Page 2 of 2

WCAI – Interview with Mindy Todd

On Thursday, November 15, 2018 – WCAI the Cape and Islands NPR radio station ran an interview with me about Neptune’s Nor’easter on their program, The Point with Mindy Todd. This was an important and significant date to air this interview about the book because it was the 56th anniversary of the actual storm that I call Neptune’s Nor’easter. If you would like to listen to this 15-minute radio program just click on the link below and it will take you to the WCAI site and their description of Neptune’s Nor’easter.

The link to WCAI is below:

http://www.bit.ly/2OKvJCw

At the bottom of the WCAI page on Neptune’s Nor’easter just click onto the start button and the audio will begin.

56 Years Ago Today

As you are coming to the end of this day, Thursday, November 15th, 2018, take a minute and ask yourself what were you doing this morning at 3:26 am? Most of us were sleeping. Fifty-six years ago at 3:26 am, on November 15, 1962, the F/V Venus has just been hove down while fishing on the Northern Edge of Georges Bank. The Venus and her eleven man crew encountered an unknown storm of massive power and fury. They are fighting for their lives.

As I am writing this blog post at 7:30 pm tonight, in the safety of my home on November 15th, 2018, at this same time fifty-six years ago the men on the Venus had been battling Neptune’s Nor’easter for sixteen hours. They have had nothing to eat all day, and they are 10-hours from having the privilege of drinking coffee and eating toast. As we go to bed tonight the men on board the Venus were still battling the most dangerous storm of their fishing careers, and it would not end until we are about to wake up tomorrow morning. It puts some perspective on the life of an offshore commercial fisherman.

The New Bedford Fisherman,

Second to None,

Then and Now,

The Finest Kind!

Tonight a powerful low-pressure system is moving across the country, and the television weather people are saying the word Nor’easter. I guess it’s a fitting end to the fifty-sixth anniversary of Neptune’s Nor’easter.

We pray that all the fishermen and mariners at sea tonight will be safe when we wake up tomorrow morning!

Excerpt From Neptune’s Nor’easter

NEPTUNE’S NOR’EASTER

The Midnight Sun Going

 

A STORM AT SEA

THE TRUE STORY OF A BOMBOGENESIS STORM

THE UNEXPECTED NOR’EASTER STORM OF
NOVEMBER 14 thru 16, 1962

The saga of men at sea, and the six ships and thirty-six men who were lost, when an Extratropical Cyclone visited the Western North Atlantic.

These losses included the fishing vessel Midnight Sun,
a New Bedford scalloper, and her eleven-man crew.

Paul J. Doucette

 

HOVE DOWN ON GEORGES BANK

THE ESCAPE FROM NEPTUNE’S TRIDENT

 

291271-poseidon-statue-near-the-harbor-copenhagen-denmark

 

ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY

The Romans knew him as Neptune!

The ancient Greeks knew him as Poseidon!

He was their God of the Sea!

He carried a “Magical Trident,” and it was believed that if he was angry, he could slam his Trident into the ocean floor, and it would create earthquakes and violent storms at sea.

The Romans knew her as Venus!

The ancient Greeks knew her as Aphrodite!

She was the Goddess of Love and Beauty!

It was believed that she could grant prosperity and victory.
She was considered the mother of the Roman people.
It was said that she was born from the foam of the sea.

Venus and Neptune linked by the Sea!

Forever!

 

“There was very little that your father didn’t know about fishing.”

Captain Ole Andersen

Spoken to me on November 27, 2016 at the
New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center,
38 Bethel Street,
New Bedford, Massachusetts,

“His father saved my father’s life.”

Mrs. Kirsten Edvardsen Bendiksen

Spoken to author and filmmaker Kevin Kertscher,
while we were discussing the premiere of the documentary film,
“The Finest Kind – The New Bedford Fishing Industry.”
On August 13, 2017

Two of the nicest compliments I have ever had the pleasure of hearing

about my father, Captain Louis Doucette, Jr.

 

This book is dedicated to the following;

CAPTAIN LOUIS DOUCETTE, JR.

My father, and the mate of the F/V Venus, during a vicious nor’easter storm, while fishing the Northern Edge of Georges Bank, on November 15th, 1962.
A New Bedford Fisherman for fifty years.

CAPTAIN LOUIS DOUCETTE, SR.

My grandfather, and the holder of the Carnegie Medal for Extraordinary Heroism, for his role in the rescue of the crew of the six-masted schooner, the Mertie B. Crowley, on the backside of Martha’s Vineyard, in a nor’easter snow storm on January 23, 1910. His lessons allowed my father to have the skill to bring the F/V Venus home,
after being “Hove Down at Sea,” on Georges Bank.

AMABLE DOUCETTE

My great-grandfather, lost at sea while fishing on Georges Bank, in the year 1880.

CAPTAIN MAGNE RISDAL
AND THE CREW OF THE F/V MIDNIGHT SUN

They lost their lives (11 men total) battling the unexpected Nor’easter Gale of November 14th & 15th, 1962, on Georges Bank.

