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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 137907 times)

Bryan Young

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Nautical "Strange but True!"
« on: February 21, 2008, 05:15:15 PM »

This topic is intended for posts of a nautical "Strange but True!" variety. Please keep them nautically relevant otherwise we will be overwhelmed! - Colin

"As the ship would be moving at the time of casting, or if stopped an undeThis topic is intended for "Strange but True" posts of a nautical nature. Please keep them relevant to a nautical theme otherwise we will be overwhelmed! - Colinrwater current could carry the lead away; the length of wire paid out would or could be inaccurate. " - So how accurate could these things be?
As a rider to your query, When I was a junior officer on "Norseman" I gained experience with a steam powered sounding machine. A little twin cylinder jobby. This was used (now and again) when working in very deep waters (5 miles plus). The sinkers for this machine were genuine 56lb cannon balls with a hoop fastened into them. As far as I recall the machine was used (in my experience) when leaving the River Plate following a cable to somewhere on the other side of the S.Atlantic. The Continental shelf in those parts dives almost vertically from 100 fathoms to over 4 miles. The outflow of the 'Plate would catch this very heavy weight and carry it in an almost horizontal direction for quite a distance. An alarming sight when viewed for the first time!
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2008, 05:33:07 PM »

That's an interesting tale Bryan. I've also heard that in the Dardanelles fishing boats can lower a weight deep enough to catch the counter current and thus apparently go against the flow on the surface. Same sort of effect apparently.

You have been posting some very interesting illustrations, I think I shall have to print some of them off for future reference.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 07:10:25 PM »

That's an interesting tale Bryan. I've also heard that in the Dardanelles fishing boats can lower a weight deep enough to catch the counter current and thus apparently go against the flow on the surface. Same sort of effect apparently.

You have been posting some very interesting illustrations, I think I shall have to print some of them off for future reference.
Counterflow is (as far as I know) only found in the straits of Gibraltar where the trawlers (except they aren't trawlers) can let the boat float out on the warm water and the cold water coming in keeps the nets out. BTW did you know that there is a huge ( 8 mile wide and 500ft tall cold waterfall at the Med. end of the Gib straits?....underwater of course, otherwise shipping would have a problem.
Whilst I am on this subject (?), I really should have given an example of "speed through the water" as opposed to "speed over the ground".
A lovely example is the St. Lawrence River in Canada. There is a section of the river where ships that do 11 knots or so have to be going "full ahead" to stay still against the outflowing river and tide. When the tide reverses these slow ships (over the ground) go like McLarens F1.
There is also an area up there where a waterfall flows both ways. I used to know how that was ....but dotage creeps in. Another anomaly re. the St Lawrence is that of the mirages. This sounds creepy but it is quite true...seen it myself. Trundling up towards Montreal (Benledi, 1959) 20 miles offshore the Pilot grabs me (cadet)(in the nicest possible way) and says " Watch this"....all of a sudden the shore 20 miles away comes into view, but upside down. In one of the houses a lady is waving. It is the pilots wife. She can also see him (upside down). True. Something called "ducting" I think. Same reason you can see the lighthouse on the Horn of Africa from nearly 1000 miles away if the conditions are right...and the lighthouse keeper hadn't been eaten by the locals. Also true. Many similar tales, but you are bored now.
However, the Dardonelles and (particularly) the Bosphorus are unique in that they are the largest donor of water to the Med. Water does not flow into the Black Sea..it flows out. Quickly. Another example (of us) doing revs for 20 knots on our way to Odessa but only doing 7 knots over the ground. Coming back home was a somewhat different story! I was the "driver" and believe me it was hairy, scooting past large mansions with maybe 50' to spare on a 660' long ship doing in excess of 30 knots. Loved it!! BY.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 07:31:18 PM »

Bryan, the deep counter current, South to North, in the Dardanelles is well documented and has been known for centuries. There are a number of reports and observations if you do a bit of Googling. I became aware of it from the history of the WW1 naval operations and from archaeological reports.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 07:48:46 PM »

