Friday, December 17, 2010

Season's Greetings from the Luce Library

Winter Holiday Hours

The faculty and staff of the Stephen B. Luce Library would like to wish the entire Maritime College community a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. In observation of the Winter Holiday, the Stephen B. Luce Library will follow the schedule below:

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Normal Hours Resume, Open 0830

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Library Extends Hours during Finals Week

The Stephen B. Luce Library announces extended hours during final exams week.

From Monday, Dec. 13 through Thursday, Dec. 16 the Library will open extended hours from 0830 to 2300 (11:00 PM) to provide a quiet place to study, work on group projects, and access resources needed to study for exams and complete final projects. A member of the library faculty will be on duty to assist with information research and access to course reserve materials.

The Stephen B. Luce Library wishes everyone good luck and best of results in your final exams.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fulbright Award for SUNY Maritime College Stephen B. Luce Library Director and Department Chair, Constantia Constantinou

Constantia Constantinou, State University of New York Maritime College Library Director and Department Chair, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research and lectures at the University of Cyprus, in Cyprus during the 2010-20111 academic year, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She has also been the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service. She is the first SUNY Fulbright Scholar Librarian since 1994. In 2004 she was also awarded the Fulbright Senior Specialist Award in the area of Librarianship. In 2008, SUNY Maritime College professor and alumnus Janis Schulmeisters, LL.B., Maritime professor of Global Business and Transportation’s (GBAT) professor of admiralty law, marine insurance, business and international law was a Fulbright scholar and studied in Latvia.

Ms. Constantinou will begin her research and lectures with the University of Cyprus in the areas of Library Technology, Digitization, and Information Literacy in January, 2011. She will return to SUNY Maritime College and her duties at the College’s Stephen B. Luce Library in June 2011. She is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2010-2011.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to funding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient John Atta Mills, President, of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, Physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, Chairman and Founder, Bose Corporation; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, writer and Daniel Libeskind, Architect

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Upcoming Lecture: A History of Maritime College, 1874-1949

Join us at the Stephen B. Luce Library for an evening lecture presented by Joseph Williams, MA, MLS, on the History of Maritime College: 1874-1949.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

6:00 p.m.

Stephen B. Luce Library, SUNY Maritime College

Reception 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Presentation 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with intermission and Q&A session


RSVP appreciated - 718-409-7237 or

Maritime College is the oldest merchant marine college in the United States. The lecture discusses its historical development from its establishment as the New York Nautical School until its incorporation into SUNY in 1949. The lecture will cover:

  • The daily lives of the students aboard the St. Mary's and Newport.

  • The origins of the New York Nautical School and its development into the 20th century.

  • The acquisition and reconstruction of Fort Schuyler.

Joseph Williams is the Acquisitions Librarian at the Stephen B. Luce Library. Holding an MLS and MA in History, Mr. Williams has made a special study of the history of the College using the archival materials at the Stephen B. Luce Library.

See you there!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New and Improved ILL Services @your Library

New and Improved InterLibrary Loan Service

The Stephen B. Luce Library announces a new and improved interlibrary loan (ILL) service for the 2010-2011 academic year called IILiad@Luce. This service is fully automated and accessible online 24/7, allowing users to submit ILL requests at anytime, receive updates on their requests, and actually receive periodical articles electronically! All users are encouraged to sign up for their personal ILLiad@Luce account to start experiencing this enhanced ILL service. Read more, sign up, and access your ILLiad@Luce account via the Library's web portal,

As a reminder, interlibrary loan service allows users to obtain research materials that are not available in the Stephen B. Luce Library collections and is open to all Maritime College users with a valid Maritime ID card. When requesting ILL materials, please be aware that response time varies from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the source location and type of material.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fort Schuyler History Exhibit

The Stephen B. Luce Library would like to extend a warm welcome to the entire SUNY Maritime College community with a new digital exhibit,
Fort Schuyler: A History from the Stephen B. Luce Library Archives.

Explore the history of Fort Schuyler, view original photographs from our in-house archives, and see firsthand how the Fort evolved from an Army garrison in the 19th century to Maritime College of the 20th century.

The exhibit, which is currently on display in the foyer of the Luce Library, is also digitally mounted on the Library's website at:

The Stephen B. Luce Library wishes all a successful and productive academic year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Tuesday, August 3
We left St. John's last night in a hazy mist that turned into a dense fog by morning. The fog lingered most of the day. It started burning off above us, but a low fog clung to the ocean. It was weird. When you looked up there was sun and blue sky, but when you looked out, there was nothing but a gray mist. The air temperature in these Canadian waters has been rather cool, 65 -70°, a refreshing change from the hot Mediterranean. The ocean is fairly calm as we start to enter back into American waters off the coast of Maine. We're doing about 10 knots so we will get to NY in time. We'll be tracking by Cape Cod sometime later this week.

Today is the last day the library is open. I have to pack materials and supplies that are returning to shore and that is quite a bit. Even though most items remain on the ship, I still had over 40 boxes of stuff to go back last year. This year should be the same.

