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Shipwrecks!

Wednesday, May 5 2021 by

There’s something fascinating and otherworldly about shipwrecks. We think about how the ship went down, the people that went down with it, and sometimes, buried treasure. Here are some famous, and sometimes tragic, stories about shipwrecks around the world.

RMS Titanic

Quite possibly the most famous shipwreck of all time, the Titanic disaster was particulaly shocking because the ship was heralded as “unsinkable” and had among its passengers some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the United States and Europe. On its maiden voyage, the ship sank on April 15, 1912, after being hit by an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. More than 1,500 of the 2,250 individuals perished, with much of the blame on the lack of preparation and inadequate lifeboats on board.

For many years, the ship’s exact location was unknown, but relentless searching led to it’s location in 1985. Since that time, multiple plans were made to raise the ship, but all have been abandoned. Portions of the ship and items from the ship’s wreckage have been removed, and scientists and explorers continue to visit the site. James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic used actual footage of the wreckage, and the investigation and preservation of the site has become a pet project for Cameron.

Titanic location (Google Maps)
Titanic location

USS Arizona

Part of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet in the lead up to World War II, the USS Arizona was sunk by an early morning air raid of Japanese bombers at Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Because a bomb struck in or near the powder magazine, the ship sank rapidly, taking over 1,100 of the 1,500 crewmen to their death. The ship now rests at the bottom of the harbor, with the crew still onboard and with it’s silhouette still visible under the water.

The USS Arizona Memorial was created in 1962 to honor, commemorate and remember those who died on board the ship and at Pearl Harbor during the attack.  Oil leaks constantly from the wreckage, and some refer to it as “black tears” rising from the war grave. Surviving crew members of the attack are permitted to have their ashes interred within the ship’s wreckage. Crew members who survive the attack on other ships are permitted to have their ashes scattered above their respective ships in the harbor.

USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial (Birds Eye)
USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial

Vasa

The Vasa was a Swedish warship completed in 1628, intended to be a large battle ship to compete with other European powers vying for military supremacy in the 1600s. The ship’s design was new and largely untested as it marked a transition in the use and type of warship of the period. Therefore it’s weight, balance and design were largely untested, making it vulnerable to capsizing.

Swedish warship Vasa (StreetView)
Swedish warship Vasa

The ship left the harbor of Stockholm to great fanfare on August 10,1628,  but a strong gust of air pushed the ship onto the side, allowing water to enter the hull and quickly sinking it in front of thousands of shocked onlookers gathered for the celebratory departure.

The ship remained at the bottom of the Stockholm harbor until September 1956 when an archeologist discovered the wreckage and resurfaced the ship. Great measures were taken to preserve the ship, including the construction of a special museum, but due to multiple factors, it is slowly deteriorating in spite of great efforts to preserve the ship.

Vasa Museum (StreetView)
Vasa Museum

H. L. Hunley

The H. L. Hunley was one of the earliest submarines, designed by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The was vessel was small and cramped, fitting eight crew members who rowed the submarine and guided it manually under the water. On February 17, 1864, the Hunley sneaked up to the USS Housitonic in the Charleston Harbor, and manually rammed a bomb onto the hull of the Union ship. The bomb exploded and sunk the Housitonic, but the Hunley never returned to shore.

On September 13, 1976, the Hunley was discovered near the larger wreckage of the Housitonic. All eight crew members were still on board the submarine, and their bodies were given full military burials. The Hunley was excavated, but remains in water while it is studied and preserved. If it were to be removed from the water, it would rust and dissolve so fast that it could not be saved.

Civil War Submarine H. L. Hunley replica (StreetView)
Civil War Submarine H. L. Hunley replica

These are just a few of the many shipwrecks both found and still unfound, throughout the world. Along with their wreckage are untold stories of bravery, tragedy and drama that will never be told.

