Hi Girls & Guys:
This blurb will be about a tragedy and the men & women dealing with it. The Costa Concordia was run aground by her Master in an effort to save his ship. This may or may not have been the prudent thing to do after ripping a hole in her by showing off to the people on Giglio Island. One thing for sure under no circumstance should the Master leave his ship before all his passengers & crew are safely off the ship. It does not matter how big or how small that ship may be. Unfortunately, onboard the Costa Concordia that fateful night about five thousand souls were looking for guidance from the Master. The coward had already abandoned his ship and fled into the night.

I could not believe how professional the Government men and women of Italia at the salvage scene were! In the U.S.A. when we have a tragedy strike we send out various agencies to the scene. In the USA people show up because they have to in order to get paid. Their clothes may be rumpled and most are not very professional. As a matter of fact most are bureaucrats and will try and find a way to have power over you and not helpful. In Italia all the men and women at the scene are wearing a uniform signifying what their particular function is. For example the people removing fuel are in uniform with the words NERI on their back meaning fuel handlers. All the men & woman were in clean neat uniforms signifying their particular job. The thing that struck me the most was the humble reverence these salvers have for the wreck & the people still trapped inside. It was like their task was sacred though no church or god was mentioned it was more of feeling you get from being close to them. It is notable that I was the only foreigner on the island and getting to the island as well as lodging while there was provided by that wonderful young man that was part of this professional team. I was so involved in taking pics that I was unaware that I was standing out like a sore thumb until a uniformed Italian Army man approached me and asked if I was authorized to take pictures. I replied “no, I did not think I needed permission to take pics”. He assured me in good english that I do in fact need permission to take pics in the area! Then he asked to see what I had taken. I immediately asked his permission to show him my identity card from the United States Department of Defense. This card allows me to enter any U.S. military base anywhere in the world. He looked at it and shook my hand then asked again to see my recent pics which I promptly showed him. He asked me to delete one that I had taken of an Army tent, shook my hand again and wished me well. You can see the firemen & coast guard tents but no army tent in my pics.

This accident, turned into a national disgrace when the Master abandoned his ship! The people working on her are trying to compensate for the cowardly act of her Master. The mood is very somber, even in the restaurants at night there is no laughter, no loud noises. All these professionals eat together still in their respective uniforms quietly. One man not in uniform did have a little fun with me! This man and his friend were sitting at a table next to me. They had ordered a whole fish for dinner. The two were talking in Italiian and I was eaves-dropping when one of them took the eyeball out held it up for me to see and popped it in his mouth with a big smile on his face. Little did he know I like eyeballs too! I gave him a two thumbs up!

It is almost like you can feel the agony and despair of those souls trying to get off the sinking ship to the nearby land. You will see in the pics just how close the ship is to the land. You will ask yourself “how come everyone did not get off she is so close to the land you could walk ashore”. Well try to imagine yourself on a ship at night with no lights, chaos all around, the ship listing forty five degrees, no life boats, no direction of where to go and no sense of where you are! Thank god for the men & women of Giglio Island and the Italian Coast Guard. It was very fortunate the ship did not slide into the waiting abyss. If this had happened thousands of souls would have been lost to the deep!

Italia has changed since the formation of the European Union. Today there is twelve member nations with more coming onboard. For the first time in over two thousand years they are teaching english in their schools. English will be the universal language of the Union in a few short years (next generation) which is the blink of an eye to the people of Italia and most of Europe. The people of Italia are a very proud people! It will be interesting to observe the raising of the shipwreck and the prosecution of the Master and his officers for their failure to stay with their ship until all passengers were safe!

Hope you enjoy the pics!
Ciao! For now,
Michael