Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 1, 2014
Following the cruise from first to final port
by Anne Berleant
Download the Bon Voyage page here.
A 68-day training cruise means 68 daily entries to Maine Maritime Academy’s blog dedicated to the annual cruise.
The Maine Maritime Academy Cruise Facebook page (facebook.com/mainemaritime
cruise) is the portal for all landlubbers who are interested in following the day-to-day details of the annual cruise and for tracking its course to its many ports of call. The cruise website page cruise.mainemaritime.edu is an alternative portal.
All blog entries begin with the ship’s location, course, weather and sea conditions, followed by reports from either Captain Leslie Eadie III or Commandant Nate Gandy.
“Many students come from families that have no knowledge of life at sea. The blog is our attempt to communicate that experience day by day, along with some of the particular challenges we face. It’s a chronicle for our students’ families to get a sense of both our daily routine, and our adventures at sea,” Gandy said.
The first entry arrives on Day 1, when midshipmen and crew move on board and begin readying the ship for departure.
“While the steady stream of students got their room assignments and stowed their gear, many 2/C Midshipmen jumped right to work getting the ship’s generators online and organizing survival gear for issue. By 1130, all students had checked aboard and were enjoying their first meal of Cruise 2013,” reads the Day 1 entry from 2013.
The online portals also offer advice for sending email to those on board the ship and, for those wishing to send snail mail, mailing addresses for each port of call.
The “Track the Ship” link opens up a Java-powered digital, interactive map that includes current ship position and weather, the ship’s route and weather forecasts.
The daily blog posts, however, offer the most information on what exactly is going on, on board the State of Maine.
They describe a life at sea that, at least between ports of call, focuses on work, standing watch and studying. But “there are plenty of hours to be filled,” states the June 12, 2013 blog. Landlubbers checking the cruise’s progress may “click off” at any time; the crew and cadets, however, are on board for the duration.