Monday Morning Motivator: Classical Music, Shining Eyes and awakening Possibilities

Here’s an inspirational TED Talk by Benjamin Zander about Leadership (without mentioning leadership). Watch and enjoy!


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Maritime Art: “New York City Waterfalls”

Okay, Sea-Fever has gotten a little art happy lately, I know. But there is so much contemporary art that has some kind of maritime angle that I find interesting. Art, after the sea, is one of my deepest passions so that’s why I post about it. If you aren’t interested, don’t worry, I won’t take it personally if you skip a post or 2; just make sure you come back. Please!

Earlier this week the largest public art project in NYC since Christo’s Gates in 2005 opened in various sites along the city’s waterfront. “New York City Waterfalls” by Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson consists of 4 large temporary manmade waterfalls on the East River. The project is reported to have cost nearly $15.5 million of public support, foundation funds and private donations. The Public Art Fund is the main sponsor of the project.

Waterfalls - Vincent Laforet for The New York Times

From the NY Times:

Flanked by Mr. Eliasson, the mayor (Bloomberg) said at the opening ceremony — which began around 10:30 a.m., a half hour late — that the “Waterfalls” were a “symbol of the energy and vitality that we have been bringing back to our waterfront in all five boroughs.” (link)

Also, from an earlier article in the NY Times, the artist on the project:

Given that much of New York City is surrounded by water, the idea of creating waterfalls seemed obvious to Mr. Eliasson, who suggests that New Yorkers are not as strongly connected to their waterfronts as urban Europeans are.

Throughout history, he said, New Yorkers “have always taken water for granted.” He added: “Now people can engage in something as epic as a waterfall, see the wind and feel its gravity. You realize that the East River is not just static.” (link)

And from the press conference for the project launch:



Well from the articles I’ve read and pictures that I’ve seen I’m completely underwhelmed. I love contemporary art that challenges and really want to like this project. But there’s something about this piece that makes it appear to be a caricature or parody of contemporary art. Personally, I have trouble seeing past all of the scaffolding and not thinking of other NYC waterfalls like this. I know I should reserve judgement until experiencing it firsthand so maybe we’ll make a trip to NYC to check it out before it closes in October; hope we’re not disappointed.

Calculating the Worth of East River Waterfalls (NY Times – June 28, 2008 )

Photo credit: Vincent Laforet for The New York Times

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Hazards to Navigation – Whales

Weekend sailors should be aware of the many different hazards to navigation that they may encounter. Some are rarer than others.


Wishing you safe and enjoyable boating!

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"Great Encouragement for Seamen" – Then and Now

great encouragement for seaman

Back in 1777, Captain John Paul-Jones placed the above advertisement in the New Hampshire Gazette in an effort to recruit sailors for “The Ship Ranger. Seems that the fledgling US Navy was experience recruiting challenges much in the same way that the world’s merchant fleet is experiencing today, but that’s a story for another post.

Any Gentlemen Volunteers who have a Mind to take an agreeable Voyage in this pleasant Season of the Year, may, by entering on board the above Ship Ranger, meet with every Civility they can possibly expect, and for a further Encouragement depend on the first Opportunity being embraced to reward each one agreeable to his Merit.

Jones almost makes it sound more like a vacation than the harsh realities of life aboard a revolutionary war ship.

navy first call poster

The Ship Ranger is long gone but today another active US Navy war ship is in search of a able bodied seamen. According to the Strategy Page, The US Navy is Seeking Sailing Sailors. Candidates must;

  • Be able to handle going up in the rigging.
  • Have capability to give talks and presentations (to museum visitors).
  • Not been in trouble for drinking in the past 36 months, or have had a drunken driving conviction in the past five years.
  • Not have had financial debt or credit) problems in the past 36 months.
  • Have had above average fitness reports in the last 36 months.
  • Not have excessive, or questionable, tattoos.
  • Be in good physical shape and not overweight.
  • Have passed all physical fitness assessments in the past year, and have not failed more than one physical fitness test in the past four years.
  • Lower ranking sailors (E-3 and below) must be unmarried.

Hmmm? No drinking, tattoos or wives! Sailors who can handle going up in the rigging? What happened to our Navy when I was off watch?

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Sea-Fever (via Wordle)

Sea-Fever Wordle copy

That’s Masefield’s classic poem Sea-Fever via Wordle, a cool web 2.0 visualization tool toy of the moment that as you can see takes the text, mixes it up and highlights certain words that are used more.

Here’s a link to the original work.

In case you missed it, here’s another interesting presentation of Sea-Fever.

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NY Harbor School: Making Waves in Education

It’s a proud accomplishment for any academic institution to make the front page of the NY Times. For me it’s even more exciting when it one that uses maritime culture and heritage to change the lives of inner city youth and it’s even better when I know some of the people involved.


