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Category Archives: High Seas

Chocolate-themed cruise to become Willy Wonka factory on the high seas – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:33 pm

A chocolate-themed cruise is set to lift anchor next spring that will sail with master chocolatiers and, quite literally, a boat-load of chocolate.

You could call it a dream trip for chocoholics: for eight days, the Costa Pacifica cruise liner will be transformed into a floating Willy Wonka chocolate factory, with tastings,workshops, tours and chocolate sculpting demonstrations planned throughout the trip.

The cruise departs from the coastal Italian town of Civitavecchia and sails to Genoa, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malta and Catania in Sicily. The program is organized in partnership with Eurochocolate, an annual chocolate festival that takes place in Perugia, Italy.

Read also: Most popular cruise destination of 2019 is historic French town

Also on the itinerary is a shore excursion to the Chocolate Museum of Barcelona, which traces the history of chocolate and features a model of the city's famous Parc Guell, in chocolate form.

The Eurochocolate Cruise departs April 16.

Princess Cruises also developed a "Chocolate Journeys" program with chocolatier Norman Love, whose chocolate confections and desserts are served in select main dining rooms across the fleet. The program also includes chocolate and wine pairing tastings and chocolate spa treatments.

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Dutch foundation launches project to tackle river plastic pollution – Reuters

Posted: at 3:33 pm

Rotterdam (Reuters) - A Dutch foundation devoted to fighting plastic pollution in the worlds oceans on Saturday unveiled a new device designed to stop it from reaching the sea in the first place: by collecting and cleaning plastic waste from major rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-governmental organization best known for its attempts to collect and clean plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, said it has been testing a system based on similar principles a floating barrier to collect plastic passively for use in rivers.

To solve the plastic pollution problem we need to do two things: we need to clean up whats already in the oceans, for that we of course have the Ocean Cleanup System, founder Boyan Slat, 25, told Reuters.

Now we also hope to tackle the other side of the equation: preventing more plastic from reaching the ocean in the first place.

The foundations ocean system uses a large floating boom to collect rubbish. After initial setbacks and adjustments to the system, Ocean Cleanup reported earlier this month that it managed to pick up plastic from the high seas for the first time.

The river version, called the Interceptor, consists of a vessel that is anchored to a riverbed while floating arms which leave space for animals and river traffic to pass, organizers say divert waste into its collection system.

The system has already been tested on rivers in Jakarta, Indonesia and in Klang, Malaysia, the organization said on Saturday. Two more are planned for Can Tho in Vietnams Mekong Delta, and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Ocean Cleanup said that is still testing the river system and will not give out numbers on plastics collected until a rollout phase has been completed.

According to the group each device is capable of extracting thousands of kilograms (pounds) of detritus per day.

Slat said that 1% of rivers are responsible for 80% of the pollution in the worlds seas. That makes finding a solution to the problem of plastic pollution emanating from rivers quite achievable, Slat said.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by James Drummond

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The Below Deck Crew Will Spill All the High-Seas Secrets in the Season 7 After Show – Bravo

Posted: at 3:33 pm

If you thought this season of Below Deck was wild, just wait until you hear the whole story.

The Season 7 yachties are ready to reveal everything you didn't see on TV in the return of the Below Deck After Show coming soon to BravoTV.com and YouTube. Get ready to have all your burning questions about Season 7 of Below Deck answered, from behind-the-scenes intel to crucial updates on what happened with the crew after the charter season ended.

In last season's After Show, we saw anemotional side toCaptain Lee Rosbach as he reflected on Ashton Pienaar's overboard accident, got the dirt on all the hookups, and heard Kate Chastain's take on charter guest Krystal's unforgettable appearance on the show, just to name a few highlights. Revisit it all, above.

Catch up on this season of Below Deck here.

And you can relive the magic of the Season 6Below Deck After Show,below.

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The Below Deck Crew Will Spill All the High-Seas Secrets in the Season 7 After Show - Bravo

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New charges announced in conspiracy to bring massive amounts of cocaine into US, central Ohio – 10TV

Posted: at 3:33 pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio Federal authorities in Columbus Friday announced charges in what they call a conspiracy to transport massive amounts of cocaine from South America to the U.S.