Monday, August 2
We sailed on in fog all day and finally reached St. John's about 17:00, right around dinner time. We maneuvered near the mouth of the harbor which was barely visible through the fog. Two peaks guard the narrow entrance to the harbor. While we waited for them to get the fast boat readied to take the cadet ashore, a whale swam around the ship to entertain us. The cadets were more excited by the fact they had cell phone service from shore than by the whale.

Finally, the patient made his appearance hobbling along with the aid of the two corpsmen. They got him into the boat and he, one of the corpsmen,two of the mates and two cadets were lowered into the water and headed to St. John's. We are still awaiting their return, and then we'll head south, past Nova Scotia and New England, to home.

Sunday, August 1
This morning we got the news that a cadet had broken his ankle... The doctor deemed it serious enough that it required getting him to a hospital ASAP. The injury was not so serious as to require an airlift, but serious enough to get him off the ship. There were two choices; turn around and go back to the Azores or proceed northwest of our track to the nearest port with medical facilities, St.John's, Newfoundland. The Captain decided that St John's would be our best bet for keeping on our timetable to get back home on the 7th. We made the turn and increased the ship's speed. We should arrive at St.John's late afternoon on Monday and anchor in the harbor. The two Navy medical corpsman on board will take the cadet ashore by launch and accompany him to the hospital. It is assumed that he will be staying there for treatment and then be flown home. We will then proceed home, hopefully arriving on-time. I'll keep you posted.
So, I'll get to see another part of this earth that I've never seen,Newfoundland. Newfoundland is Canada's eastern most province and its newest, having only joined Canada in 1949. It consists of the large island of Newfoundland and the mainland portion called Labrador. It is a huge, sparsely populated region with a rich maritime history. St. John's is the capital and most populous city. Strangely, off the coast of Newfoundland, are two tiny islands that are the last remains of France's North American colonial empire; St. Pierre and Miquelon. An odd thing about Newfoundland that will affect us tonight is that it is in its owntime zone that is 3 hours and 30 minutes less than Greenwich Mean Time. That means we set the clocks back 90 minutes tonight instead of the one hour we were supposed to. We'll have to make up the rest of the 30 minutes another night this week.

With all the excitement, our last Sunday at Sea continued as scheduled. It was a beautiful, sunny day. The barbecue that Chartwell's food service put on for us was as good as usual. Everyone enjoyed the food and the rest. Six days to go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Heading Home

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Saturday, July 31st
This time next Saturday we will all be home. It'll only been 6 weeks for me, but some on board have been away for 3 months. The crossing home so far has been spectacular. Warm weather, light seas, you couldn't ask for better conditions. The clouds broke last night and millions of stars were visible in the sky above the dark ocean. The Milky Way stretched across the sky. Today is equally as beautiful. You can't get too complacent at sea though, it will kill you. The ocean can turn into a roaring nightmare at the drop of a hat.
By the end of this cruise, I will have spent 6 months of my life at sea. That seems like a lot to me, but nothing to some of the "old timers" onboard who have spent years on water. Even Vinnie, the guy who runs the Ship's Store and hardly a professional mariner, has done 30 of these cruises. That's almost 5 years at sea. It's a hard life that these cadets are choosing. Being away from home and loved ones takes its toll. Some will never go to sea again, some will do a few cruises and drop out for shore jobs, but some will do this their whole lives sacrificing a "normal"life to do what they love.

Friday, July 30th
I had two treats this morning. The first, when I headed down to breakfast was the sight of LAND! Capt. Smith had taken us on a track between the two westernmost islands of the Azores, Flores and Corvo. I thought the sight of the cliffs of Brest would be the last land I would see until Montauk Point. It was nice to see the peaks of these volcanoes sticking up through the blue ocean. There is something reassuring about seeing terra firma while at sea, even if you don't land there.

The next treat was, when I opened the library, it was downright COOL. The temperature had dropped 10° from closing last night to a chilly 68°.

Thursday, July 29th
Everyone on the ship has settled back into their routine. The classes are in review mode getting prepared for finals. The last painting will start soon with a fresh new coat of green on the decks. The ship will look mighty spiffy when we arrive back at the fort.

The seas have been calm. No storms ahead in the foreseeable forecast. The weather is warm and cloudy most days, much to the chagrin of those cadets that still have to "shoot some stars" for their celestial navigation assignments. People are still checking out books even though they only have a week to read them. I myself have gone through 6 books including the 1,000 page tome"Dreadnaught" that I have been putting off reading. It's nice not to have the distractions of TV and the internet for a while.

Tuesday, July 27th
The coast of France is behind us and only the open sea is ahead. We left Brest at 10:30 Monday morning. The weather was cool and drizzly.

Now we're back on the Atlantic heading home. As soon as we got to the open ocean we hit a thick fog that lasted most of the day. Thank God the radar's working. The drone of the ship's fog horn cut eerily through the "soup" for hours. By evening it began to clear, but the afternoon's planned lifeboat drill was cancelled. I knew that they'd probably have it in the morning, so I prepared for such. I was right. At 08:30 the alarm rang.

