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.
For this trip, I arranged for a car service to take me from my home to the airport. The Newark airport long-term parking has a 30 day limit (which can be extended as long as you call the day you leave the car in the lot), but would have ended up costing more than the car service.
I got a call from the driver about 45 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive at my house. I had a hard time understanding him, but it sounded like he wasn’t even in the right county. I provided some directions, and he finally said he would pull over and check the address on Google Maps. Ultimately he showed up about 10 minutes late, but then got me to the airport in record time. Normally, it takes me about 2 hours to get to the airport, park in long term parking, and ride the shuttle bus to the terminal. It took the driver just over an hour to get me from my house to the terminal. The driver was not speeding – he just got the traffic right once I directed him to I-287.
The flight was out of terminal A. I breezed through check-in and security, ending up at the terminal gate 2 hours early. As soon as I sat down I received a text message that the flight was delayed for 1 hour, so ended up waiting 3 hours for the flight to board. The flight was on a commuter jet where I barely had room for my camera/computer bag. The flight itself took less time than getting to the airport and waiting to board the plane.
We arrived at the Halifax airport just after a jumbo-jet from London. This meant long lines at passport control. It was interesting to see how many college age folks with parents were on the flight. I wondered how many would be joining the Semester at Sea voyage. The Canadian immigration folks did detain several folks from the London flight for extra questioning. The ones being questioned appeared to be from India or Pakistan. The passport control offical made a comment that I appeared to be the oldest student coming into Halifax to board the M/V Explorer. The taxi ride from the airport to my hotel in Halifax cost $53 Canadian. As soon as I checked into the hotel I walked about 6 blocks down to the harbor to find something to eat and take some pictures. There were lots of young folks checking out the restaurants and bars in the tourist area near the harbor. I was surprised how many tourists were in town being that there were no cruise ships in port. I found the location where I needed to go for boarding the M/V Explorer on Wednesday. The M/V Explorer was not yet in port. I stayed in the harbor area until sunset, and then went back to the hotel. The bars near the hotel were busy until well after midnight, and it didn’t get quiet until 02:00.
Everything packed and ready to go. I tried to pack light, but still ended up with a suitcase weighing just under 50 pounds, and a Think Tank “Street Walker – Hard Drive” camera/computer bag at 35 pounds. I am going with a lighter camera kit for this trip, but added several 1.5 TB Seagate external drives with my photo library. As the trip proceeds I will mention items I forgot, and wish I had with me, as well as items I took and never used.
The camera kit for this trip includes the following: 1) Nikon D800 with a 16 mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens, a 17-35 mm f/2.8D wide angle telephoto lens, a 50 mm f/1.4G lens, and a 70-300 mm f/3.8-5.6 VR lens; 2) Nikon 1 V1 with a 10 mm f/2.8 lens, a 10-30 mm VR lens, a 30-110 mm VR lens, and a FT1 adapter; 3) Leica X2; and 4) Leica V-Lux30. For all of the cameras I have chargers, extra batteries, and extra memory cards. One nice thing is that both the D800 and N1V1 use the same battery. I also have a small Gitzo travel tripod and a SB-910 flash. I plan to do most photography when off the ship with the lighter Nikon 1 V1 and the Leica X2 cameras. I always have the Leica V-Lux 30 with me, and now the camera in my new Nokia Luma 900 smart phone. I have never really used the camera in a smart phone before, so it will be interesting to see what type of images I can get.
As mentioned above, I am traveling with a copy of my entire image collection with the plan to spend time key-wording images. I still use both Lightroom and Media Pro as my digital asset management (DAM) databases. I am curious about the DAM that Camera Bits (Photo Mechanic) will be releasing this year.