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Time and Tide Nantucket

Author: Host: Evan Schwanfelder

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Nantucket's Maritime History Podcast. Brought to you by Egan Maritime Institute.
22 Episodes
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We are very thankful to the Nantucket Atheneum for reaching out to see if Time and Tide would be interested in collaborating on a podcast for this year’s 1 Book 1 Island series of events.  The book “The Yellow House” is a powerful memoir by author Sarah Broom, that tells the story of her family’s house in New Orleans, the loss of the house during Hurricane Katrina, and ties in the mythology of the storied city where she grew up and the notion of what home means.  At the office we put our heads together to see who on island could lend some insight on the topics being discussed, and Ritch Leone’s name came to the top of the list. Ritch is a beloved teacher who taught for 34 years on the Nantucket.  I can personally attest that many of my own friends who grew up here consistently say that not only was Mr. Leone one of the best teachers they ever had, he also remains a great friend to this day.  Following retirement in 2008 Ritch went to work for FEMA and was on the front lines for major relief efforts that includes tornados in Oklahoma, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Harvey to name a few.  On this episode Ritch sits down to tell these stories, and what it’s like to see firsthand, the effects and response to natural disasters that can forever change individuals, families and communities. We would like to give a big thank you to Ritch Leone for sharing his story, and also special thanks to the Nantucket Atheneum for inviting us to collaborate for this year’s 1 Book, 1 Island event.  Hope you enjoy!Producer and Host: Evan Schwanfelder with special guest Ritch LeoneMusic Composed and Recorded by Evan Schwanfelder
Part 4 of 4 - Discussion at the end of EpisodeThe Experiences of William S. Cary, a Nantucket man.  The sole survivor of the crew of the whaleship Oeno, who lived for nine years among cannibals of the South Pacific."Cary's log of his experiences is a most graphic depiction of life among the Fiji Islanders.  His capture and adoption by the king of the tribe, the life and customs of the natives, his escape and return home are all touched upon in detail, the whole story forming one of the most thrilling tales of the sea ever printed.  And the best part of the story is that it is true."Harry B. Turner, Nantucket, MA  May 1, 1928Sources:Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" Aug 26, 1887. p. 1Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" Sept 3, 1887. p. 1"Wrecked on the Feejees" Inquirer and Mirror Press, Forward by Harry B Turner, p. 7Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.
Part 3 of 4The Experiences of William S. Cary, a Nantucket man.  The sole survivor of the crew of the whaleship Oeno, who lived for nine years among cannibals of the South Pacific."Cary's log of his experiences is a most graphic depiction of life among the Fiji Islanders.  His capture and adoption by the king of the tribe, the life and customs of the natives, his escape and return home are all touched upon in detail, the whole story forming one of the most thrilling tales of the sea ever printed.  And the best part of the story is that it is true."Harry B. Turner, Nantucket, MA  May 1, 1928Sources:Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" Aug 12, 1887. p. 1Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" Aug 19, 1887. p. 1"Wrecked on the Feejees" Inquirer and Mirror Press, Forward by Harry B Turner, p. 7Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.
Part 2 of 4The Experiences of William S. Cary, a Nantucket man.  The sole survivor of the crew of the whaleship Oeno, who lived for nine years among cannibals of the South Pacific. "Cary's log of his experiences is a most graphic depiction of life among the Fiji Islanders.  His capture and adoption by the king of the tribe, the life and customs of the natives, his escape and return home are all touched upon in detail, the whole story forming one of the most thrilling tales of the sea ever printed.  And the best part of the story is that it is true."Harry B. Turner, Nantucket, MA  May 1, 1928Sources:Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" July 28, 1887. p. 1Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" Aug 5, 1887. p. 1"Wrecked on the Feejees" Inquirer and Mirror Press, Forward by Harry B Turner, p. 7Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.
Part 1 of 4The Experiences of William S. Cary, a Nantucket man.  The sole survivor of the crew of the whaleship Oeno, who lived for nine years  among cannibals of the South Pacific.  "Cary's log of his experiences is a most graphic depiction of life among the Fiji Islanders.  His capture and adoption by the king of the tribe, the life and customs of the natives, his escape and return home are all touched upon in detail, the whole story forming one of the most thrilling tales of the sea ever printed.  And the best part of the story is that it is true."Harry B. Turner, Nantucket, MA  May 1, 1928Sources:Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" July 14, 1887. p. 1Nantucket Journal, "Wrecked on the Feejees" July 21, 1887. p. 1"Wrecked on the Feejees" Inquirer and Mirror Press, Forward by Harry B Turner, p. 7Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.
Frozen In