One nice thing was that we crossed into another time zone last night. That means we gained an extra hour's sleep. I'm getting back all of the hours Joe lost sailing over here. We're only 5 hours ahead now and will probably gain and hour every other night.

The cadets are scrambling to finish their work. Teachers are preparing their finals for next week. 11 days to go and counting.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brest, Quimper, and Normandy

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

July 25th - Normandy
On Sunday I took the long awaited trip to Normandy and the D-Day battlegrounds. When I first looked at the map of Brest, I saw that Normandy didn't look so far away, a lot closer than any other attraction that I wanted to see in France like Paris. A lot of other people on the ship felt the same way. The Captain's aide, Anderson Smith, who arranges the tours for us, tried to get a Normandy tour from the ship's agent in Brest. Apparently no one else who goes to Brest goes to Normandy. There were no "canned" tours to Normandy available. Not to be daunted, he was able to rent busses for us to take us up there where we would meet a local guide to take us around.
Two days were set up, Saturday and Sunday, for 80 persons each. They sold out quickly. As it turns out Normandy wasn't that close, the tours were scheduled to be 18 hours long! Most of that was traveling time to and from the region. Originally, I planned to go Saturday because I knew such along day would wear me out and I'd be exhausted Monday when we departed.. I reconsidered and booked for Sunday when I realized that almost everything in Brest would probably be closed that day.
The tours were scheduled to leave at 04:00, way before dawn. We left an hour late in a Breton rain with about 3 hours of the driving in the dark. What a lot of driving it was. It took us 5 hours total to arrive in the town of Bayeux, home of William the Conqueror. Unfortunately, we were running late and didn't get time to walk around the town. We met our guide and headed on our tour of the D-Day battle sites.
We passed some sites, such as the British and German cemeteries, without stopping, while our guide regaled us with facts and stories about the invasion. Our first stop was the town of St. Mère Église. This was the town where the U.S 82nd Airborne paratroopers landed the night before the invasion to act as pathfinders for the invasion force. Located here is the Musée Airborne devoted totally to the airborne aspect of the invasion. Moving on, we went to Utah Beach, the westernmost beast of the invasion and the one with least casualties. Little remains of the gun emplacements or any other traces of the war. Only a few monuments dot the site.
Next we went to Pointe du Hoc, a 150' high, jagged cliff that 225 Army Rangers climbed to successfully capture a Nazi gun emplacement, only 90 survived. The landscape is still littered, like the surface of the moon,with bomb and shell craters 20' deep. A very surreal spot.
We finally drove to Omaha Beach which was the bloodiest of all sites in the area. It's easy to see why it was such a killing field. It is a wide beach at the low tide that the invasion took place. There is no place to hide. The Nazis had an unobstructed view of the entire beach from their machine gun nests on the bluff above the beach. We hiked along the beach and up the bluff where there are now stairs. At the top is the largest of the American war cemeteries in France. It is a magnificently beautiful spot, perfectly manicured bushes, trees and grass with row upon row of stone crosses and Stars of David. Over 9,000 Americans were left here. Many more of the dead were sent home at their families' wishes. All of the stones face home to the west. There is a beautiful chapel and a memorial with the names of those missing or never identified. It is an incredibly moving spot that really makes you appreciate the sacrifices made by those men and women (there are 4 here).
After the cemetery it was time to bid adieu to our guide and head back to the ship. We arrived back at 23:00, exhausted, but inspired by the sites of the day.

July 24th - A visit to Quimper
After being underwhelmed with Brest, I decided to go south on Saturday. The seaside tours that the Ship had arranged had fallen through due to lack of interest and I had already decided to switch to my Normandy trip to Sunday. I had read about the Festival de Cornouaille in a town called Quimper in the Fodor's guidebook and it looked interesting. It was touted as a 9 day street celebration of Celtic heritage held in a quaint Breton town. I confirmed on Friday at the Brest tourist office that the festivalwas still going on for the weekend.
Leaving the ship early on Saturday morning, I encountered a Sandy from theChartwell's food service crew who expressed an interest in going along. So about 09:00 the two of us set off to Quimper, some 70 miles to the south. Luckily, we were able to catch the first Ship's bus of the day into downtown Brest which deposited us off right in front of the Gare SNCF(train station). We got a noon train with a 19:00 return for only 20€, giving us a good 6 hours to roam Quimper. The 70 minute ride was very pleasant, traveling on the super-modern SNCF train through the Breton countryside, making 4 stops in some of the smaller towns on the way. We spotted about a half dozen Maritime cadets on board also getting out of Brest for the day.
When we arrived in Quimper, there didn't seem to be much activity around the station. It was already their 4 hour lunch break and most shops in the vicinity were closed. Asking for directions to the fair, we hiked toward the center of the town. After about a 6 block walk along the lovely, florally decorated river quay, we spotted the first stalls of the festival vendors. Luckily, it was early and the festival wasn't too crowded yet and we were able to move through the stalls without having to fight our way through crowds.
There was an interesting variety of locally produced goods at the stalls along the quay: jewelry, artworks, Quimperware (locally produce pottery) and food. We snacked at a crepe stand, bought some edible seaweed spread and some souvenirs. Unlike the rest of the town, the shops along here stayed open instead of closing for their mid-day siesta which was a nice treat.
The fair led off the quay into the winding streets of the old town. There was a central food market in the town with excellent fresh foods; fruits,cheeses, breads, fish, pastries, etc. We got a variety of stuff there and had lunch on the street French peasant style.
Wandering on further we came to the town square where they had a Celtic orchestra accompanying 2 groups of native dancers having a sort of ancient"dance off'. It was amazing to watch.
Heading back, we went to Quimper's cathedral of St Corentin, the 2nd largest cathedral in France. It was magnificent. The festival continued in the courtyard where they were having an "American Idol" style competition of Celtic music. By evening, the clouds that had kept us cool all day began to drizzle on us and it was time to return to Brest.

