Monday, March 11, 2019

Nurse the Hate: The Wine Shipwreck Dive

I receive a wine and spirits newsletter each morning called “Drinks Business” that originates from the UK.  Normally the articles have no bearing on me whatsoever, but I remain somewhat fascinated by them.  Example:  “The former head chef of Hackney-based restaurant Pidgin is to open his first solo venture, called Casa Fofó, in Clapton.”  As far as I know, all of this information could be completely fictional and consist of Harry Potter references.  I still read it.  I like to know that “UK wine retailer Majestic saw its website crash on Saturday following high demand for one of its wines, after the bottle was mentioned on ITV's James Martin's Saturday Morning.”  I like to think that James Martin Saturday Morning is like the only other UK talk show I’ve ever seen, the clip of the Sex Pistols in 1976 on the Bill Grundy Interview.  I hope a skinny John Lydon also said “shit” on James Martin Saturday Morning.

Today however, there was big news.  “World War 1 Wine To Be Salvaged From UK Shipwreck”  What’s that?  I read the article to discover that not only was there a shipwreck off the English coast in about 100 meters of water, but it’s filled with hundreds of still sealed bottles of Bordeaux, cognac and champagne.  Just discovered last year, there is an expedition afoot to recover the wine and sell it in the auction market.  Then I read something that really caught my eye.  “Cookson Adventures is also offering one of its clients the chance to be there alongside a documentary team and various other experts from the worlds of wine and archaeology.”

Rarely has something coalesced into a perfect activity for one person as this does for me.  I can dive a World War I shipwreck and retrieve fine wine with a team of expert divers and wine experts.  I would be a damn fool not to get on this expedition.  It is literally the perfect combination of all my interests.  I suspected that the costs would be crippling, but I had to know.  I reached out to Cookson Adventures for more information.

When I went to the website, I became concerned that this would be well beyond “pricey” and more into the “absurd” category.  Still, I sent the email.  In less than an hour, I was contacted by a confident woman named Amanda.  Amanda was sure to alleviate my fears in letting me know that I could either tie my personal yacht to the operation vessel, or if I preferred, could be shuttled to the ship via helicopter daily.  “Will you be bringing your own submersible?”  I think we can all agree that if you are a normal human being and you are involved in a discussion about logistics about your own personal submarine, you may have wandered into the wrong room.  I didn’t ask Amanda if I would be allowed to bring my kayak, but I was under the impression that the good people at Cookson can make just about anything happen if you cut them the check.

The trip is rather murky right now.  Cookson is working with the underwater salvage team that discovered the wreck, and that firm is playing it very close to the vest.  The vessel has not been named, so the manifest about potential cargo is a moot point.  The hundreds of bottles at the bottom of the sea could be 1916 Latour, or they could be $1 table wine.  Whoever agrees to take part in this trip will get a stake in the salvage haul, but that number is still very much in question.  There is also an issue in that the bottles keep breaking on the way up due to the pressure.  Making matters even more complicated, the wreck is now 100 years old and has been deemed a UNESCO Heritage Site.  I can’t imagine how much red tape is involved plundering a UNESCO Heritage Site for profit in British Waters in a shipwreck that likely has human remains.  Unlikely conversation from British official:  “OK mate!  Just take a dive in and see wot you come up with!  Fill out some forms later Sunny Jim!  No bother!”

Depending on how long it takes to get paperwork in order, the operation will launch this summer or more probably next summer.  Scheduled activities on this “adventure trip” include exploring the wreck in a submersible, “sailing to the bays of Lizard Point with a glass of champagne in hand”, access to a private beach from your 10-bedroom mansion in Cornwall complete with a private chef and concierge, and, of course, private helicopter transportation.  “Well that sounds quite pleasant Amanda.  I am guessing that this might be a tad more expensive than I had planned.  What is the price tag for this?”  It will be dependent on your variables of course, like if you will be using your yacht or own submersible, but it will likely be in the area of a half million dollars.  “Oh, I see.”

I do like the idea of scraping together a half million dollars with a “get rich scheme” of selling treasure from a shipwreck at auction.  Then, it will inevitably fail, leaving me shirking my creditors for the rest of my days.  I can see me now running a souvenir stand in Curacao under the alias “James T. Johnson”, or perhaps a small steakhouse in Buenos Aires called “Senor Guapo’s” under the guise of “Santiago Gomez”.  Ultimately, I will end up like all lowlifes and scammers, tending bar in Key West.

This is a goddamn travesty that I can’t be involved in this.  It’s literally the perfect adventure for me.  I don’t know how I can slip into it though as I don’t have an extra half million just laying around.   I saw someone on Facebook was asking for donations for cancer medication via GoFundMe.  Maybe that’s the answer.  I’m just a little concerned that I might come off as tone deaf asking for $500,000 to go scuba diving for 100-year-old wine while being shuttled around with my private chef in a helicopter.  I’ll have to give it some thought.  You all will need to dig deep on this, and maybe not give to the cancer medication efforts.  We need to prioritize.  “Greg Miller is $499,878 away from his goal.  Donate now!”


At March 14, 2019 at 1:53:00 AM EDT , Blogger old man taylor said...

If you could get on that boat somehow,you would BE the documentary.

At March 14, 2019 at 1:39:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

I think I could really get some camera time. All the crew in their $10,000 scuba adventure outfits, and I'm a jackoff in board shorts and flip flops falling into the water with a really snarky attitude. I know how to drive ratings dammit!

At March 15, 2019 at 10:28:00 PM EDT , Blogger old man taylor said...

All reality TV is jackoffs fucking the deck. Cowpunk Scuba Diving Ad man with Wine certifications blow up any program.


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