Today we spent an instructive afternoon in Falmouth’s maritime museum. Long a favourite with us, the museum is home to the quirky, odd and sometimes downright potty, things to do with seafaring matters.
Standing exhibitions take care of things like the pilchard fishing industry, shipping agents in Falmouth and Captain John Bull’s role in seeing off the dastardly Frenchies, but there’s always one big new exhibition every few months.
Currently, this is Monsters of the Deep, which assembles a wide collection of ancient and modern objects in its quest to tell the story of man’s developing understanding of the deep areas of the ocean.
This necessarily takes in creatures that definitely didn’t live there (mermaids), creatures that do live there (Gulper eels) and creatures that might live there.
The Victorian’s were the first to really try and get a good grip on the science with the Royal Navy’s 1872 Challenger expedition. This expedition set out to look systematically at a wide variety of issues connected with sea life and the oceans. Data about ocean temperatures, geology, depths, animal species and much more was collected from around the globe and the results of this ambitious scientific endeavour data became the foundation of modern oceanography.
A reasonable portion of the exhibition is given over to cryptozoology and the work of Bernard Heuvelmans. With 95% of the deep ocean areas unexplored, its anybody’s guess what’s down there, but whether Heuvelmans was working on the right lines or not time will tell.
Use(less)/ful fact of the day
Some squid varieties grow up to 20m long and have eyes that are 11 inches across.
Top tip of the day
Don’t poke about in the darker regions of the Mariana Trench.
Worth a look. You’re guaranteed to learn something (unless you just head to the cafe or the gift shop).