All cameras were on deck on February 11, 2006 when Regent Seven Seas Cruises' 50,000-ton, 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner (safely) encountered a massive iceberg about 240 nautical miles from the Argentinean coast and 420 nautical miles from the Falkland Islands during its annual 62-night "Grand Circle South America" voyage.|
The iceberg, almost 266 feet high and 1,107 feet wide, is considered "Very Large" by U.S. Coast Guard standards (categories range from "Growler," about the size of a truck or piano, to "Very Large"). Though the exact size of the world's most famous iceberg, the one that sunk the Titanic, may never be known, early newspaper reports estimated it at 50 to 100 feet high and 200 to 400 feet long -- as much as five times smaller than the iceberg these lucky passengers witnessed.
According to a report sent by Captain Phillipe Fichet-Delavault to the cruise line, after the ship came upon the iceberg, crew determined its height and width using the ship's sextant, a device that measures the angle between two objects. It is possible that this is a previously undiscovered iceberg.
Jean-Michel Cousteau (pictured with Captain Fichet-Delavault), son of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, was onboard the ship as part of an ongoing partnership between the cruise line and his Ocean Futures Society. Cousteau, one of the world's leading defenders of marine environments, leads enrichment programs and lectures about global ecosystems along with other Ocean Futures Society associates.
As the name implies, RSSC's "Grand Circle" voyage fully circles the continent, offering the most in-depth South America voyage possible -- with a Panama Canal transit thrown in for good measure.