Frozen In

2021-01-0427:07

In this episode we present a series of short vignettes and first person accounts of major freeze up events in 19th century Nantucket.  These were the days before fast ferries and airplanes, when news of the day and word from loved ones travelled only by mail.  Sailing ships and later, steamboats, were the only lifeline to the mainland carrying mail, fuel, supplies and people.  During large freeze ups, lasting weeks to as long as a month, the island was completely cut off from the rest of the world. Sources:Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972.p. 231-242Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion  
This story goes back to the early 1980's on Nantucket.  Capt. Pete Kaizer was in his early years of fishing on the island when a local market for bluefish developed.  Pete used gillnetting strategies he had learned while fishing the winter seasons in Florida, and applied them to Nantucket's inshore fishery.  One August afternoon, Pete and his mate found a large school of fish just north of Sankaty Head, but not long after setting the net a hard line of severe thunderstorms came over them.  Things went from bad to worse, and ultimately the two men had to abandon ship and swim for their lives.Producer and Host: Evan Schwanfelder with special guest Capt. Pete Kaizer.  Huge thanks to my wife, Katie Kaizer, for leading the discussion and for all her help and support in bringing these stories alive.Music composed by Evan Schwanfelder.
The Joseph Starbuck, named after the wealthy whaling merchant who built her, was the last one built at the Brant Point shipyard, launched in 1838.  She completed one successful voyage to the Pacific and was fitted out for her second in 1842.  She was a beautiful and highly valued ship of live oak, and copper fastened.  The vessel alone was insured for $24,000.On Sunday, November 27, 1842, the ship left Nantucket with a favorable breeze, in tow of the steamer Telegraph, for Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, where she was to load and proceed on a whaling voyage. There were on board, in addition to the full complement of hands belonging to her, a number of ladies, who were intending to accompany their friends and husbands to Edgartown, before taking final leave of them.  In total there were 35 souls aboard the ship.Sources:Gardner, Arthur.  "Wrecks Around Nantucket" Inquirer And Mirror, 1915. p 46-47 (Text has been lightly edited for narrative purposes)Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion  Email Contact: eschwanfelder@eganmaritime.org 
On a stormy morning in early spring, 1893, just after the sun's rays had lifted a foggy curtain from the sea, the strongly-built Norwegian bark Mentor emerged from the fog and found herself in the shoals off the east end of Nantucket.  There was a high sea running and before she could extricate herself she struck heavily, and remained fast.  It was Sunday morning, April 23rd, 1893.  White water was breaking all around the vessel and the captain decided to abandon ship before the fog closed in on them again.  Sources:Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972.p. 189-192Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
During the winter of 1871, Nantucket Sound experienced once of the worst freeze-ups in history; the ice was so thick that it was incredibly challenging and nearly impossible to cut through. At this time there was no paid lifesaving service on the island. Rather, volunteer surfmen with the Massachusetts Humane Society risked life and limb to aid mariners and passengers in distress on the shoals around Nantucket.On the evening of February 3, 1871, the schooner, Mary Anna, with a cargo of coal destined for Maine, was anchored off the coast of Chatham when a cold, strong gale caused her to break from her mooring and begin to drift. There were five crew members on board. The ice on the boat and in the Sound affected their ability to maneuver and control the boat, and thus, on the morning of February 4, the Mary Anna struck a shoal and began to freeze in place. Ice slowly began to surround the hull and the crew fled to the rigging in fear that the vessel would be torn apart.Sources:Snow, Edward R.  "Storms and Shipwrecks of New England," Boston Printing Co. 1943 p. 228-229Soverino, Michelle & Jackson, Olivia "The Remarkable Rescue of the Crew Aboard the Shipwreck Mary Anna" Egan Maritime Institute. 2019https://eganmaritime.org/news/the-wreck-of-the-mary-annaMusic and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion. 
The two-masted schooner Eveline Treat was sailing along the south shore of Nantucket, heading to Gloucester, MA, with a cargo of coal during the early morning—around 1am—on Saturday, October 21, 1865, she struck Miacomet Rip. There were five souls aboard the ship: sixty-two year old Captain Job Philbrook, two of his sons, and two other men. Under the cloak of darkness they had no option but to weather the waves with hope that the Eveline Treat would survive the night and that they would be spotted after day break and rescued.Sources:Soverino, Michelle, "It Will Be a Long Time Before the Day’s Deeds Will Be Forgotten" Egan Maritime Institute (2019) https://eganmaritime.org/news/eveline-treatInquirer & Mirror, "Marine Disaster.” October 28, 1865.Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion. 
During a massive freeze in the winter of 1918, the Cross Rip Lightship, anchored north of Nantucket, was held fast in a crushing ice floe.  The Captain, stranded at shore, left first mate, Henry Joy in charge.  Fearing for the life of the crew, Joy walked seven miles across the ice to Nantucket to ask permission for the crew to abandon ship.  The country was at war and his request was denied.  The Cross Rip, spotted from Great Point Lighthouse, was last seen flying a distress signal as the ice dragged her out to sea.  The ship and crew were never seen again.Special thanks to the Nantucket Atheneum for their Historic Digital Newspaper Archive and the articles therein which made this episode possible.https://www.nantucketatheneum.org/research/eresources/historic-digital-newspaper-archive/Sources:Inquirer & Mirror, "Articles relating to the Cross Rip Lightship"February 9, 1918 - March 30, 1918Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder
The Wreck of LV-117

