Tampa Florida Gasparilla Festival

My wife and I spent 18 years or so in the area around Tampa Bay. Had a lot of fun on the beaches but man was it hot in the summer! We always heard about the Gasparrilla festival and around there it was a big deal! I found an interesting story about it and you can read below:

Last weekend in Tampa, FL was the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The festival has been a yearly event for the better part of a century. It celebrates the life and times of the “Last Buccaneer,” the pirate Jose Gaspar, also known as Gasparilla, a Spanish Admiral turned brigand who seized over 400 ships between 1789 and 1821. His treasure, none of which has ever been found, is said to be buried all along the Gulf Coast.
Gasparilla’s exploits are legendary. Perhaps, mythological might be an even better description, as there is no evidence that Jose Gaspar ever existed.
While Jose Gaspar has been presented as a historical figure in one or two books, there are no records, artifacts or anything else which might suggest he really existed. He first appears in writing in a brochure to promote a railroad line and a resort hotel in Charlotte Harbor, FL in 1900, near where Gaspar was alleged to have had his pirate base on Gasparilla Island.
If there is no evidence that Jose Gaspe existed, where did the story come from? The answer is probably John Gomez, also known as Juan Gomez, and Panther Key John, Old John, or simply as Panther John. Panther John was definitely real. He was a fisherman, a hunting and fishing guide, a pilot, a sometime filibuster and blockade runner.
Panther John lived on Panther Key at the northern end of Florida’s Thousand Islands. He lived by hunting and fishing and earned a reputation as a skilled boat handler who knew his way around the labyrinthian island chain that is Florida’s Thousand Islands. He was often in demand as a local guide.
No one knows where or when he was born, although John provided many dates and locations to choose from. In the 1870 United States Census, he is listed as having been born in 1828. However, during the 1880 US census, Gómez claimed to have been born in France in 1785. In 1885, he told state census takers that he had been born in Corsica and when asked for the 1900 US Census, he claimed to have been born in Portugal in 1776. Meanwhile, various contemporary letters and news articles report that Gómez claimed at different times to have been born in 1778, 1781 or 1795 in either Honduras, Portugal, or Mauritius. Shortly before his death by drowning in 1900, he claimed to be 123 years old.
In 1894, he was described by a local newspaper as “short, heavy set, and had a beard of heavy curly hair, which had been black but was then silvered all over. He had large, dark eyes, and bore marks of having been a handsome man.”
Panther John was also a teller of tales. He claimed to have fought in the Seminole Wars, to have filibustered in Cuba and sailed as a blockade runner into Tampa during the Civil War. His most interesting tale, however, was how he was the last surviving pirate to have sailed with Gasparilla.
Panther John told the stories about his adventures while acting as a fishing and hunting guide. Various versions of his exploits were ultimately recorded in letters or later appeared in occasional newspaper articles of his day. Interestingly enough, no mention of Gaspar even made it into print in his lifetime. The first recorded reference was in the brochure for a resort hotel, shortly after his death.
After Panther John died in 1900, the legend of Jose Gaspar only grew. Panther John was said to be Gaspar’s cabin-boy or his chief mate. One version said that John was Gaspar’s brother-in-law.
In 1904, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, the Tampa organization which sponsors the annual Gasparilla parade, was founded. In 1936, they commissioned a Tampa Tribune editor, Edwin D. Lambright, to write an authorized history of the pirate Gasparilla. His account was presented as factual, based on Gaspar’s diary, which was subsequently lost.
In 2004, they republished Lambright’s account with the notation:
“Whether Gasparilla, the pirate, actually existed or not is a moot point. The legend exists, and that’s what matters. The story of Gasparilla and his pirates has lent a certain flair of mystery and adventure to Florida’s West Coast since the late 1800s. And on that legend, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla was founded 100 years ago.

