Friday, September 4, 2009

Sailing the Seven Seas – Week 2 – En Route to Cadiz

Dinner with delightful Captain Jeremy and his wife Apple

Isn't the Atlantic Ocean amazing?

"Study Hall" - Ocean Style

View from a Port Hole

Faculty/Staff "Office" - Good Times.

Life on a Ship

“The Love Boat, soon we’ll be making another run…” Let’s see who remembers that theme song! I used to love watching this cheesy show from the 80’s, but I know I am really dating myself with the reference. My friend and colleague Joanna has never seen it (she is a child of the 90's), so I guess I am going solo on this one.

Ship culture is very interesting, to say the least. For example, let’s take the faculty/staff lounge, which is where I am blogging from at the moment. It used to be the ship’s nightclub, so it is pretty funny to see the SAS faculty and staff working diligently from barstools as they prepare for their classes. I keep expecting someone to get up and get jiggy with it to a tired rendition of “Celebrate Good Times.” I am sure that day will come. At any rate, you can’t beat the view of the Atlantic Ocean – the lounge looks right out onto the front of the ship, with the deep, blue sea surrounding us…

I’ve had an interesting week aboard the MV Explorer. Classes for the students began on a Sunday – ship time is all relative. Our intrepid GNG team of three has visited numerous classes to give presentations about our work in the ports of call. Some students have expressed interest in joining us in the field, which will be great. What do I mean by the “field?” I mean the videoconferences we will be broadcasting from various cities – SAS Ports of Call. For example, we will be traveling from Casablanca to Rabat to meet with Moroccan secondary school students at the American Embassy, thanks to our partner, iEARN Morocco. [Oh – just noticed that “Casablanca” is playing on the T.V. – I swear I did NOT plan this aside.] After that, we will be speaking with students in Accra and Cape Coast, Ghana. It will be quite profound to conduct a videoconference from the slave castles, especially since I am nearing the end of my sojourn across the Atlantic Ocean in another direction, and for very different reasons. On a personal note, I found out that there is a town called “Muros in the north of Spain – wish I had time to go and visit it.

Keeping active on the ship requires some creativity. Right now, in fact, I am watching one of the resident assistants “jog” around the small deck in front of the boat. It is only 100s of feet from side to side. I wonder how many times he has to run back and forth to reach a mile? The gym is packed all day and all night long, since 700 people have to share a handful of machines. However, I have managed to get there, but you won’t catch me on the treadmill – my balance is just not that great.

One highlight of my week at sea was having dinner with the delightful Captain Jeremy, his wife Apple, and some of the senior staff. I sat next to Anatoly, the MV Explorer’s Chief Engineer. He is from Odessa. I asked if he had ever seen the film the “Odessa Files” with John Voight. He looked at me oddly (he obviously had not seen it. I am surprised that no one had ever asked him that question before.). He was quite charming and interesting, though. I found out that the ship’s crew is from 27 different countries. The Captain is from the U.K. – he claims he’s the only one without an accent. The joke was funny the first time, but he has said it countless times now. However, he is the master of his domain, so I guess he can say whatever he well fancies.

Tonight I saw the full moon over the Ocean, and it gave me pause. This is the last night of the Atlantic crossing – incredible. Tomorrow we are off to explore Cadiz and make some educational videos for our YouTube channel. In fact, we have already posted a few, one of which is quite relevant for this blog post:

It will be great to step onto dry land manana! Buenas noches!

1 comment:

  1. That is great, Tonya; thanks for making the effort to tell us how it's going. That is one massive window-thank goodness. Loved the video!! xoxo, Sarah