Maritime Stories Quotes

Quotes tagged as "maritime-stories" (showing 1-7 of 7)
Kathleen Valentine
“The soul, they say, is divine and the flesh is iniquity. But I am a musician and I ask this - without the wood and the strings of the violin, where would the sonata find form?”
Kathleen Valentine, The Old Mermaid's Tale: A Novel of the Great Lakes

Farley Mowat
“...the three cardinal tenets of rum drinking in Newfoundland. The first of these is that as soon as a bottle is placed on a table it must be opened. This is done to "let the air get at it and carry off the black vapors." The second tenet is that a bottle, once opened, must never be restoppered, because of the belief that it will then go bad. No bottle of rum has ever gone bad in Newfoundland, but none has ever been restoppered, so there is no way of knowing whether this belief is reasonable. The final tenet is that an open bottle must be drunk as rapidly as possible "before all to-good goes out of it.”
Farley Mowat, The Boat Who Wouldn't Float

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
where they were wont to do:
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools -
We were a ghastly crew.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Hank Bracker
“Packet Steamers
Generally Packet Steamers, ships or boats are regularly scheduled vessels carrying mail. Sometime armed these ships carried all types of mail although the name gives the impression that they only carried carried bulk mail. Reliability was most important and the service was first started by the British to carry embassy mail packets to the Empire’s colonies, outposts as well as Consulates and Embassies. Although the name denotes smaller high speed vessels the English designation “packet boat” can denote a large ocean liner.
In wartime these vessels were expected to run regular shipments past the gauntlet of warships and privateers. Some even had to evade marauding pirates. In 1829, pirates captured the packet Topaz and murdered her crew after looting her. In time commercial steam liners began to work regular coastal and international schedules having contracts from governments to carry mail as well as passengers and high-value cargo. Their services retained the name "Packet". The term was frequently used to identify American coastal vessels that carried cargo and passengers on routes from Maine to Cuba and beyond.”
Hank Bracker

Hank Bracker
“As cadets, we constantly hammered, scraped and wire brushed rusting steel, before applying red lead paint. Most of the paint we used was Navy surplus or a concoction made up of fish oil, lampblack and china dryer. We found that by mixing all different color paints, we would wind up with a paint we called “Sh-t Grindle Brown.” Inventiveness was key as we repaired, replaced, and painted the State of Maine from stem to stern. This work, being in addition to our studies, consumed all of our time. How we managed to fit all of this into the time we had, is still a mystery. The conversion of the ship was labor intensive and expensive, but the U.S. Maritime Commission contributed to the Academy’s financial needs where possible. The mounting expenses remained a challenge but we didn’t give up. We never did finish the entire conversion prior to our first cruise, but one thing we managed to do was paint over the name “USS Comfort” and hand letter in her new name “State of Maine.” If you looked carefully, you could still see her previous name outlined by a welded bead, but this was a minor detail that would eventually be taken care of. Perhaps because of my experience with the letters on the front of “Richardson Hall,” the task of lettering her name and her new homeport on the stern became mine. Much of the ship’s superstructure was still covered with a sticky preservative made up of paint and crank case oil, which never really dried and indelibly got onto our working uniforms. However, from a distance, you couldn’t tell the difference and it looked all right, but more importantly it prevented further rusting. One bulkhead at a time, using a mixture of gasoline and paint remover, we scraped the gunk off and repainted it. The engineers had been busy rebuilding the pumps and generators, as well as repacking steam pipes with asbestos wrapping. We finally got the ship to where we could sail her to Portland under her own power. The twin Babcock and Wilcox heater-type boilers had to be repaired and re-bricked there. After this, we would continue on to the dry dock in Boston for additional work and the hull inspection that was required below the water line.”
Hank Bracker

V.S. Parani
“Your leadership responsibilities are the real golden stripes”
V.S. Parani, Golden Stripes - Leadership on the High Seas

“It was hard for me to believe that I had graduated from High School the week before and was now a crewmember on a Dutch ship. This was my first job aboard ship and now I found myself heading down the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty. There wasn’t much time for sightseeing since the dinner chimes had been rung and the few passengers we had, were coming into the dining room. No one had explained my duties but I watched the other stewards and followed suit. I must have been a fast learner since amazingly enough all went well, and before I knew it the dining room was empty and it was cleanup time. I’m certain that having worked in my uncle’s restaurants helped but I’m glad I survived without any mishaps. I knew that tomorrow would go even smoother now that I understood the routine.
I really don’t know if getting a job aboard a foreign ship was easier in the “50’s” or was it that the ship needed another steward and I was willing to be a strike breaker? No one on the ship mentioned the strike and everyone treated me as just another member of the crew. Mostly everyone aboard spoke Dutch and amazingly enough I understood them. Dutch being a Germanic language was very similar to the German spoken in the lowlands, which included Hamburg. It didn’t take long before I was answering and then conversing with the crew…. Although I was on the bottom rung of the ladder I felt right at home. My bunk was at the top of a three bunk stack in the crew’s quarters, high up against the chain locker. The bathroom, called the “head” in English, didn’t have toilets or urinals. Instead I had to perfect my aim as I balanced myself over a hole in the deck. Fortunately there were places for my feet and handholds to help me stabilize myself in this balancing act. With no partitions for modesty I soon lost my inhibitions and became deft at this. At least they furnished the paper and considering it all, life was good!”
Captain Hank Bracker, "Seawater One"