Courtesy of “Old Salt Blog”

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Magnificent Model Ship On Our Website

Part of the collection we acquired and man is this USS Missouri detailed to the hilt! Guns on deck, rocket launchers, detailed bridge and down to the tiniest gun barrels I have ever seen! I was told this model had a retail price of over $2,500! Sale Price  $799.00 USS Missouri Link

It’s crated and ready to ship from our shop in Marshville North Carolina!

Have a great day we are working on four more for sale soon!

Check out our E-Bay page for many more kits and finished models!

Bob Winfrey “The Ship Model Man” “Military Models



Here a couple of aircraft we recently custom built for Christmas. Came out great! You can inquire about a custom model on the link above for military models or hit me up here. We can do clear canopies, LED lighting, wall mounts, landing gear and Plane Models full scale if you like. A lot cheaper than the real thing!

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Good Or Bad Freight Is Moving In

The Port of Los Angeles moved 924,225 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in November, the most containerized monthly cargo the Port has processed during its 110-year history, the port said on Friday.

The previous record of 877,564 TEUs was set in November 2016.

Eleven months through 2017, volumes are up 6.3 percent compared to last year’s record-breaking 8.8 million TEUs. With the uptick, the Port of Los Angeles is on track to be the first Western Hemisphere port to exceed 9 million TEUs in a calendar year.

“Four vessels calling in Los Angeles each discharged and loaded more than 23,000 TEUs in November, all close to October’s 24,308 TEU record set last month in Los Angeles,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We’re proud to be partnering with our labor and supply-chain stakeholders to move these record-breaking cargo levels with efficiency, productivity and extraordinary customer service.”

In November, loaded imports increased 6.1 percent to 463,690 TEUs compared to November 2016. Loaded exports increased .3 percent to 177,913 TEUs. Those figures, coupled with a 7.4 percent increase in empty container traffic, delivered overall volumes of 924,225 TEUs, an increase of 5.3 percent compared to last November.

Through November 2017, cargo volumes are 8,563,982 TEUs, an increase of 6.3 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

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Old Wreck Found In Lake Huron



On November 25, 1881, the steamer Jane Miller sank in the Georgian Bay off Lake Huron with the loss of 28 passengers and crew. This summer, American shipwreck hunters Jared Daniels, Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman, located the wreck in Colpoys Bay, an inlet of Georgian Bay leading to Wiarton on the east side of the Bruce Peninsula north of Owen Sound. They delayed the announcement until the November anniversary of the sinking.

The 24-meter ship is remarkably intact and with its mast rising within 23 meters of the surface. The shipwreck hunters also reported spotting what could be the remains of bodies. The Jane Miller was launched in 1879 on Manitoulin Island and ran between Collingwood and Manitoulin with stops along the way, taking on passengers, farm goods, and other freight.

Marine historian Scott Cameron describes the steamer as rather cranky — short and stumpy with a high profile and shallow draft that made it roll heavily in stormy seas and made it difficult to handle.

Great Video Video Of The Wreck

Thanks Old Salt Blog for the story

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MV Yara Birkeland, Autonomous Container Ship

The first autonomous container ship, the 120 TEU feeder vessel, MV Yara Birkeland, will be launched in 2018. The ship will also be battery-powered and emissions-free. After a period of testing with a crew, the ship is expected to go into autonomous service in 2020. MV Yara Birkeland will sail on two routes within Norway, between Herøya and Brevik (~7 nautical miles (13 km)) and between Herøya and Larvik (~30 nautical miles (56 km)) carrying chemicals and fertilizer. The ship is being jointly developed by two Norwegian companies — agricultural firm Yara International and Kongsberg Gruppen, which builds guidance systems for both civilian and military use.
One question needs to be asked — are autonomous ships really a good idea? According to the Wall Street Journal, MV Yara Birkeland will cost $25 million, or about three times as much as a conventional container ship of its size. The ship’s backers say that a reduction of the ship’s operating cost by 90% will help pay for the significantly higher capital cost.