July 23rd - Exploring Brest
We docked this morning at 09:00 at Brest France. After anchoring last night off the coast, we met the pilot, entered the harbor and pulled in at at the French Navy base. It took an extraordinary amount of time before we could get off due to the fact we couldn't use our own gangway The tides are too high here so the Navy had to move their gangway in with a crane.

We finally got off the ship at 12:30 and headed to town. It was a long walk to get off the base and almost the same distance to town. It wasn't too bad because the weather was cool and cloudy. Certainly a change from Malta.

The town is pleasant enough. I expected worse. A nice complex of medieval buildings at the town entrance and the new constrution not as bad as I was led to expect. The only problem was they are ripping up the entire main street of the city to make a new boulevard with a light rail running down the center.

Captain Stephens and I had a great dinner at a French restaurant with the cooperation of a very patient waiter who spoke some English. After dinner we hit some of the local shops before they closed. Everything in Europe closes so darn early.

The tour to the coastal towns, that I was supposed to take today, was cancelled due to lack of interest. Too bad, it looked good. The Normandy trips for Saturday and Sunday are both still on. They were very popular. Both are full. I decided to go Sunday. Since it won't be back until late, I probably won't be able to post any pics until I get home 2 weeks from tomorrow. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I may head 60 miles south to Quimper where there is a Celtic festival going on. It looks cool. We will see. Au Revoir for now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Man Overboard!

Man Overboard!

We’ve been spending the last few days steaming around Majorca doing various drills and maintenance during the days. There is lots of activity and its accompanying noise all day around the ship. At night
we’ve been anchoring in Majorca harbor. We have a magnificent view of the bright city at night. Everyone is craving to get off, but it’s just not possible.

The ship has been a beehive of activity. Yesterday was the man overboard drill. We use a dummy made out of old clothes and a life vest. The maneuver is complicated because the ship can’t just stop.
We have to do a figure 8 turn to come back and get the victim.

Also on deck, some cadets were practicing the valuable art of plugging leaks. They do this on a special jig made of a steel plate with various size holes in it through which is forced sea water from a high pressure fire hose. They shove various objects in until they get the leaks under control. In the process they also get soaked which is a welcome relief in the hot, Mediterranean sun.

This morning they lowered the lifeboat to practice lowering and launching the boat. They took it a little away from the ship, then returned and raised it back up. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the electric winch and the boat had to be lifted back up by “cadet power”.

We’re going to steam some more around Majorca this afternoon, then head southwest and west to the Straits of Gibraltar and the open ocean. We should be there by Monday, ready for the voyage north up the Atlantic coast of Europe to Brest. The cool Atlantic waters will bring some relief to the warmth of the Ship.

Richard Delbango
Ship’s Librarian SST 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010


(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Thursday, July 22nd
We lost sight of the northeast coast of Spain last night and are taking a diagonal track across the Bay of Biscay directly toward Brest. As I write this, we are some 16 hours away from docking. The ocean is rougher and much cooler here. The ship has chilled down to where I have to wear a light jacket in my cabin and the rest of the ship, except for the library which is a comfortable 78°.

The tours of France have been announced and I am going to register for two. I hope to get on Saturday's 18 hour tour to Normandy. It looks great. We'll be going to the battlegrounds, cemeteries and museums in the historic region. They are repeating it on Sunday, but I think I'd be too exhausted come Monday morning if I took that one. There will be a shorter (4 hour) tour to some of the coastal towns on Friday and Saturday. I'm going to try for that one for Friday. There is another 5 hour hiking tour that looks good, but I think I'll either try to get to the Celtic festival in Quimper (60 mi. south of Brest) or just see what there is to do in Brest.

We're already almost to our last port. After that it is 12 days for the crossing and we're home.

Wednesday, July 21st
We will arrive in Brest, France on Friday morning. We will be docked at the French Naval base there. For those of you who know little about our next port, here is a condensation of the fact sheet that I have written for the cadets and crew.