Coast Guard video showed alleged drug pirates throwing bales of cocaine overboard as authorities move in.

That 2017 bust near the Galapagos Islands led to the arrests of four men, and intercepted $25 million worth of cocaine bound for the United States, and central Ohio.

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"In 2017, I stood right here to announce our prosecution of four pirates caught on the high seas. What I could not say at that time, was that those pirates were couriers for this organization," said U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman Friday, announcing another arrest from the same drug operation.

"We are here to announce the extradition from Panama of Francisco Golon-Valenzuela, a Guatemalan national also known as El Toro."

Golon-Valenzuela is charged with conspiracy to import massive amounts of cocaine into the United States.

"This was an enormous and sophisticated operation," Glassman said. "The Mexican cartels need suppliers. There is no cocaine grown in Mexico it's grown in Colombia. So the allegation is that this organization, of which Mr. Golon-Valenzuela is a co-conspirator, was the supplier. It then goes to the cartels in Mexico, which distribute throughout the United States. Some of that is distributed here in Ohio."

The arrests are the result of a multi-year, international investigation between federal prosecutors, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"Our message is quite simple," said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mauricio Jimenez. "If you distribute drugs and destroy communities in Ohio, we will find you and bring you before justice."

Prosecutors say so far, seven people have been indicted from this drug operation.

Those indictments remain sealed until those suspects are taken into custody.

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China is Key to Closing Ports to Illegally Caught Fish – The Maritime Executive

Posted: at 3:33 pm

Joint USCG-China Coast Guard boarding team inspects the Chinese fishing vessel Run Da for illegal driftnet use on the high seas, 2018 (USCG)

By China Dialogue Ocean 2019-10-25 13:59:28

[By Todd Woody]

The United Nations has a straightforward solution to theillegal fishingthat is decimating marine life and pushing some species toward extinction: close the worlds ports to vessels engaged in the US$23 billion black market.

Deprived of safe harbours to offload their illicit cargo, the economic incentive to plunder the seas would begin to evaporate. Thats the idea behind the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), whichcame into effectin June 2016 and requires participating nations to restrict entry of foreign fishing vessels to designated ports.

What is the Port State Measures Agreement?

A UN treaty requiring countries to close their ports to illegal fishing vessels, and to share real-time information to make that possible.

Before allowing them to dock, countries must verify where the ship is registered, conduct inspections and take other actions to ensure they are not transporting illegally caught fish. That information is to be shared in real time among port states, casting an electronic net over pirate ships.

But for this remedy to this tragedy of the aquatic commons to be effective, all coastal countries must join the PSMA and enforce its provisions. Otherwise, rogue vessels would likely still be able to find ports of call to get illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) seafood to market. To date,61 nations plus the European Unionhave ratified the PSMA. That leaves 78 coastal nations not signed up, including the worlds fishing superpower China.

China deploys the worlds biggest fishing fleet and catches the most fish. It also operates 14 of the 15 busiest ports, according to astudyranking the risk of illegally caught fish passing through the biggest ports.

Obviously, China is an important player, saysDawn Borg Costanzi, an officer with thePew international fisheries programmein the United Kingdom. Neighbouring countries have already signed up to the PSMA so we need to close off the remaining gap as its important that they cannot look to China as a lax port they can enter with their IUU-caught fish.

She noted that Chinas participation is crucial for another reason.

The PSMA, which is administered by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),mandatesthat countries require vessels that fly their flag to submit to port inspections. If a port state denies a ship entry because of suspected illegal fishing, it must notify the flag state the country where the vessel is registered. If the flag state is a party to the PSMA, that country then has the duty to investigate the vessel and, if it finds evidence of illicit fishing, take action to penalise the ship, such as by levying fines or revoking its registration.

The flag state must then report the result of that investigation and the actions it has taken to the FAO, relevant port states and regional fisheries management organisations.