The Wreck of LV-117

2020-07-1720:15

The Nantucket South Shoals Lightship, numbered LV-117, was anchored 43 miles southeast of the island, beyond the outermost edge of the treacherous Nantucket Shoals and served as a major navigational beacon marking the western end of the trans-Atlantic shipping channel. Though prone to stormy seas and heavy fog, this position allowed incoming and outgoing vessels to heed the dangerous shoals by homing in on the lightship's radio signal.She was a steel-hulled ship, 135 feet long, weighing in at 630 tons, with steel deckhouses fore and aft, a funnel amidship for exhaust, and two masts with electric lanterns on top of them.  There was an electric foghorn on the mainmast.  Like all lightships she was painted red with Nantucket spelled out in white to signal the location.  The ship was held in place by a pair of 7,000 pound anchors attached to 2 inch diameter steel chain cables mooring her in approximately 180 feet of water. The vessel was described at the time as "the newest thing in lightships, a great advance over the sailing vessels that stood watch ... for over seventy years prior."  The Inquirer and Mirror remarked that the ship was the “pride of the Lighthouse Department, and the finest and most up-to-date of any light vessel yet built” LV-117 would not see a long service, however, as she met her fate only three years later in one of the most famous and dramatic ship-to-ship collisions of the 20th century.Sources:Chirnside, Mark (2004). The Olympic Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic, Britannic: Tempus Publishing. p. 123-126. Chirnside, Mark (2005). RMS Olympic – Titanic's Sister: Tempus Publishing.  p. 246-253.Inquirer & Mirror, "White Star Liner Olympic Sinks Nantucket Lightship." (May 19, 1934)Soverino, Michelle (2019) "The 85th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Nantucket Lightship LV-117" Egan Maritime Institute, https://eganmaritime.org/news/sinking-of-the-lv117Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
Whenever a shipwreck on Nantucket was mentioned by islanders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries one was always certain to be recalled - the wreck of the big, three masted schooner, T.B. Witherspoon.  The details of this tragic wreck left an indelible memory, never to be forgotten by those who chanced to be on the frozen beach at Mioxes Pond on the island's southwest shores, standing by helplessly as they watched the men in the rigging of the doomed craft lose their grip in the icy shrouds and fall into the sea on that fateful day - Sunday, January 10, 1886.  A note to listeners that this episode contains descriptions about loss of life that may not be suitable for younger audiences.   Sources:Intro and Main Narrative:Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972.p. 149-155Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion *Musical Note: Main Story Theme, instrumental cover; "Ashokan Farewell" by Jay Ungar
On the night of July 25, 1956 the eastbound Swedish passenger liner Stockholm collided with the westbound Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria in what was to be described as the world’s first major radar assisted collision at sea. The collision happened approximately 50 miles south of Nantucket at 11:11 p.m. local time. The Andrea Doria was struck just behind and below the starboard bridge wing and almost immediately took on a severe list of almost 20 degrees to starboard leaving half of her lifeboats unusable. Less than 10 minutes from the time she was struck, the Andrea Doria transmitted an SOS calling for immediate assistance. The loss of her port-side lifeboats might have resulted in a significant loss of life if not for the relatively rapid response of several nearby ships, and by the relative stability of the fatally