France's Brittany region is a distinct area on the country's northwest coast. It is a vast plateau of rocky, sandy soil and scrub trees. It has a rugged coastline with many bays, inlets, estuaries, capes and offshore islands dotted by numerous lighthouses. The area is populated by the Bretons, a Celtic people related more to the Irish and Welsh than the Gallic people of rest of France. While French is the official language, Breton, similar to Gaelic, is also spoken. Most names in the region arein Breton. Brittany was contested for centuries by the French and English and as such, there are many medieval castles and cathedrals located throughout the district. There are several cities in the region most notable being Rennes and Nantes, and many small, picturesque towns. Brittany is mainly agricultural, known especially for its apples used to make alcoholic cider. Fishing is also an important industry in a region that has such a long coastline along the Atlantic in the southwest and the English Channel in the north.

Brest is best known as the port of the French Navy's Atlantic fleet. Sited in a natural harbor on the Atlantic at the mouth of the Penfeld River, the city has a rich military history. Seized by the Germans in WWII and made the base of their submarine activities, Brest suffered severe damage by Allied bombing during the war. As such, most of the pre-war historic buildings were destroyed. Brest was re-built with modern, rather sterile, architecture giving it the reputation of "one of France's ugliest cities."

It is not without some charm. Its waterfront does have a few remainin gold buildings and museums as well as beautiful views across the bay of the Plougastel Peninsula. One of the City's oldest monuments is the Tour Tanguy, a 14th century lookout tower. Crossing the Penfeld River by thebridge next to the tower (the longest lift-bridge in Europe) takes one toBrest's medieval castle which houses the Musèe de la Marine, the navalmuseum. Nearby is the Musèe Municipal, an art museum displaying French, Flemish and Italian treasures from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Europe's largest aquarium is located in Brest at the futuristic Ocèanopolis center.
About 65 miles south of the city is the medieval village of Quimper. The village hosts the 9 day Celtic extravaganza, the Festival de Cornouaille, in mid-July. The town is also home to the beautiful, gothic Cathedrale St-Corentin, the 2nd largest cathedral in France. Next to the cathedralis the Musee des Beaux-Arts housing more than 400 works of art fromartists such as Rubens, Corot and Picasso. Quimber is known for its distinctive earthenware pottery.
Further south in what is considered to be the prettiest area of Brittanyis the town of Pont-Aven. It was made famous by the artist Paul Gauguin who established an artist's colony there. Still further south lays the village of Carnac, known for its beaches and the ancient stone monuments. The 6,500 year old monuments are contemporary to Stonehenge in England and are equally impressive.

The city of Nantes is at the southernmost corner of Brittany. It is the cultural center of the region. There are many historic building, museums and a cathedral here.
Northern Brittany, on the Channel coast, is full of many quaint fishing villages. To the east is the Channel port of St. Malo. Here ferries embark for England on a regular basis. Just east of St. Malo, in the southwest corner of Normandy is the famed Mt. St. Michel. This impressive fortress/monastery sits on a mount that is attached to the mainland at lowtide and becomes an island at high tide. The tides here are among the most extreme in the world, rising some 45' with the tide rushing in with a tidal bore.
Dinan, south of St. Malo is one of the best preserved medieval towns in France. There is a medieval festival held there the 3rd week of July that includes jousting, a market, parades and music.
In the easternmost section of Brittany is Rennes, the capital of the region. It is a mixture of medieval and 18th century architecture due to a fire which destroyed half the City in 1720. Sites here are theParlement de Bretagne, the Musèe de Bretagne and the Musèe de Beaux Arts.
It looks as if we will have a tour of Normandy, arranged by the College, on Saturday. This will be a very long tour, about 18 hours, and will take us to all of the historic landmarks in the neighboring region. Everyone is looking foreword to this. Several other shorter tours of Brittany are also being offered.

Monday, July 19th
As I write this we are passing through the Straits of Gibraltar out of the Mediterranean and out into the Atlantic. Africa is a couple miles off on our port, Europe off our starboard. These are the legendary Pillars of Hercules; Morocco's Atlas Mountains and the Rock of Gibraltar.
We were shrouded in fog for the early part of the day then it slowly lifted into a haze so that both of the Pillars were barely visible as we passed. As we enter the ocean there is a noticeable change. The waves are higher, the air and sea are cooler. The fog was caused by this cooler ocean water hitting the warm Mediterranean.
This is the fourth time that the Ship has gone through the Straits this year and twice last year. These have become very familiar waters for our cadets and crew. This area is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
As we turn north toward France, we've been warned to secure all of our belongings. We've gotten complacent with the Mediterranean's calm waters. It was like we were sailing on a lake for the last few weeks. TheAtlantic and especially the Bay of Biscay can be extremely unpredictable. We will see. On to Brest.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Drills.....and then BBQ

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Sunday, July 18th
We had our last Sunday at Sea in the Mediterranean today and the day was fantastic. It was sunny and warm all day....By the time I got up and out the barbecue had started on the sun deck. Almost everyone had a very restful day. Most of the cadets worked on their sun
tans instead of their studies today. After dinner of steak, potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, I finally reported for work at 18:00, mostly to show the evening's movies.

