Wednesday, 12 December 2012

ten decks of maritime history

Well it's the 12/12/12 and the world didn't come to an end. We wandered around the streets of Hamburg and were blown away by some of the buildings. We just don't have them in Australia! We're a bit new to the travel thing but it's kind of crazy how much fun you can have just walking around town, taking photos and discovering something awesome by random chance! So much better than sitting in an office working for the man.


One of the most spectacular things we did in Hamburg, was visiting the International Maritime Museum, the largest private maritime collection in the world. The collection displays 10 decks of over 10,000 exhibits, ranging from mini model ships, 400 years of stunning marine paintings, early navigational instruments and maps, and there were even models of early colonial battles strategies. 

The museums decks spanned across the history of early shipping trades, navies of the world, the fishing and whaling industry, deep sea exploration and science, offshore oil & gas industry and shipping technology. A whole wall was dedicated to World War II at sea and it gave insight into the involvement of battleships and submarines, including the world famou German Bismarck and Japanese Yamato. 

This photo doesn't quite do the huge 1:16 scale model of the Wapen von Hamburg III justice, which was hanging in mid-air across two levels. The ship was built in 1722 intended to prevent pirates from attacking merchant ships from Hamburg. A particularly labour-intensive exhibit was the Bremerhaven container terminal model, which has over 72,000 tiny little container ships and took three years to construct! 

An interesting little corner of the museum displayed an intricate series of bone ships, which were built by the prisoners out of animals bones that they saved from their rations (you have to do something to keep you from going insane!). The deep sea fangtooth or ogre fish that lives down to depths of 5,000 metes is a feature on the 'science and deep sea exploration' deck which also had a series of submersible robots. 

As a marine scientist, the whole experience was truly fascinating! Not only was the museum impressive, but it was super cheap to get into (€12 for adults). You can take guided tours, but we hired an audio tour for €3 which was really informative and easy to use. We’re not keen on visiting absolutely every museum we come across (there’s jusy too many), but this one was definitely worth a visit! 

Did you know? That shipping containers revolutionised the shipping insustry due to is standardised design. The first ship designed to carry containers could only fit 72, now they carry something like 300,000 containers. About 10,000 are lost at sea every year!

Ok ok, geek signing out...

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