Bryan, the deep counter current, South to North, in the Dardanelles is well documented and has been known for centuries. There are a number of reports and observations if you do a bit of Googling. I became aware of it from the history of the WW1 naval operations and from archaeological reports.
OK. I am sure you are correct to a degree, but water does generally "outflow" from the Black Sea. Perhaps that is why the Black Sea takes 1000 years plus to regenerate. Keep googling (I'm not) and see if there is any life near the bottom of the Black Sea.(In the deeper bits). Even on the surface it is quite an "oppressive" sort of place. There are not all that many rivers of size flowing into the Med, and the evaporation is phenomenal.
Needs a lot of topping up. And it's no good saying that the Atlantic will keep the Med full. Over the millenia the Gib Straits have been closed many times leading to a total drying up of a sea that is in places 3 miles deep. The waterfall I mentioned earlier took over 500 years to fill the Med up again when the 2 continents eventually drifted apart. Love the arguement! BY.
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 09:57:29 AM »

As regards speed across the ground, I came out of Livorno one day in a small coastal container vessel, we turned North to return to the UK and the Old Man put her up to max.

After a while he phoned down to say we were changing course and speed for a while.  Apparently a strong tidal current flows along the coast at that point and is concentrated by a land spit just North of Livorno.  We were sat in this current doing full ahead and moving at about half a knot!!  We had to go further out to sea before we could turn North outside this current.
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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2008, 10:32:34 PM »

Another strong tidal race closer to home is the Pentland Firth, I went through it I remember on a neap tide going with me and registered 22 knots over the ground, the shaft revs were set for 12.5 knots. The pilot book recommends vessels with less than 12 knots speed to wait and go through with the tidal race. Also that is were you get walking walls of water with the right wind and tidal conditions and they are very frightening, I have seen one and I nearly had to change my underpants.
Another phenomenon is in the Baltic, where you can experience mirages like the desert. I remember coming out of the Helsingfor straits and seeing the port of Gdansk in Poland several hundred of mile away, it was freaky.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 10:49:10 PM »

I think a lot of people don't appreciate the effects of tide. If you are in a small yacht in the Solent never try to fight it. If you time it right you can take the ebb from Chichester Harbour entrance all the way down to Yarmouth. Several times I have been off Cowes with 4 knots on the boat's log and 8.5 knots on the GPS over the ground. It's like being on a magic carpet!

The downside was one time when we had to fight the tide from Newtown Creek to Yarmouth - less than 4 miles but it took over two hours with the outboard flat out!

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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2008, 11:43:05 AM »

Not reall a "strange", more of a silly, but true.
Just before the Falklands thing came up RFA "Fort Austin" hosted a visit by HM the Queen. Naturally the ship was made nice. One of the jobs that was done was the fitting of "modesty boards" to all the exterior ladders that the Queen was going to use. They are still there as far as I know. But the "odd-ball" thing was to remove the paint and polish the spare propeller. You'll see from the pic how big this thing is!
Anyway, off to war in a hurry. All "warlike" tasks done and further training carried out. But "someone" forgot to repaint the spare prop. The net result of this was that when chugging along in a fully darkened condition with radars off all ships were invisible to the naked eye. When the moon came out there was this great gleaming mirror just where Austin was. She also had another trick to play. No moon this time and she was over the horizon. A bit startling to see a regular display of Roman Candles coming from here position....loads of lovely sparks spouting out of the funnel.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2008, 11:48:05 AM »

try the pic again
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2008, 07:00:06 PM »

NO PICTURES THIS TIME!
Just a nice little story.
As 3/0 on c/s "Lady Dennison Pender" in 1963 we were doing a job in pretty deep water about 100 miles NW of Malta. The strain rose on the grappling rope and was constant, so the grapnel was brought up. On sighting it was obvious we hadn't hooked a cable, but had an aircraft. A German one. We had hooked it just behind the cockpit so it came up more or less level. Remember that this was less than 20 years after the end of WW2, so a lot of the "fabric" and ident marks were still visible. I well remember that the wheels were down. The remains of the pilot were visible. We took note of all the details we could and our Captain made the wise and humane decision to return the pilot and his aircraft to the bottom of the Med. All this info was passed to C&W. After about a couple of months we (or the Captain) had a letter from the dead pilots parents thanking us for what we did, and now knew just where their son was. B.Y.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2008, 07:10:59 PM »

