Songs of the Sea: So Far From the Clyde

I have to say thanks to the Old Salt Blog for sending me news of this song in my email this morning. 🙂

I’ve never heard of it before. I’m not really familiar with Mark Knopfler, even tho I know a few songs by Dire Straits. After listening to this song, I’ll be sure to track down more of his stuff.

As a seafarer, I know exactly what he’s singing about. It’s a sad song about riding his ship to the breakers. So many great ships were built in Scotland, on the Clyde. I’ve even been on one- the famous tea clipper, Cutty Sark. She’s kept near London now, as a museum.

Most ships are brought round to the breakers in the Indian Ocean. They’re driven ashore in Pakistan or India. It’s just so much easier and cheaper to get rid of them there. That’s a story in itself. National Geographic even did a photo essay on it recently.

I’ve never done it yet myself. I would like to once, before I have to give up sailing. Closest I came was to deliver the tanker “Coastal New York” to a shipyard in China for scrapping.

Listen to the lyrics…

“So Far From The Clyde”

They had a last supper the day of the beaching
She’s a dead ship sailing skeleton crew
The galley is empty, the stove pots are cooling
What’s left of the stew
The time is approaching, the captain moves over
The hangman steps in to do what he’s paid for
With the wind down the tide she goes proud ahead steaming
And he drives her hard into the shore

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

A drift to a wave from her bows to her rudder
Bravely she rises to meet with the land
Under their feet you can feel the Kings shudder
The shallow sea washes their hands
Later the captain shakes hands with the hangman
Climbs slowly down to the oily wet ground
Goes back to the car that has come here to take him
Through the graveyard back to the town

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

They pull out her cables and hack off her hatches
Too poor to be wasteful with pity or time
They swarm on her carcass with torches and axes
Like a whale on a bloody shoreline
Stripped of her pillars her stays and her stanchions
When it’s only her bones on the wet poison land
Steel robbers will drag her with winches and engines
Till it’s only a stain on the sea

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride
So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

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Teaser: Bosphorus Cruise

I’m running late today, so this will just be a short teaser. I’ll write more when I get in tonight.  Yesterday, I went on a dinner cruise through the Bosphorus Straights between Europe and Asia.

It was a beautiful night and the cruise was very entertaining. With good food, company, music and dancing!

Maritime Monday for September 26th 2016: Encore Performance

This weeks Maritime Monday is a good one. I do love art of all kinds, and especially maritime art (of course). This week there’s a very nice showcase of artists who liked to work on maritime subjects down through history. There’s also a mention of a new group, the “Sea Sisters”. I’ll definitely be checking them out. A neat article about the elevators on the Three Gorges Dam (I was excited to be able to cruise through there before the dam was finished), what an impressive project! Thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain for sharing all this great stuff!

The World’s Largest Elevator Can Lift 6.7 Million Pounds of Ship sploid.gizmodo …

Source: Maritime Monday for September 26th, 2016: Encore Performance – gCaptain

Maritime Monday: Spanish, Maine

Another post for Maritime Monday thanks to Monkey Fist and gCaptain. I always enjoy all the interesting little tidbits put together for these posts, but I really love this one today.

I’ve always loved art, pretty much all kinds (except the abstracts I sometimes see in museums where I can’t help wondering why someone would actually pay for that- white painted canvas and that sort of thing).

I always thought, “I could do better than that!”. I’ve actually started trying to learn how to paint. I’ve been trying to learn how to paint seascapes (of course). 😉

I am especially fond of maritime art. I can’t think of any I’ve seen that I haven’t liked. A Facebook friend “Baristo Uno” likes to post this stuff occasionally and it’s always a joy to see. It helps educate people and open our eyes to the wider world…

Past and present, worldwide locations- the sea is the same, but how we deal with it may change. It’s always the same, yet always changing. It keeps us on our toes.

I do love it out there, and these paintings remind me of how much there is to love! 🙂

  John ‘Jack’ Travers Cornwell, who was just 16, remained at his post on the HMS Chester awaiting orders despite having suffered mortal shrapnel injuries. Initially, Jack was buried in a common grave but the British press took up his story and he was eventually laid to rest with full military honours and posthumously awarded […]

Source: Maritime Monday for June 5th, 2016: Spanish, Maine – gCaptain

Ships Rigs: Schooner

I wrote an earlier post about how sailing ships are rigged. I figured I would start with the biggest and most unusual to see today, and work my way down to the more common types you’ll see around you every day.

