The History of Shipbuilding

Ships are a huge part of world history and have been an important tool to every civilization. Before now, boats were used to explore other continents around the world, fighting and pillaging other vessels in the process. Let’s take a look back into the past to remember the pioneering ships that shaped our world.

8th Century: Viking

The Viking Empire dominated Europe from 793 AD to 1066 AD, until they were driven out by King Alfred the Great. Boats were a symbol of wealth and power for the Vikings, as skilled ship builders cost a lot of money. The most popular Viking design was called the Gokstad, which was sturdy and clinker-built. The vessel can be identified by its up-turned ends that finish in a stylistic swirl.  Even though the Gokstad could only be pushed along with paddles, the ship could travel at the speed of 10 knots! If you’re ever in Norway and fancy finding out more about the Gokstad, there is a museum dedicated to Viking ships in Oslo, the original home of the Viking colony.

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15th Century: Chinese Treasure Ships

The treasure ships were used during the Ming dynasty in the early 15th century. They were at least twice as long as the European ships at the time, and each ship had a 2800 ton capacity. But what were these grand vessels used for? The prestigious admiral Zheng He led a fleet of treasure ships on seven expeditions. This fleet consisted of 62 treasure ships and approximately 190 smaller ships. Historians say that Zheng He went to India, Thailand, Africa, Arabia and Brunei during these voyages, in order to trade gifts and be entertained by their leaders. The renowned politician used the presents from China (typically fine silk) as a shrewd political tactic, scaring the leaders of foreign lands into submission with his large fleet and obvious wealth.

18th century: Pirates

Black Beard is the most famous pirate of the 18th century, plaguing the shipping lanes of North America and the Caribbean throughout the early 1700s. Historians say that Black Beard was a sailor called Edward Teach that turned rogue, stealing a French ship and renaming it as the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Shrewd and dangerous, Black Beard looted other vessels on a regular basis with his conniving crew. His skills in pillaging made him a household name during the Georgian era, and his infamy still continues to this day. The Queen Anne’s Revenge was recently discovered off the coast of North Carolina, full of Black Beard’s cannons, anchors, gold dust, lead shots, animal bones and scientific instruments. The archaeological dig of the ship-wreck is still in progress, continuing to educate us about Black Beard’s adventures and the man behind the name.

 

Spring 2015: Britannia

Now that you’ve seen the past – you can look forward to the future! Britannia cruise liner is going to be the biggest of its kind, housing top-notch entertainment, fantastic eateries and gorgeous swimming pools. Britannia is a vessel that Britain’s Viking and Pirate counterparts could only dream of, as it is larger than the Shard and even the Eiffel Tower! The cruise liner is currently being built in a shipyard in Monfalcone and will be let loose on our oceans in spring 2015.

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Rocketman Giveaway Winners!

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. the winners of our Rocketman Giveaway!

We received 230 entries into the contest, but unfortunately we only have two flights to giveaway.  Many thanks to all who participated, you all certainly have some interesting reasons for wanting to fly!  And now without further ado,

Congratulations to our winners:

Andi Perullo de Ledesma

Jennifer Fallick

 

Andi and Jen, please contact us at info [at] ishouldlogoff [dot] com to claim your prize!!  Thanks again to all who participated!

 

The winners were randomly selected on Rafflecopter via Random.org:

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Giveaway: Two FREE Rocketman Flights

Giveaway Alert!

We’re giving away free stuff – 2 free Rocketman flights !

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A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to fly with RocketMan at the exclusive launch location in Fort Lauderdale.

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Have you ever wanted to fly?  I have, in fact, flying in many forms is on my bucket list. It’s an incredible experience to glide across the water with Rocketman strapped on your back.  We inadvertently did a backflip, skimmed the bottom of the Intracoastal and free fell into the water, and it was AMAZING. We got the hang of jetpack travel faster than we expected and after a few minutes we were up in the air, zipping around like pros.


So what’s it like to have a jetpack strapped to your back?

Flying with Rocketman was a bit like paragliding, only faster, over the water and with more control.  Your helmet is connected to a “controller” on the dock, who helps guide you through the launch, the flight and the landing.  Don’t worry, the controller can actually control your thrust and prevent you from going too high if you’re afraid.

