Thursday, January 24, 2008

And we're off ...

At 1700 last night, we sailed out of the Nassau harbor and into, what is to be the beginning, of the great wide open. These past few weeks have been such a whirlwind! In real life, I feel like I can blink my eye and a month goes by. On shiptime, it is amazing how everything slows down, as if you are in a complete vacuum. I literally have no concept of time anymore, which is such a 180 from those of you that know me on land, where I can safely call my big orange watch my best friend. I didn't even realize until yesterday that my birthday is this Saturday. For the past week I kept thinking it was on Friday. Anyhow, given the fact that I have had the rare opportunity to stay on the ship for longer than most passengers, I've further been able to experience the sensation of having different groups come and leave, which is always more emotional that it seems it should be. Semester at Sea has been a part of my life for 10 years now, thus I'm amazed to have seen over half of the fellow SASers I know over the past month.

There have been a lot of superlatives being tossed around in recent weeks aboard the Explorer, so I cringe to play into that, but it truly is a remarkable time to be on board. For the first time in our history (since 1963), we own our own ship. That's right. The M.V. Explorer is now officially owned by ISE as of December 2007. We are sailing with the most students ever -- 733 -- which clocks us in at 852 passengers including the faculty, staff, and lifelong learners.

Don't get me wrong, there is serious potential for clusterfuck, but so far, I've been able to seek refuge. It is also the first, true, transglobal voyage as we are literally traveling around the world from point to point. We will be sailing for 107 days (versus 100), and transiting the Panama Canal to arrive back in Fort Lauderdale. It is moments like writing that past sentence when I realize how truly incredible this all is, and how humbled I am to be a part of it.

I have made many new friends and connections over the past few weeks, which is always exciting, and I hope to have some time to write about my adventures on the Seminar before I soon forget them. My friend Britta, through unintentional translation, likes to say that she's on Cloud 7. So that is my thought for the day. And to those of you back in Charlottesville, I miss you already. Sniffle. Sniffle.


john paul said...

it's so fun to be back in that seat, about to go around the world. Have a great time!

Stephanie said...

Bitch, I'm so jealous. It is -30 degrees here and I would give anything to be in Nassau. You are going to have to have G day without me. I'm sure that you will be in good hands. I like your friend Britta already.