CAPTAIN JOSHUA “SPUD” MURPHY,
ENGINEER HERBERT DOUCETTE,
MY UNCLES,
AND THE CREW OF THE F/V DORIS GERTRUDE

They lost their lives (11 men total), in a nor’easter snow storm while fishing
Georges Bank, on January 13, 1955.

JOHN PENDERGAST
MY SISTER’S FATHER-IN-LAW

Swept from the deck of the F/V Terra Nova, while fishing in heavy weather,
on Georges Bank in November of 1966.

“THE FINEST KIND”

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!

 

 

Prologue

SETTING THE STAGE

November 7th, 1962, a Wednesday, dawned clear and bright in the harbor of New Bedford, Massachusetts. There is a massive high-pressure system sitting off the East Coast of the United States, and it is in control of the weather from Maine to Florida. It’s going to be a beautiful early November day with a high temperature of 46-degrees in New Bedford. Captain Thomas Larsen and Captain Louis Doucette, Jr., are busy preparing the F/V Venus to leave the dock at the D.N. Kelly & Sons Shipyard, in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The Venus will be leaving shortly for a fishing trip to the Northern Edge of Georges Bank. Captain Magne Risdal is busy preparing the F/V Midnight Sun to leave the same shipyard. Captain Risdal is carefully monitoring the loading of the food for the trip because his regular cook, Hallvard Stoll, has been fighting off a bad cold and he has decided to take this trip off, to recover before the winter weather takes hold. These two boats are sister ships, both built to almost identical dimensions by the Harvey Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol, Maine. The Venus is two months old, and the Midnight Sun is two years old. These boats are both beautiful eastern rigged, pilothouse aft, wooden fishing boats, built by one of the top boat builders in the business. Gamage boats are built to be strong sea boats with an excellent track record of longevity and seaworthiness. Gamage boats are handmade by highly skilled Maine craftsmen. The Venus is rigged as a dragger to trawl for groundfish, and the Midnight Sun is rigged for scalloping, they are both top notch fishing vessels, and the captains and crews of both boats are friends.

On this same morning, Thomas Ewing III is a lawyer with the law firm of Debevoise, Plimpton, Lyons, and Gates in New York City. He is a young hard-charging attorney at one of the top law firms in the world. He is also an avid sailor, and he is the owner of a 30-foot, blue-hulled, sloop rigged sailboat, the Kria. He is busy this morning with his law career, but he is also busy contemplating a sail from Point Judith, Rhode Island to Essex, Connecticut, this weekend. His law associate and fellow Yale graduate, Attorney David Evans, has just agreed to act as crew on the Kria, for this weekend’s sail.

The M/V Captain George is a 442-foot Greek-flagged cargo ship, and she and her crew have recently completed stops in New Orleans, Louisiana and Houston, Texas to take on cargo. The ship is in St. Mary’s, Georgia this morning taking on a load of explosives to be transported to the oil drilling industry in Libya. She will be leaving St. Mary’s, today and after another brief stop in Savannah, Georgia she will be bound for the Mediterranean Sea. The crew is looking forward to the trip east across the Atlantic, because after the delivery in Libya, they will be on their way home to Piraeus, Greece.

The schooners Curlew and Windfall are tied to the dock in Newport, Rhode Island, and they are preparing for a voyage to the Caribbean. They both plan to enter the winter charter trade in the Virgin Islands. The two crews are friendly, and they agree to an informal race to the Caribbean, with an intermediate stop in Bermuda, to keep things interesting over a long sail.

The USNS (United States Naval Ship) New Bedford (AKL-17), and her sister Camino Class cargo ship, designated as the USNS AKL-43, are both docked at the State Pier, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. They are taking on supplies for the United States Air Force – Early Warning Radar Detection Towers, known as “Texas Towers.” They will be making a run out to re-supply Texas Tower #2, and Texas Tower #3, next week. These radar towers are erected offshore of the East Coast of the United States in international waters. They are designed to be our first line of early warning defense, should the Soviet Union launch an attack against the United States. We have just lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Cold War is very hot right now.

Captain William Fielder and crewman Louis Raulet of the F/V Moonlight are working on the boat in New Bedford, and they will be heading out to the Georges Bank fishing grounds tomorrow.

On this morning, John Isaksen is the mate on the F/V Aloha, his father Magnus is the captain. Although he doesn’t know it today, John Isaksen will be the last man to speak to the captain of another New Bedford scalloper, before she is lost with all hands.

Captain Hans Davidsen, of the F/V Florence B., will be taking his scalloper out to the Southeast Part of Georges Bank tomorrow, to commence a fishing trip. In seven days, the Florence B. will amaze Captain Davidsen with her ability to shed water. On this day, he has no idea that the Florence B., has submarine like capabilities.