With nearly 3,000 vessels, Chinas overseas fleet is the worlds largest. So having China even as a flag state is important for things like information exchange and inspection of Chinese vessels in other ports subject to the Port State Measure Agreement, says Borg Costanzi.

The port study, which was conducted with financial support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, ranked China as among the countries most at risk of illegal fishing vessels passing through its ports. Thats both due to the volume of foreign-flagged ships and a lack of internal controls designed to detect illegal fishing.

Surely it will be helpful for combating IUU fishing worldwide if China joins and implements the PSMA, saysTang Yi, dean of the College of Marine Culture and Law at Shanghai Ocean University.

He says he expects China to ratify the PSMA no later than 2020.

I actually know that the Fisheries Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which is the central government agency in charge of fisheries in China, is trying its best to promote Chinas accession to the agreement, he wrote in an email from New York City, where he was attending the UN negotiations todraft a treatyto protect the biodiversity of the high seas.

Before China is ready to join the PSMA, the coordination mechanism between the fisheries agency and the maritime agency and the custom sector must be established, he adds. The possible ports [that] could be designated for the entrance of the vessels not entitled to fly Chinas flag are managed by the maritime agency.

Coordination between the various agencies within countries with jurisdiction over fishing is one obstacle to the implementation of the PSMA. Another is the creation of an electronic information mechanism to share port inspection data in real time to prevent ships denied entry in one country from going port shopping in others.

So far its still a challenge for port states to get in contact with some of the flag states to validate the information the vessels are providing, notes Borg Costanzi. When a port state finds something amiss, its not easy for other port states to know if the vessel shows up in their ports.

A prototype of an online information-sharing system is set to be unveiled in May 2020.

Developing countries particularly small island states face financial challenges in implementing the PSMA, though the agreement does provide for the provision of resources to help those nations develop inspection and data systems.

According to the FAO, 40 countries are receiving assistance and US$15.5 million has been allocated to 10 current projects to build the capacity of developing nations to carry out the PSMA.

Awhite paperissued in May byStanford Universitys Centre for Ocean Solutionsand the World Economic Forum concluded that: Transitioning historically secretive and paper-based systems to ones that support near real-time data sharing is central to the PSMAs effectiveness.

So far, the pace of that transition is slowing the rollout of the PSMA, according to lead authorAnnie Brett.Despite the PSMAs increasing number of ratifications, there remain significant questions about how the agreements mandates to collect fisheries data and facilitate data sharing between countries can be carried out she wrote in the paper.

Brett notes that some of the regional fisheries management organisations have already implemented electronic information systems that could serve as a model for the PSMA. TheIndian Ocean Tuna Commission, for instance, operates a technology platform that allows its 32 member states to share data in real time.

Given the ongoing implementation of the PMSA, experts say its difficult to assess the agreements impact on illegal fishing to date. But when the Pew-funded researchers analysed 14 ports two from each of the FAOs seven geographical regions they found that only three countries had legally identified ports for the entry of overseas fishing vessels.

Records of previous vessel visits could be found at only four ports. Ten ports, however, have put into effect the PMSA requirement that foreign fishing vessels provide advance notification before entering a harbour and only do so after receiving authorisation.

Jose Graziano da Silva, who recently stepped down as director-general of the FAO, has noted the rapid adoption of the PSMA, with 100 countries so far pledging to join the accord.

The PSMA is only as strong as the number of ports it closes to IUU fishing; these numbers are crucial, he said in a statement earlier this year. When you consider that the parties to the PSMA comprise over 50% of total coastal states globally, this is a remarkable achievement in such a short time.

Todd Woody is a California-based environmental journalist who specialises in ocean issues.

This article appears courtesy of China Dialogue Ocean, and it may be found in its original form here.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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Let’s Send the U.S. Navy’s ‘Stealthy’ Destroyer Back in Time to Fight a World War II Battle – The National Interest Online

Posted: at 3:33 pm

If the U.S. Navy had to refight the Battle of Leyte Gulf in contemporary timesclashing arms with a new Asian contender along Asias first island chainhow would it use its latest surface combatant ships to advance the cause?

