"The Chinese Paddlesfish, which lives in the Yangtze River weighs half a
tonne and can grow to a length of seven and a half metres, whilst the
Giant Freshwater Stingray has a diameter of up to three metres."
Adam told me of the top ten sailing tunes project over a few pints the other night. Impressed by the fact that Brandy by Looking Glass cracked the top ten, I offered to chime in with some alternative nautical tunes (after a few semi-drunken bars of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald). Thought I'm not a sailor, I hope to be considered semi-qualified as a native Floridian and earnest musician. Here you go -
1. The Mariner's Revenge Song by The Decemberists - An epic tale of scallywags, whales and vengence!
2. Sea Legs by The Shins.
3. What's An Ocean For? by White Whale.
4. O'Sailor by Fiona Apple.
5. Sail To The Moon by Radiohead.
6. Across Yer Ocean by Mercury Rev.
7. The Mollusk by Ween.
8. Up The Beach/Ocean Size by Janes Addiction.
9. Dramamine by Modest Mouse.
10. Lazy Flies by Beck - "out of the mangroves a miner bird cries".
We were sailing with some friends in NJ yesterday. We got to chatting about dumb things heard over the VHF. They told us the dumbest thing they heard once sailing in Florida:
Lady Boater: Attention Coast Guard, I need help. Coastie: How can I assist Lady Boater: I can't find Bimini on my map. Coastie: Can you tell me what the number is on the chart you are looking at Lady Boater: ...er I don't see any numbers Coastie: Is there anything on your ..er map that will me help me determine what you are looking at Lady Boater: Well there is a big Texaco logo in the corner.
I you know some equally stupid things heard over Ch 16, let me know
One of the best things for me about the Top 10 Sailing Songs project for me was discovering a lot of music and artists I have never heard. I am embarrassed to say I had never heard of Stan Rogers but this was my loss.
He has a passionate fan base. Here is just one of the comments from Gary Bruner in the original entries to the contest:
Oh man! I see no reference to the great Stan Rogers, a Canadian
songwriter/singer far beyond most on this list. He was AMAZING before
his untimely death in an air accident back in the eighties. I think I
have ALL of his albums, including "Home in Halifax", recorded live.
Super songs include: White Squall, The Mary Ellen Carter, Barrett's
Privateers, Make and Break Harbor, Fogarty's Cove, and The Bluenose, to
name but a few.
Also, one should hear Eric Bogel's tribute to Rogers entitled "Safe
in the Harbor", a song I've requested by played at my funeral.
Sadly Stan Rogers left us too soon. He died in 1983 from smoke inhalation on board an Air Canada jet that made an emergency landing in Cincinatti. Stan Rogers was 33.
You can find a good catalog on iTunes but it's hard to find Stan Rogers in stores and I waited a month for Amazon to find it. You can find out a lot more about his music and hear samples at his web site.
He has a wonderful Canadian folk voice and sings some of the best songs of the sea. Here is a snippet from the Mary Ellen Carter:
And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
Rise again, rise again - though your heart it be broken Or life about to end. No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend, Be like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.
The song saved the life of one fisherman on a sinking ship.
I could not find any video of Stan Rogers performing but here a rather campy tribute to Nova Scotia with Stan Rogers singing "Barrett's Privateers"
who has sailed the BVIs will know of the Willie T
in the Bight at Norman Island. It's
an institution. The Wiliam Thormton aka Willie T is a 98' schooner converted
into a two deck floating bar.
As I was
sitting on the train coming home yesterday a smile slipped across my face as I recalled one of the funnest evenings of my life about 10 years ago spent at
the Willie T.
(not her in the pic. This is a random pic to protect the innocent) and I were in the Caribbean for the first time and at the end of a Learn-to-bareboat
course with Steve Colgate's Offshore Sailing School (Offcourse as my wife calls
it). It was an excellent week under the supervision of central casting
charter skipper, Capt Tom. Tom was a gruff divorcee from Florida who looked a bit like a pint-sized Magnum PI with a beer gut fueled on
Mount Gay and Ginger
were two boats in the course: My wife and I on one boat with a jolly single
lady from Connecticut. The other boat was a mixed bag: A
couple who looked like Meg Ryan and Harrison Ford but were dull as crap and spent
most of the time locked in their V-berth; a Canadian nurse and a plonker who
thought he knew more than the instructors. We named him Captain Giblet Bag as he spent most of the
day in a Speedo swim suit that looked like..well pull the giblet bag out of a roast chicken and ...er the name fit.
One of the things about getting older (I am 43 and it's a difficult age) is that I have started paying more attention to the obituaries. I try to find reassurance in the fact that most obituaries are for people who have passed away in their 80s or 90s.
In today's obituaries, there was the announcement by John Rousmaniere of the passing of Carleton Mitchell, the celebrated three-time winner of the Newport-Bermuda race. It's a lovely piece about a man who was a classic 1940s adventurer. I especially loved this quote that sums up what I love about sailing and the sea:
“No 20th-century man can really escape, but a boat gives a man the
opportunity to get away from the turmoil and into direct contact with
nature,” he told Gay Talese of The New York Times in 1958, after he won
the Miami-to-Nassau yacht race. “Somehow the detached life on the sea
gives me the ability to think. It’s a life of action, yet
You can read the full obit here. It's worth a read.