Captain Albert Dahl, of the F/V Monte Carlo, is at his home this morning in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. He will be leaving for the fishing grounds on Saturday. He has no way of knowing it today, but he will soon be repeating the same word three times that all mariners dread, “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday.” He also doesn’t know that he will soon be leading the fight to improve the weather forecast for the fishing fleet.

Captain Edward Clark is the master of the 155-foot, Canadian cargo ship, the M/V East Star. He departed Havana, Cuba on October 24th, right in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the U.S. Naval Blockade of the island of Cuba. This morning, Captain Clark and his crew of twelve men, are battling a problem with the quality of the diesel fuel that they have on board. The East Star is somewhere north of the Turks and Caicos Islands and south of Bermuda. The M/V East Star entered and then left Cuba, during one of the most intense moments in world history, the nuclear weapon showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union. This morning he is squarely in the middle of the infamous Bermuda Triangle, and his ship is experiencing engine failure. November 7th, 1962 is not starting out to be a good day for Captain Clark, and things are going to get much worse.

Robert J. MacCharles is at the helm of his 30-foot ketch rigged sailboat, the Islander, and along with two friends, he is sailing somewhere south of Cape Cod. He is four days into a three-month vacation sail. His next intended destination is Bermuda. Captain MacCharles and the Islander, will never make it to Bermuda.

Within ten days, thirty-six men will be dead, and six of these ships ranging in size from 30-feet to 442-feet long, will be lying on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The remainder of the boats and men who survive the coming storm will never be the same, as they were, on this bright sunny Wednesday morning, in November of 1962.

Dedication Page – Neptune’s Nor’easter

This book is dedicated to the following;

CAPTAIN LOUIS DOUCETTE, JR.

My father, and the mate of the F/V Venus, during a vicious nor’easter storm, while fishing the Northern Edge of Georges Bank, on November 15th, 1962.
A New Bedford Fisherman for fifty years.

CAPTAIN LOUIS DOUCETTE, SR.

My grandfather, and the holder of the Carnegie Medal for Extraordinary Heroism, for his role in the rescue of the crew of the six-masted schooner, the Mertie B. Crowley, on the backside of Martha’s Vineyard, in a vicious nor’easter snow storm on January 23, 1910. His lessons allowed my father to have the skill to bring the F/V Venus home,
after being “Hove Down at Sea,” on Georges Bank.

AMABLE DOUCETTE

My great-grandfather, lost at sea while fishing on Georges Bank, in the year 1880.

CAPTAIN MAGNE RISDAL
AND THE CREW OF THE F/V MIDNIGHT SUN

They lost their lives (11 men total) battling the unexpected Nor’easter Gale of November 14th & 15th, 1962, on Georges Bank.

CAPTAIN JOSHUA “SPUD” MURPHY,
ENGINEER HERBERT DOUCETTE,
MY UNCLES,
AND THE CREW OF THE F/V DORIS GERTRUDE

They lost their lives (11 men total), in a nor’easter snow storm on
Georges Bank, in January of 1955.

JOHN PENDERGAST
MY SISTER’S FATHER-IN-LAW

Swept from the deck of the F/V Terra Nova, while fishing in heavy weather, on Georges Bank in November of 1966.

“THE FINEST KIND”

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!

Neptune’s Nor’easter – 1962

Neptune’s Nor’easter – November 14-16, 1962

Neptune’s Nor’easter, is the story of a severe storm which struck the Western North Atlantic, on November 14th and 15th, in 1962. This storm was unexpected, and the United States Weather Bureau did not forecast that it was coming. This unknown nor’easter generated 105-mph winds from a low pressure of 968-millibars, with seas reaching 60-feet in height. It reached out 1,000-miles from its’ center, and in 48-hours it caused the sinking of six ships and resulted in the death of thirty-six seamen. These losses include the fishing vessel Midnight Sun, a New Bedford scalloper, and her eleven-man crew.

Captain Louis Doucette, Jr., was aboard the fishing vessel Venus in this storm and was fishing on the Northern Edge of Georges Bank. Although he had weathered three named hurricanes at sea, including the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, and numerous nor’easters and other gales in his 50-year career, he always said this storm was the worst heavy weather event that he ever experienced, and it was the only time that he thought he would be lost at sea. During this storm, the F/V Venus, a 74-foot dragger, was “Hove Down” (capsized) in the most dangerous part of Georges Bank, the area between the Cultivator Shoal and Georges Shoal. This part of Georges Bank, 120-miles east of Cape Cod, has charted points that are nine-feet deep under normal conditions, and three-feet deep in storm conditions. The F/V Venus required ten-feet of water to float. The book begins and pivots around the recollections of Captain Doucette, but it also encompasses the stories of the other boats and ships that were caught unaware by this monster storm. The death toll could have easily exceeded 200-men and 21-ships, but for the skill and experience of the mariners involved, and the help of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. Today, this storm would be defined by meteorologists as an Extratropical Cyclone with Explosive Cyclogenesis, or in the newly popular definition, as a “Bombogenesis Storm.”

This book highlights the skill, courage, and tenacity of the men who are called;

New Bedford Fishermen.