"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Friday, March 26, 2010

How I Survived the Titanic

Now that I have your attention, I need to file a Reconciliation memo. You know what that means, right? Reconciliation? It means I’m going to tell you what I really meant to say, just in case you think I didn’t get it right the first time because I was in such a hurry to ram this post through the House.... uh, Google that I didn’t take the time to edit and proofread and all those other things I should have done to do to get it right the first time.

But enough of politics.

So, just to make sure, you do know what reconciliation means, right? Right? You do, don’t you? Really? Say you do or I’ll tickle you until you cry “uncle.” Oops. Politics again. Sorry.

Anyway, here’s the Reconciliation memo:

1. My ship wasn’t really named the RMS Titanic; it was named the Rhapsody of the Seas.

2. It wasn’t owned by the White Star Line; it was owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

3. It didn’t sail in April; it sailed in May.

4. It wasn’t crossing the Atlantic; it was sailing the Inside Passage in southeastern Alaska.

5. It wasn’t the largest passenger ship in the world as the Titanic was then, but here are a few comparisons:

Titanic: length: 883 ft; beam: 92 feet; gross tonnage: 46,328; cruising speed: 23 knots; passengers—2223 (3547 maximum capacity)

Rhapsody: length: 915 feet; beam: 105.6 feet; gross tonnage:78,491; cruising speed:22 knots; passenger capacity—2435

5. It didn’t strike an iceberg, but it was sailing right toward the Mother of Icebergs. You think not? Take a look:

The Rhapsody was the biggest ship I’d ever been on, other than the time I wandered around the anchored Queen Mary in Long Beach. It felt like a floating city, and it isn’t even the largest of the cruise ships floating around tourists hot spots these days.

Nonetheless, when I woke up one morning, pulled the drape aside, and saw a rock wall right outside my window, I jumped from bed, as opposed to my usual lollygagging around and usual falling back asleep. I showered in a hurry, dressed, grabbed my cameras (plural), and headed for the top deck. Thank goodness for elevators, because I think the top level was nine decks up.

There was a rock wall on the other side, too. (Don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge them to full screen.

In fact, there were rock walls all around.

I retreated to the buffet restaurant for breakfast. It also had the advantage of being at the bow of the ship, which gave me a terrific view of the narrow, twisting, glacier-carved fjord called Tracy Arm. This massive ship, almost a thousand feet long and over a hundred feet wide, was slithering through the twists and turns easier than threading a needle.

Eventually I went out on deck, and saw our first Titanic moment. Remember that only about a third of an iceberg is above waterline.

Oh, shoot. Let’s just skip the narrative and get right to the photos. This trip was in early May and the lake in front of the twin Sawyer Glaciers at the head of the fjord hadn’t melted yet, so we were able to get only close enough to the see them.

Then, someone spotted a black bear on the mountain. That little black speck is a bear.

This next series of photos shows how far the ship was able to get. It snuggled up between the 3000 foot granite walls and that little rock island and began to turn. I thought it was to give us a better view of the glaciers, but the ship was turning around on the spot! I mean, using bow and stern, and side thrusters, the ship was turning on a dime. A thousand feet long, a hundred feet wide, and it turned around in place. Amazing!

Notice the ice preventing us from getting closer. At this point, the face of the glacier is probably three to five miles distant.

And, a couple more just for fun. Notice the people in the pool and hot tub.

In case you were wondering, I was on deck on in short sleeves and jeans. No hat, no gloves, just two cameras. C'mon. The sun was shining. It was May. Summer in Alaska.

1 comment:

  1. How cool! And I'm not referring only to the iceberg.

    Me too, me too. I want to be on that ship right now.

    You're a sweetheart for sharing these awesome photos. I'll be grabbing Lon so he can drool over them too.