To send the antagonists surface fleet to the bottom of the sea, one hopes. Back then the U.S. Third Fleet leadership got hoodwinked into chasing Japanese aircraft carriers with mostly empty flight decks around the open ocean. In their haste commanders neglected to bar a key passage through the Philippine archipelago, the San Bernardino Strait, to Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) battleships and cruisers. They didnt even keep watch.

And courted disaster. Amphibious forces on the island of Leyte and their naval protectors offshore would have paid a fearful price for the leaderships neglect but for the heroics of navy aircrews and tin-can sailors. Destroyers and destroyer escorts stormed the mammoth superbattleship Yamato and its consorts when they hove over the horizon on the morning of October 25, 1944. Meanwhile warplanes swooped overhead, pelting Japanese ships with bombs, torpedoes, and machine-gun fire. The defenders ferocity induced the ultracautious IJN commander, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita, to beat a retreat from Leyte Gulf in the face of vastly outgunned American forces. In other words, aviators and small-ship crews salvaged a predicament in which the amphibious host never should have found itself.

Lesson of Leyte: keep your eyesand your firepowertrained on the straits. Thats where the foe will try to burst through the island chain. Thats where the foe has to be stopped to keep the chain intact.

Enter USS Zumwalt, the U.S. Navys otherworldly-looking new guided-missile destroyer. U.S. maritime strategy vis--vis Communist China, todays successor to imperial Japan, seemingly aims to bottle up Chinas Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and merchant fleet within the first island chain, levying economic and military pressure on the leadership in Beijing. Built to deposit gunfire on hostile coasts in support of marines ashore, the DDG-1000 spent some years in the wilderness, looking for a mission. Thats because navy leaders pronounced its gun ammunition unaffordable after it exceeded $800,000 per (very modest-caliber) round. So much for supplying naval gunfire support in large volumes.

Yet Zumwalt packs a punch for surface warfare even with its main guns laid up, as they are now. The vessel boasts eighty Mk 57 vertical launch cellsin effect silos embedded in the hullarrayed along the periphery of its main deck. The leadership redesignated the destroyers chief mission as surface strike a couple of years ago. In simpler language, the DDG-1000 is now a shipkiller, a capital ship in the classic mode. It is destined to fight capital ships, much as armored dreadnoughts or sail-driven ships of the line pummeled rival battle lines for oceanic supremacy in ages past. In parlance beloved of oldtimers, Zumwalt will duel enemy surface fleets for command of the sea rather than concentrate on exploiting maritime command after the U.S. Navy has won it.

This is fitting. Never assume what the verdict of arms will be when the foe is entitled to cast a vote. After all, there is no landing troops or answering calls for fire unless offshore waters have been cleared of hostile shipping. Such missions are among the fruits of battle, not substitutes for it. And battles first have to be won. Only after seaborne dangers are at bay will the Zumwalt crew turn gimlet eyes ashore.

This shift in primary functions, then, rebalances the fundamental premises governing the DDG-1000 class from shore bombardment to high-seas action. How, more specifically, will the vessel deploy for island-chain contingenciesfor future Leytes? The basic concept underlying island-chain defense is that light, numerous forces will scatter along the first island chain, bearing the brunt of closing the straits to maritime movement. Small bodies of marines and soldiers armed with anti-ship and anti-air missiles will menace hostile ships and aircraft. Minefields, submarines, surface patrol craft, and aircraft will prowl in and above the straits, adding more obstacles to the barricade.

This adds up to a formidable deterrent. But it is a form of perimeter defense. The strategic canon teaches that a force defending a long, distended line takes on a challenge of unforeseen proportions. It demands that the perimeters guardians spread themselves thin. Trying to be strong at every point along a lineand recall that mathematicians define a line as infinitely many points strung togetherstrains the brawniest force. Even an outmatched opponent could mass its forces at some point along the line, overpower beleaguered sentries, and punch through to freedom.