Following on from my posting re. "weathering" on the other topic, the subject reminded me of a rather bizarre occurence in Rio de Janeiro bay. The Brazilian aircraft carrier "Minas Gerais" (ex "Victorious" or somesuch) didn't have enough money to go to sea and therefore couldn't exercise the "air-wing". To exercise the flight-deck crews they used an earth-mover (Caterpiller type) to go up and down on the lifts. At the time the aircraft were (if my memory is correct) were ex-USN Navy "Mustangs". Some bright spark decided that given the right wind conditions and with the use of the steam catapult an aircraft could be launched whilst the carrier was still attached to its buoy. A joy to watch. Zoom! and splash. Not so good for the (now dead) pilot. A couple of days later I watched a Varig "Caravelle" screaming over the bay doing barrel rolls. I hope there were no passengers aboard. But after just another couple of days ( a funny week) we got another story. The Brazzi navy had just taken delivery of a bunch of ex USN "Sabre" jets. As the carrier was unable to go to sea the aircraft were "parked" at an air base. The air force then refused to give them to the navy. Whereupon a couple of Admirals and assorted others took off in a helicopter to remonstrate with the Air Force...wanting their aircraft back. One of the Sabres took off and without further ado shot the helo out of the sky. End of complaints from the Navy.
All done in full view of the people around the bay.
The Brazilian Navy also had 2 large ex US cruisers...big things with a crane hanging over the back. These 2 ships were supposed to patrol the coast, except that they couldn't. The boilers in one of them were so completely shot that half of of the boilers in one were removed and put in the other. So they were left with 2 cruisers with a top speed not much in excess of 15 knots each.
I can see the RN going the same way! Bryan.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2008, 07:22:30 PM »

THE TALE OF THE BEER CAN
In 1966 I was a 3/O on c/s "Mercury". The task at hand was the laying of the first telephone (as opposed to telegraph) cable across the Pacific. This bit went from Guam to Wellington if I recall correctly. This entailed laying a cable down the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. Over 6 miles deep. It may surprise some of you to know that a "deep-sea" cable is only just over 1 inch in diameter.
(A subject I shall tell you about at another time).
Anyway, at various times it was required to take a temperature reading at the sea bed. At this time the properties of the Marianna Trench were basically unknown. After a couple of these readings were taken one of our Clankies had a brainwave. These were the days of the "top-end-spanner" to open a can. He attached a pristine can of Tennants Lager to the thermometer wire and away it went...down 6 miles. When the can came back up it still looked immaculate, but of course it had gawd knows how many tons of pressure still within it. The can was (carefully) put back in the 'fridge awaiting its first customer. At the first touch of the top-end-spanner ....well the resultant release of pressure was a sight to behold. Not much lager left to drink, and a very wet customer. We were quitely discouraged to do this again.
As I said earlier, very little was known about the sea bed (in the Trench) at this time. We had another 3/O aboard who was a real genius as an inventor. He devised a contraption that would enable photos to be taken at this depth. I won't go into that now, but the results showed "footprints" and tail squiggles of fish/animals living at this great depth. This was the first time a pic at these depths had been taken. The pics were sent off to C&W and from there to other interested parties. The USA took a lot of credit, but it was c/s "Mercury" that did the job.
I guess that the most interesting (fascinating is a better word) times of my life at sea were the years I spent with C&W. So much new and now and again unseen by earlier eyes. Bryan Y.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2008, 07:44:41 PM »

