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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Grecian Isles

Joe being ferried to Andros

(Excerpts from the Ship's librarian June 5 -7
Photos by Joseph Williams)

June 5
Today was an enjoyable day at Andros, the northernmost island of the Cyclades.We zoomed over the water and arrived at the dock where groups of SUNY Maritime people began to outpopulate the native Androsians. The town has a population of 1,500 and you have to figure about 600 of us went for the day trip.

The town of Andros itself is small, but terraced along a mountainside. The pastel-colored architecture is just plain awesome to look at and has many narrow streets.

Street in Andros

June 6
After we arrived in Athens, I took leave early in the day and went into the city by myself using the metro. The walk to the subway was rather long, but I think it was closer than Malaga. I landed at the Monastratiki stop and looked up to see the famed Acropolis of Athens.

Scene In Athens
Joe at the Acropolis in Athens
June 7
Today, I visited the island of Aegina in the morning
where I saw the Temple of Aphaia, which are very well-preserved Doric ruins..
Temple of Aphaia in Aegina

Monday, June 7, 2010

At Sea

Students Plugging a leak aboard the ship

(Excerpts from the Ship's Librarian, May 27 - June 2: Photos by Joseph Williams)

May 27:
Midnight on The Bridge:
While on the bridge, I was first introduced to the technical navigationaland GPS equipment they have. While their GPS equipment does not providevocal directions such as, “Turn starboard at the next reef.” The system is incredibly intricate where the navigators lay in waypoints. In the training ship, they also use paper charts to plot the ship’s course. They use triple backup systems since this is an educational voyage, and safety is paramount.
By the morning, we had left the island of Majorca behind and now we are sitting and recalibrating the compasses in front of the island of Minorca..

Today we saw the first drops of rain in about 2 weeks with apassing shower, and the sea has been remarkably calm. Today, we also passed through the Straits of Bonifacio, which separates the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. I only saw Sardinia, and Corsica was out of sight.

So last night we passed through the Straits of Bonifucio between Sardinia and Corsica.Tomorrow we will pass through another strait, this one will be the Strait of Messina which was considered perilous in ancient times because of its rocks and whirlpools. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, “The strait was greatly feared by sailors in antiquity, mainly because of the rocks and whirlpools known as Scylla and Charybdis, personified as female monsters in Greek mythology.”

The ship today went through the Strait of Messina and now we are in theIonian Sea. It was rather dramatic looking, since there is a wall of mountains that suddenly drop into this patch of open water. I took some pictures and it was somewhat hazy out, but I did get good views of MountEtna.

June 2:
We are now in the realm of Odysseus, and much like the “man of twists andturns” the ship is going on its own odyssey through the famed Aegean. We have already passed our anchorage and Andros, and now we are going tobe circling islands. All of the ones I have seen have been very rugged,very mountainous, and many are covered with windmill farms. Generally speaking, everything thus far has been very scenic.
One of the things I have noticed is that our students have an intense curiosity about where we are going – not just for the recreational stuff –but they also want to learn more about the history of the ports andcountries that we are visiting. There is something beautiful about taking two weeks to get to a port since it allows time for curiosity to build.