Big news in the (New York) harbor today: the ship PEKING was loaded onto a heavy lift ship to be transported back to Germany. She will be reborn and have a great future. Thanks Lisa Kolibabek for making your photo coverage public, it’s quite the tribute to the grand vessel who graced our city for many years at the South Street Seaport Museum
“Hundreds of sperm whales swam to and fro, their huge bodies elegantly twirling and twisting through the water as they socialized. I felt like a gatecrasher at a wedding, so obvious was their delight in each other’s company.”
So began photographer Tony Wu’s experience of being underwater with a superpod of sperm whales. It was a rare opportunity to observe an elusive animal: Sperm whales dive to depths of up to 3,000 feet to feed, and they spend a large proportion of their time in the deep ocean, away from the surface.
Okinoshima, located midway between the south-western main island of Kyushu and the Korean peninsula, was once the site of rituals to pray for maritime safety and a centre for relations with China and Korea that stretch back as far as the fourth century. Priests from Munakata Taisha, a group of Shinto shrines, are in principle permitted to travel to worship at the island’s 17th century shrine, Okitsu.
In addition, up to 200 men are allowed to visit only once a year, on 27 May, to honour sailors who died in a nearby naval battle during the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese war. Before they go ashore, they must observe centuries-old rituals, including removing their clothes and undergoing misogi – bathing naked in the sea to rid themselves of impurities.
The reason for the ban on women has never been publicly stated, but one theory – which extends to other aspects of Japanese culture – cites the Shinto belief that menstrual blood is impure. keep reading
Things that Haunt Miss Monkey’s Dreams:
Amorous emails from long-time Blackgang readers
Hagfish are widely considered the most disgusting animals in the ocean, if not on earth. The eel-shaped creatures use four pairs of thin sensory tentacles surrounding their mouths to find food—(primarily) carcasses of much larger animals. Once they find their meal, they bury into it face-first, boring a tunnel deep into its flesh. To ward off predators and other fish trying to steal their meals, hagfish produce copious amounts of slime. To prevent choking on its own slime, a hagfish can “sneeze” out its slime-filled nostril, and tie its body into a knot to keep the slime from dripping onto its face.
Hagfish are not often eaten, owing to their repugnant looks and sliminess. However, the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific, is valued as food in Korea. The hagfish is kept alive and irritated by rattling its container with a stick, prompting it to produce slime in large quantities. This slime is used in a similar manner as egg whites in various forms of cookery in the region.
On July 14, a truck carrying thousands of fish wrecked on Oregon’s highway, covering the road and at least one car in slime and creating surely one of the most bizarre traffic jams in history. A bulldozer had to be used to clear the sauce from the roadway.
The Naval Warfare event, Battle of Peasholm, has been played out for half an hour three times a week during the summer season for over 80 years. The model boats used are mostly man powered earning the fleet the title of “The smallest manned navy in the world”. All the boats were man powered, until 1929, when electricity was introduced, and now only the larger boats need to be steered by council employees. In the early days, the models were First World War battleships and a U-boat. Then, after the Second World War, the fleet was replaced with new vessels and the battle that was recreated was the Battle of the River Plate. +
A Canadian lobster fisherman who saved dozens of endangered whales after they became tangled in fishing nets has been killed – just moments after a successful rescue. Joe Howlett, from Campobello Island, New Brunswick, boarded a vessel off the province’s eastern coast on Monday to help rescue a north Atlantic right whale that had become heavily tangled in rope; a rescue was steeped in urgency.
Howlett helped free the whale – only to be struck by the mammal moments later. Howlett had saved some two dozen whales over the past 15 years. more
The endangered animal had become entangled in rope when initially spotted by officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A team of rescuers from the New England Aquarium, the Canadian Whale Institute, Dalhousie University, and the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, which Howlett was a part of, dispatched to help free the animal on July 5…
Elizabeth Fry (1780 – 1845) was an English prison reformer, social reformer and Quaker philanthropist. She was a major driving force behind new legislation to make the treatment of prisoners more humane, and was supported in her efforts by the reigning monarch.
Prompted by family friend Stephen Grellet, Fry visited Newgate Prison in 1813, where conditions she saw there horrified her. Fry also campaigned for the rights and welfare of prisoners who were being transported. The women of Newgate Prison were taken in chains through the streets of London in open wagons, often pelted with rotten food and filth by the people of the city.
She visited prison ships and persuaded captains to implement systems to ensure each woman and child would at least get a share of food and water on the long journey. Later she arranged for each woman to be given scraps of material and sewing tools so that they could use the long journey to make quilts and have something to sell as well as useful skills when they reached their destination.
Over the course of her life, Fry visited 106 transport ships and saw 12,000 convicts; her work helped to start a movement for the abolition of transportation. Even though transportation was officially abolished in 1837, Elizabeth Fry was still visiting ships until 1843.
Fry later worked with other prominent Quakers to campaign for abolition of the slave trade. One such admirer was Queen Victoria, who granted her an audiences before she was Queen and contributed money to her cause after she ascended to the throne. more
8 Bells: Sam Glanzman
Sam Glanzman, whose career as a comics artist spanned more than 70 years and ranged from superheroes to barbarian fantasy to gritty war stories, died (this week) at the age of 92. He was born in Baltimore and raised in Virginia and Long Island in an artist-centric family that included two brothers, an uncle and a mother who were (also) artists. Glanzman began drawing comic books in 1941 with the obscure “Fly-Man” for Harvey Comics.
A mid-1940s stint in the Navy during World War II instilled in him a strong feel for the details and atmosphere of men at war. This affinity informed his many war comics for Charlton and DC in the 1960s and 1970s, and his wartime experiences were recounted by him in his autobiographical U.S.S. Stevens stories and the graphic novel A Sailor’s Story; originally published in two volumes in 1987 and 1989. more on The Comics Journal
In lieu of flowers and cards, his widow, Sue, has asked fans to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign to support a tribute book that will help with his medical bills. (via dirtyriver)
Effie M. Morrissey (now Ernestina-Morrissey) was a schooner skippered by Robert Bartlett that made many scientific expeditions to the Arctic, sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society. She also helped survey the Arctic for the United States Government during World War II. She is currently designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark as part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. more on wikipedia