Today’s NY Times (June 26, 2008 ) has a great front page article by Sara Rimer about the Urban Assembly’s New York Harbor School entitled Taking Lessons, and Confidence, From the Water. It’s a must read for anyone interested or involved in maritime education. Here’s a link to my previous post, The Privilege of Sailing, that I did on the Harbor School along with co-founder Murray Fisher adding a comment.


Outcomes are what matters in programs like this and here’s some interesting facts from the article:

The Harbor School has 390 students in grades 9 to 12, 70 percent Latino and 30 percent black, with many from the Caribbean. Last year’s graduation rate was 63 percent, Mr. Fisher said, nearly triple the rate of the old Bushwick High School, which once occupied the same building. The citywide average is about 50 percent.

But more importantly the voices and pictures bring this success story to life. Please don’t miss the audio clips or slide show! If you only have time to do one thing today, please listen to student Jennifer Mendez and teacher Melissa Franco and you will get a better understanding about the power of the sea to teach and change lives!

Yes, she, Jennifer Mendez, 15, the girl from Brooklyn who used to be afraid of the water and everything related to it — fish, boats, bugs — was steering the Lettie up the river, along the Upper West Side. The captain of the ship, Denise Meagher, was standing by. But with her hand on the wheel, Jennifer felt as if she were the captain, responsible for the ship and everyone on it — the crew, her ninth-grade classmates and their science teachers, Roy Arrezo and Ann Fraioli.

A little later, Jennifer would write in her class journal, “I feel as if I can do anything.” Even, she confided, make the honor roll.

“I feel so privileged to learn about the water,” Jennifer wrote in her journal. “The Hudson River is like an ancestor of our past, and if we listen to it, it just might tell tales.”


Congratulations to the Murray Fisher and Nathan Dudley and all of the professional and volunteer leadership of the Harbor School for creating something special for New York City youth and for a well deserved acknowledgement on the front page of the NY Times! Also, congratulations to all of the Harbor School students who work so hard to make this unique program a success! Like sailing a tall ship, you’re all in the same boat so keep up the great work!

Photo credit: Ruby Washington / NY Times

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Interesting adaptation of the poem which is the inspiration for our organization and this blog.


Can anyone on the interwebs identify what’s wrong with this reading? I’ll send a copy of my friend Randy Peffer’s great book Logs of the Dead Pirates Society to the first person who comments with the correct answer.

Make sure that you check out poetryanimation on YouTube for many other amazing virtual animated poetry readings.

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Maritime Art: Shuli Hallak’s “Cargo”

Regular Sea-Fever readers know I’m a sucker for maritime art and Shuli Hallak’s work first caught my eye in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine editorial. One of her photographs (below) was used in They Way We Live Now column which was entitled Tariff to Nowhere.


So I was pleasantly surprised to run across even more of her work again today in a Moco Loco, The Modern & Contemporary Design Blog post.


Hallak was identified by PDN (Photo District News) as one of 30 “new and emerging photographers to watch” in 2007.  Moti Hasson Gallery in New York City is currently exhibiting “Cargo” (May 8 – June 29, 2008). From their website:

Shuli Hallak’s recent photographs document cargo in its state of transit between production and consumption. Almost every manufactured product humans consume spends time in a shipping container, yet consumers remain largely unaware of the process by which goods are actually transported. Hallak describes a cargo ship as a “sublime, moving city” and finds beauty in the fundamental necessity of the shipping industry, in the romance of travel over sea, and in the raw, precise, purely functional architecture of ports. In “Cargo,” Hallak unveils an essential stage in the delivery of goods from manufacturer to consumer and invites viewers to share in her process of discovery and in her fascination with what she finds.


I love Hallak’s art; the beauty and magic of it and the ideas behind it.

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A bad day for historic schooner groundings

Monday was a bad day for historic schooner groundings on both coasts of the United States.

Advenuress from Bitter End

First, the Adventuress ran aground off Orca Island while transiting Wasp Pass in the San Juans off Washington State. Our friend, marine salvor and fellow maritime blogger Captain Richard Rodriguez is all over this story, literally! As you can see from his above photo, his vessel and blog share the same name: Bitter End. Thankfully, that won’t be the result for the Adventuress; no injuries or serious hull damage has been reported. (KING 5 video report)

Tragically, another historic schooner, Robertson II, met her bitter end last year in similarly treacherous waters off the coast of Washington state.

Meanwhile on the Atlantic Coast, the Sylvina W. Beal, a Maine windjammer ran also ran aground yesterday. The Canadian Press reports:

The U.S. Coast Guard station in Eastport, Maine, says it received a report Monday night that the schooner Sylvina W. Beal had run aground near Indian Island in Head Harbor Passage and needed help. he Coast Guard evacuated the (41) passengers from the 25-metre-long vessel. No injuries or pollution are reported and the coast guard says the vessel is not taking on water.

The good news is that there were no reported injuries, significant damage or pollution in either incident.

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