Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Flying in to Fourchon

Flying in to Fourchon

I took this from the helicopter on the way in from the Ensco 8501 last hitch. We had just crossed the shoreline on the way in to Fourchon. This was a nice shot of the marshland that goes on for miles. The colors were just gorgeous. My photo doesn’t really do it justice, it’s really hard to get good photos from a helicopter with a point and shoot camera. 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Chicago skyline in the evening

Chicago skyline in the evening

I took this from the observation deck of the Hancock Tower in Chicago. I was there for the AWAI Workshop last year.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Horizon from the beach

Horizon from the beach

I took this on the beach while I was at the International Living conference at the Mayakoba resort near Playa del Carmen Mexico.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

the sun sets over the clouds

the sun sets over the clouds

I took this on the plane while flying home from the travel writing/blogging/photography workshop in Boston. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this blogging stuff since then. 😉

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy | Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian Magazine.

I thought this was pretty good, despite the reservations I have from only seeing this article. It’s an interview with author Rose George about her latest book: Ninety Percent of Everything. She somehow arranged to spend some time sailing around on the container ship Maersk Kendal. I’m going to have to find a copy of this book to read. 🙂

a container ship underway

a container ship underway

She makes a lot of good points. That people who aren’t personally involved with shipping are totally unaware of the industry. That those of us living in ‘first world’ countries don’t know any seafarers personally any more. That the ports have been moved so far away from the cities that most people don’t have any awareness of them anymore. That people on the beach have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be a seafarer.

I do think she got a lot of that correct. She sees how isolating it is out here now. She mentions the lack of communication and that the ships don’t provide internet or phone access to their crews (because of the expense). I do agree that it is an expense. I do not agree that it is an ‘extra’ expense. I don’t think it’s very much to pay a couple of thousand dollars a month when that would be something like 1% of expenses on most ships (if that). Isn’t it worth that for such a HUGE increase in crew morale?

a tank ship underway

a tank ship underway

I don’t really know if she’s right in her assessment of how much or how little sailors have a ‘sense of romanticism’. She mentions that she thinks the captain has more of it then he lets on, that he still secretly loves the sea.

She seems to think that most sailors are only out here for the money. I might agree that most sailors from the poorer parts of the world go to sea for the money. They probably went to sea because it paid better than anything they could find at home.

I would agree that the great majority of seafarers are not in a great position at sea. Some of the conditions sailors work under are just horrible. A lot of shipowners do flag foreign just so they can cut expenses.

They all say that the cost of the crew is their largest expense so they cut it any way they can. They cut the crew size, they lengthen the hitch (2 YEARS or more), they skimp on groceries, they skimp on medical care, they refuse to pay for visas so the crew can’t leave the ship in port, etc.

That’s not even to start on the issue of crew abandonment. Rose George seems to think the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will help. I’ve seen in the news there have already been 3 ships detained, but I have serious doubts it will actually help the crews.

In spite of conditions like that, I believe most seafarers do still enjoy sailing (at least sometimes). 😉

romanticism of life at sea

romanticism of life at sea

I know I still do. Most of the time. 😉

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Another good one from the Smithsonian this morning. I always thought those old charts were so cool. I really loved the drawings.

Those people really had some great imaginations! 🙂

Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From?

Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From?Smithsonian

I always figured this whole thing of the poisoned candy was some sort of old wives tale. I read this article thinking ‘here’s one more example of how we’ve been scared to death over nothing.’ I was right.

I do remember some scare stories about poisoned Tylenol and bad apples. I seem to remember a pretty big media frenzy over both of those things. I do have to admit that I can’t remember anything specific about poisoned candy or razor blades in apples.

Did all this fear really come about from Dear Abby? WOW! How have we come to let the media manipulate us all like this? I feel sorry for the kids now a days that can’t even enjoy a good time on this holiday without somebody bringing this stuff up. Let them enjoy their treats in peace please.

Reading to the end of the article really makes me wonder about people, WTF are they thinking??? (trying not to give away the story- read it- it’ll get you going!)

Thought For the Day

root of all evil

root of all evil