Next Sunday we'll be in Brest and the next, and last, Sunday at Sea we will be in the mid-Atlantic on the way home.

Adieu to the Mediterranean, it was beautiful.

Saturday, July 17th
We've been spending the last few days steaming around Majorca doing various drills and maintenance during the days. There is lots of activity and its accompanying noise all day around the ship. At night we've been anchoring in Majorca harbor. What a magnificent view of the
bright city we have at night.

The ship has been a beehive of activity. Yesterday was the man overboard drill in which an unwitting cadet was thrown overboard and had to be rescued. Just kidding. We use a dummy made out of old clothes and a life vest. The ship can't just stop. We have to do a figure 8 turn to
come back and get the victim.

Also on deck, some cadets were practicing the valuable art of plugging leaks. They do this on a special jig made of a steel plate with various size holes in it through which is forced sea water from a high pressure fire hose. They shove various objects in until they get the leaks under
control. In the process they also get soaked which may be enjoyable in the hot, Mediterranean sun, but probably not so much if we were sailing in the Arctic.

We're going to steam some more around Majorca this afternoon, then head southwest and west to the Straits of Gibraltar and the open ocean. We should be there by Monday morning ready for the voyage north up the Atlantic coast of Europe to Brest.

Tomorrow is Sunday at Sea, our last in the Med. We're all praying for good weather for the barbecue and day of rest. So far, the weather has been spectacular. Let's hope it holds for one more day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Balearic Islands

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

The Captain has taken us on a pleasant detour through the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. We lost sight of land after we left the Straits of Messina the other night and were on the open sea for 2 days. Seeing the lovely hills of Majorca was a pleasant diversion this morning. Everyone has settled back into their routines.....Soon, we'll head southwest toward the Straits of Gibraltar and the open sea. I hope the ocean will be calm. We've been spoiled by the gentle

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back to Sea

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Monday, July 12th
We left Malta about 09:30 this morning, saying goodbye to a fantastic
port. The history, the culture, the swimming, the food; all in close
proximity to the ship. What more could you want in a port? We had three
days of excellent weather. The Maltese people were warm and welcoming.
With a very low crime rate, I felt safe walking the darkest streets at

I spent the last night on shore at the dock area doing my internet stuff,
buying magazines for the library and enjoying a cold soda. The pier was
crowded for a Sunday night because they were showing the final of the
World Cup on dozens of TVs all along the wharf. The Europeans love their

When we left Malta, we headed northeast, then north to go around Sicily
and east through the Straits of Messina. It's night now and I just took
an evening break and saw the coast of Italy on the starboard and Sicily
off the port side. It is a beautiful sight to behold. Tomorrow we'll be
in the open Mediterranean heading west toward the Atlantic. We'll reach
Brest, France in about 11 days and gain an hour on the way.

Monday, July 12, 2010


(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

Malta - Day 3
On Sunday I took the shortest of the excursions arranged by the Ship. We started out at the Malta Quarry Museum. Every building on Malta is built from the yellow, natively quarried limestone. This museum, set in a depleted quarry, told the history of the process. We headed south to the southern cliffs of Malta and the Blue Grotto. This was as beautiful as the grotto in Gozo was. Absolutely gorgeous! We finished with a trip to a local fishing village and its colorful and fragrant fish market. I went back to the ship torest up for the last night in Malta. Monday it’s back to sea.
Malta - Day 2
Saturday was more restful for me. I took a trip, also arranged by the College to the Blue Lagoon on the tiny island of Comino. We travelled by an excursion boat filled mostly with young Europeans in Malta for an English immersion summer program. We arrived at the Blue Lagoon and were greeted by a spectacular sight of the clearest, bluest water that I have ever seen. Surrounding it was a rugged, rocky hillside with no sandy beach, just rocks all the way to the water. Perched on these rocks were thousands of daytrippers that you had to practically climb over to get to the water. After finding my own little perch, I cautiously climbed down the rocks to the water. It was spectacular, clean and cool. I stayed in for hours. I swam away from the crowds into several hidden caves. One of these caves opened out into the open sea. It was amazing. I didn’t want to get out.
Malta - Day 1
We docked in the magnificent harbor of the capital, Valleta, about 08:00 on Friday July 9. The entrance into the harbor is breathtaking as you sail past the ancient fortresses at the mouth of the harbor. We docked at the Pinto dock which was a prime location, right at the foot of the city wall, easy to get to the City. The only problem is the City is at the top of the wall and the wall is 100’ – 150’ high!
I wasn’t going to tackle the City on the first day. . I was scheduled to go on a tour of Gozo, the western island. The vans left at 09:30 for the 40 minute trip across the island of Malta to the ferry. The ferry to the island took another 20 minutes. The scenery on both legs of the journey was spectacular. We drove through rolling hills of gold dotted by small towns all built of their yellow sandstone.We were met by a bus on Gozo to continue our journey. The first stop was the ancient ruin of the Ggantija temples. These are among the ancient structures of the prehistoric residents of Gozo that are 1000 years older than the pyramids in Egypt. They are the oldest standing, human structures in the world. They are believed to be temples to the Mother goddess (Mother Nature) because the outline of the temple has the shape of the small Mother deity idols found in many primitive cultures.