Currently, there is no regulatory framework to allow autonomous ships. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) doesn’t expect legislation governing crewless ships to be in place before 2020.
Many doubt the feasibility of deep-sea autonomous ships. The Wall Street Journal quotes Lars Jensen, chief executive of SeaIntelligence Consulting in Copenhagen: “It’s not a matter of technology, which is already there, but a business case. Autonomous ships are expensive to begin with, and have to be built very robust, because if they break down, the cost of getting a team to fix them it in the middle of the ocean will be very high.”

There are also questions of security. Concerns about GPS spoofing, the ability to remotely take over control the GPS navigation systems on ships, makes the electronic hijacking of ships a real threat. This would apply particularly to crewless or autonomous ships.

The most fundamental questions about autonomous ships have yet to be answered. What happens when a ship breaks down or catches fire at sea and there is no one aboard to respond? And can seamanship and the judgment of a skilled watch officer be replaced by an algorithm?

The world’s first autonomous, zero emission container ship


Crtsy of Old Salt Blog

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USS John S McCain Loaded On Heavy Lift

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Hybrid technology for the water!

The future is here. Since 1928, Hinckley has been leading the way in the design of beautiful, highly innovative and timeless yachts. In the spirit of our legacy of innovation, we are excited to announce Dasher, the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht. Reservations now being accepted for delivery in Summer 2018.



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Post-Irma Caribbean Catastrophe — Navies, Cruise Ships and Private Boats Aid Victims

Hurricane Irma absolutely devastated many islands in the Caribbean. Now, in the aftermath of the catastrophic storm, aid is being sent by a small armada of ships and boats from governments, corporations and private citizens.
The need for help is enormous. On the island of Barbuda, 90% of buildings have been damaged or destroyed and 50% of the population of about 1,000 people left homeless. Anguilla suffered major damage first from Hurricane Irma and then from Hurricane Jose, which followed close behind. Eleven people were killed, and more than 100 injured in the French overseas collectivities of St Martin and St Barthélemy (St Barts). 95% of the buildings on St. Martin were reported to be damaged or destroyed. Damage in the US Virgins Islands of St. Thomas and St. John was also extensive, as was damage to buildings in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands where a large sailboat charter fleet was also wiped out.
The US Navy has dispatched ships to aid the victims of Irma in the Caribbean. USS Wasp, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship, arrived in St. Thomas last Thursday and helped evacuate critical care patients from the island. Two Dutch Navy ships are providing support in St. Martin, where the US Coast Guard and National Guard have also evacuated visitors. The Royal Navy support ship RFA Mounts Bay has arrived at Anguilla with supplies. HMS Ocean, an amphibious assault ship, is also on its way to the stricken islands.
Cruise lines are also sending ships with supplies and to evacuate stranded visitors to the islands. President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Michael Bayley told the Miami Herald that four ships will be used for Irma relief efforts. Norwegian Cruise Line, based in Miami, also announced plans Friday to deploy one ship to pick up stranded tourists in the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean’s ships, several of which are sailing empty due to storm-induced cancellations, are fully stocked and staffed, Bayley said. Those resources will instead be used to aid in relief efforts across ports in the Caribbean that were badly hit by Irma.
The Miami Herald reports that the Majesty of the Seas, which can fit 2,767 guests at maximum occupancy, is sailing to St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands to drop off water, ice, food and other provisions on Tuesday. The ship will offer meals to first responders before sailing with displaced tourists to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the airport is operational and where travelers can catch flights home, Bayley said.
Royal Caribbean is working closely with authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands to determine which tourists it needs to transport. The number is estimated to be between 1,500 and 3,000 people.
Mariners in private boats are also doing what they can to help. Puerto Rico was spared the worst of the Hurricane Irma’s destruction. Now boaters on the island are organizing a “boat lift” to deliver food water and supplies to the Virgin Islands. The New York Times reports: Puerto Ricans relieved at being spared the worst destruction donated water, clothing, first aid and other supplies, and dozens of recreational boaters sailed to nearby islands to deliver the assistance and evacuate now-homeless islanders on the return trip.
The civilian sealift … has been largely a spontaneous, volunteer affair. And it has grown out of the longtime affinities and links among recreational boaters in Puerto Rico and the islands to the east.
Puerto Ricans often cruise to the American or British Virgin Islands, known interchangeably here as “las islas,” to enjoy their crystalline beaches or for fishing competitions. One week-long event held in July in the British islands attracts such a large contingent of visiting boats that locals joke about hosting the Puerto Rican Navy.

