I have always been fascinated by the sea. Its power, its majesty, its simple dominance of all this planet’s puny dwellers. I sailed the oceans for seven-eight years when a young man, when the British Merchant Navy was still a major presence upon the trade routes of the world; where you could confidently expect to locate the British ‘Red Duster’ hanging from the rear flagstaff of merchant vessels in virtually every major port the world over. But, time passes, and so does trade; but the vastness of the seas remains, and it is only those who have lived and worked on the sealanes of this world know the true power of the element on which we sailed.
I would give two examples of man’s ingenuity when it comes to taming the power and problems which face anyone who goes to sea today, and, espercially in the second instance, a true measure of how insignificant Man himself really is when it comes to attempting even to tame the mighty oceans.
Remember the lunacy which resulted in the near-sinking of the Costa Concordia, brought on solely by the stupidity and arrogance of one man, her Captain? The dead have been buried, and the captain brought before a court. That vessel has now been righted, and floats northwards at a majestic 2 n.m.p.h towards her final destination, the dock where she was built; and of course where she will be slowly and safely torn apart and demolished. But the ingenuity, the engineering and the persistence of the salvage crews needs a salute, and this is mine:-
But away from disaster, and towards new beginnings, I profess that one of the projects which has always been high on my list of things to watch is the huge project to upgrade both Northern and Southern approaches to the Panama Canal. In Engineering terms, it is up there alongside such gargantuan projects as the Three Gorges Dam in China. The first photo shown is one taken as one of the new rolling gates approaches the ramp which leads towards the newly-excavated lock, and a view of the workmen gives some idea of how big the parts of this project really are.
The second is a panoramic view of the new locks as they in time will be, complete with the storage areas which will accept the water displaced or available, when the vessels enter or exit the Canal.