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Old 12-10-2018, 09:37   #1
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Swallow Tattoos?

I came across a reference in a newsletter about "earning your swallow" and looked it up. It seems sailors (British) used to get a swallow tattoo for every 5000nm they travelled or for other significant events like going around big capes.

Then a week later I was a Youtube vid where a Swiss sailor got a swallow tattooed as he was leaving the Canaries because he'd attained his 5000 nm mark. Is this a common tradition still or just a coincidence?
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:06   #2
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Tradition.

If you're not into the ink, patches are becoming popular.
https://www.59-north.com/hold-fast/

If this is a joke thread, I have got a lot of material for "earning your swallow" but NSFW stuff.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:07   #3
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Common. Most significant nautical tats have requirements for earning them.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:09   #4
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbk View Post
Common. Most significant nautical tats have requirements for earning them.
But do people (i.e. members of the forum and cruising community) actually get them?
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Old 12-10-2018, 11:22   #5
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

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But do people (i.e. members of the forum and cruising community) actually get them?
If they’re into it absolutely.
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:25   #6
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Not sure where I found this image. Hope you find it as interesting as I have.
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:28   #7
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
I came across a reference in a newsletter about "earning your swallow" and looked it up. It seems sailors (British) used to get a swallow tattoo for every 5000nm they travelled or for other significant events like going around big capes.

Then a week later I was a Youtube vid where a Swiss sailor got a swallow tattooed as he was leaving the Canaries because he'd attained his 5000 nm mark. Is this a common tradition still or just a coincidence?
It's in Wikipedia, it MUST be true.... (NOT!)
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:34   #8
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

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It's in Wikipedia, it MUST be true.... (NOT!)
Showed up in a lot more places in Wikipedia...this ain't my first rodeo :-) Actually what compelled me to ask is that it is referenced in a lot of history sites as well as a ton of tattoo oriented sites but it didn't seem to come up (other than the two things I mentioned) in anything relating to cruising.
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Old 12-10-2018, 13:21   #9
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Well....

The year we crossed the Pacific, a couple of cruisers got Marquesan tattoos. None of the designs on the chart, though, they are geometric designs, not pictures of things. One woman got a one line sort of Picasso-esque cat on her upper thigh, quite a nice tattoo, actually, if you're into tattoos.

It seems likely to me that some cruisers are still getting tattoos as mementos of places, but if you can't bear the idea of being all wrinkly and saggy in a hospital at 80+ yrs. of age, maybe you want to avoid adding tattoos to the lot.

Ann
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Old 12-10-2018, 14:29   #10
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

My Wife worked in the VA hospital in temple Tx. When she was in nursing school.
Neither one of us will ever consider a tattoo, her especially after seeing the old WWII vets with them, they don’t age well, at all.
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Old 13-10-2018, 04:31   #11
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, ktobin.
Great first post!
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Old 13-10-2018, 05:08   #12
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Re: Swallow Tattoos?

https://sailorjerry.com/en/tattoos/
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