Director’s Blog

News from the director about the Bramble and the documentary.

Travel Log: April 27, 2019 Arrival In Mobile, Alabama

The Bramble has arrived in Mobile, Alabama at the Epic Shipyards!  Here she’ll be put in dry dock for about a month to undergo some upgrades including (yay!) air conditioning.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  Thanks to Captain Robert and the entire crew for getting us here safely.  And for putting up with our constant questions and video requests.

Here’s a pic of Aaron, Marlon, Scott, and Larry as we tie up in Mobile.  These guys are tough!

I’ll be heading home to do some post-production work while the ship is being upgraded but Captain Robert will be sending pics from the gulf and I’ll be posting some cool video clips so keep checking in!  Thanks.

Travel Log: April 26, 2019 “About a Buoy”

This is the buoy that’s been lashed to our deck since we left Port Huron.  When Bramble was a museum ship it was there to show visitors what Bramble was designed to do: tend to buoys.  They are very important because they act like guides and traffic signals at sea.  Without them, there would be chaos and ships with cargo couldn’t get where they are going.

This buoy weighs an enormous amount:  thousands of pounds, as it’s designed to survive the worst the sea can throw at it.  Bramble has a built in crane to pluck buoys out of the water, service them, and then re-install them.  This one is going to be removed from our ship in Mobile, Alabama when we reach dry dock.  Tom Clarke, the ship’s new owner, is going to put a Land Rover on deck and a brand new “RIB” or Rigid Inflatable Boat, which will be very handy for our Arctic and dive adventures.

Travel Log: April 24, 2019 “The Imperfect Storm”

This log post is “retroactive”.  I knew we’d be out of internet contact for the last couple of days so I queued the previous three days’ posts to launch automatically.  I was out of contact during the storm of the (almost) century.  A day south of Norfolk, Virginia, we ran into very poor weather.  The sea become rough with huge mountains of water.  Then it became very obvious:

Bramble was not designed as a deep sea vessel.

The Captain and crew did their best to plough through it, but it was rough.  The ship was pitching about thirty degrees side to side.  Dishes, furniture and anything else not tied down went chasing and smashing all around.   Bill got some amazing shots with the GoPro camera of waves crashing over the bow.  Then Bill and I took shelter in the wardroom and tried to just ride it out.

We were both feeling seasick.  I’m sure we were green.  Sleep was impossible.  I tried to sleep in my bunk but no luck.  You feel like you’re being shaken awake every ten seconds.  I even tried sleeping on the couch in the wardroom but no luck.  I don’t know how the sailors in this ship managed to make it to Bikini Atoll in 1947 for the Atomic bomb tests.  I bet it was miserable but they did it!  Hats off to those brave and determined sailors.

The next morning the seas started to flatten out.  We went around the ship and checked for damage.  Here are the results of the storm on the wardroom…

Travel Log: April 23, 2019 “Birthday Aboard The Bramble”

I wasn’t able to post this on the 21st as we were out of internet contact.  It was my 55th birthday on the Bramble and I got a great gift:  nice weather.  We saw a US Navy ship pass us.  The seas were very calm (in contrast to the previous two days!) and we were able to enjoy sailing and even had a beautiful sunset.

Marlon had even prepared a chocolate cake for dinner and I enjoyed it with some strawberry ice cream and wishes from the crew.  At night, the moon was out and very bright and Bill and I went up to the Gun Deck to enjoy the calm and look at the distant shore.  We could see the lights of Cape Canaveral approaching and I’m sure I could make out the Vehicle Assemble Building at NASA where they assemble rockets.

I was missing Mandi though and hoping that I would get some internet so I could contact her.  Just after midnight Bill said he was heading off to sleep.  I stayed up on the deck for just another moment of reflection when I started to receive and internet signal.  One little bar of reception on my phone from AT&T.  It’s funny how happy that can make you when you feel reconnected with the world.  I guess that’s how sailors used to feel when they got a letter from home.  I was able to write Mandi an email although I knew she would most likely not see it until the following morning.  What a great feeling.

Travel Blog: April 22, 2019

This is the “Wardroom” of the ship.  The officers would use it as a dining hall and meeting place.  Bill and I hang out here a lot.  We are using it as a makeshift office and editing area.  I have a new computer but it’s hard to do editing on a rolling ship.  All I can really do is transfer our footage to backup drives and check out our shots.  There is an irritating resonating noise in this area most of the time.  Actually, there’s always noise all over the ship.  It’s going to seem strange to come home and hear silence.

Travel Blog: April 21, 2019

It’s Easter Sunday and what better time to introduce our amazing chef on boat, Marlon.  He’s one of the hardest working guys aboard.  I’m amazed that he and his assistant Jeremy can turn out absolutely amazing meals from the small galley.  He’s very clever at re-using leftovers.  For example, if we have chicken one night, he turns the leftovers into a tasty gumbo soup the next day.  We’re definitely not losing any weight on the voyage.

I’m not sure what we’ll be eating for Easter but knowing Marlon, I’m positive it will be delicious.

Travel Blog: April 20, 2019

This is the “inclinometer”.  Actually, I forget the real name for it.  It’s a gauge on the mess bulkhead that tells you how quickly you’ll throw up.  No… seriously, it measures the angle that the ship is rocking.  The Bramble has a round hull and “handles like a football” in the sea.  We rock back and forth on all but the calmest days.  Anything past about 15 degrees on this gauge and it’s hard to walk down the halls.  You have to get used to walking like Popeye with the wide stance.


**Thank you to one of our Facebook followers, Jeff Barteldt, for providing the correct name: Clinometer.

Travel Log: April 19, 2019

Here’s how you set up your “rack” (bunk) so you can sleep at night without pitching out onto the floor.  First, you stuff some bedding under the outer edge of your mattress so there is a “lip” keeping you from rolling out.  Then you add some pillows on the inside so you’re not bumping into the cold steel bulkhead all night.  Bill found this secret out a little too late and ended up falling out of one of the upper bunks one night.  Ouch.  It’s quite a drop and you could break your arm.

Travel Log: April 17, 2019

All hands are on deck loading provisions for the ten day trip south to Mobile, Alabama.  We’ve got everything from garbage bags to Reese’s Pieces.  Everything is loaded on the ship the old fashioned way….manpower.  Everyone including the Captain form a human chain to pass the boxes, crates and bags onto the ship and below deck into the hold and fridge.  Marlon is busy checking his list to make sure he has all his food supplies.  Despite the hard work, everyone’s in good sprits and ready to get back to sea.