We moved on to see the capital of Gozo Victoria Rabat. This is a small, crowded city topped off by The Citadel, a castle at the top of the highest point in the city. After a laborious climb up to the Citadel, we had a more laborious one inside of it up to the tops of its walls. After the climb down and some time for shopping in the City it was off to a great lunch at one of Gozo’s finest hotels.After lunch we heads southwest to the sea and the amazingly beautiful cliffs at a spot called the Azure Lagoon. Here we were taken by boatmen in small, colorfully painted boats through grottos gut naturally through the cliffs by the sea. Out in the open sea, we entered several other caves and saw the Azure window, a rock formation framing a fantastic view of the sea.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Off Malta

(Excerpt from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

We've been anchored since last night about 13 miles off the coast of Malta, right near two oil platforms. We're pulling into Valleta harbor tomorrow morning about 08:00. I heard there are some webcams of the harbor. Look for us. We should be docked very close to the city because it appears that the harbor is the center of the city. We're at, what I'm told, is one of the deepest anchorages in the world. We are surrounded by ships, mostly empty tankers, that are parked here awaiting orders.

I've got some tours lined up for next 3 days if they all run. The Regiment Office arranged a nice selection. It looks as if you could spend a couple weeks here to see all the sights Malta has to offer. It seems like a very interesting place. There are pre-historic ruins, Roman ruins, fortresses, huge cliffs, quaint fishing villages, Medieval and Renaissance palaces, and churches. LOTS of churches. I think they have one for every 1,000 inhabitants of this country. From the travel video I ran last night, Valetta looks a lot like Venice without the canals.

Link to webcam at Grand Harbour, Valletta

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

(Excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)

July 6th, Malta Bound
The Mediterranean is beautiful. Calm and peaceful. It's been sunny for the last four days and getting hot. It's going to be scorching in Malta. Meanwhile we're just sailing along.

The Regiment Office is arranging some tours for us. They should be good..There is plenty to do and see on these islands.

July 4th, Happy Independence Day
Happy Independence Day everyone. What a difference this year's 4th is from last. Last year we were heading home at this time. This year we still have over a month to go. Last year it poured on our celebration. This year the weather has been gorgeous. The best thing is that this year it luckily corresponded with our Sunday at Sea and that means relaxation for most of us and barbecue for all.

There were no classes today. The only cadets working were those on watch or with extra duty jobs. The hardest working people on board today were the Chartwell's Food Service people who toiled all day getting the barbecue set up and cooking for over 500 hungry sailors. Thanks to Henry and his crew who did such a great job as usual. Burgers, franks and chicken for lunch; steaks and shrimp for dinner. Between meals, we had some fireworks as cadets shot off some expired flares and smoke marker grenades. Not the Macy's fireworks, but it would have to do.

We are somewhere in the mid-Mediterranean Sea, heading east. We will probably sail between Corsica and Sardinia to do maneuvers before heading to Malta. Everyone is getting anxious to get to land, especially to swim.

July 2nd, Refueling
We anchored last night, after I went to bed, only yards from the town of Gibraltar. After dropping anchor about 02:00, the bunker barge (really a small tankership) arrived. They tied up alongside, hooked up their giant fuel hose to us and began pumping over 1,000 tons of low sulphur ships oil into our tanks. I don't know what the gallon count is, but it is a heck of a lot.

The weather is warm and hazy, with some light intermittent drizzle. The Mediterranean is calm. Since we have a week to get to Malta, it is going to be a slow, meandering journey...Meanwhile, the cadets are keeping busy drilling and painting the ship. Last night they were practicing lowering the lifeboats right outside the Officer's Mess at dinner time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In the Mediterranean Sea

(excerpts from Ship's Librarian, Rich Delbango)
Saturday, June 26
We left Dublin shortly after midnight this morning and we're now making headway south to the Mediterranean.

Tomorrow will be the first Sunday at Sea of the 2nd cruise. If the weather permits, they'll be a barbecue for all on the sun deck. Because it is the beginning of the 2nd part of the term and classes just began today, most cadets will have classes for at least part of the day. Next week there should be no classes for our second Sunday which also happens to be the 4th of July. Irregardless, I still have to work because thelibrary is open every day we are at sea, holiday or not.

Sunday, June 27
We hit some rough water, not the worst I've ever seen, but uncomfortable..The ship rolled all night. Anything not tied down rolled back and forthon the decks, including me in my bunk.

.....I was happy to see that things had calmed down enough for our Sunday at Sea barbecue which was already going on out on the sun deck. I wound up having burgers and hot dogs for breakfast. Yum! The day was gorgeous, sunny in the mid 70s.