Want another one ....about Russian fishing boats?
During the "cold war" we were all aware of the Russian trawlers being really "spy ships" in disguise. True to a point. There were a lot of these trawlers that were actually just trawlers. But. Most of you model makers understand the construction and use of "Otter Boards" on a trawler....can you imagine otter-boards being constructed with saw edge leading edges going to a point?  Thats what the Russians used. Primary purpose? Cut cables. One of the more "urgent" jobs I was involved in was a cable cutting incident just off the NW coast of Wales. 1962 (?) just before President Kennedy came to the UK. Absolutely a coincidence that the main telephone cable was cut just before his arrival.. We got one end up and it had been cut. Job was done but how low can you go? Cheers. BY.
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Canalpilot

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2008, 08:46:10 AM »

Reference the reversing waterfall.  I think that there is one in St. John, New Brunswick where at low water there is a outward flowing waterfall until the tide rises and then, because is in a very narrow neck of the river the waterfall reverses and the water falls into a wider part of the river.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2008, 10:57:21 AM »

In the late 70's I was working in the Marine Operations Department of a North Sea oil operator. All vessels on contract sent daily progress reports to their employing departments and these were copied to Marine Ops.

These reports were routine until the day a certain Diving Support Vessel carrying out a video survey of a subsea pipeline submitted its report. Along with info on spans and debris was the information that caterpillar track markings were seen on the sea bottom, commencing close to one platform and progressing for about 100m and then stopping. It was as though something had touched down, trundled along and then lifted off again.

Now some years after, tracked vehicles were used in connection with pipelay ops but these needed an umbilical connection to a mother ship. At that time - and to this day as far as I am aware - there are no autonomous, underwater, tracked vehicles in use in the industry. The SBS were quietly operating around the fields then as they do today but even they, as far as I know, would find this activity beyond them.

Thus, what made those tracks? Russkis? Little Green Men? It was all quietly forgotten at the time but the memory still stays in my mind.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2008, 08:04:01 PM »

A Tooth.
This is becoming like one of Scherherazades tales.
Another one from C&W days.
Around the S.Coast of the Carribbean Sea there are numerous reefs, and the sea around them can be quite deep. So cables have to be laid with enough slack to allow for this. One of the more pernicious (or just plain stupid) is a worm with big teeth. Can't recall its name. Anyhow, this particular animal seems to be attracted to submarine cables. Perhaps it can sense some sort of emanation, even through a thick layer of encrustation. So it bites into the cable and gets a shock big enough to kill it. Other fish come along and eat the body leaving nothing but the guilty tooth. There is now a "short" in the cable and at vast expense a ship is deployed from Rio to a point over 1000 miles to the north to look for a "break" in a line. The fault area can be reasonably easily localised, and a new length of cable spliced in. Main job done. Now it is of interest to find out what caused the fault in the first place. This 1.1" dia. cable is now about 1 foot in diameter with coral growth. And it is full of live and weird animals that flop onto the deck as the cable is stripped. Our ships doctor has always been the "curator" of these things, and he had to "pickle" these things and send them off for evaluation and classification. (Bell Laboritories comes to mind). Very often we would get a reply basically saying "we haven't a clue, but thank you". My favourite was observing what I thought was a bit of loose seaweed like a bit of scraggy knitting wool. I was rather surprised to see this "thing" sort of rolling up the sheer of the deck to get to a wet patch. Another "haven't a clue" answer. (The tooth was found incidentally, and the cause of the "short" established).
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2008, 08:33:40 PM »

Whales.
Having not a lot to be getting on with until my new lathe motor arrives and I can work out how to resize PSP10 pictures I thought I may as well give you another one.And there's nowt on telly anyway).
On the older cable ships the bow baulks (the wheels at the front) were only about 10 ft above the water. A little open grating on each side was where the OOW did his watch when on cable-work. Engine room telegraphs and wheel orders were transmitted from here. In "roughish" weather the OOW would strap himself to the rails, and if the bows went under or a heavy dollop came over then he would just get wet. You just didn't expect it on a lovely calm tropical day. Sea creatures are full of curiousity. A bit of wire coming up from the sea bed will draw them like a magnet. In deep water the amount of cable in suspension can be up to 30 miles on each side of the ship. On this occasion it intrigued a 50 foot monster which surfaced directly under me and about 15 ft below.
Ever looked directly down into a whales blow-hole? Damn thing is about a foot across. Whales live on sea food. Whales do not -ever- clean their teeth or use Listerine. It is also a fallacy that the "spout" is pure water. The first few feet are pure and unadulterated green whale snot. And I was right above it. The deck crew were kind enough to hose me down.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2008, 09:48:06 PM »