wounded luxury liner despite carrying a worsening list throughout the night. Unlike the Titanic disaster of 1912, the total loss of life was relatively small. Only 46 passengers from Andrea Doria died as a consequence of the collision. A total of 1660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived. On Stockholm, five crew members, who were in the area of the bow at the time, also died as result of the collision.Sources:Intro Text and Podcast Description:Halpern, Samuel, "An Objective Forensic Analysis of the Collision BetweenStockholm and Andrea Doria" http://www.titanicology.com/AndreaDoria/Stockholm-Andrea_Doria_Collision_Analysis.pdf ; Page 1Main Narrative:Andrews, Evan, "The Sinking of the Andrea Doria" https://www.history.com/news/the-sinking-of-andrea-doria
Beginning in the 1870s, coal shipped from the Delaware River and the Hampton Roads area of the Chesapeake Bay encouraged the building of larger and larger schooners. Three-masted schooners had long been the primary means of transporting coal to Boston and Maine, but, by the 1880s, the four-masted schooner had become more popular. The late 1890s saw five-masted schooners, and the first six-masted schooner, George W. Wells, was built in Camden, Maine in 1900.By 1910, 45 five-masted schooners and 10 six-masted schooners, each the length of a football field, had been built, mostly by Maine shipyards. Bath was their primary builder, but many were built in Rockland, Camden, Belfast, and other Penobscot Bay towns.These very large schooners were awkward to handle, although"donkey" engines provided power for hoisting sails, running the windlass, capstan and pumps and handling other heavy gear.  With this early automation, the large coasters were able to get along with relatively small crews.These vessels were designed for carrying capacity.  The ships were long and narrow, which gave them great potential for speed when there was good wind, but were unwieldy in light air.  The difficulty in steering the vessels, their pointed bows and their great weight of cargo were probably all contributing factors in a large amount of these ships being wreck around Nantucket in the early twentieth century.Source:Penobscot Marine Museum: "The Great Coal Schooners,"https://penobscotmarinemuseum.org/pbho-1/ships-shipbuilding/great-coal-schooners.                                                                                                                                      Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972. p. 268-270Studds, Gerry: "The Great Coal Schooners of New England," NOAA, Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary;https://nmssanctuaries.blob.core.windows.net/sanctuaries-prod/media/archive/missions/2006palmer/pdfs/schooners.pdf.                                    Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
In this episode we travel back to March of 1877 when the large sailing bark, W.F. Marshall, bound for New Brunswick, Canada from Hampton Roads, Virginia, got caught in gale force winds and fog off the southern coast of Nantucket and ran aground near shore.  The newly constructed Surfside Life Saving Station crew spotted the ship in distress and responded immediately, saving all souls aboard including a large, black Newfoundland dog.This story is a favorite of families that visit that Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, and with the museum's opening date uncertain at this time, we thought it would be fitting to share with our listening audience here on the podcast.  Enjoy!Source:Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972. p. 128-129Stewart, Whitney: "Marshall The Sea Dog," Mill Hill Press and Albert F. Egan Jr. & Dorothy H. Egan Foundation; Revised Edition, 2017.Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
The Great Gale of 1879

