We used a sampan to make our way from the bridge at Dong Ha in Quang Tri, the northernmost province of what used to be South Vietnam, to Cua Viet, the spot where the U.S. Navy kept its PBRs and other watercraft back in the day. Of necessity, of course, we had to travel some water that I hadn’t traveled for 40-some years.
Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 29, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Retracing the steps you took, or rather the waters you swooped across, during a combat tour that enlivened your youth need not be a totally grim endeavor. In fact, there are aspects of it, I am finding out, that can actually be fun. For example, a couple of days ago on the Song Thu Bon, the Vietnamese skipper of our little single-diesel-powered double-ender (sort of a sampan, I’d say, with a roof and benches) let me drive for a while and I had a superb time doing it.
Back in 1969, I served as an infantryman—a combat medic—in Vietnam. My unit operated in what was then called I Corps, just south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), a stretch of no-man’s land between the northern and southern parts of a country torn apart by a horrible war. A few weeks into my stint with Charlie Company, First Platoon, a cool thing happened—the brass decided we needed a little R&R and sent us all to a spot at the mouth of the Cua Viet River, just a bit south of the DMZ. Cua Viet was home to a Navy base, with a beach, a mess hall—with food that beat the livin’ daylights out of the C-rations we were regularly feasting upon—and movies on most evenings in a sort of outdoor theater.
Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 26, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 22, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Hatteras Yachts has announced two versions of a 45-foot Express yacht that will debut at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.
Written by Ben Ellison on Aug 19, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
I’m a photographer. As in, one who takes photographs (notice I didn’t say “I’m a good photographer”). In fact it’s been a boon to my memory, this smartphone-camera revolution. Think about it, today it costs you nothing to snap a picture and have it on hand wherever you go.
I don’t think it’s an overestimation to say that 99 percent of the photos taken in the world today never see any physical form, and only exist in cyberspace, to be viewed through screens of various sizes on smartphones, tablets, or computer monitors, if at all. Even in the business of putting out a magazine, we print a lot of photos in ink on paper, but we post many more on the Web site and in our iPad edition. And if I could show you the hundreds of outtakes from our photoshoots with minute shifts of angle and F-stop and so on, you’d get an even larger sense of the boats we cover and the days we and our photographers spend on them (if you had lots and lots of time). But back to the snapshot idea as an aid to memory.