MARINE CURIOSITIES

 

* In 1784, a Japanese seaman, along with 44 shipmates, was wrecked on a Pacific coral reef and shortly before dying of starvation he carved a brief account of their tragedy on a piece of wood, sealed it in a bottle, and threw it into the sea. In 1935, 150 years later, the bottle washed up on shore at the seaside village where he was born.

 

* Sailors wore gold earrings so that their bodies always carried the cost of a Christian burial.

 

* During Columbus' fourth voyage the crew ate their porridge at night "so as not to see the worms."

 

* The Isidore, a bark from Kennebunkport, ME, began its maiden voyage in 1847 without one of its seamen because he had dreamed he saw the ship wrecked with seven corpses on its deck. The ship foundered ten miles from its homeport, and when the wreck was boarded seven corpses where found on its deck.

 

* A lighthouse 150 feet high was built in 1893 in Birmingham, England, then dismantled and shipped in pieces 6,000 miles to its final site on Dassen Island near Capetown, S. Africa.

 

* Howard Blackburn of Gloucester, MA, made two solo crossings of the Atlantic Ocean in small sailboats although he had no fingers on either hand.

 

* Two men raced across the Atlantic Ocean in 14-foot dories, from Boston, MA, to Cornwall, England, in 1890. In mid-ocean both boats capsized in a storm. One of the racers was picked up by a passing steamer while the other righted his dory and reached Land's End to win the race.

 

* In 1778 a huge chain was floated across the mouth of the Hudson River to close it off to the British fleet. Each link in the chain was four feet long and weighed 300 pounds.

 

* Beer was rationed out to crewmen on warships in the 18th century at a gallon per day per man. Rum was rationed to crewmen serving only in the West Indies in the amount of half a pint-per-day.

 

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