Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Grandeur of the Seas

Royal Caribbean has announced that Grandeur of the Seas won't be stopping in Rockland this June. We owe this news to the North Atlantic right whale. In December NOAA announced speed restrictions in certain areas of the Atlantic, including a section of ocean off Cape Cod through which the GOTS would have to travel, to try to prevent ship strikes, a leading cause of right whale death. Apparently, slowing from 22 knots to 10 knots makes it impossible to keep the date with Rockland. It sounds a little fishy to me - I wonder if RC doesn't have enough bookings.

Some 2,500 disembarking passengers might have brought a lot of southern dollars to Rockland and Camden. It's a measure of how bad things are when my own sentiments, normally so firmly on the side of anything Natural, feel a moment of regret for this loss of income for the beloved Mid-Coast. But only a moment: something as magnificent as the right whale needs to be protected at almost any cost. There are only a few hundred left. According to some back of the envelope calculations, the entire weight of GOTS passengers and crew approximately equals the weight of only two right whales. Well, maybe three: these are cruise ship passengers, after all.

Rockland takes some comfort in that the visit of Jewel of the Seas, an even larger monstrosity (3.5 whales?) is still on for October, when the spring speed restrictions no longer apply. The only whales in danger will be those on yellow pants.

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