Thats why martial sage Carl von Clausewitz seems to despair of this form of defense, which he terms cordon-warfare. This ruinous military method, he says, is worthless without powerful fire to support it. Clausewitz does hedge, however. His criticism appears to stem from the shortcomings of military technology. The effective firing range of gunnery remained short in his day, the era of the Napoleonic Wars. It covered little territory. He nonetheless suggests that gunnery can shore up defensive lines within firing range, defending all points effectively within reach.

Clausewitz never got a load of precision strike weaponry, which has extended the range and destructive power of fire support by orders of magnitude beyond that of Napoleonic cannon. And like all good soldiers, he was a great believer in putting terrain to work. The first island chain amounts to a line of immovable guard towers, all belonging to powers allied or friendly with the U.S. military. Geography divides up what looks on the map like a lengthy, porous frontier into a series of manageable segments. Fire support from the sentinel towers and mobile platforms coupled with obstacles strewn along the line renders the Clausewitzian critique of perimeter defense mootin this instance at any rate.

Or if you dont believe the greatest military strategist of all time, ask Bill Belichick, the greatest NFL coach of all time. Football is little more than mutual perimeter defense. The offense attempts to keep defenders out of the backfield, punch holes in the defense through the running or passing game, and march downfield to score. The defense replies by attempting to prevent running backs or receivers from penetrating a line backed up by a defense in depth. Coach Belichick would slaver at the idea of a New England Patriots defensive line whose linemen werelike Asian islandsimpassable to the offense. Plugging the seams between the blockers while mounting a defense in depth behind the linejust in case the offense punctured it through savvy blocking or passingwould become any New England defensive schemes paramount goal. Easy!

Take it from the G.O.A.T.

Transposing the analogy back into the military realm, joint U.S. and allied forces would firm up the line with light missile-armed units, sea mines, and so forth. Together with the islands, that defensive line might well hold. But the coaches, U.S. and allied commanders, would still need to defend in space behind the perimeter, just in case massed PLA forces burst through the linemost likely through one of its longer segments such as the Miyako Strait south of Okinawa, a passage thats about 150 miles wideor vaulted over it.

Thats where Zumwalts (and other heavy combatants) come in. DDG-1000s can constitute only part of the layered defense behind the perimeter. With only three hulls in the classwhich in practice means one or two ready for combat action at any time, to cover contingencies anywhere across the globethe U.S. Navy could never mount an impermeable defense with them alone. Short of that, commanders could look to NFL defenses for inspiration. For instance, a DDG-1000 could act as a free safety, or last line of defense. As the name implies, the free safety roams the backfield independently, using his eyes and intuition to judge where the offense might break through the defense and rushing to points of impact.

Hes a lone wolf. He may not prevent a long yardage gain, but he could save a touchdown. Zumwalts carry a serious missile load and, with their stealth, appear well suited to the sneaky role played by a free safety. They could ply the waters well eastward of the island chain and try to turn back PLA forces that penetrate into the allied backfield.

Or a DDG-1000 could act as a strong safety. Strong safeties linger fairly close to the line of scrimmage, typically concentrating on the strong sidethe side of the gridiron where offensive players mass, suggesting the play will go to that side. Their goal: stop the ground game before rushers gain significant yardage, or box in tight ends to keep the offense from striding down the field through short-yardage passes. Positioning a Zumwalt close behind the island chain would alter the geometry of backfield defense, preventing a single destroyer from patrolling a major arc of the island chainlet alone the whole thing. Like an NFL strong safety, a DDG-1000 would need help from fellow strong safeties. To cover all necessary sectors it would operate in concert with DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers or CG-47 Ticonderoga cruisers; with nuclear-powered attack submarines lurking in the depths; with light surface combatants such as frigates; or with unmanned craft as they join the fleet in the coming years.

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Let's Send the U.S. Navy's 'Stealthy' Destroyer Back in Time to Fight a World War II Battle - The National Interest Online

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TV review Francis Brennan: All Hands on Deck; Pulling with My Parents – The Times

Posted: at 3:33 pm

October 27 2019, 12:01am,The Sunday Times

Liam Fay

Big fun on the high seas is the brochure promise of Francis Brennan: All Hands on Deck, a would-be TV pleasure voyage in which the flamboyantly pernickety hotelier struts his stuff and his stuffiness on a luxury cruise liner.