 

 

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David Beckham's Turning 46 Today

Sunday, May 2 2021 by

David Beckham turns 46 today, May 2. On his birthday, let’s take a look back at this soccer star, who has come from a middle-class London family to become an international soccer star. He’s a multi-millionaire, married to a beautiful singer, and even a member of the Order of the British Empire. He’s got a lot to celebrate!

Childhood Home, London, UK

David Beckham was born and raised in northeast London, the child of a kitchen fitter and a hair stylist. From a very early age, he knew he wanted to play soccer, or football, as most of the world calls it.

The house where he lived from birth to two years old in Chingford, a neighborhood in London, was put up for sale in 2008, but struggled to find a buyer. Thinking they would get more than a million pounds, the seller didn’t even get bids that met the minimum threshold.

David Beckham's childhood home (StreetView)
David Beckham's childhood home

Manchester United Training Grounds, Manchester, UK

By the time he was an early teen, David was making real progress in his childhood dream of becoming a soccer star. He was selected to attend a reputable soccer school, and then was selected to join Manchester United’s training team, his childhood dream team.

Manchester United training ground (Birds Eye)
Manchester United training ground

Manchester United Stadium, Manchester, UK

When he was 18, David signed a professional contract with Manchester United. At age 20, he made his premier league debut at Old Trafford, the Manchester United Football Club stadium.

Manchester United has been playing at the stadium since 1910. It’s the largest football stadium, and second largest stadium in the UK. The stadium has undergone significant renovations and upgrades since its construction, including after it was bombed in World War II.

The stadium, like many modernized stadiums, has a sloped pitch to allow water to drain off, and heated pipes running under ground to keep the field warm in cold temperatures.

Old Trafford (Google Maps)
Old Trafford

“Beckingham Palace”, United Kingdom

Shortly after marrying Victoria Adams, aka Posh Spice, the couple bought Rowneybury House, in 1999. The expansive home is located in Sabridgeworth, England. They paid about $3.5 million for the home, and added another $4 million in renovations quickly there after.

The couple sold the home, including 17 acres of property, for $16 million, in 2014.

Beckham's Castle (Beckingam Palace) (Birds Eye)
Beckham's Castle (Beckingam Palace)

Home in Madrid, Spain

In 2003, David switched teams to play for Real Madrid, and his family came with him. In 2005, the family bought the home for $4.75 million. The home has a heated pool, tennis court, football pitch, and more.

They sold the home in 2015, about eight years after first putting it on the market. They sold it for about $7 million, and made a little profit on the endeavor, even after the $500,000 in renovations they spent on the home.

David Beckham's House (Former) (Birds Eye)
David Beckham's House (Former)

Home in Beverly Hills, California

David signed with the US Major League Soccer Team the LA Galaxy in 2007, and the family settled into a gorgeous Beverly Hills home. They paid $22 million for the home, which has an elevator, music room, library, tennis courts, a pool, and more.

The couple sold the home in 2018, for $33 million, as they were spending much more time in England and Florida. The home didn’t even get listed, it sold so quickly.

David & Victoria Beckham's house (Google Maps)
David & Victoria Beckham's house

Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, California

The LA Galaxy has played soccer at the Dignity Health Sports Park since 2003, when the $150 million arena opened to the public. It has hosted the LA Chargers, the NFL team that recently relocated to the area. It hosts a variety of other sports, but the main sports team that plays there is the Galaxy.

David played in LA for about five years, bringing a new level of celebrity to soccer in the US, and earning about $33 million in base pay, and much, much more in endorsements, image rights, and other opportunities.

StubHub Center - LA Galaxy (Birds Eye)
StubHub Center - LA Galaxy

Home in Chipping Norton, UK

In 2017, the Beckhams bought a country mansion in the beautiful Cotswalds area of England. The location is perfect for the Beckams, as it’s considered a very posh area, and very desirable for celebrities.

They paid about $8.4 million dollars for the home, which used to be a barn! They have invested a lot more money to make the estate exactly how they want it. They butted heads with neighbors over several additions, including expanding a lake on their property.

The estate is perfect for their family, complete with a wine cooler, sauna, pool, tennis court, football pitch, and even an Estonian igloo. Because, when you have everything else, why not?

