MICHAEL WALSH ex-seafarer, nomad and author of seafaring books is more aware than most of the awesome size and depths of the earth’s great seas. After all, the once British seaman on reaching his 26th birthday had travelled to over 60 countries, visited hundreds of ports many several times over.
Sadly, few boys these days have meaningful relationships with male mentors and father figures, men who can teach and inspire them. Some boys grow up without having been taught by a male teacher or are taught by teachers who have no life or work experience outside of a classroom.
The harrowing photographs of starving people that Noerwegian arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen showed in the West shocked the world’s public and helped him organise aid.
How often we relax to the Hispanic melodies of Isaac Albeniz. His Rapsodia Espanola, Sevilla and Granada, based on Catalan folk songs, are perhaps the better known of his many compositions. These lovely melodies evoke the Spanish dream more than could any Goya painting but what of the man behind the music? Like most composers his life was as notable as was his music.
Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich of Russia (1850 – 1918) was the first-born son of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich who was the younger brother of the Russian emperor Alexander II, and Grand Duchess Alexandra Iosifovna of Russia. He was also the grandson of Tsar Nicholas I and cousin of Tsar Alexander III.
His real name was Frank Rocky Fiegel. He was born in 1868 in Poland. A retired sailor he was contracted by Wiebusch’s tavern in the city of Chester, Illinois, to clean the town’s lawlessness and maintain order. Rocky Fiegel was notorious for his belligerent attitude and firmly believed that everything could be sorted out with his fists.
A seaman who fell overboard from a supply ship in the vast Pacific Ocean at 4 am spent more than 14 hours clinging to an old fishing buoy before being rescued. Alone in the middle of the world’s greatest ocean, and without a lifejacket, at first dawn he chose to swim towards a black speck he spotted on the horizon. It was a decision that would ultimately save his life.
Tattooist Jason Stieva has been creating assemblage art for almost 20 years, extending his creativity beyond the flesh and into three-dimensional space. For the past nine years, he’s been working on his Gothic Times series, which began when he acquired a portion of an old clockmakers estate. Mixing cases and mechanisms with other found materials, his sculptures are wildly surreal and filled with detail.
Don Starkell wasn’t the kind of guy to shy away from improbable odds. So when people told him his dream of paddling a canoe from Winnipeg to the Amazon was impossible, it fuelled his determination to do it. The epic trip would stretch nearly 20,000 kilometres, through 13 countries, and would include life-threatening tropical storms, fierce waves and a near-execution in Honduras.