Have I got your attention yet? You’re definitely thinking what does James Redfield’s book, “The Celestine Prophecy” have to do with travel. Well, let’s think about the bigger picture and one of the basic ideas in the book. The book came out in 1997 and although I can’t remember every single aspect of it, I do remember one thing. Everyone has a story to tell and should you make eye contact with someone, you should speak to them. Whether you’re walking down the street, in the supermarket, on the bus, at work — wherever you are, you should stop and talk to that person. They will have something to say to you.
I was speaking someone tonight about a cruise she was taking next Spring and she just happened to mention that her brother was in Belize during a major hurricane in October 2001. He documented his experience in a book, “No Safe Harbor: The Tragedy of the Dive Ship Wave Dancer” by Joe Burnworth. Here’s the description of the book:
On October 8, 2001, the 120-foot luxury live-aboard dive yachts Wave Dancer and Aggressor III, both carrying members of the Richmond Dive Club, were secured to a concrete dock in southern Belize when Hurricane Iris struck. The last boat to slip into the harbor for safety, the Wave Dancer, stuck out halfway into the channel, unable to find more room at the crowded dock. The category four hurricane, with winds of 140 mph and a storm surge of fourteen feet, ripped the Wave Dancer from its cleats, tossing it like a toy across the lagoon. When the storm subsided an hour later, 20 of the boat’s 28 occupants were dead. The investigation into the tragedy — the worst in the history of recreational diving — revealed that the boat’s owner and captain had ignored storm warnings and needlessly endangered the lives of their passengers and crew.
In a vivid indictment of maritime irresponsibility, author Joe Burnworth — a passenger on the Aggressor III — dramatically recounts the events leading up to the Wave Dancer’s capsizing, the rescue and recovery attempts, and the devastating aftermath.
As a writer, I’m intrigued by this story, which predates Hurricane Katrina by several months, which also explains why I’m sure no one remembers Hurricane Iris. As someone who loves to travel the world, I don’t just appreciate the obvious beauty of a beach, building, or mountain, but also the people and their tenacity during the hardest of times. Do you notice the people on the streets or the ones who wait on you when you’re traveling? Do you notice the natural beauty of the back streets in a city you’re visiting or do you stick to the tourist areas in search of the Americanized trip you think you should have?
The story of people wanting to go out for a dive and tragically losing their lives is haunting. How can you avoid a situation like this? When traveling and booking a tour or excursion always use reputable vendors. If you’re not sure, then don’t use them. Trust your gut that if something is too good to be true, it most likely is. I found a review of Joe Burnworth’s book on USLaw.com and there are some great tips for anyone interested in diving, but the tips certainly apply to anyone considering getting on a boat, whether in the US or abroad.
In the end, had I not kept myself open to the possibility that someone always has a story to share with me, I might not have learned about Joe Burnworth, Hurricane Iris, and the Wave Dancer. Hopefully, this will spark a desire in you to talk to the next person you make eye contact with and if you do, please come back here and let me know!