The Great Gale of 1879

2020-05-0724:40

In the late nineteenth century, Nantucket Sound, located in between the major ports of New York and Boston, was one of the most heavily trafficked marine highways in the country.  Before the construction of the Cape Cod Canal in 1916, thousands of sailing vessels, every year, bound on coastal and transatlantic routes had one of two navigational decisions to make.  Take the longer, more exposed, ocean route south of Nantucket and around the dangerous south shoals, or take the shorter, relatively more sheltered passage through Nantucket Sound.  Many vessels, especially those plying the northeastern coastal trade, chose the latter.  However, the sound is not without considerable hazards to navigation.  The treacherous  Muskeget channel, Tuckernuck and Muskeget Shoals, and the Nantucket Bar lie to the west and the south of the sound, while to the east there sits a narrow passage between the Great Point of Nantucket and Monomoy Island off the southeast elbow of Cape Cod.  All around this channel is a veritable maze of shoals, rips and sandbars which have seen many a shipwreck over the centuries.  The greatest threat to mariners occurred during the winter and early spring season when violet storms blowing in a northerly direction arrived with little notice, catching ships off guard, and running them aground on the shoals and rips.  Ships could be broken up in a matter of days or even hours in the pounding surf, with sailors facing great risk to life and limb because of the cold water end extreme weather.   Many had only to cling to the rigging, pray and wait for the life saving crews from Nantucket to take action and come to their rescue.  Such was the case in late March during the Great Gale of 1879, when 11 shipwrecks occurred around the Island, and the bravery of Nantucket’s volunteer lifesavers would be put to the ultimate test. Source:Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972. p. 144-148Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder.Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
Lightship service in the United Sates spans a period of 165 years from 1820-1985.  These floating lighthouses marked shifting shoals and sandbars, harbor entrances, river mouths or any other hazardous location on the water where the building of a stationary lighthouse was an impossibility.  179 lightships were built between 1820 and 1952.  In the early years the ships were made of wood, powered only by sail and fitted with oil lanterns, as technology advanced, ships were eventually constructed of steel, powered by steam and diesel engines.  In 1915, the peak of lightship operations, there were 54 stations in the United Sates; 36 on the east coast, 2 in the Gulf, 5 on the west coast and 11 in the Great lakes.  Some of the largest concentrations of lightship anchorages on the East Coast were in the highly trafficked and heavily shoaled waters of Nantucket Sound, but it goes without saying that by far the most isolated, most exposed and most extreme post in the entire lighthouse service was the lone Nantucket South Shoal Lightship, standing a year round vigil some 25 miles out to sea, south of Nantucket at the tip of the dreaded South Shoals.  There have been numerous lightships that served this post from 1854-1983, with many a tale to tell, but in this episode, I focus on the particularly fascinating history of the first two lightships that made station on Nantucket’s South Shoals. Sources:Boucher, Mike: "Lightships in America," United States Lighthouse Society;uslhs.org/history/lightships-americaKobbe, Gustav: "Life on the South Shoal Lightship," Century Magazine; August, 1891 Leach, Thomas: "Lightships of Nantucket Sound," January, 2006threeharbors.com/lightships.htmlStackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972. p. 61-71  Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder. Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion *Musical Note: Main Story Theme, instrumental cover; "Boots of Spanish Leather" by Bob Dylan
Life in Ireland was desperate in the mid nineteenth century.  The Potato Famine of the 1840's brought about a decade of starvation and illness.  More than one million Irish died and another million fled their homeland, emigrating to North America  On the morning of October 22, 1851 the full masted ship British Queen, with 226 immigrants on board, departed Dublin, Ireland bound for New York.  The voyage was to take four to five weeks, but winter struck early that year and, eight weeks later, in a blinding snowstorm, the British Queen was driven into the dangerous Muskeget Channel west of Nantucket.  It was December 17th, 1851.  Source: Stackpole, Edouard: "Life Saving Nantucket," Stern-Majestic Press; 1972.  p. 102-110  Music and Narration: Performed, Produced and Edited by Evan Schwanfelder. Special Thanks to Katie Schwanfelder for all your help and for joining the discussion 
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