nautical art

Long-time Balboa Island resident Bill Stewart, 86, has been an avid collector of maritime collectibles for 50+ years, and has generously loaned a portion of his nautical library to the Museum. “My hobby for many years has been duplicating the arts of the ancient mariner, including a collection of ships in bottles – with my addition to them of fancy knotting on the bottle ends, scrimshaw etchings and sculpture on real sperm whale teeth, fancy knot work of various kinds, and children’s toys made from rope.” On Thursday, June 11, 2015, nearly 50 people gathered at the Museum to hear Bill talk about these amazing relics. Of particular interest was a rare telescope that he found on the M.V. Potomac, which was previously the presidential yacht and “Floating White House” of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the early 1960s, Bill learned of the pending sale of the Potomac, which was sunk in 12 feet of water in the careenage of Bridgetown, Barbados. Bill purchased the Potomac and after many months of continuous repairs, he was able to sail the ship home. It is now a museum in Oakland, CA (www.usspotomac.org). Wine and cheese was served and everyone thoroughly enjoyed listening to Bill’s tales. Browsing through these relics is like a voyage through maritime history and the Museum is the only location in our area to provide an up-close look at these nautical items.