From the earliest moments of this horrendous maritime disaster, however, it becomes deafeningly apparent that nobody is more aware of the speed and ferocity with which the show is hitting the rocks than its eponymous helmsman. At times, in fact, the bewildered panic evident in his increasingly shrill whinnies and squeals becomes heartrending as well as ear-splitting raw terror in the high Cs.

Cruising is not Brennans natural speed. The professional fusspot has built a lucrative public persona and inescapable TV brand on a tireless

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Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship to feature double-decker pool and interactive arcade – Yahoo News

Posted: at 3:33 pm

The newest ocean liner from Royal Caribbean to sail the high seas will feature what's being billed as the largest indoor activity space at sea and a double-decker pool.

More details have been released for the Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's "next-generation" ship that is scheduled to lift anchor a year from now and make its world premiere in North America. Following a voyage around the Caribbean, the Odyssey will then sail from Fort Lauderdale, FL to its home port of Rome in 2021, from where she will embark on a Mediterranean voyage sailing the shores of Turkey and Greece.

One of the Odyssey's stand-out features is the SeaPlex, which can be configured to become an interactive arcade, full-sized sports court, bumper car attraction, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and sailing circus with a flying trapeze.

Augmented reality walls and floors create immersive experiences for VR games that can be played individually or in groups.

The ship's two-level pool deck willfeature open-air, resort-style pools, whirlpools, hammocks and shady shelters.

Some of Royal Caribbean's most popular attractions -- the surf simulator FlowRider, skydiving simulator RipCord by iFly and North Star glass capsule -- also return aboard the Odyssey.

And trampoline experiences go high-tech on the SkyPad with the addition of VR headsets that teleport users to another time, place or planet.

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The World Spins On: The Enduring Value of Herman Melville – National Review

Posted: at 3:33 pm

Detail of a portrait of Herman Melville by Joseph O. Eaton (18291875)(Houghton Library/Harvard University/Wikimedia)Two-hundred years after his birth, Melville helps us to cope with the dilemmas of our existence.

Poor Herman Melville. If only he would have known the fame and critical acclaim that awaited him after his deathif only he would have been able to enjoy some of the fruits of the astounding success that Moby-Dick was later to achieveperhaps his storm-tossed life would have been a bit more calm.

Born in New York City in 1819 to a woman whose grandfather was a Revolutionary War hero and to a man who, having been a fairly well-off businessman, would soon go bankrupt, Melville struggled all his life with financial issues. He pursued literary fame and fortune in much the same way that his now-famous antihero pursued the great white whale: strenuously, desperately, but ultimately futilely. It was only years after his life ended that Melville at last earned the recognition that he had so desperately craved and so rightfully meritedthe recognition that he was one of the greatest writers ever birthed by the New World.

Melville, our American Conrad, churned out a variety of novels, novellas, and short stories based upon his adventures on the high seas, where he sailed on merchant-marine and whaling voyages, which he had joined as a consequence of his destitution. These works, which include Typee and Billy Budd, achieved moderate success during his lifetime but not enough to grant him the kind of economic liberty that other great writers of his stature have receivedthe kind of freedom that would have allowed him to work fulltime as a writer. When Melvilles magnum opus, Moby-Dickthe novel upon which his reputation as one of the writers who created American literature and defined the American sublime restswas first published, it was widely perceived as a pointlessly puzzling, overly difficult work, and it was largely ignored thereafter. It was only a generation after his death, with the dawn of the modernist movement in literature and the artsa movement that considered difficulty in art a mark of distinction, not a reason for derisionthat Moby-Dick was rediscovered, fully appreciated, and finally elevated to its place atop the pinnacle of the American literary canon.

A boatload of books have been written about Melville and his masterpiece, including Nick Selbys Herman Melville: Moby-Dick and Nathaniel Philbricks Why Read Moby-Dick? With more than 100 scholarly and popular tomes on Melville now available, what newand what moreis there to say about him and Moby-Dick?

