All At Sea

As assignments go, there were worse ones than covering the world’s largest cruise liner on its first voyage around the Caribbean. Especially for a cub reporter.

He’d been given a nice cabin with a balcony, in the hope that he’d write about it slightly more favorably than David Foster Wallace had.

Who would have thought it would make him immortal in the legends of broadcasting?

The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Barbados – It promised to be a great trip.

Of course the comparisons to the Titanic were inevitable, but icebergs? In the Caribbean? Nonsense.

Inevitable indeed. Before dawn one morning, the ship shuddered to a halt. Water began rushing in. The passengers began struggling to escape. Lifeboats left half empty. Slowly, majestically, but unstoppably the bow went down, the stern up.

He was too late on deck. The boats had already gone. But he and his cameraman were in the perfect position to see the great gray mass they’d struck, and to utter the now-immortal line,

“Oh, the huge manatee!”

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