In the late 70's I was working in the Marine Operations Department of a North Sea oil operator. All vessels on contract sent daily progress reports to their employing departments and these were copied to Marine Ops.

These reports were routine until the day a certain Diving Support Vessel carrying out a video survey of a subsea pipeline submitted its report. Along with info on spans and debris was the information that caterpillar track markings were seen on the sea bottom, commencing close to one platform and progressing for about 100m and then stopping. It was as though something had touched down, trundled along and then lifted off again.

Now some years after, tracked vehicles were used in connection with pipelay ops but these needed an umbilical connection to a mother ship. At that time - and to this day as far as I am aware - there are no autonomous, underwater, tracked vehicles in use in the industry. The SBS were quietly operating around the fields then as they do today but even they, as far as I know, would find this activity beyond them.

Thus, what made those tracks? Russkis? Little Green Men? It was all quietly forgotten at the time but the memory still stays in my mind.
I was always led to believe that the Russians did have a bottom crawler, but no-one either saw it or could verify it. I think Tom Clancy was not just using his imagination on this one. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2008, 06:10:23 PM »

Early Cables
Still filling in time, although I did spend 5 hours today making a brass rudder for Havelock...posts later (much later) on the relevant site.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
I would think that the majority of you have grown up accepting that telephoning another country is perfectly normal. But the early days of trascontinental and worldwide relied on another system. The Morse code. I'm unsure which came first as far as transmitting code over a wire....the railway system or the undersea cable network. We have all watched a cowboy movie that has a telegraphist tappylapping away to some far flung outpost of the wild west. Deep-sea cables operated in a similar manner. Normally we associate the morse code to be in the form of dots and dashes ( as in > ... - - - ...<) (keeping it clean, although I was tempted!). But the messages sent along wires as opposed to via radio were different as the message had to be transcribed on to a paper strip. The paper strip had a line running along its centre. The "dots" appeared as an inverted "v" above the centre line and the dashes came out as invered "v" below the line. So the message was preserved.
That was a preamble.
When the early cables were laid across the Atlantic all sorts of odd things were discovered. Not least being the mid-Atlantic Ridge where we now know the "plates" are being pushed apart. The Captains of the early cable laying ships were paid "by the mile payed out". What an invitation to make more money! All cables have to be laid with a certain amount of "slack" to allow for future repairs and to allow the cable to conform more easily to the sea bed. But these early clever old sods sometimes increased the percentage of "slack" to ridiculous proportions, so much so that the cable sort of snaked its way across. Result. A rich Captain. Downside:- these cables although laid in the mid to late 1800s were nowhere near where they were plotted as being! And there are literally hundreds of these things criss-crossing the oceans. Quite normal to pick up a cable, cut it and be annoyed,bemused and embarrassed to be greeted with an irate "foreigner" wanting to know why his "comms" were disrupted. Oops. Although we are now in the digital age and use satellites the Optical Fibre cables still play a massive part in Global comms. I am fairly accurately informed that a lot of the stuff you see "live" on the telly from far away places have the pictures coming via satellite and the sound is via cable....or maybe vice-verca. I would not be at all surprised to learn that the very earliest telegraph cables could be resurrected if required. Tough and simple. The modern telephone cables have to have "amplifiers" fitted every few miles.(in my day they were every 7 miles, which means an awful lot of amplifiers (repeaters) across the Paciic. Each repeater was about the size of a modern air launched torpedo. Quite a performance.....and they all had to be built with a guaranteed life of at least 100 years.
If you want to know how cables (in "my day") were found and picked up, then ask! Bye for now.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2008, 06:32:46 PM »