So the first post was about a ‘ship’ rig. Today’s post will be about a ‘schooner’ rig. I mentioned before that sailing ships rigs are first classified by how the sails are set. Either fore-and-aft or square rigged. A ‘ship’ is set with square rigged sails, a ‘schooner’ is set with fore-and-aft rigged sails.

I saw a nice one in the news the other day. The Juan Sebastian de Elcano was in Pensacola a couple of weeks ago and was open for tours by the locals. She’s in Charleston now. Check it out if you can. Here’s a picture of her. She’s a real beauty!

 

She’s got 4 masts, all rigged fore-and-aft and also square rigged on the foremast. So technically, she’s a brig-schooner. Or she could be called a topsail schooner. Whatever you call her, she’s a beautiful ship and I imagine must be a dream to sail on. 🙂

She’s very similar to the Ariadne. The ship I was privileged to sail on during my younger days. The difference is that the Ariadne was a little smaller, only had 3 masts and didn’t have the square sails. I actually got to go to high school aboard the Ariadne and the brigantine Phoenix! I was SO lucky! That experience definitely changed my life for the better. Here’s a picture of her.

The Ariadne was a true schooner. She had 3 masts, all fore-and-aft rigged. The Juan Sebastian de Elcano is a brig-schooner which means she has square sails on her fore mast. There are all kinds of variations to the main 2 types of sail plans (fore-and-aft or square rigged). There are ships, schooner, brigs, brigantines, barques, barquentines, in the larger class of vessels and then a few more in the smaller class. I’ll write more about them later. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat

Here’s my entry for the Daily Posts Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat. I have LOTs of good pictures for this one. Here are some pictures of the kinds of ships I see daily while I’m at work.

Yeah, they’re all afloat, tho I sure don’t know how a couple of them manage it. 😉

 

 

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy | Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian Magazine.

I thought this was pretty good, despite the reservations I have from only seeing this article. It’s an interview with author Rose George about her latest book: Ninety Percent of Everything. She somehow arranged to spend some time sailing around on the container ship Maersk Kendal. I’m going to have to find a copy of this book to read. 🙂

a container ship underway

a container ship underway

She makes a lot of good points. That people who aren’t personally involved with shipping are totally unaware of the industry. That those of us living in ‘first world’ countries don’t know any seafarers personally any more. That the ports have been moved so far away from the cities that most people don’t have any awareness of them anymore. That people on the beach have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be a seafarer.

I do think she got a lot of that correct. She sees how isolating it is out here now. She mentions the lack of communication and that the ships don’t provide internet or phone access to their crews (because of the expense). I do agree that it is an expense. I do not agree that it is an ‘extra’ expense. I don’t think it’s very much to pay a couple of thousand dollars a month when that would be something like 1% of expenses on most ships (if that). Isn’t it worth that for such a HUGE increase in crew morale?

a tank ship underway

a tank ship underway

I don’t really know if she’s right in her assessment of how much or how little sailors have a ‘sense of romanticism’. She mentions that she thinks the captain has more of it then he lets on, that he still secretly loves the sea.

She seems to think that most sailors are only out here for the money. I might agree that most sailors from the poorer parts of the world go to sea for the money. They probably went to sea because it paid better than anything they could find at home.

I would agree that the great majority of seafarers are not in a great position at sea. Some of the conditions sailors work under are just horrible. A lot of shipowners do flag foreign just so they can cut expenses.

They all say that the cost of the crew is their largest expense so they cut it any way they can. They cut the crew size, they lengthen the hitch (2 YEARS or more), they skimp on groceries, they skimp on medical care, they refuse to pay for visas so the crew can’t leave the ship in port, etc.

That’s not even to start on the issue of crew abandonment. Rose George seems to think the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will help. I’ve seen in the news there have already been 3 ships detained, but I have serious doubts it will actually help the crews.

In spite of conditions like that, I believe most seafarers do still enjoy sailing (at least sometimes). 😉

romanticism of life at sea

romanticism of life at sea

I know I still do. Most of the time. 😉