A Passion for Sailing
Long before man invented the train and a long time before crossing the Atlantic only took eight hours, mankind, regardless of culture, era or location, have relied on sailing to develop and build the world as we know it today. Throughout centuries, we have relied on our ships to fish, trade, transport, discover, fight and conquer, as well as to satisfy our thirst for sports competition, our love of leisure and adventure, or just to put a roof over our heads. Our maritime history is as rich and ancient as humans’ history itself and is a testimony to the intricate, yet symbiotic relationship we maintain with boats and sailing as a species since the beginning of times.
My name is Roger Reid and, for those who my introduction has not already given at least one hint on what drives me to write this blog, I am passionate about everything related to sailing, boats and their history. My grandfather was a prawn fisherman from Greenock, Scotland and it is he who has awakened in me the love for fishing at sea and sailing above all. Despite the fact that I did not choose to go for a career as harsh as that undertaken by my grandad, but have devoted myself to engineering instead, which one can argue is a much quieter field than high seas prawn fishing, I have never turned my eyes away from the sea. Today, I am the proud owner of a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 449 cruising yacht that I take out at sea as often as I can with my crew of family and friends. Each time we sail on Liberty, which is the name she carries, is a new adventure full of promises of wonders, beautiful sceneries and memorable encounters. Continue…
It has been years since I dreamed of diving to admire one of the many shipwrecks immersed at the bottom of the seas or oceans around the world, frozen in time, almost eternal. Less than 1% of wreckages around the world have been explored, and the value of the riches sitting at the bottom of the abyss is estimated to be worth over $60 billion! While these numbers leave you wondering, they are not the reason why I dream to dive at shipwreck sites. Some of the wreckages have merged with the environment and have turned into some of the most beautiful diving spots in the world. Decimated in the four corners of the world, these wrecks are as many exceptional destinations in which my passion for sailing, shipwrecks, and diving mingle; what more could I ask for!? Amongst the shipwrecks most accessible to amateur divers, the following are the ones I have researched online and that I promised myself to visit one day:
THE ZENOBIA – MEDITERRANEAN SEA – CYPRUS:
Built in 1978 by the Swedish shipyard Kockums Varv, the Zenobia is a 561-foot long roll-on roll-off ship mostly used to transport vehicles. It is following a series of navigational equipment failures and bad decisions taken by the crew and wreckers who tried saving the vessel that the Zenobia ended at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at less than 1.5 miles away from the port of Larnaca in Cyprus. The wreck now rests on its left flank, 42 meters deep up to 16 meters at her shallowest and is therefore accessible to all divers, experimented or amateur. The diving spot the Zenobia offers is as well an excellent spot to obtain the Advanced Open Water diving certificate.
P29 PATROL BOAT – MEDITERRANEAN SEA – MALTA:
The P29, called initially the Boltenhagen, built in 1969, was initially used for patrolling and mine sweeping along the coasts of midst divided Germany. The boat is disarmed after the reunification of both Germanies in 1989 but continues to patrol. It is in 1997 that the Maltese Navy acquires the ship, renames her P29 and assigns her to their armed flotilla where she fulfills missions, amongst others, to fight against smuggling networks. The P29 is finally entrusted to the Maltese tourist authorities in 2004 who intend to scuttle it to create an artificial reef ideal for diving. The ship is sunk in 2007 less than a mile away from the port of Cirkewa in Malta. Accessible to divers of all levels, diving schools in the region still require an advanced open water certificate to allow enjoying the entire shipwreck. Continue…
Something has always captured my mind throughout my journeys at sea. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of sailors have ventured in the vastness of the Big Blue before me. These adventurers of the past have navigated in much more precarious conditions than I do today and have achieved remarkable feats doing so. When we compare contemporary navigation to that of several centuries ago, one can only admire the courage of the men and women who set sail without the comfort of satellite weather predictions, GPS or depth sounder devices. I cannot see myself relying only on a compass, navigational charts, plotting equipment, sextant, a chronograph and other traditional navigation tools to find my way out there. Though I always take them with me to continue upholding my knowledge on how to use these tools or in case of system failure of my modern navigation devices. That’s why when I’m not at sea, I like to visit museums dedicated to navigation as it was in the past.
Interesting, Interactive, and Free – Hastings’ Great Shipwreck Museum
Located in the small historic Old town of Hastings, after the Blue Reef Aquarium at the end of the promenade that runs along each side of the Rock-a-Nore road along the east coast of Sussex, the town’s shipwreck museum contains historical treasures. Here, a multitude of objects and artifacts that once belonged to the crews of many ships wrecked in the English Channels are displayed. The museum masterpieces are the objects and parts of the ships of the Amsterdam, a Dutch East Indiaman of 1749, of the Anne of 1690 and from the Charles II warship. The museum tells the international story of navigation in this stretch of sea between France and England implicating, in particular, the French, English, Dutch, Danish and German history. Access to the museum is free, but you can leave a donation if you wish. The museum is part of a maritime park along the coastline where there is plenty of activities and attraction such as a minigolf course, a great aquarium with “sea monsters,” a fun fair and arcade, several museums and lots of spots to eat and drink. Hastings’ shipwreck museum is part of a whole entertainment complex that is not to be missed if you have the chance to visit the area for a great day in East Sussex. Continue…