For the past several years Naval History has helped with your summer travel plans by featuring a historical travel package in the April issue. In doing so this year, however, we've focused a bit tighter on an event-the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. "Perry Triumphant" is written by one of the leading experts on the topic-David Curtis Skaggs, coauthor of a book on the key fight (A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812-1813) and biographer of the victorious commander (Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy).
The travel aspect of the package comes in two sidebar stories that feature related historic sites. Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial is in the town of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, near the location of the battle, and is accessible by boats and ferries. The Erie Maritime Museum, meanwhile, is in Erie, Pennsylvania, a short distance from where the ships that Commodore Perry commanded were built.
The 11-year-old musuem facility is much more than just a great place to learn about naval history; visitors can actually experience it by boarding a reconstruction of the brig Niagara, Perry's second flagship during the battle, and taking a day sail on Lake Erie. For those desiring a deeper immersion, the Niagara offers a course in square-rig seamanship.
Also in this issue, you can read about what promises to be an enticing tropical travel destination. In "A Find of Piratical Significance," frequent contributor Eric Mills details the 2007 discovery of the wreckage of Captain William Kidd's treasure ship, the Cara Merchant, off a Dominican Republic island-the only pirate shipwreck ever found in Caribbean waters. Plans call for the location to be opened to the public as a historic dive site, the Captain Kidd Preserve.
Eric also includes summaries of some of the other important shipwreck discoveries in recent years. As improvements in underwater-exploration equipment and techniques continue, the number of such finds is likely to rise. In fact, just before this issue went to press, Odyssey Marine Exploration announced its discovery of the British man-of-war Victory, which sank in the English Channel in 1744.
Over the past few years, Eric has developed a sideline reviewing DVDs for Naval History and our sister publication, Proceedings. His latest lively effort in that vein, "Avast! The Collector's Guide to Pirate Movie DVDs," complements his Captain Kidd article and is sure to entertain.
On a final note, I'd like to welcome historian Robert Hanyok ("The Pearl Harbor Warning that Never Was") to the pages of Naval History. I first became aware of his work while editing Navy Lieutenant Commander Pat Paterson's February 2008 article, "The Truth about Tonkin." Mr. Hanyok is the author of one of the commander's main sources, an in-depth National Security Agency study of radio traffic during the Gulf of Tonkin incidents.
Mr. Hanyok's Pearl Harbor article is based on an NSA study released in December 2008 that he cowrote with the late David Mowry: West Wind Clear: Cryptology and the Winds Message Controversy—A Documentary History. For those wanting to further explore this often-contentious topic, the entire text is available as a free pdf file on the NSA's Web site; to find it go to www.nsa.gov and search for "west wind clear." If you ask me, that's putting our tax dollars to good use.