaii to California, the sailors and Marines on board prepare to return to their homes and families. For those still on board, the “Tiger Cruise” provides a buffer, but there’s no such transition for those who fly home early from Hawaii. As the Nimitz returns to her home port of San Diego, sailors and Marines reflect on the deployment and take stock of what they’ve achieved. Was the mission accomplished? There are tearful, joyful reunions at the pier.

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PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 5 and 6 by Peter A. Mello
April 30, 2008, 12:08 am
Filed under: Experience, Leadership, life, maritime, reality tv, storytelling | Tags: , , ,

Carrier home_grid_main_02

Tonight the tone was definitely much more serious. The gravity of the mission and the toll it takes on the men and women aboard comes through clearly. I have been really taken by the honesty and authenticity that CARRIER seems to present in telling the USS Nimitz’s many stories.

Questions about the connection between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Iraq are addressed directly to the camera. “Why am I here?” One sailor states he’s “a faithful and loyal servant with questions.” A pilot explains the conflict of having an opinion and doing his job. Many recognize that this is a different type of war than that for which the Navy was built. 4th generation and asymmetrical warfare causes one pilot to state “It seems like aircraft carriers are not the way to fight wars today.”

The sight of a decrepit oil platform makes all the effort and resources deployed seem more than a little overkill and the search for terrorists has that needle in the haystack feel. “It’s not as much fun when we don’t drop bombs but maybe just flying over deters the bad guys on the ground. Fighting the terrorists is neverending.”

Life on the Nimitz can be a blur where the days of the week have no importance. Everyday is like the next. A pilot states, “I wouldn’t mind dropping bombs may sound demonic but that’s what I was trained to do.” But no bombs are dropped through episode 6 and you can begin to see and hear the stresses this causes to warriors in a war zone. Adrenaline to sheer boredom makes it all so challenging. Some feel it’s just “my job” while many others seriously question mission validity. There seems to be more sailors longing for home.

There is a sobering man overboard story that reminds us that life at sea can be dangerous even in times of peace.

As usual, the cinematography and music were amazing.

Part 5 – Show of Force description

The mission really kicks off when the Nimitz arrives in the Gulf. The conditions are extreme: flight deck personnel endure temperatures hovering around 120 degrees, while the pilots undertake grueling six-hour missions over Iraq. The F-18s are mounted with infrared cameras, enabling them to serve as the “eyes in the sky” to support the troops on the ground. Some of the pilots are frustrated that they’re not dropping bombs because, as they describe it, that’s what they’ve been trained to do. The aircraft carrier’s role and effectiveness in this particular war are questioned. Meanwhile, the strike group searches for terrorists on small dhows and intercepts cargo ships to search for weapons and bomb-making materials.

Part 6 Ground Hog Day description

After two months in the Gulf, one day starts to become indistinguishable from the next. The airwing still hasn’t dropped a single bomb, which is frustrating for some on board. The only relief comes from a port call in Bahrain, where some sailors relax by the pool, while others visit a mosque and learn about Muslim culture. The Princeton, one of the escort ships in the Nimitz strike group, loses a man overboard; an intense search to find the lost sailor ensues.

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