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Mariners Notebooks and Sketches


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Drama at sea captured in seafarers' sketchbooks

Francesca Street, CNN • Updated 10th May 2019

(CNN) — Today's explorers can livestream around the world as they plunge deep into bottomless ocean chasms.

But 100 years ago, a voyage on a ship meant saying goodbye to loved ones, potentially forever.

And the absence of smart phones, the old-time equivalent of posting photos on Instagram was sketching scenes from travels in a journal, knowing they might never be seen by another soul.

Author, historian and traveler Huw Lewis-Jones has compiled intricate and striking images drawn by sailors into a new book: "The Sea Journal: Seafarers' Sketchbooks."

Plates from the book include vibrant maps of the Venice Lagoon, witty cartoons of fellow sailors, descriptions of discoveries and detailed diagrams of sea creatures.

"A lot of the images, they are first-hand images of the understanding of the world changing for people," Lewis-Jones tells CNN Travel. "That's what a lot of these big voyages, big expeditions did -- change the way people see the world."





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One of my regrets is not having kept a book like that when I was travelling around on the big grey boats. 

Everyone should keep some type of log that documents where they went and what they saw when taking on some extraordinary activity.  

Those logs are real treasures - and beautifully done.  

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I used to have bundles of letters that my great-grandmother exchanged with her children from about 1920 - 1950.  (My dad threw them out when I was away at college.) None of those people had more than a high-school education, if that.  Yet, they wrote clear, concise prose that seems utterly beyond the reach of today’s cowlege graduates.  

There is something mindful and deliberate about putting pen to paper that is sadly lacking in tweets, txts, and youtubes.  

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The Blurocket tradition was for a guest to keep the log.  The logs were full of personal touches, cartoons and silly poems -- the greatest vacation scrapbooks anyone could wish for.


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