David and Victoria Beckham's House (Google Maps)
David and Victoria Beckham's House

David may be getting one year older, but with all the business endeavors, family plans, and real estate projects he has going on, his life is really just getting one year better. Happy Birthday, David!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let's Celebrate Earth Day

Thursday, Apr 22 2021 by

It’s Earth Day! Let’s celebrate our planet and work to protect it for the future by taking an environmentally-friendly, virtual tour of some of the most beautiful, breathtaking, and unique places on the planet.

Sequoia National Park

In central California, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are home to some of the world’s oldest, and biggest, trees. These sequoia trees, related to the redwoods of northern California, can grow to 250 feet high and 30 feet wide.

The forests are large, cavernous, and quiet. It feel almost hallowed, being among some of the oldest living things on earth. These trees need to be seen to understand their size and massive presence. There are many options to visit the area, you can take a day trip or plan a longer trip, camping or staying in nearby hotels as you take in the remarkable beauty of the large forests.

General Sherman (StreetView)
General Sherman

Amazon River Basin

It wouldn’t be a fitting review of the Earth’s wonders if we didn’t include the Amazon, the world’s second longest river, and largest by volume. It stretches from western South America in Peru, across all of Brazil, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

The river, and the surrounding rain forest, are some of the most important lands on the planet. More than three million animal species and 2,500 tree varieties spread across the land. The region provides about 20 percent of the world’s clean water, produces 20 percent of the earth’s clean air, and is the most important carbon sink.

Adventurous travelers can take a guided cruise along the river, or stay in a jungle lodge in the Amazon rain forest. Make sure you pick one that is sustainable and treats the native people, plants, and animals with respect and  consideration.

Amazon River (StreetView)
Amazon River

Mount Danxia, China

As the second largest country on earth, China is certainly going to have some breathtaking sights, and the Danxia range in Guangdong tops the list. Mount Danxia was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, as part of the overall land form.

The colorful sandstone and conglomerate rocks have been worn in unusual and uneven fashion, leaving jutting columns, interesting holes, and gorgeous naturally-occurring rainbow rock forms. With places named Red Cliff, Sleeping Beauty, and Father Stone, you can tell the place is a unique and breathtaking place to visit.

Mount Danxia (StreetView)
Mount Danxia

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

One of the largest waterfalls in the world, the amazing Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, is a truly remarkable site to behold. Rainbows from the massive mist are visible constantly, and during full moons, you can even see a “moonbow”!

More than a mile wide and 354 feet deep, it is a global tourist attraction. There’s a “Devil’s Pond” right near the edge of the falls where brave visitors can take a dip in the Zimbabwe River right at the point of no return.

Visitors often come to the falls as part of a safari, but be sure to plan at least a day or two to take in this most memorable natural wonder.

Victoria Falls (StreetView)
Victoria Falls

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a small group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that make up part of French Polynesia. The islands formed from now-extinct volcanoes, and jut out of the ocean to more than 2,000 feet high. At the center of the islands is a lagoon created by the volcanoes, which is always calm, peaceful, and breathtakingly beautiful.

The green plant-covered mountains create a stunning contrast to the crystal blue water and brilliant white sand beaches that many consider to be the most beautiful place in the world.

People who visit Bora Bora plan a trip of relaxation in luxury hotels designed to integrate the beauty of the island into every feature of the rooms, stretch out on the gorgeous beaches, and spend lots of time SCUBA diving or snorkeling in the unequaled blue waters. But visitors need to make sure their activity on the island doesn’t negatively impact the island, preventing it from being appreciated for years to come.

Hilton Bora Bora Nui (StreetView)
Hilton Bora Bora Nui

These are just some of the many, many beautiful places around the world. But, you don’t have travel across deserts, mighty rivers, or great mountains to appreciate our planet. Today, and every day, you can step outside, appreciate the world around you, and vow to do something to preserve it for yourself and the future. Happy Earth Day!

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