Nicaragua Canal Set To One-Up Panama Canal

Panama Canal
U.S. Navy, Flickr

Today, the Nicaraguan National Assembly is expected to rubber-stamp a $40 billion proposal by a Chinese consortium to build a canal across the country. The new canal will be over 150 miles long, dwarfing the famous Panama Canal.

The idea of a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Nicaragua has been around since colonial times, and up until 1970, the United States held rights to build it. However, the current proposal will see a newly formed Hong Kong-registered company, HKDN, build the waterway.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America. The construction of the new canal will see the country’s GDP double and employment triple in only five years, according to The Guardian.

Of the more than half-dozen proposed routes for the canal, at least five will run through the freshwater Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. Any land-only route would have to make a considerable detour to get around the lake.

Though the proposal has met with little resistance in parliament because of the large ruling party majority, no studies on the environmental or social impact of the project have been completed as yet.

Celebrate World Oceans Day With A Live Tour Of The Great Barrier Reef

Celebrate World Oceans Day with Live Reef
Kraig Becker

This coming Saturday, June 8, is World Oceans Day, a global event designed to celebrate the important role that the oceans play in keeping our planet a vibrant place for us to live. Throughout the day there will be hundreds of events taking place across the globe that will help educate us on the importance of keeping our oceans healthy, while raising awareness of the challenges they face in the 21st century. One such event is an ambitious 12-hour live tour of the Great Barrier Reef that will give us a very personal look at one of the most important and beautiful marine ecosystems on Earth.

Stretching for more than 1600 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a dizzying array of species including sea turtles, dolphins, whales and countless smaller fish. Massive in size, the reef covers more than 133,000 square miles and is large enough to be visible from space. It also attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors on an annual basis, many who come to snorkel or dive the GBR’s breathtakingly clear waters.

Beginning at 10 a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time on Friday, June 7, a team of marine biologists will launch a live event that will stream to the Internet via Google Hangouts. They’re calling this event “Reef Live” and throughout the 12 hours that follow, they’ll be broadcasting from their floating “Sea Studio.” While the event is ongoing, divers will share live images from the reef, while taking us on a guided tour of this very special place both above and below the ocean’s surface.
The event won’t be just about streaming pretty pictures from the waters off the Australian coast, however. Anyone who attends the Google Hangout will be able to ask the team questions about what they are seeing on their screens at any given time, while also interacting with a group of expert panelists who will be in attendance as well. This will give us unprecedented access to marine biologists and reef experts who will be able to provide the insight and knowledge that will make this event a unique and special one.

Reef Live is melding technology, the Internet and social media in new ways to deliver a live event that just wouldn’t have been possible a few short years ago. Streaming real-time video across the Internet while millions look on and have the opportunity to directly participate is a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together in a few days time. If you want watch the live broadcast and participate in the event, there is a handy countdown clock available on the Reef Live site that will help you determine when the project has officially started. Find it by clicking here.

Photo Of The Day: Early Morning On The Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are a bit too remote to be on many people’s bucket list and that’s a shame. Halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the windy north Atlantic, they offer a rugged beauty equal to any adventure travel destination.

This shot from user kanelstrand from Gadling’s Flickr pool was taken early one morning after some rain. The mixture of light and shadow, the deep color of the sea and of course the rainbow give you an idea of the allure of these distant islands.

That lonely little lighthouse shows that, indeed, some people really live here. In fact, about 50,000 people do in an autonomous nation under the Danish Realm. Amazingly, the islands were first settled by Irish and Scottish Christian hermits way back in the sixth century. St. Brendan may have visited on his fabled trip to America, followed by the Vikings. The modern Faroese are a tough people of mixed Scandinavian and Scottish descent who are proud of the life they’ve carved out of a harsh yet alluring corner of the world.

Want to see more? Check out this Faroe Islands photo set!

Olympics-Inspired Man Attempts To Swim Across Atlantic, Only Makes It 300 Yards From Shore

Swimming across the Atlantic, just 3594 miles of open water.An unnamed British man was so inspired by the Olympics on Tuesday that he decided to attempt to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. He had planned to swim from Biarritz, France, where he was vacationing with friends, to New York City, saying he wanted to bring the “Olympic spirit” to America. He didn’t make it far, however, as lifeguards picked him up about 300 yards from shore, well short of the 3594 miles he would have needed to cover to reach his destination.

According to the Daily Mail, the 34-year-old man was vacationing with friends when he suddenly announced that he was setting off for America. His travel companions, thinking he was joking, watched as he immediately dove into the water and began swimming out into the ocean, continuing well past warning buoys that mark the limit for safe and legal swimming.

Those buoys are located about 300 yards from shore, which prompted lifeguards to scramble into action. A rescue helicopter was dispatched and a diver dropped into the water to convince the man to turn back. The headstrong Brit argued that he was a good swimmer and that he was capable of making an Atlantic crossing, but eventually he came to his senses and climbed aboard a small boat to return to shore.

Thankfully, the Olympics only come around once every four years. I’m not sure if this man’s friends and family could handle him getting inspired like this on a regular basis.

[Image courtesy the Daily Mail]

Adventurer Prepares For Global Triathlon

Dan Martin prepares for his Global TriathlonBritish adventurer Dan Martin is about to embark on an epic challenge that he calls the Global Triathlon. The journey, which is set to get underway from New York City any day now, will see Dan circling the globe completely under his own power, and just like any other triathlon he’ll be swimming, cycling and running the various legs. In this case, those legs just happen to be substantially longer.

All triathlons, regardless of length, always start with a swim and Dan’s is no different. In this case, however, that swim involves crossing the Atlantic Ocean. He’ll first enter the water in the Hudson River and start heading east, continuing to do so until he makes landfall in France. Along the way, Dan will be escorted by a support boat, which is where he’ll sleep, eat and rest while en route. At the end of each day, he’ll crawl on to the boat, replace as many burned calories as he can and try to regain his strength for the next day, when he’ll return to the water and continue on.

To date, only one other person has managed to swim across the Atlantic. Back in 1998, French long distance swimmer Benoit Lecomte managed to accomplish that feat in just over 73 days. Lecomte’s efforts are contested by some, however, because he didn’t use a GPS to strictly track his progress. Dan hopes to allow others to follow his progress via his website, keeping the world updated on his position at all times.Once he does arrive in France the cycling stage of the journey will begin. Dan will climb aboard his bike and start peddling across Europe and Asia – in the dead of winter no less. If everything goes as planned he’ll eventually end the bike ride in the city of Anadyr, located in Russia’s far east. From there he’ll hop across the Bering Sea and start the finale leg of the Global Triathlon, running from Uelen, Alaska, back to New York City. When he’s done, Martin expects to have covered roughly 18,640 miles.

Dan actually thought that he would be underway by now, but a few logistical hiccups have prevented him from getting started on time. Nonetheless, he and his support crew are currently in NYC and they hope to have everything ironed out soon. You can follow his progress and updates both on his Facebook page and through his Twitter feed.

Good luck Dan!

[Photo courtesy Dan Martin]