Enter Geoffrey Sanborn, a professor of English at Amherst College, and his slim, eminently insightful recent volume The Value of Herman Melville. Sanborn reads Moby-Dick through the lenses of philosophy, literary criticism, and psychoanalytic theory, and brings the author and his work alive in ways that few have done before. With the generosity of a patient teacher and the enthusiasm of a wise and knowledgeable tour guide eager to show travelers the hidden wonders of a quaint old city he knows well, Sanborn allows us, and invites us, to read Melvilles great novel in ways that illuminate its meaning for us in our lives today, giving us the tools to approach Moby-Dick not only as a monumental, occasionally intimidating work of art but as a text which is invaluable in the life-wisdom it contains and in its ability, if we read it carefully, to help us better cope with the existential dilemmas of our existence.

Though it does provide a brief overview of Melvilles life, this is not a full-scale biography. What Sanborn offers instead is arguably more valuable: a clear, compact, carefully calibrated assessment of Herman Melville and his enduring literary value. Sanborn invites us to try to forget about Melvilles weighty reputation as one of the giants of American literature and to instead read him without preconceptions. This helpful approach allows the strangeness of his workstheir sheer power, their defamiliarizing magnificenceto capture and captivate us.

Sanborn provides close and comparative readings of Melvilles novels, from his earliest works to his mature ones, charting Melvilles path from a talented (if rough-around-the-edges) writer to one who blossomed brilliantly in Moby-Dick, giving expression to what was deepest in himself. This is the highly improvisational Melville, the Melville who appeared to write Moby-Dick almost spontaneously, as Stanley Crouch has observedthe Melville who plunged in, as Sanborn writes, and forged ahead without entirely knowing where he would end up.

Sanborn argues that Melvilles value for us lies in his continual capacity to turn this world into another world, as Melville puts it in The Confidence-Man. Melvilles writing, says Sanborn, is a resource for living. Sanborn advises us not to be overly concerned with Moby-Dicks (or any artworks) meaning, because such concerns can detract from the immersive experience of being absorbed in the work. Granting, though, that questions about an artworks meaning are unavoidable, Sanborn proffers several explanations, including a philosophical and psychological reading of the great white whale that is one the most profound interpretations of Moby-Dick that I have ever encountered:

The problem with The World, as Melville thinks we all secretly know, is that it seems formed in lovesugary, mild, dreamy, cool, calmbut harbors within itself, for each of us, sources of fright. . . .In the figure of Ahab, Melville externalizes the part of himself that is saddened and infuriated by the enticing/betraying structure of The World, in the hopes that at least some of his readers will feel spoken for, will feel their own sadness and fury flowing out. . . . Everyone experiences, at some time or other, the full traumatic force of The Worlds enticement and betrayal. The central aim of the Ahab/Moby Dick story is to make us more aware of the parts of ourselves that have registered that shock, and, as a result, more aware of what we secretly have in common with each other.

The white whalelike the worldholds out so much promise, but all too often it lets us down, often in the most devastating, cold, and cruel of ways. The whale, as Ishmael memorably puts it, is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life . . and this is the key to it all. And knowing this is the key to understanding Moby-Dicks value: It helps us to realize that the world, despite its seeming indifference to our concerns, keeps going, keeps on spinninginviting us, in the midst of the whirlwind of our own struggles, to do the same. Melvilles value for us all, Sanborn argues, lies in his works totality of effort: the creative vitality they engender within us to (like Ishmael and like Melville himself) keep pushing forward, to keep seeking to create, to keep seeking those energizing, revitalizing experiences that the world never ceases to offer, and of which we can always partakeas long as we are receptive to them.

The quest to write the Great American Novel has long been the American literary equivalent of the mythical quest for the Holy Grail. Writers ranging from Mark Twain to John Updike to many in between (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Roth, Morrison) have all staked their claim to this prize. Among the perennial roster of contenders, there is a strong case to be made for Moby-Dick. No other novel captures the monomaniacal ambition that is part of the American character and the all-too-frequent futility and frustration with which our ambitions ultimately meetthan Melvilles masterpiece. The hunt for the uncatchable white whale is as American as the pursuit of fame, wealth, and happinessgoals many of us will never achieve, but which something about our indomitable American idealism never allows us to desist from pursuing. But if that never-ending pursuit is particularly American, so is the multiethnic, multiracial, and multinational nature of the cosmopolitan crew of the Pequod. And so is the camaraderie and close male friendship shared by Queequeg and Ishmael. And so too is the perennial hopefulness symbolized by Ishmaels having survived the wreckage of the Pequod and being rescued by the providential arrival of the Rachel.

