Friday, July 11, 2008

Perils of the North Sea


Bit of Ocean Full of Anxiety to Passenger and Navigator.

The passage of the North sea, or German ocean — for it is equally well known by both titles — is looked upon with dread by the navigators who have to brave its dangers.

Thu sailors of the North German Lloyd call it the sea of murder in allusion to the marine disasters with which its history bristles. The captain of the liner, whose destination is Liverpool, feels that the perils of his voyage are practically over when he reaches Queenstown. The commanders of the North German Lloyd ships, on the other hand, realize that the most dangerous part of their journey is yet to come, for ahead of them is the narrow and crowded English channel and the equally crowded and tempestuous North sea.

The unruly waters are open to the fierce sweep of the wind that is so dreaded in Europe, that which is from the northeast. Only those who have experienced those marrow chilling, pneumonia breeding blasts can realize their anger and their power. The gulf stream which surges up the channel and around the northern end of the British isles meets the icy current from the arctic regions. Storms, varied by dense fogs, result from this combination.

The east coast of England forms a deadly ice shore for the shipping caught in the prevailing winds. In addition to these natural dangers, the North sea is crossed and recrossed by dozens of steamer "lanes." It is also the seat of the great herring fisheries, with their thousands of smacks and schooners that, lying at anchor here, there and everywhere, are by no means the least of the dangers which menace the navigator. Here, too, there are hundreds of Scotch and English coasting craft, which stand well to sea to avoid the dangers of shore lines, and, lastly, the mouth of the Thames spreads funnellike into the North sea, adding to the total perils with its fleets of incoming and outgoing vessels. — Boston Transcript.

No comments: