Musings on Travel, Social Media and the Amber Effect
There's something about travel which, inexplicably, make it difficult when I return to get back into the social media habit. While I may spend countless hours before a trip getting things set and blogging, tweeting or Facebooking, I always have a difficult time getting right back "at it" when I return, even if I sent out updates while I was gone. One day I'll figure it out, but for now, my apologies for having "gone dark" during and after my recent trip to Bermuda.
Still working on putting together a feature article on the Bermuda cruise, but with Igor bearing down on that wonderful country, the Muse is elsewhere hopefully taking care of the residents as they endure what is likely to be a devastating storm. I'm thankful I was there last week and could see the pride of ownership and the quality of construction which will likely preserve most homes and buildings there, from the heavy limestone roofs to the thick walls and solid construction, but I still worry for them. I look forward to writing my article as soon as the island recovers and I can encourage travelers to return.
In addition, I teased a bit as I was leaving, long before Igor's path was certain, that I should pen an advance apology letter to Bermuda, as I feared Igor would take a turn toward them. Why? Something I joke about, but which some friends call the "Amber Effect" or "Hurricane Amber." What is that? It's a very troubling tendency for hurricanes to go to great lengths to avoid me, but to also hit someplace I'm traveling in hurricane season within either the week before or the week after I visit.
This "Amber Effect" started to show itself about 10 years ago in the Bahamas. A tropical wave was forming, which would have kept me from departing, as I wouldn't have been able to take the ferry from Harbor Island to the mainland of Eluthera. However, 30 minutes before our scheduled departure from Harbor island, the winds died, skies cleared, and stayed that way until my plane departed from Eluthera Airport.
The following year, was on a liveaboard dive boat also in the Bahamas. A very tight tropical storm was forming, and we were concerned we were going to have to make a dash for harbor for protection. However, the storm took a wacky C curve right around us, with nothing but a bit of a brisk breeze affecting our trip.
5 years ago in Turks and Caicos, again on a liveaboard dive boat, I experienced perhaps the most dramatic example. We were watching TD 10 coming toward us. Sea life was unusual that week, as we weren't seeing the normal large pelagics (sharks, dolphins, turtles, rays) as one generally expects that time of year. We thought perhaps they'd gone deep to avoid the storm, so we were watching the reports with expectations of running to port. However, before that became necessary, the storm lost strength and hit us as only a light tropical wave, with one night of moderate rain. Within 12 hours after passing over, not only did it reform as TD 10, it quickly became Hurricane Katrina.
Since then, twice in one year hurricanes hit Cozumel within just a handful of days prior to when I was to arrive each time, Ivan hit the Caymans a week I was supposed to be there (but had to cancel last minute), a hurricane tried to hit Cabo during a Mexican Riviera cruise I was on, but instead ended up surprisingly going to sea after circling several times trying to go north, and most recently Earl went farther east away from New York the day I was due to fly in there, and now Igor hitting Bermuda the week after I left. There have been several other less dramatic examples, including a hurricane hitting LaPaz, Mexico, a week after I departed from another dive trip, but in short if you're particularly concerned about changes in your cruise itinerary due to a hurricane, please choose a destination and time somewhere other than a week before or a week after to where I'm cruising during hurricane season.
I apologize to any who have been (or will be) affected by this Effect, as I have no control over it, other than not to travel during hurricane season which simply is not possible (at the very least, my annual National Conference falls during this time frame). So Bermuda, I'm sorry and you are in my prayers, as is Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan into October...
Of course the above is a bit tongue-in-cheek as I don't *really* think I'm the cause of the hurricanes, but the coincidences are a bit striking, frequent and recurring. So if I ever book you during hurricane season, expect to hear a "wink" in my voice if I mention I'll be traveling to the same place at a similar time ;-)
And now I return you to our regularly-scheduled social media interaction, including Happy Hours from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, a special offer from Azamara (all three in the next post), news of a return for the Family Cruise Tours in Alaska for 2011, and other items of interest in the cruising community.