Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Update from Jannette:
July 25, 2016
Sailing the Atlantic
So, our tour of the Mediterranean has come to a close.
Yesterday, we passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic
Ocean. The views were amazing and the sailing was smooth. Many ships could be
seen surrounding the area and in the background stood the imposing sight of the
Rock of Gibraltar. A few of us were able to get cell phone signals which the
cadets and crew took advantage to say hi to friends and family back home.
Classes and studying have been in full swing with many
cadets spending their off hours in the library availing themselves of the many
resources available there. In Malta, we took on some cadets from our neighbor,
Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy. Of course, the watch schedules had to be
adjusted but other than that, the Kings Point cadets have made a smooth
transition to life aboard the Empire State. Yesterday, we had our first Sunday
at Sea Barbecue with the new arrivals and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
The ice cream sundae bar was a smash.
Thanks go out to the terrific Chartwells crew!
We are now heading home across the Atlantic. We still
have many exercises and studying to do and navigating the waters of the
Atlantic will be a new challenge for the many cadets who came aboard in Dublin
for Cruise B. In a few days, we will be near the Azores where many drills and
exercises will take place and perhaps we will see some more amazing views.
Labels: SST 2016 Gibraltar
Helicopters, Wind and the Blue Lagoon
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
July 19, 2016 SST 2016 Update from Jannette:
It has been incredibly busy here on the Empire State. The search and rescue
drills continued with a very impressive helicopter rescue drill. The Spanish
equivalent to our Coast Guard was kind enough to help us out by flying their
rescue helicopter and crew out to the Empire State to perform the drill.
Everyone was very excited and even those of us not participating in the drill
were eager to go out on the sun deck and watch the dramatic “rescue”.
Last week, the wind picked up quite a bit in the Mediterranean Sea and the
Empire State started taking some rather large rolls! Even some of our seasoned officers
and crew commented on the rocking, though of course they were quite adept at handling the swells. A few of us newbies, however, needed to visit the
excellent staff in Sick Bay for a little help managing some seasickness!
The wind even delayed our arrival into Malta since the pilot boat was
having a hard time meeting us due to the large swells. Eventually, we were
able to dock at Valletta, Malta late in the evening on July 15 with all of us
excited to begin our adventures there.
Valletta is a striking walled city located on a beautiful island in
the Mediterranean. Malta has played a major role in many of the historic
European wars including the Napoleon Wars, WWI and WWII. It even withstood a
massive siege by the Ottoman Empire in 1565. The history of Malta is very rich and historical sites abound including forts, castles, museums and prehistoric temples dating back to 3600 B.C.
While some of us decided to immerse ourselves in the
history and culture of Malta, others were more interested in experiencing the
amazing outdoor adventures available on the Maltese Islands. There were
intriguing sea cliffs and caves to explore. Many of us opted to participate
in snorkeling and scuba diving trips to the many shipwrecks located around the
islands. One of the most popular outings was to the Blue Lagoon located
on Comino, a small island just north of Malta. A boat trip took many of the
cadets and crew over to this tiny island with one of the most beautiful beaches
in the world. The water there was so blue it seemed a bit unreal. Many of us enjoyed relaxing and swimming in this little slice of paradise!
Labels: SST 2016 Malta
Photos from SST 2016 Cruise B
Monday, July 11, 2016
Jannette has sent images for your enjoyment:
Labels: SST 2016 Cruise B
So long Barcelona!
July 11, 2016 Update from Jannette:
So long Barcelona!
What a lovely time we had. Our days were packed with sun,
beaches, gorgeous buildings, fascinating museums and lots of tapas!
While some of us chose to spend our time in Barcelona
relaxing on the beach, others decided to brave the heat and explore the city
sights. Strolling down La Rambla, the long pedestrian boulevard in the Gothic
Quarter of the city was a wonderful way to take in the energy and culture of
Barcelona. It is filled with open air cafes, street performers, kiosks and
art. A tour of La Sagraga Família, Antoni Gaudí's famous basilica, is
truly a sight to see with its intricately carved facades and soaring bell
Some of us got out of the city to tour some of the nearby
sites as well. Montserrat Mountain was a favorite destination for many. It is a
lovely cliff like mountain where tourists can explore an ancient Benedictine
monastery and basilica as well as hike the many scenic mountain trails offering
amazing views of the valley below. The quaint city of Girona was another
popular outing. Many of us had fun roaming around its winding, cobblestone
streets to see the famous Gothic cathedral, roman ruins and Arabian baths.
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Barcelona
yesterday and continue on our adventure around the Mediterranean. So, it is
back to classes and studying for the next few days as we head to Malta to make
more amazing memories!
Labels: SST 2016 Barcelona
Sun, barbeques and baby sea turtles.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Update from Jannette:
July 5, 2016
Sun, barbecues and baby sea turtles!
Everything has been running very smoothly on the Empire
State for the past week. We entered the sapphire blue waters of the
Mediterranean Sea a few days ago and oh my, how beautiful it has been! The sky
is blue, the breeze is soft and the sea is calm!
We are spending a few days in the training area near
Mallorca, Spain to practice maneuvering the ship as well as safety and rescue
drills. Everyone has been working hard and enjoying our time at sea. There have
been sightings of dolphins, porpoises, whales and yes, even baby sea turtles.
On July 6, we will be docking in Barcelona.
We are all looking forward to exploring Spain!
Yesterday, we had our Fourth of July barbecue out on the
sun deck with the Mediterranean Sea and Spain as our backdrop! The wonderful
Chartwells folks went above and beyond to provide us with a sumptuous feast of steaks,
burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, root beer floats and cotton candy for
dessert! Music played, the sun shone and
our merriment continued well into the evening!
Hope everyone at
home enjoyed the long three day holiday weekend. Up next Barcelona!
Labels: Fourth of July.
Dublin...then off we go!
Monday, June 27, 2016
6/27/2016 Update from Ship's Librarian, Jannette D'Esposito:
Hi everyone! My name is Jannette D’Esposito and I am
taking over as Ship’s Librarian for the second half of SST 2016. Those of us
flying over for the second half made it to the ship safe and sound late on June
22. After some much needed rest and food, we all went off to explore
The Temple Bar area of Dublin was very popular for shopping
and great traditional Irish fare like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and of
course Guinness! The Guinness Factory was another popular stop especially the
Gravity Bar located on the top level. Many cadets ventured out of Dublin to
take in the wonderful views of the countryside. Castles were explored, hiking
trails were hiked and some went off to see the Game of Thrones filming
sights. We all had a wonderful time!
On Sunday June 26, we set sail and started our day with a
rather rainy drill to help us prepare for any type of emergency. Now it is time
for classes and studying as we make our way to the Mediterranean Sea. Check
back soon for more updates and photos.
Labels: SST 2016 Dublin
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