Are you up for an adrenaline rush?

Enter below for a chance to win one of two gift certificates! The more actions listed below you do, the higher your chances are to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Winter of Our Disconnect

The irony of a blog being called ‘I should log off’ has never been “lost” on us. As we traveled the world we always felt like we wanted to log off more often but couldn’t because we were so focused on our blog about logging off. It was our paradox.

Disconnecting and logging off….that’s why this book appealed to me so much.

Winter of our Disconnect Book Review: The Winter of Our DisconnectI hate how connected I am and yet it still feels like such a necessity. When The Winter of our Disconnect arrived in the mail (a gift for completing an online survey) I dove right in. The book is a first person narrative of an American woman trying to raise her three kids in Australia. She is a journalist by trade and this figures strongly into her desire to cut loose and disconnect, as well as the challenges she faces.

The author realizes the need for disconnecting and sets out ground rules for 6 months of electric free living. The means, cutting all electricity. Cold showers, no phones and no Internet. She receives both blank stares and accolades from her friends and family. Her children feel differently at the start and, once they actually understand what is happening, aren’t at all too pleased with it. They are permitted to use electricity outside of the house and they use this time to email and send messages but inside the house they are suddenly forced to behave….as a family.

The author’s son makes the largest change. Without his game system he suddenly feels the need to dig up his old saxophone. He learns to play again and manages to join a band. By the end of the 6 months he misses his game unit but also takes a moment to remark to his mother that he wonders how good he’d be if he’d spent all those years playing sax instead of video games. The family cohesion grows as well. The dog gets walked far more often and more time is spent relaxing and playing games than ever before. Suddenly it is cool to sit and hang out together for an evening and bonding feels natural rather than forced like so many a family outing.

This is the kind of book that makes you examine what is important in your life and the changes you might need to make to become happier. At times it seems more newspaper article than narrative but changes that come through this book are all feel good stuff. Sure, it would be near impossible for many of us to cut all electricity from our homes for 6 months but the point of this book is that not only is it not impossible, but it can be easier and better than you’d think. In the meantime, the book concludes with a few ‘commandments’ of how we can better live with electricity, but that will come to you via this blog another day.

Disclosure:  We received no compensation for this review but the links contained above are affiliate links and we will earn a commission if you click them and purchase a copy of the book.

Solstice Traditions

During the winter solstice, the path of the sun starts turning towards the north after reaching the southernmost position. The word solstice actually means that the sun is standing still.  For those in the northern hemisphere, this is the longest night of the year and the shortest day.  In the southern hemisphere it is the shortest night of the year and the longest day. For most of us, the solstice marks the changing of the seasons.

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The winter solstice is celebrated by many societies around the world. It marks the official beginning of winter and a festival is often held to commemorate the last harvest. Celebrations usually reflect on looking into a cold winter and hoping for a warm future.  Though celebrated in different ways and with different names in various countries and cultures, these festivals are a bonding of hope and warmth, when families come together and give symbol gifts and indulge in feasting. This corresponds with the ebbing of the sun.

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In Iran, it is celebrated as the Shab-e-Yaldaa and as Rohatsu by Buddhists. North India celebrates it as Lodhi and in Scandinavia; it is celebrated as the Beiwe festival. East Asia celebrates the winter solstice as the Dongzhi festival and in Mali it is the Goru. It was known as the Yule (Yule-time anyone?) in Europe in earlier years courtesy of early Germanic tribes.  Christmas itself was actually selected to be on December 25th by early Christians (Romans) in order to help win over some of the Pagan cultures commemorating the the winter solstice and the Sun God, pretty soon they were celebrating the ‘Son of God’ instead.

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The ancient cultures of Egyptians and Babylonians also celebrated the winter solstice and had festivities. The Romans celebrated it as the Saturnalia. It was not limited to just Europe but was also celebrated in the Eastern countries. In Tibet, the solstice was celebrated as Dosmoche. The Japanese celebrated this period as Hari kuyo. It was Native American celebrations that ultimately introduced mistletoe and holly into the Christmas celebrations.

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How will you celebrate the solstice? What are you most looking forward to this winter?