Blog

ByRick Deutsch

An update on the Titanic: It’s going away molecule by molecule

It’s called rust…oxygen attaching to iron.  The wreck has been down over a hundred years now. The ship is about 12,000 feet below the surface, but that’s no protection from the “elements.” Fuzz called “rustsicles” now cover the ship.  Rust will slowly cause the ship to vaporize.

It’s been over 13 years since humans visited the gravesite. And that’s what it is….not a tourist attraction. It’s a cemetery. While it’s way, way too deep for people to actually swim on it, deep diving submersibles were pulling off material to display and make a buck. These subs tend to bump into the ship in the pitch blackness.  The photos we’ve seen of the ship were taken under intense lighting and are computer stitched together to present a continuous surface.

iceberg

REAL photo of the iceberg that the Titanic hit

Human remains don’t survive – not even bones. But glasses, shoes and other personal items lay on the bottom. Yes, the ship is disintegrating; and fast. Now we hear of a Euro company called Blue Marble Private. They announced they will be offering trips to the public down into the deep to see the ship. They hope to start in 2018 and will charge a blink over $100K.

 READ the back-story

Some researchers have directly blamed the use of submersibles for causing damage to the ship by bumping into the Titanic during dives and landing on unstable areas of the ship during expeditions.

Their promotion says that “Passengers may be able to view the ship’s main deck and grand staircase.” I don’t think so. The staircase was obliterated during the flooding and subsequent sinking and crash into the bottom.

For decades, the ship has been open season since it is in international waters. Visitation is now monitored by the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Since 2010, Titanic has been protected by UNESCO, stopping unscientific or unethical visits.

See the movie. It’s pretty accurate – except the romance.

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ByRick Deutsch

Photos of Antarctica – A place few of will see

Back in February, my wife and I had the trip of a lifetime. For free – by speaking on board a cruise ship.   We flew to Chili and got began the voyage. Then we sailed through the many inlets in Chili. The last stop there was Ushuaia. It is the kick-off for Antarctic Trips. We saw the Falklands and Buenos Aires before flying home. 23 days.

Normal cruise ships cannot get folks on the island any more, since many ships got stuck in the ice shelf. So we “only” got to within 1/4 mile of the Palmer Station….one of three American sites.  To get to walk around for two shots of 3o-minutes each, you need to pay big bucks and get on a real ice-breaker ship.

We passed Cape Horn, then two days south in “Drake’s Passage.” It is one of the worst seas to traverse. It took Magellan 88 days and he still didn’t make it westbound. Our seas were like a lake with NO rough water.

Learn more about cruise openings to South America.

We learned a lot about the early explorers…Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton. I’m preparing a talk on them to add to my collection of over 50.

Oh, I snagged this trip….why don’t you? We only had to pay airfare.  But you have to be accepted by an agency – we help. Make talks that are fun to older people who are retired and on vacation. Infotainment. We teach all this – no worries you will be “qualified.”

So, now with that background, here are the promised photos.

map

Typical routing to the south pole

photographers

Fellow passengers clicking away.

iceberg

The Titanic hit one this big.

Glacier

Glaciers slowly entering the sea

iceberg

Apartment building-sized Icebergs

 

ByRick Deutsch

New Panama Canal Locks open and operating

Over 100 years since it first opened (1914), the Panama Canal has been enlarged. There are now 2 new entrances to the long haul across the continent.  The route is 50 miles, but huge ships could not fit into the locks.

Although behind schedule, the new locks have opened and are taking larger ships. The very first passenger ship through was Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder. It went in a southbound direction from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Cruise ship

Ship passing through the Panama Canal

For years, container ships grew to the point that they could not fit the locks!  The Expanded Canal allows for vessels up to 1,200 feet long and so called Panamax ships can now fit in. It is wider than the old locks also. This means the gigantic Harmony of the Seas COULD fit the locks, but it sits too high to go under the new Bridge of the Americas. Good planning guys.

By October 1, it’s estimated that over 200 cruise ships will go through the new locks. The “OLD locks” are operating in parallel with the new ones. Once the entrance locks are navigated, the ships will sail the large Gatum Lake. To accommodate larger ships, the canal at the Culebra Cut was also enlarged.

Learn more about the Canal

Manual Noriega was held in a prison on the canal. He just died last week, ending a major era in Panamanian history. Panama has controlled and operated the Canal since President Carter turned it over to them. The US can still get navy ships thru it should a crisis arrive. Not all can fit – even with the new canal entrances.

Tune in regularly for more darn interesting stories about the cruise industry. And sail for free! We can show you how.

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