Semester at Sea, Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage. Day 32 of 52. While waiting for sunset crossing the North Sea there were a number of Northern Gannets following and leading the ship. I think the birds use the ship to provide lift as they hunt for fish being disturbed by the wake of the ship. There was this one Northern Gannet that was flying with one foot out. I don’t know if it was injured or was using the foot to provide drag? It is amazing that these birds spend almost all year at sea — only spending time on land to breed and raise their young.
Semester at Sea, Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage. Day 22 of 52. On our second day in Amsterdam, Netherlands I took part in two field trips with my parents. The first one was to the world’s largest flower auction site in Aalsmeer, Netherlands. It is located near the Schiphol international airport. The auction room looks more like the control center for a space shot. The flowers come from all around the world, and then are sent all around the world by the next morning. In the afternoon we went to the Kröller-Müller museum and sculpture garden located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Otterlo, Netherlands.
Semester at Sea, Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage. Day 21 of 52. The M/V Explorer arrived in Amsterdam, Netherlands early in the morning. I signed up for the field trip to the Tulip festival at Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, Netherlands with my parents. The Tulip festival at Keukenhof gardens is only open for a short time every spring, and this was one of the last days. When we arrived there were many tourist buses in the parking lot. The sky was grey with some off and on light rain. The flower gardens were beautiful, although there were a few “ugly tourists” that walked right into the flower gardens. There was also a wedding party where the photographer had the full entourage stand in the middle of a patch of tulips. I don’t know how many flowers got trampled.
Netherlands Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter. Semester at Sea, Spring 2013 Enrichment Voyage. Day 30.
The Netherlands Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter (G-BIMU, Stac Pollaidh) hovered off the Semester at Sea M/V Explorer as we traveled along the coast of Netherlands on our way to Oslo, Norway. The helicopter did an amazing job of staying stationary right next to our ship. They wanted to do a drill, but had to leave as they were running low on fuel. I liked the expression on the pilot and co-pilots faces.
One of the great things while on the M/V Explorer I didn’t need to deal with mundane things like laundry. On the ship, laundry was done any day we were at sea for $6/bag (more if you wanted anything ironed). Since we had been at port in Cadiz, Spain for the last several days of my trip, I ended up coming home with a large bag of laundry 😉
For the past ~40 days I have been on the M/V Explorer as part of the Fall 2012 Semester at Sea program. The map shows a GPS track of where I have been. The internet connection on board the ship was limited, so I have not been posting since mid-August. Blog posts and images from the trip will be added in the near future (links below).
Semester at Sea Fall 2012 Voyage Day 2: Atlantic Crossing
The main activity for the first full day at sea was an all-day orientation for the students in the Union. There are 477 undergraduate students attending the Fall Semester this year. In addition there are 47 Life Long Learners (30 full voyage and 17 partial voyage), 36 Faculty, 37 Staff & Family, and 181 Crew on board the M/V Explorer for this voyage.
Students Board & Ship Departs Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Fall 2012 Semester at Sea Voyage.
The students boarded the M/V Explorer in shifts beginning at 08:00. It was an efficient process, and most everyone was onboard by 11:00. We were told that after lunch that there would be a mandatory evacuation drill. Everyone was supposed to get their life-jacket and report to their evacuation station wearing long pants, long shirt, shoes, and a hat. Once we got to our station, the ship staff did a roll call to make sure everyone was accounted for and present. The drill is required before the ship can leave port. After the drill was completed, we were ready to leave at 17:00. Most everyone lined up on the open decks to watch the departure. The parents and relatives that came were all lined up on the roof of the port terminal. Michael Mariant was set up to take a series of images from Deck 7 that will be combined into a time-lapsed video for the entire Fall 2012 Voyage.
Weather permitting I plan to take an early morning image during dawn or sunrise, and an evening image at sunset or during dusk. I did this exercise during the previous two Enrichment voyages, and got images with great colors.
Arrival of M/V Explorer in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Beginning of the Fall 2012 Semester at Sea Voyage.
Overnight I received an e-mail from Michael Mariant that confirmed the M/V Explorer would arrive in Halifax at 08:00 hours. I went down to the harbor early to watch the sunrise, and scout a good location to photography the ship when it arrived. When the ship did not arrive at 08:00, I walked to the Halifax casino, and then back to the cruise line terminal. Part way back, I saw the M/V Explorer coming into port and started taking pictures. The ship went around an island in the harbor so it could dock on the port side of the ship. After waving to Michael and the other staff and faculty on deck that sailed from Boston to Halifax, I went back to the hotel to have breakfast and pick up my luggage.
The Life Long Learners and students with work-study assignments boarded the ship the day before departure. The boarding process included inspection by both Canadian immigration authorities and ship staff. Prior to leaving we were provided with a list of prohibited items, but I noticed some students giving items back to their parents when they realized that the luggage was going to be inspected. Passports were checked and those going to Ghana and Brazil needed their visas a yellow fever vaccination certificate. I did not need the visa and Yellow fever certificate since I would be departing the voyage in Casablanca, Morocco. We all received a ship ID with the picture we provided. The luggage was both x-rayed and hand inspected. There even was a dog that sniffed the luggage. Finally, after going through a metal detector we were allowed to board the ship. The majority of the students board the ship tomorrow.
Once onboard, I found my cabin on deck 4. For this voyage, my cabin was on the starboard side of the ship. This confused me a bit since I was on the port side on my previous Enrichment Voyages. I spent the afternoon wandering around reacquainting myself with the ship and its layout. I recognized many of the ship staff from my previous Enrichment Voyages. My suitcase was delivered to my cabin mid-afternoon. In the evening a reception was held on the ship for the parents of the students that would be on the Fall 2012 voyage. I am looking forward to meeting the students and getting on way to Europe.