On Monday, March 19, Captain Darin Bowland, Chief Engineer Frank de Vries and myself attended the 50th anniversary of the splashdown by John Glenn in the waters off Grand Turk at the Grand Turk Cruise Center. The cruise center pays tribute to The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) space program Project Mercury and the historic 1962 splashdown of the Friendship 7 capsule off the island’s coast. The 3,500 square-foot Splashdown! Grand Turk attraction features amazing replicas unique to the Mercury space program, including a scaled 20-foot tall Atlas rocket; a full-size, three-dimensional replica of astronaut John Glenn in a space suit; and, of course, a detailed replica of the Friendship 7 capsule.
We were present to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “splashdown” and to unveil new murals depicting the past, the present and the future of space travel. The event included speeches by Ms. Janet Petro, Deputy Director of John F. Kennedy Space Center; His Excellency (HE) Governor Damien Todd, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI); Mr. David Candib, Vice President of Global Ports and Destination Development; Mr. Alan Rakofsky, Mercury Program Radar Technician; Mr. Ralph Higgs, Director of the TCI Tourist Board; Captain Vito Giacalone of the Carnival Miracle; and our very own Captain Darin Bowland. Afterward, a video was shown with a message from astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter and, lastly, the new murals were unveiled.
After the unveiling the guests were invited to the Eurodam for a tour of the ship and a luncheon in the Pinnacle Grill where several plaques were given out by David Candib on behalf of Carnival Corporation.
Marco van Belleghem is Eurodam’s hotel manager.