Monday, June 28
It has been a real quiet day. The seas were calm and the sun was strong. Everyone is settling in to the 2nd half of the cruise. We're in the Atlantic, off the northern coast of Spain I think. It's hard to tell because the interactive map with the Seawave e-mail system dosn't seem to be working this year and my hand held GPS seems to be on the fritz too. I can always go up to the map room and ask where we are, but it's a long way up from where I'm stationed (8 decks).

We're cruising fairly slowly, below 10 knots. We'll probably make it to the mouth of the Mediterranean by Wednesday and anchor by Gibraltar to take on fuel on Thursday. Since we're not docking at Gibraltar, I'm going to have to see if I can use my binoculars to spot any of my little monkey friends on the top of the rock.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ms. Kenney

Ms. Kenney aboard the Empire State VI
June 25
Anne Kenney, the internationally known chief academic and administrative officer of the Cornell library system who is also an innovator and expert in digital library development and management went aboard the Empire State VI for a tour of SUNY Maritime College’s training ship. She was given a complete tour of the ship spending the most time in the ship’s library with the ship’s librarian Richard Delbango where they discussed many maritime trade topics. Ms. Kenney was also given a descriptive account of the unique hands-on training that SUNY Maritime provides through their training ship. It was a pleasure to have her aboard.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sea Change

(Excerpts from the ship's librarian Richard Delbango)

June 24

The old Empire State VI looked in good shape, no worse for the wear of the last 6 week journey. We were greeted by rousing cheers by the cadets that were leaving and couldn't wait to go home. The transition was slow as those who were departing had to vacate their spaces before we could move in. I met with Joe, my predecessor who showed me all of the improvements he made to the Library since May 10. He helped me get my stored bags from the library up to my newly repaired cabin and I helped him get his stuff out for the flight home and then he was off.


Since my last post, I found out that the ports we will be traveling to on the second cohort are Malta and Brest, France While Malta looks beautiful, I have learned that, due to destruction from bombing in WWII, Brest is a very modern, industrial looking city with little old world charm.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Dublin Castle


(Excerpts from the ship’s librarian: Photos by Joseph Williams)

June 22
Dublin, of course, is a very lovely city so in the limited amount of time
I have I've been trying to make the most of it.


Monday, June 21, 2010

To The Bay of Biscay

June 19

(Excerpts from the Ship’s librarian: Photo by Joseph Williams)

As we emerged from the Straits of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic, a change has overtaken the water. Where once the smooth seas of the Mediterranean lay beneath us, it has been replaced by the slow and steady rocking of the Atlantic. The water looks different visually as well – it is somewhat grayer. But, on the good side I did see a dolphin or a small whale today peaking up with its dorsal fin. It was just a passing glance and I didn’t see it after the first look.
We are now about 80 miles off the coast of Portugal and moving at roughly full steam north to the Bay of Biscay and then the waters of Great Britain

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Balearic Isles

(Excerpts from the Ship's Librarian: Graphic by

We are finally pulling out from the Balearic Islands today and our course is set for the Straits of Gibraltar. We can expect to be there within a couple of days, and then out to the Atlantic, and then the cool waters of the Irish Sea.

Monday, June 14, 2010

At Sea En Route To Dublin

Students using ship's library

(Excerpts from the Ship's Librarian: Photos by Joseph Williams)

June 11

Ships naturally need to communicate. In the old days, they used to use flags (this was after they discovered that burning smoke signals on a wooden ship was not a good idea). Flags, however, have become obsolete and are now used mostly as decoration. Radio communication predominates, but also heavily used are lights and sound.

June 14

At the time of this writing we are passing through the strait between Sardinia and Corsica again following back our tracks toward Gibraltar. Weather and seas have been pretty calm; like they have been through most of the Mediterranean.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Williamson Circles

Tower of Winds: Greece

(Excerpts from the ship's librarian: Photo by Joe Williams)

June 9:
I found out today is that one cannot simply stop a ship like a car. In order to stop a ship, you need to have about 2 miles (or more depending on your speed). So if something comes up in your way, you can’t simply hit the brakes so to speak. Rather, you need to maneuver the ship around the obstacle. That is why among other reasons you need to have watches, and you need to keep ships at a safe distance. The larger the vessel, the harder it is to stop it. And how do you stop it? By reversing the engines, yet you can imagine how much power it would take to stop something as big as an oil tanker. Now, imagine this situation and somebody goes overboard. The best you can do is throw them one of those life rings and execute a circle (called a Williamson circle). The person in the water has to wait until the ship can complete the circle and hopefully they can fish you out.

QQML Conference 2010

Constantia Constantinou, the Stephen B. Luce Library Director and Department Chair attended the International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, (QQML 2010), in Chania, Greece. Constantia presented two papers “Improving Student Academic Performance through Library Instruction” and “Measuring Library User Expectations with User Satisfaction” and chaired the session on Information and Learning. Over 50 countries were represented at the QQML 2010 conference.