It sounds funny, but I’ve never taken a cruise. Think about it; I’ve worked on ships for sixteen years and have never gone onboard as a paying passenger where my only responsibility was to do what you all like to do – relax, eat, rest, and enjoy! If I were to be so lucky I would love to take advantage of one of the special departures offered by cruise lines featuring everything from guest chefs to yoga and meditation. Most recently I have seen my friend Paulette Mitchell, author of several great quick and easy “meals in minutes” cookbooks (that pre-date Rachel Ray…) is hosting culinary classes at sea; my favorite magazine Yoga Journal advertises special workshops like Seane Corn’s “Off the Mat and Into the World” (www.yogajournal.com) which benefits non-profit organizations; and there are uplifting motivational classes and workshops like Esther and Jerry Hicks (www.abraham-hicks.com) “Lessons in the Laws of Attraction.” You can even support your favorite Public Radio station or television program with specialty cruises like, “Antique Road Show at Sea!” Many such cruises include exclusive dinners and cocktails. Not only do you get a chance to attend classes or activities that are of interest to you but your expert host is also there for you to get to know. Now that would be my idea of fun! For more information on themed cruises that are of interest to you contact your favorite group or organization – if they don’t already have something to offer, perhaps you can encourage them to get going! It’s a great way to get more out of your vacation at sea.
Archive for January, 2007
For those of you who are fascinated by the Panama Canal, it is now official that a third set of proposed locks have been approved by The Panama Canal Authority. When the Canal originally opened in 1914, it was believed that no ship would ever exceed the 110’ x 1000’ dimensions of the locks. Today fleets of super-ships are in service much larger than “Panamax” or the maximum size allowed through the Canal. To allow for their passage through this historic “short-cut”, a new set of locks would to be built measuring 150’ x 1500’. The approved “third locks” would parallel the existing locks. Additionally, the channel through Gatun Lake and the Galliard Cut would also have to be dredged and deepened. All at a whopping price tag of $20 billion dollars.
Critics say the cost, environmental damage and destruction of land belonging to indigenous people will prohibit the project from ever getting started. With elections now over in nearby Nicaragua, a more moderate Sandanista regime would like to see their country as the location of a competitive option – that of a super container ports linked by a transcontinental rail system. With an estimated cost of $24 billion dollars, huge ships could off-load and load thousands of piggy-back containers in record time making the Panama Canal more of a tourist attraction than the strategic commercial link it once was.
Originally uploaded by cruiserfriendly.com.
It’s your vacation – the break for which you have been saving for months. The cold of winter is well upon you and now is the time to enjoy that well deserved cruise. This year you’ve decided upon the Pacific Coast of Mexico as your destination for surf, sand and fun under the glorious Mexican sun, right?
Beware the Tehuantepeckers! No, this is not a joke with a raunchy twist; Tehuantepeckers have plagued unsuspecting sailors along Mexico’s coast for centuries!
During the winter high pressure in the Caribbean creates strong winds that race south to the Pacific through a lowland saddle in the Sierra Madre del Sur along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (pronounced Tey-WHAN-tey-peck). The wind can whip up in minutes and broad side ships with sustained winds of over 70 mph! It’s no wonder the tall ships carrying passengers from Panama to California cautioned green skippers about the dangers of the Tehuantepeckers!
I know all about Tehuantepeckers, having sailed through them many times including, yesterday!
At midday the Captain made his usual announcement pointing out that the sea had been so calm and clear during the morning officers on the bridge could see large sea turtles swimming at the surface. Within a few hours of that tranquil weather update under blue skies we sailed into a veritable wall of winds and waves that pummeled the ship relentlessly for hours subsiding quickly once we were in the shelter of the rising mountains. I verified on the ship’s chart that indeed we were due south of the infamous Gulf of Tehuantepec. No one believed me that such a thing existed until I asked the Captain to legitimize my claim in his next noonday announcement. Yes, ladies and gentleman feel honored you have experienced the legendary Mexican Tehuantepecker!