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Mystery At Sea, Missing Wife, Stolen Coins, Sunken Ship


Lewis Bennett, 38, a British engineer, was recently arrested by the FBI on charges related to possession of stolen rare silver and gold coins. The story behind the arrest gets very strange, involving a Caribbean theft, a missing wife, and a sunken catamaran.

On May 14th, Bennett was sailing with his wife, Isabella Hellman from Cuba to Florida. They had married in February and were on a delayed honeymoon on their 37′ catamaran, Surf into Summer.  They have a 9-month-old daughter who was not with them aboard the boat.

While in the Florida Straits, the boat sank, Hellman went missing and Bennett was rescued from a life raft by the US Coast Guard. He told his rescuers that he had been below asleep, with Hellman on watch on deck. He said that he was awoken when the catamaran hit something and began taking on water rapidly. When Bennet came on deck, he said that his wife was nowhere to be found. The Coast Guard searched for three days for Isabella Hellman without finding any trace of the missing woman.

The Coast Guard was able to retrieve Bennett’s life raft, where, in addition to gear and supplies, they found nine plastic tubes of silver coins, valued at roughly $4,200. The rescue swimmer who helped haul Bennett aboard the helicopter had commented that his backpack seemed unusually heavy. Initially, the coins were returned to Bennett. Then the Coast Guard learned that the coins may have been stolen from a yacht that Bennett was on in 2016. During a June 10 search of Bennett’s house, agents found another 162 gold coins estimated to be worth about $26,100.

In May of 2016, Bennett was crew aboard the yacht Kitty R in St. Martin, when reportedly $100,000 in rare gold and silver coins were stolen from the boat. According to court records, the owner of the boat and the coins said that he did not file an insurance claim because the coins were not “on the list of covered items in his policy.”  

Bennett has been arrested on charges of transporting stolen goods valued at $5,000 or more.

Courtesy of the Old Salt Blog 

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25th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition on Sunday, September 3

Get your tickets, get your tickets! September 3, 2017.


For those in and around New York harbor, the 25th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition, sponsored by the Working Harbor Committee, is coming up on Sunday, September 3rd. The Parade of Tugs starts on the Hudson River at 10 AM. Free viewing is available at  Pier 84 located at W. 44th Street & Hudson River Park. The tugs will proceed to the starting line at 70th Street. The race begins at 10:30 AM.  Nose-to-nose pushing contests and line-toss competitions will start around 11 AM.  At Noon the amateur line-toss and spinach-eating contests will commence followed by an 1 PM awards ceremony.

For an even better view of the parade of tugs and the tugboat race, there is also a Circle Line Spectator Boat available. Boarding begins at 9:00 AM and departure is at 9:30 AM from Pier 83. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for kids (3-12 years old.)  Tickets can be purchased online here.

In addition, there will be a raffle of a framed print, Schooner Pioneer at Sunset, by renowned seaport artist Naima Rauam. The raffle drawing will take place at the 25th Annual Tugboat Race & Competition on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2 p.m. on Pier 84 located at West 44th St. & Hudson River Park in Manhattan. You don’t need to be present to win. Tickets are available here.

The Pioneer, launched in 1885, hauled sand to iron foundries along the Delaware River and was the first of only two cargo-carrying sloops with wrought iron hulls built in this country. She was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum in 1970. 




25th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition on Sunday, September 3

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