Oct. 17, 2007
By Ken Krayeske • 10:45 PM UCT
If you look to the stern, just to the left of the "K" on the smokestack of the LNG tanker, you'll see a 65-foot sailboat. If you look in the middle of the very top of the photo, you'll see a 40-foot fishing boat.
About a week and a half ago, U.S. Rep. Chris Shays proclaimed that maybe Broadwater - the private liquified natural gas regassification factory proposed for the middle of Long Island Sound wasn't such a bads idea.
Among the dozens of reason why privatizing a chunk of a priceless estuary, the danger of LNG itself is near the top of my list. We just need to look half a world away in Gibraltar to realize why we shouldn't have LNG in LIS.
The good ship Maverick II pulled into Europe and on our way through the bay of Gibraltar to moor, I counted no less than 35 ships of 100 meters or more anchored in the bay. The real monsters, though, are the LNG tankers, which push almost 400 meters.
The Spanish and English authorities have so much respect for the destructive power of an LNG tanker that they force the huge ships to anchor outside the bay, in the open Med, on the east coast of Gibraltar.
Now imagine the LNG tanker pictured above in Long Island Sound, and think of all the recreational boats that will surround it in the Race, on its way to 11 miles south of East Haven. Something that big will absolutely be visible from the Connecticut coastline.
Aesthetically, it will be terrible to have LNG tankers in Long Island Sound.
The ocean's visual beauty once sacrificed for industry will not be easily reclaimed.
Here, is an example of such gorgeousness. A sunset reflects off the boat while Gavin takes a photo of the real sunset from the boat deck.
Gibraltar itself is a densely populated little strip of English land that borders southern Spain. In town, you are as likely to hear Spanish as English or Arabic. Only a three-hour ferry ride from Morrocco, Gibraltar is an English commonwealth bordering Spain.
The English have been there for several hundred years, and have no intention of giving it up. I think Winston Churchill said the British will leave Gibraltar when the rock sinks into the sea and the monkeys are all gone. Considering that they feed and breed the Macaques, I think the Brits mean business.
This Macaque stole an ice cream from some tourist woman. As fun as the primates without prehensile tails are to watch, I prefer watching the more evolved primates, aka human beings.
The people watching in Casemates Square, the central public gathering place in Gibraltar, is on par with Hyde Park in London or Central Park in NYC. It is car free, so on a Sunday morning, it is common to see children on bicycles, tricycles and other wheeled means of propulsion.
After breakfast, we climbed up the rock, which is where I got the picture of the LNG tanker. In the photo below, taken from halfway up the rock, you can see a soccer field, and right above that, an airport runway cutting across the main road out of Gibraltar into La Linea, Spain.
The dense collection of buildings above the airport is La Linea, Spain. The body of water on the right is the Med, to the left is Gibraltar Bay.
According to the local paper, 14 flights a day are allowed in and out, some of them military. We watched a red fighter jet zoom out of the airport into Spanish airspace and then back around above the Med.
On the way down the rock, I found this piece of grafitti. Although cryptic and seemingly unfinished, it pretty much summed up what I feel about Shell Oil and the Broadwater debate.
Yeah. Fill in the blank. The next morning, after a glorious day off, we departed the Rock of Gibraltar for points unknown, somewhere east in the Med. Here's the parting shot.
Next stop: Sardinia.