Walking the Yorkshire coast: the shipwrecks and sea caves of Flamborough and beyond

The coastline between Spurn Head and Teesmouth is scattered with wrecks and rich in marine lore. With a careful eye on the tides, Kevin Rushby explores its secret history

Move over Suez, hello Stad – Norway to build world’s first tunnel for ships

Ambitious project will create 1,700-metre long passageway underneath rocky peninsula for cruise and freight ships by 2023

Kotor Ship Museum

From my book on The Balkans

If you are in Kotor and love model galleons, ship paraphernalia, and examples of the material benefits of trade then this is the place for you.

Models of galleons, xebecs, tartanes, and container ships such as the MV Pomorac, built in Sunderland by Austin & Pickersgill, fill some rooms. Paintings of Montenegrin sea captains with individually distinctive beards adorn some walls. There are some fine individual discoveries. There is a painting of Captain Ivo Visin, who was the first Slav to circumnavigate the globe between 1852 and 1859. He did so in the brig Splendido. There was a commemoration by the city of Erie to Captain Nicholi Zec, awarding him an honorary citizenship of Erie, for his contribution to the advancement of foreign trade at the port of Erie. There are the steps to one of the local sailor’s dances and a gilt medal awarded to Tito in 1973, when he was awarded an honorary admiral rank in the local navy, called the Boka Navy.

There’s a room full of items brought back from overseas by local sea captains, such as china from Cardiff, vases from Shanghai, and a monstrous French clock, surmounted by a Tartar horseman. There’s also a room full of armaments, mainly rifles and long, sharp-looking knives.

What is also interesting are the visitors to the museum: some faithfully stop at each of the appointed places and press the right number for that place into their hand-held guides; others march into a room, look at one piece, and then exit the room, without casting a glance at anything else; yet others photograph each of the multi-language explanation cards with their digital camera and then take another image of the piece the card refers to.

One of the books on display has the following snappy title:

The Chronometers Companion or A Compendium of Nautical Astronomy comprising Methods For Finding The Latitude By Meridian Altitudes By Reduction To The Meridian And By The changes of the Sun’s Altitude in one Minute of time; Together With The Method Of Finding The Time By The Sun And Stars And The Longitude By Chronometer And By The Sun’s Depression Below The Horizon

SS Great Britain

Once on board I took a moment to look along the length of the vessel and the first impressions I had were of strength, solidity, and safety. The ship is dressed with flags and is ready for departure. SS Great Britain was originally provided with one square-rigged and five schooner-rigged iron masts. They were fastened to the spar deck with iron joints and most were hinged to allow lowering during strong headwinds. On this main deck pigs and chickens were kept to provide fresh meat and fresh eggs.

SS Great Britain had four decks, a crew of 120, and was initially fitted to accommodate a total of 360 passengers, along with 1,200 tons of cargo and 1,200 tons of coal. She was used for special trips, for example to take soldiers and horses to The Crimean War and this situation is faithfully reproduced on the bottom deck of the ship. The steerage accommodation shows how close people lived to each for months at a time on voyages to Australia and the claustrophobia was almost tangible. The first-class passengers had their own beautifully laid out state dining room with candelabras, china plates, and waiters. Other areas show surgery being performed, the cramped kitchen quarters where the meals were produced, and the officer’s quarters.

World Tourism Day

September 27th, 2014 has been proclaimed World Tourism Day by the United Nations. The idea behind this designation is that it will raise awareness of the positive impact of tourism and hopefully increase the interest in sustainable tourism.

Travel can remove many prejudices – and reinforce some if truth be told – yet three-quarters of all travellers are going to all-inclusive resorts and very little of their money goes into the local economy. These travellers only experience a sanitised version of the country they’re in and if truth be told they could be anywhere in the tropics – palm trees, the sun, and sand look remarkably similar in many parts of the world.

The United Nations estimates that for every 100 dollars spent by tourists, only five dollars stays in the local economy. Evidence of this can be seen by anyone who is in a town when a cruise ship visits. Almost all the passengers either go duty-free shopping or visit the turtle farm/blue grotto/railway. Either their money goes to the shop-owners or the cruise company.

Sustainable tourism is about local jobs and local people and benefitting the local economy, not lining the pockets of already wealthy people.

I read about World Tourism Day in the local Metro ‘newspaper’. The story dominating the page was in effect an advertorial for a golf resort in Georgia, USA. How ironic.