Maritime History

Dazzle Camouflage

British Royal Navy lieutenant and artist Norman Wilkinson is usually credited with the idea of disruptive camouflage. But, another man, naturalist John Graham Kerr, claimed that he had the idea three years earlier. Read the show notes here.

The Discovery of Longitude

People knew how to find their north-south position even before we had the idea of "latitude." But once people lost sight of land, they didn't have reliable way of figuring out how far east or west they'd gone - how to measure their longitude.

The S.S. Sultana

Because the Sultana sank the day after John Wilkes Booth was captured and killed for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, it didn't make headline news. But it's considered the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

Blackbeard Update

Since the 2009 episode on Blackbeard, a lot of new information has come to light about the life of the infamous pirate. We'll catch you up on the latest, then listen to the original episode for review. Read the show notes here.

The Mutiny and Massacre of the Batavia

While most of the survivors of the Batavia were scattered on a few tiny islands off the coast of Australia, a small group went all the way to Indonesia to get help.Meanwhile, a gruesome scenario was playing out among those they left behind. Read the show notes here.

The Wreck of the Batavia

The story of the Batavia is a perfect storm of nautical carnage: There's a shipwreck, a mutiny and a massacre. This first of two parts deals with the the first part of the voyage, the shipwreck and the rescue mission. Read the show notes here.

Wreck of the Ten Sail

It was the biggest shipping disaster in Cayman Islands history -- 10 ships went down together one night in 1794. Why would so many ships be traveling so closely to one another, and how did they all end up in peril? Read the show notes here.

Chesapeake Bay Oyster Wars

In the years after the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War, the oyster supply became so scarce that people turned to oyster piracy. The bloodshed peaked in the late 1800s, but the strife went on for almost 100 years.

The Flannan Isles Disappearance

The Flannan Islands have been rumored for centuries to be haunted or have some supernatural darkness. In 1900, three men vanished from the lighthouse on Eilean Mor, leaving behind an unfinished meal and a mystery that's never been conclusively solved.

The Cursed Mary Celeste

She's often referred to as a cursed ghost ship. The history of the Mary Celeste features one unfortunate incident after another. While this vessel is most famous for an incident involving a disappearing crew, there's much more to the life of this brig.