Cathrine Fox: Issue Four: A Nautical Primer


JULY 24 – AUGUST 14, 2011

Personal Log:

I worked for many summers in construction doing finish work on log-cabin homes. My coworkers would have had months of detention from me if they had been in my class but, over time, I assimilated. A few weeks before summer vacation ended, I put a jar on the kitchen counter. If words escaped my lips that wouldn’t be quite…appropriate coming from a school teacher, I paid a tax into the jar. By the time school began, I was back to using the King’s English, and some local charity was a bit richer.

I realized soon after I found out I’d be a Teacher at Sea that I was going to need to do some serious work on my nautical language. It wasn’t that I wanted to swear like a sailor per se, but that I needed to call things by their proper names. Case in point: I am traveling on a ship, not a boat. (For those of you not in the maritime community, please recognize that calling a ship a boat is akin to swearing.) I hope that Issue 4 of Adventures in a Blue World may help others not make as many faux pas as I have, with help from A Nautical Primer: (cartoon citations: 1 and 2)

(Depending on your source, many common idioms have a nautical history. A few claim that “dressed to the nines” or “the whole nine yards” refers to a ship coming into port with all sails unfurled (although there is, to be sure, considerable debate).)

Whether or not you need to brush up on some simple terms, take some time to explore the website for the ship the Oscar Dyson. It was fascinating to me how much is packed into a little over 200ft.

Adventures in a Blue World, Issue 4
Adventures in a Blue World, Issue 4

Until our next adventure,

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