A little word of wisdom to those of you who ply your trade carrying cargoes and such.
A group of us RFA types were sitting around in a Singapore bar (Raffles, incidentally) and got into a great conversation with a bunch of guys off a UK cargo-liner. A good afternoon. But "they" were left to ponder at the end of the day. One of "them" announced that we RFA types were sort of pittied because our days at sea were so full of "everything", whereas they had a nice peaceful time cruising the ocean. Gales of merriment from the RFA. It was politely (I think) pointed out to this person that whilst he may have enjoyed his weeks enjoying an awful lot of water, his real job came when it came to unloading and loading his cargo in the shortest possible time. Our job was done (basically) at sea and so we could all have enough time off to have a weekend off in a hotel or just chill out somewhere. A luxury our "commercial" brethren never experienced. The old adage "method in madness" comes to mind.
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chingdevil

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2008, 07:04:43 PM »

As no one else has asked, how did you find and pick up cables Bryan?

Brian
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Welsh_Druid

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2008, 07:06:54 PM »

Reading Bryan's posting referring to Morse Code, reminded me that I heard yesterday that my Grandson, who is in the Royal Navy,  is on a training course at the moment. One of the things he has had to learn is Morse Code .

Is Morse Code still used ?  I would have thought that all communication nowadays would be speech on radio or electronic.

Anybody know ?

Don B.

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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2008, 07:29:25 PM »

Very difficult to transmit a message via an Aldis Lamp with anything other than Morse Code. That was not meant to sound sarcastic.
In times of electronic "shut-down" the lamp is indespensible  at night it is usual to fit a red filter.  The Americans use Semaphore a lot at close range (i.e. during a RAS) so the RN/RFA Yeoman/Signalmen keep in practice. Again, useful when EMR silence is reqiured.
The American Yeomen are expert at semaphore.
As far as morse on the lamp is concerned, I could always read morse, but not when sent by a Naval signaller. The speed and reception of these messages has to be seen to be believed. Almost as fast as you can talk (OK, thats an exaggeration, but you get the idea). The American usage of Semaphore is really neat. We have all seen the drawings of little sailors with their arms at full stretch with a wavy flag in each hand. Forget it. The American way is elbows together and let the index fingers do the talking. This is an art, and is really lovely to watch. The RN/RFA guys have caught up with it and it was always a joy to watch 2 experts "doing their thing". Old ways still work. 
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Notes from a simple seaman

Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2008, 08:00:27 PM »

Running aground
Not quite what the title suggests.
A "quickie" before dinner is ready.
During the period of the 1962 World Cup (soccer) in Mexico, we had to go down to Santa Catarina Island and stay there for the duration. It all got a bit boring so our Capt. decided to "beach" the ship....lightly.....to do this we approached a nicely shelving sandy beach and when the engineers reported sand coming into the intakes all was stopped and the front end ballasted down. And there we sat for 3 weeks. Great. We all got a run ashore into unknown territory....we actually found a "fort" complete with cannon balls that were useful as sounding weights, and a herd of large wild black pigs that took exception to our presence.
All this was quite normal. Until I came to sit my "orals" for my Masters cert. The examiner went on and on about getting a beached ship off "the putty". I kept on saying that I would de-ballast and put a line ashore around a tree and heave myself off. He went on and on about this, gradually increasing "my" distance offshore. My answer was always the same. He wanted 2 lifeboats and an anchor slung between them as was then the classical answer. When he eventually got me aground at 20 miles offshore he ran out of patience and yelled at me "What Bloody Company Do You Work For?"  Cable and Wireless I replied. "Oh. F... it " he said, and signed my "pass". And that is all true. That is exactly how we dragged ourselves over a sandbar that had been home for a few weeks.
Forget the aspertions said earlier about the RFA and C&W having to take refresher courses. I learned my (navigational) skills in C&W and would pit (not now) that knowledge against anything the colleges would teach. Specialised. And it worked. BY.
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Notes from a simple seaman
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