USCG Cutter Healy Ice Breaking Time Lapse

NOME, Alaska – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy begins breaking the tanker vessel Renda from the ice near Nome, Alaska, Jan. 20, 2012. The vessels will now begin the more than 400 mile journey through the frozen Bering Sea to open ocean. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

Tanker With Crucial Fuel Delivery Is Sighted Off Nome NY Times, January 13, 2012

What I’ve been up to for the past 3 months

OK, Sea-Fever has been dark for some time and that’s because in mid-March I started a new job as Managing Director of WaterFire Providence.  It’s destiny that a guy with a blog called Sea-Fever goes to work at a place called WaterFire.

If you’ve never experienced WaterFire you’ll probably just get confused if I try to tell you what it is. But I’ll try any way because you should know.

WaterFire Providence is a nonprofit organization whose mission is  to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. What’s WaterFire? This video does a better job than any words I could muster.

For a deeper dive on WaterFire, here’s an old video of founder Barnaby Evans explaining the artwork.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ve been very fortunate to have some incredible jobs over the years and the chance to work with some amazing people; however, WaterFire is really a world apart. I’ll be writing about it here from time to time.

If you haven’t experienced WaterFire, you must come!

Inc. Magazine Says Don’t Miss The (Ferry) Boat!

Walberswick Southwold Ferry

According to the June 2010 issue of Inc. Magazine,  it’s a good time to launch a ferry, boat business. Ferryboat Industry Gaining Speed | Best Industries for Starting a Business 2010 Well, not surprisingly, the author does admit it’s an eyebrowraiser.

The industry as a whole is poised to experience a significant amount of growth in coming years. According to, inland water passenger transportation is a $440 million industry, which has grown an average of 12 percent a year since 2004. Who is actually benefitting from this growth? The majority of water transportation in this country is run by public agencies, but we tracked down several private ferry companies that have managed to profit handily. Despite water transit’s being a capital- and labor-intensive business, there’s no doubt it provides an increasingly pleasant relief from congested freeways and mundane subway commutes. There’s also the fun factor – running a fleet of boats sounds pretty exhilarating.

They identify 5 trends to follow: 1.) Public Subsidies; 2.) Think Multipurpose; 3.) Green New Machines; 4.) Catering to Local Tourists and Staycationers and 5.) Think Global. Interested in keeping others from but getting your own feet wet in the ferry business, read the entire article.

Of course, you can never be too young to start working for a ferry service. The above photo is of my then 6 year old son Luke, handling the lines of the Walberswick – Southwold Ferry in Suffolk, England. The ultimate “green” maritime operation which also benefited from a low capital investment.  It can be backbreaking work though.

Don’t miss New Bedford’s Working Waterfront Festival this weekend!

New Bedford Working Waterfront FestivalIf you are anywhere near the Southcoast of Massachusetts, or more specifically New Bedford, you will not want to miss the 2009 Working Waterfront Festival. This year’s theme is Surf & Turf: Fishermen and Farmers Finding Common Ground. From the website:

Farming, like fishing, is a way of life. Fishermen and farmers share a deep knowledge of, reverence for and dependence upon the natural world. Both groups pass traditional skills and knowledge from one generation to the next, often incorporating new technologies alongside traditional practices. And both communities face many of the same economic, environmental and political challenges.

There are all kinds of wonderful activities for the entire family that will entertain and educate you about what takes place everyday on one America’s most active waterfronts. Here are the schedules for Saturday and Sunday as well as a downloadable festival map(PDF). It’s all FREE!

Here are a few videos from past festivals of the types of activities that you’ll experience:

YouTube – Scallop Shucking

YouTube – Coast Guard Rescue Demonstration

In addition to all of the activities on the waterfront, New Bedford is like a theme park for maritime heritage/culture fans. Located on Johnny Cake Hill is the Whaling Museum (website / blog / twitter), homeport of the largest ship model in the world and which has two “not to miss” exhibits: From Pursuit to Preservation and Working Waterfront, Photographic Portraits which I’m proud to say is a great show of my cousin Phil’s photography. Across the street from the Whaling Museum is the historic Seamen’s Bethel made famous by Herman Melville in his classic Moby-Dick. A little further up the hill you’ll find the new Ocean Explorium which is the home to one of NOAA’s very impressive Science on a Sphere installations. All of this and more is located in the New Bedford Whaling Historical National Park.

Looking for some great food and refreshments? Check out the Rose Alley Ale House for great chicken wings, burgers and a wide selection of beers and No Problemo for the best Mexican around.  Want something a little fancier, Cork or Waterfront Grill would be god choices. All are steps from the festival grounds. 

If you are on Twitter and interested in learning more or if you attend and want to share your experiences use the hash tag #workingwaterfront.

It’s a Boat! It’s A Plane! No It’s a Martin Mars Waterbomber!

Imagine enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon waterskiing with you family on the lake and all of a sudden…

YouTube – “Hawaii Mars” Bomber Fire Plane Picking up water off of Lake San Antonio to drop on Cal. Wild Fires

These amazing flying boats have recently been working hard fighting fires in California. From the Coulson Flying Tanker’s website:

Flying Tankers Inc. was formed in 1959 by a consortium of forest companies after experiencing several catastrophic fire seasons. The new company then purchased the remaining four of the world’s only fleet of mighty Martin Mars aircraft from the US Navy.

Originally, the Martin Mars flying boats were produced for the US Navy and were used as troop and cargo transports among the islands of the Pacific. Firefighting certainly wasn’t what the aircraft’s manufacturer, Glenn L. Martin had in mind….. however, all four aircraft, the Marianas, Philippine, Hawaii and Caroline Mars were ferried to British Columbia where three were fitted with 7,200 gallon (27,276 litres) water tanks and converted to waterbombers!

Video of the MartinMars in action:

Promotional video from the Coulson Group:

Here’s a link to a Martin Mars Flickr Group which has some cool photos and videos.

Wikipedia – Martin JRM Mars