Oceans of time

I’m a big fan of unrelated bits of knowledge that clog up your brain function and sidetrack you from basic daily tasks.  That’s why I was highly excited when I heard about some of the ocean-related new features in Google Earth 5.  I can follow the migrational paths of sharks?  Excellent.  I can examine coral reefs in the Red Sea?  Awesome.  I didn’t even know they HAD coral over there.

Very highly excited, I downloaded the new version and set about trying to figure out how to key into that whole shark-tracking thing.  Usually I am a somewhat tech-savvy person, a bit of a nerd but not so much so that I can’t talk other than in geek speak.  However, the search function on this program gave me no help finding the sharkies and made me feel consistently dumb.  I mean, how does shark migration get linked to data on shark attacks?  I mean, I know the shark has to be in the area ot bite, but still – one is delightful knowledge, the other is potentially painful.  As Seth Rosenblatt mentioned “For Google to fail so hard with its search algorithms is like Ford failing to stay on top of developing car tech.”  Eventually I just scrolled around coastlines looking for something good, and eventually came across a shark icon, which gave me this.  Hurrah!


I especially enjoyed the little ocean floor ‘swim with me’ video that allows you to view at least some of what teh shark would’ve seen while swimming.

Finally, I have yet to explore the Mars maps, but they look interesting, as does all the good ol’ night sky stuff.  I look forward to spending future days pondering the available information, really delving in, and hopefully eventually being mroe able to instantly find what I want.


In my description yesterday of all the things that can and will go wrong on a cruise, I forgot to mention the nefarious human element.  No, not the lawyers – the scurvy dogs of the sea, not land.   I’m talking, of course, about real, live, modern day pirates.  In case some of you may be doubting the ability of such social misfits to disrupt an entire giant cruise ship,  let’s all remember back to that classic movie, Under Siege.  And that was a navy ship, not a bunch of landlubbery cruisers.

just in case my movie example still didn’t convince you, here’s an article that should.  That’s right, somewhere off the coast of Somalia, a ship (name undisclosed) was captured by unknown pirates.  The number of guests and crew members – if there were any – remains undisclosed.   And, though we know the boat is French, the names of the owners remain undisclosed.

While I’m a big fan of the romanticization of piracy, the lure of the ocean, and ratty locks of hair, these nameless and faceless pirates are probably not the kind of people I’d want bursting into my stateroom in the early hours of the morning.  And you would think something as big as a cruise ship would be able to repel a small party of boarders.  However, as a luxury boat, such huge ships are unlikely to be outfitted with weapons (does anyone know if cruise ships have small arms lockers and such?), which may make them more vulnerable.  Again, not my idea of a fun time.

Finally, the article also announced that global pirate attacks rose 10% in 2007 while the preceding three years there had been no rise.  What does this mean? Did pirate attack numbers stay stable, or fall?  Is this a growing trend?   Are we going to need to go back to the days of privateering in order to keep at least some waters safe for travel?  Are pirates teh real cause for boat-shipped packages arriving after more than three months in China, or the international delay of cheese exportation to that country?  I await the facts.

Around the World…almost

When my parents had their 25th wedding anniversary, my sisters and I wanted to do something special for them.  We thought about throwing a big party, or sending them off to travel someplace, but what we really wanted to do was send them on a cruise.  We had difficulties with fundraising and organization, so it never ended up happening, but the idea still lingers in my mind.  I think to myself, ‘maybe for their fiftieth’.

I’m not sure what it is about a cruise that still catches my attention.  Perhaps its the allure of old money, of travel undertaken in a slow and stately manner, the call of the ocean and  the mere idea of ‘ports of call’.  Perhaps it is the food or the entertainment or the style of the whole huge ship.  But somehow, there is still an attraction that outweighs the inevitable problems of cruise ships.

And there are always problems.  There’s food poisoning and seasickness, mechanical problems and staff shifts.  There’s possible seasickness, there’s the lack of real interaction with the ocean itself.   There’s the limited amount of time spent in those touristy regions in various ports-of-call, and be sure to be back aboard on time, cause we WILL leave without you.  And hey, even if you manage to get all the way around the world on your around-the-world cruise just to be stopped at one of the last ports of call, like these poor suckers.  I mean, you could make your own way back home, catch a flight or something while the various owners and cruise lines work out their legal troubles.  But who really ever wants to leave the Madeira islands?

I’ve decided instead to travel around Africa in a sailboat, after I save up the money to buy one and learn how to sail.  If you’re interested in joining me, please send a check.