• Vasco da Gama

    c. 1469 - 1524. Portuguese explorer who in 1497 led the first European expedition to sail directly from Europe to India, returning in 1499. He sailed twice more to India and was directly responsible for the Portuguese presence there.

  • Private elementary school taught by women generally in their home. Dame schools were open to girls in colonial times, while publicly supported grammar schools were only for boys.
  • Reference point from which other measurements are made. Charts will state the datum for their depth and height measurements as well as for their position information.
  • John Davis

    c.1550-1605. English navigator and explorer. In 1585, started his first expedition to search for a Northwest Passage around the top of North America to the Orient. On this and two subsequent voyages he explored both eastern and western Greenland, finally reaching Baffin Island to 73 degrees north. He explored south towards the Straits of Magellan and discovered the Falkland Islands in 1592. On his return, he wrote and published a practical book on navigation, The Seaman's Secrets, and published the invention of the backstaff called by seamen the Davis Quadrant. He then became a navigator for the British East India Company, and was killed by Japanese near Sumatra.

  • Navigating by applying courses and distances made through the water from the last known observed position. The term dead could be a form of "ded" from "deduced" reckoning.
  • A plank or board of softwood (pine or fir) from 2 to 4 inches thick, over 7 inches in width, and of various lengths over 6 feet. The standard size is 2 1/2 inches thick, 11 inches wide, and 12 feet long.
  • Any structure built on the deck of a vessel.
  • Term used in celestial navigation to indicate the angular distance of a celestial body north or south of the celestial equator, which is a projection of the earth's equator. It corresponds, therefore, to the geographical latitude of the body. Tables of declination for those bodies used by navigators in working out positions by celestial navigation are included in nautical almanacs.
  • Bottom-dwelling fish.
  • A large glass container for substances which could not be transported or preserved in wood. Demijohns were the storage vessel of choice for the wine and spirit merchants.
  • Political party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in 1802 to oppose the Federalists.
  • Maine Department of Marine Resources

    Maine's department which is in charge of marine resources and is charged with enforcing coastal fishing regulations.

    "The Maine Dept. of Marine Resources was established to conserve and develop marine and estuarine resources; to conduct and sponsor scientific research; to promote and develop the Maine coastal fishing industries; to advise and cooperate with local, state, and federal officials concerning activities in coastal waters; and to implement, administer, and enforce the laws and regulations necessary for these purposes."

  • A mechanical or electronic machine used to measure water depth.
  • J.F.W. DesBarres

    1721-1824. Swiss born cartographer. Moving to England around 1750, he trained as a military engineer at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. From 1757 until 1773, he was assigned to Canada, serving as aide and military engineer to various British generals About 1762 he was directed to survey Nova Scotia's harbors, a survey that extended down the Atlantic Coast and was published as the Atlantic Neptune. From 1773 to 1784, he was in England overseeing the publication. DesBarres served as the lieutenant governor of Cape Breton Island from 1784 to 1787, and laid out the original plan of the capital, Sydney. He was later governor of Prince Edward Island from 1804 to 1812.

  • One of the minor islands in the South Shetlands archipelago, Antarctica, situated at the entrance to Hero Bay, Livingston Island. The island was discovered in 1819 by Captain William Smith in the English merchant brig Williams during his second visit to the islands. It was frequented by early 19th century English and American sealers.

  • A small island in the Atlantic Ocean, lying 9 miles off the coast of French Guiana in South America. It was used as a French penal colony from 1852 to 1953.
  • A small group of lesser islands in the Drake Passage, about 60 miles southwest of Cape Horn. These islands contain the southernmost point of the South American continent.
  • An internal combustion engine developed by German Rudolph Diesel and patented in 1892, aimed at high efficiency. It compresses air and injects into the hot air diesel fuel which then combusts. A gasoline engine mixes air and gasoline prior to introducing it into a cylinder and uses a spark plug to fire it. It is significantly more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine.
  • Dingy
    A small boat carried by a larger one.
  • Net affixed to a handle which can be used to dip fish out of a trap.
  • discharged
    When referring to a vessel's cargo, discharge means to unload or empty the vessel.
  • Diddy box
    A small box in which a sailor keeps small tools and personal items. Similar in function to a ditty bag.
  • A instrument made of two legs fastened together with a pivot at one end. It is used for transferring distances from one spot to another. If it has a marker in one leg it can be used to draw circles and is called a compass.
  • Two half watches of two hours each into which the period from 4 pm to 8 pm is divided. The purpose of dividing this watch into two parts is to produce an uneven number of watches in 24 hours, 7 instead of 6. This ensures that watchkeepers in ships, whether organized into two or three watches, do not keep the same watches every day. These two watches are known as the First Dog and Last Dog.
  • An area of calm winds near the equator.
  • The apparent change in frequency and wavelength of a wave moving relative to the source of the waves. It can result from the motion of the observer or the motion of the source. These frequency changes can be measured and distances calculated.
  • A flat-bottomed open rowboat, characteristic of New England. The dory's planking runs fore and aft, the length of the boat, with high sides, a V-shaped raked or angled transom, and sharp, graceful sheer. There are many subtypes of dory; the type goes back to the 15th century. The term is used by some modern boat builders as a marketing tool to describe boats that have no resemblance to dories.
  • To go around. Doubling the Horn means to sail around Cape Horn. Some say it refers to the tendency of ships to be blown back and have to try to get around the Horn again.
  • peapod

    A double-ended rowing and sailing boat, pointed both bow and stern. Length averages 14 to 18 feet. Used by lobstermen, who typically rowed them standing up and facing forward. Boat is very stable allowing fishermen to stand to haul in traps. Also called a peapod, which is now its common name. Smaller ones in 13-14 foot range are built for recreation. It was developed around the Penobscot Bay in the late 19th century, possibly around North Haven or Vinalhaven or in the Owls Head area.

  • downeast; down-east
    Easternmost part of Maine, or Maine in general, is often referred to as Down East. It is so called because it lies down wind and to the East from Boston.
  • downeaster; down-easter
    Merchant sailing ship developed in Maine in the 19th century and designed for maximum carrying capacity with minimal crew size. Used to carry bulk cargoes such as wheat. Downeasters were developed after the development of the speedier but more expensive to operate and less capacious clipper.
  • dragger
    In fishing, towing a net called a trawl along the bottom. In New England a boat that drags such a net is called both a dragger and a trawler.
  • Woodworker's tool consisting of a blade with a handle at each end for use in shaving off surfaces. The drawknife is drawn or pulled towards the woodworker to make the cut.
  • In fishing, a cage made of bars and chain towed over the bottom to capture shell fish like oysters or mussels.
  • A long net buoyed up with floats and held down with weights or a weighted foot rope which hangs vertically in the water like a curtain, generally set near the surface of the ocean.
  • Hydropsy
    Dropsy is a contraction for hydropsy. Refers to edema, or swelling, caused by the presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in intercellular tissue spaces or body cavities such as the abdomen, brain, chest, or cardiac cavity. Also can refer to general fluid accumulation throughout the body.