Daily Archives: February 11, 2011

Beautiful Images From A Wild Story At Sea

Published February 11, 2011

NOAA has released images and video from its recovery of the Two Brothers, a Nantucket whaling ship that sunk near Hawaii almost 200 years ago.

Marine biologists discovered the wreck by happy accident at Papahānaumokuākea (PA pa huh NOW muh KOO uh KAY uh) Marine National Monument. The evidence found helps tell the story of poor George Pollard, a sea captain with terrible luck.

“The captain of the whale ship Two Brothers is a pretty famous whaling captain — famous for his misfortune,” said Kelly Gleason, the lead researcher, in a WBUR interview.

In 1820, Pollard was captain of the Essex, a ship that was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. Pollard and his crew survived the wreck but nearly died while lost in the Pacific. After 95 days, driven by starvation, Pollard cannibalized his own cousin. He somehow made it back to Massachusetts.

A friend told Herman Melville the incredible tale, and the story of “Moby-Dick” was born.

Amazingly, Pollard and two men from his crew took to the high seas again, this time on the Two Brothers. (These are the same crew members who watched their captain eat a man.) Disaster struck again, or rather, the ship struck disaster, when the Two Brothers ran aground on the French Frigate Shoals, in the northwest Hawaiian islands.

Pollard survived again, but he would never embark on another mission.

“The community of Nantucket really did give this man and the entire crew kind of a second chance, and they didn’t pass judgment right away,” Gleason said. “But after that experience with the Two Brothers, he really was marked as an unlucky man. And sailors are pretty supertitutions.”

Pollard ended his career as a night watchman in Nantucket.

NOAA produced a video interview with Gleason about the remarkable discovery, which you can watch on our YouTube page.

Who Are Your Wonders Of Boston’s Sports World?

Published February 11, 2011

Left to right: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen, Boston Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz (AP Photos)

Brady, Allen, Ortiz (AP Photos)

Time slows. Fans fidget. Everyone wants to scream, but no one wants to distract the offense, so that pent-up energy is released through their legs, arms and fists — until, finally, Tom Brady throws a strike to the end zone. And the stadium erupts.

Those, for me, are special moments. They’re moments that make stop and say, “Remember this. Being a sports fan will never be better than this. No matter how long you live, your favorite teams won’t be this good.”

Every time Ray Allen rises quickly above a defender to shoot a three-pointer, I say a silent prayer of thanks. When David Ortiz rounds first base as flashbulbs sparkle, tiny legs churning like pistons in overdrive, I can’t help but smile.

That’s why I declared Brady, Allen and Ortiz the three Wonders of the Boston Sports World.

But as commenter “Gogreen” wrote Wednesday:

my one issue is… just 3 wonders? what about a paul pierce step-back elbow jumper?

We all have our moments, our favorite memories. So I want to hear yours. What are your Wonders of the Boston Sports World? We’ll break it down into wonders past and present. Respond in the comments or on twitter @jeremybernfeld.

Friday Morning: The Politicization Of Parole

Published February 11, 2011

Good morning! What’s news on a cold Friday in the Hub:

We’re just getting word that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo. Egyptians around the world — including here in Boston — were outraged, frustrated and disappointed in Mubarak’s non-resignation yesterday. WBUR’s Bianca Vazquez Toness interviewed local Egyptians watching the speech in Central Square.

Prisoners’ rights advocates are concerned about the sudden politicization of parole in Massachusetts. WBUR’s Bob Oakes talks with attorneys for inmates who were yanked from work programs and returned to prison, after an inmate on parole allegedly killed a Woburn police officer. On Thursday, WBUR spoke with advocates for victims’ rights who want to toughen parole laws.

The families of two men gunned down by James “Whitey” Bulger have lost millions of dollars, after a federal appeals court reversed a civil judgment against the government. The families had successfully sued the government for the 1982 murders and received $8.5 million, but the court yesterday ruled the suit was filed too late.

Boston police recovered the body of a 36-year-old man from Boston Harbor yesterday, near the Marine Industrial Park in South Boston, after a state trooper spotted it. The victim showed no obvious signs of injury, police said.

Researchers discovered the remains of a Nantucket whaling ship near Hawaii, 188 years after it went down. The captain was George Pollard Jr., a man with perhaps the worst luck in naval history. His plight at sea inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.”