Smithsonian Journeys Cruise on Regent Mariner
October 27 @ 8:00 am - November 10 @ 5:00 pm
Proposed topics include:
The Greely Expedition. High level disinterest in Washington, and the failure of two annual resupply missions to arrive in 1881 and 1882 condemned Army Lieutenant Adolphus Greely’s remarkable 26-man scientific expedition at Lady Franklin Bay in arctic Canada to starvation, cannibalism, and death. Its plight and the rescue of its six survivors were major news stories in 1883. The press coverage signaled the return of the U.S. Navy to public favor after its post-Civil War collapse.
The Last Lincoln Conspirator. The true story of John Surratt, who became the most wanted man in America after the death of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin. Four of Booth’s accomplices, including Surratt’s mother, were convicted and hanged and four others were jailed. John Surratt alone managed to evade immediate capture, fleeing through Canada (along our route on this cruise), Ireland, England, and France, to a year-long hideout in the Papal States. Eventually arrested in Egypt, Surratt’s desperate journey and the bitter legal proceedings against him that bizarrely led to his freedom are a fascinating bit of American and Canadian history.
Lost in the Ice. A year after the United States entered the Great War, lightship Cross Rip vanished off her station near Nantucket, Massachusetts, in February 1918 during the record “freeze-up” that year, the coldest North American winter in a century. Caught in pack ice, the old, small vessel with her crew of Cape Cod watermen drifted into the broad Atlantic and was never seen again. What precisely happened to Cross Rip and why, and was her first mate a hero as reported in the press?
Black Rock and Blue Water. The story of the beautiful and nearly new Royal Mail Ship Rhone, sunk in the Caribbean during the terrible Saint Narciso’s Day hurricane of October 1867. (That storm’s destructive track was followed 150 years later by the two great Caribbean hurricanes of 2017.) Breaking for the safety of the open sea from her anchorage off Peter Island as the hurricane blew down the Drake Passage, RMS Rhone soon ran hard aground off Salt Island on tiny Black Rock at full speed. The great storm was followed by a tsunami two weeks later and a yellow fever epidemic. These three great trials devastated the islands. Recovery took decades.
Innocents Abroad. Sail with Mark Twain and the other American “Innocents Abroad” from New York in 1867 aboard S.S. Quaker City, history’s first luxury cruise ship, across the Atlantic, into the Mediterranean and back home. See the sights of 19th century Europe and the Holy Land through their eyes, while you learn about the cruise and the passengers his best-selling book made famous.
[Extra] Disease and History. Until the age of modern medicine, lethal epidemics and fatal disease shaped human history as much—arguably more—than did the acts of great men (and women), and the events of politics and wars. Learn how plague, influenza, yellow fever, and small pox (as well as the “great pox,” syphilis), and especially cholera, powerfully changed the direction of the march of time.