Monday, February 17, 2014

The Crossing!!!

The beautiful view from the back deck, which I miss very much! It never got old :)
Well, we had talked about it since the day we committed to the voyage: the 12-day trek across the Atlantic Ocean. Many dreaded it, feared about their motion sickness prone to kick in, whatever, but I was kind of looking forward to it. You see, the voyage thus far had just been stop and go. Go to class for 3 or 4 days, then port 4 or 5 days....which was GREAT! But no routine whatsoever. And for someone who does not like routines, I think me saying I was longing for some sort of routine is a BIG deal!

Happy Halloween!
Someone said we could go 72 hours without seeing another vessel during the crossing. Wow, that was really wild! But true though, as we didn't see many ships during this time.

I think I mentioned our days at sea where known either as an A or B day. This was so that our course schedule could rotate back and forth. That being said, the days during the next almost two weeks (really don't remember how many days at sea) mainly felt like a blur and I literally had no idea of the day of the week or date.

The last day in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu came onboard to talk to our ship! That was so cool! Here is a quick clip of him talking briefly about the apartheid. I wish he could have stayed with us longer.

Now I don't quite remember what the purpose of this was, but we did have a scientist sail with us from South Africa to Argentina. This was because that route is not a very common one and this would give him the opportunity to do more research as we went across. Somehow, by throwing cardboard boxes off the aft of the ship, this would measure the depth of the sea as well as other statistics he was looking for. He did this every 70 minutes so would sleep for an hour and wake up in the middle of the night, throw the boxes and log his findings in his cabin. Needless to say, by the end of the two weeks, he was looking a bit exhausted!

Oh, this just in! I found this on the Semester at Sea website about our scientist guest, Greg Brusseau:
"Greg is currently a Research Scientist in the Argo Float Lab at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography.  Argo Floats are profiling autonomous underwater drifters that can help measure global climate change along with many other ocean properties. The lab deploys approximately 125 of these instruments a year all over the globe.  Greg started his career as a technician on the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (BSIERP) working on both the University of Washington’s research vessel Thomas G. Thompson and the United States Coast Guard Cutter Healy.  He also worked as a Research Scientist for the Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer (ORCA) buoy project which monitors water quality in Washington’s Puget Sound." Again, I don't understand but oh well. 

There goes one of the boxes! It is hard to see but they were actually about 6 feet long!
During this time, we also held the Sea Olympics, a tradition with Semester at Sea. All the decks are broken into seas and compete to who will be able to disembark the ship first once we get to Florida. I am not a fan of these pep rally, overly spirited days and some events were better than others. Having a day off of classes for our "field day at sea" was pretty nice though :)

I did call my sister from sea on her birthday! That was pretty cool.

There was also a crew talent show one night and another night, a talent show for the rest of the shipboard community. The crew talent show was AMAZING! They really were so talented and put on a great show. I wish they had performed for us weekly. My friend won front row seats for the show too and asked if I’d like to join her. That was great because people started lining up 2 hours or so before it started. Yikes!
Front row seats at the talent show!
Our awesome waiters who I miss very much!
Sorry to say I didn’t take many pictures this time around…..stay tuned for touching down in South America soon!

Peace, Erin J

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