Melvilles great anti-hero Ahab may fail in his pursuit of his holy grail, but Melville himself may have succeededalbeit 25 years after his deathin the pursuit of his: the writing of, if not the Great American Novel, at the very least the King Lear of American literature: our existentially bleak, yet preternaturally hopeful, grand masterwork. As Sanborn, regarding the meaning of Moby-Dick, so powerfully puts it, even though the ongoingness of the world can seem terrifying in its stolidity, its unresponsiveness to human concerns, Ishmael survives. The whale swims away. The worldwhich is, as it turns out, capable of bearing our psychic investments in itspins on.

A version of this piece first appeared at The Imaginative Conservative.

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The World Spins On: The Enduring Value of Herman Melville - National Review

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Royal Caribbean Unveils Bold Features on New Odyssey of the Seas – TravelPulse

Posted: at 3:33 pm

Royal Caribbeans newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, is set to feature the most action-packed top deck in the companys fleet as well as a number of ground-breaking firsts designed to create game-changing cruise vacations.

In a just-released statement, Royal Caribbean said the ship, which will be the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to arrive in North America, will offer dialed-up onboard adventures, as well as a two-level pool deck and a collection of restaurants designed to please every palate.

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Some of the additional notable Odyssey highlights include its ultimate SeaPlex activity space, which is being billed as the most interactive arcade to ever sail. The space will include VR games for individual and group play, augmented reality walls and floors for high-tech competitions and family experiences.

Adding to the mix, Odyssey will debut a reimagined Adventure Ocean where young adventure seekers can choose their own immersive experiences across an entirely new layout, while a new maxed-out teen lounge with gaming consoles, music and movies will provide hangout options indoors and outdoors on an exclusive patio.

The ships dining options will include Teppanyaki, which will serve Far East flavors, and Giovannis Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar featuring rustic Italian dishes and a contemporary flair.

Entertainment across the ship will include high-tech signature productions in the Royal Theater and Two70, where art and multimedia are merged for surrounding performances.

The Odyssey of the Seas will also include the North Star glass capsule, which is to be located 300 feet above sea level and will provide 360-degree views.

Odyssey of the Seas will set an all-new standard created to deliver the most memorable vacations by combining immersive experiences, the best of Royal Caribbeans trendsetting innovations and the signature Royal Way service of our dedicated crew members, said Michael Bayley, president, and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. This Quantum Ultra Class ship introduces a new way to see the world as she becomes our first purposefully built vessel for island hopping on both sides of the Atlantic.

As for Odysseys vibrant, two-level pool deck, it will offer a variety of options to sit back and soak up the sunincluding two open-air, resort-style pools and four whirlpools, surrounded by casitas and hammocks.

The youngest globe-trotters meanwhile may want to head to Splashaway Bay, an aqua park that includes colorful waterslides, fountains, water cannons and more.

For adult travelers, theres the Solarium, an exclusive space on the top deck, that allows for me time, including swimming pools and whirlpools, a full-service bar, daybeds and hidden nooks for ultimate relaxation.

The ships inaugural year is slated to kick off next November in the Caribbean taking travelers to destinations like Curacao, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Mexico on eight- and six-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Odyssey will then sail to her homeport of Rome in May 2021 and become the first Quantum Ultra Class ship to cruise Europe for the summer.

While in Europe, passengers will be able to explore storied towns in Turkey and Greece, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the ruins of Ephesus, the ancient Acropolis of Athens, the classic Cycladic architecture of Mykonos and more.

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Royal Caribbean Unveils Bold Features on New Odyssey of the Seas - TravelPulse

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