Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Update from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:

We've left our last port, Cadiz, and it was a memorable one. When we docked Tuesday, we looked for the buses to take us to town and we were told none were
needed because the main part of Cadiz was at the end of the dock. Right they were!  

The old city, the best part, was right at our doorstep.  This city was amazing.  Its history stretches back 3500 years to the Phoenicians who made a trading port here.  It has also been ruled by the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors and the present-day Spanish. Columbus sailed two of his four journeys to the New World from this port. It has been attacked by the English, Dutch, French and Barbary pirates over the years.  Huge walls remain around much of the old city as a testament to those ancient battles. The old city is a warren of alleys and squares dating from the 1500's.  Cadiz had the monopoly on Spanish new world trade from 1700 and the fortunes brought in built this city as it is today.  The magnificent cathedral in the center is a testament to the wealth of this trade.  The streets are filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. 

There was plenty for everyone to do in the old city alone.  But, present-day Cadiz is much larger.  The new city to the east, also has a trove of attractions.  There are two gorgeous beaches there that were in walking distance of the pier and many of the cadets spent their time swimming and soaking in the sun. The College, as usual, arranged some great trips.  There was a tree safari with a climbing obstacle course and zip-lining.  There was also a jeep safari that took us east along the beautiful coast as far as Trafalgar, visiting cliffs, a fishing village and some fun beach towns. In addition, there were also three days of trips to Seville, 100 miles to the North.  Cadets got to visit the Spanish Square, the Cathedral, the Alcazar Palace and many of the other sites of this great city as they could fit in.  

With everyone back on the ship and accounted for, we departed on Saturday morning, heading west to return home.  We have 16 days of sailing and lots of work ahead of us until the end of this voyage.  On to New York.
Richard Delbango

Please enjoy some of the images captured:

Monday, July 27, 2015


The ship's librarian, Rich Delbango has forwarded some photos to share.  Hope that you all enjoy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Update from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:
Ships need fuel and the Empire State VI is no exception.  After traveling thousands of miles, it was
time to gas up for the journey home.  This is known as "bunkering" in nautical terminology. The bunkering services at Gibraltar are well known to sailors for their price and convenience.  It is located at the convergence of two great continents, Europe and Africa, and the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It is probably the busiest area in the world for shipping.

 The techniques of bunkering are essential for mariners to learn.  On Monday morning we anchored off the coast of Gibraltar.  The bunkering tanker pulled up aside and connected its hoses and began pumping.

Smoking and cell phone use were banned from the ship for the duration of the process as the smell of petroleum filled the air.  

The process took 9 hours as we took on tons of fuel. Filled up by 2000 (8 PM), we raised anchor and headed out to the Atlantic and our last port of Cadiz. We are scheduled to arrive Tuesday evening, July 21, for 4 days of rest and relaxation before crossing the ocean and returning back to New York.
Richard Delbango
Ship's Librarian 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sailing the Strait of Messina

Update from the ship's librarian, Richard Delbango:

The Captain decided that the distance from Mallorca to Cadiz was a little too short for us to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean.  He took us on a detour east so that those of us who joined the 'B" cruise could get a glimpse of Italy.  

This morning we entered the Strait of Messina, the narrow channel between Sicily and the "toe" of the Italian mainland. At its narrowest, the Strait is only 2.5 miles wide and only 12 miles at its widest.  We're so close you feel that you could swim to Italy. We should get through by this evening, then swing around to the east and sail a few more days on the calm Mediterranean to Cadiz.

Richard Delbango  
Ship's Librarian

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sailing Around

Update from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:

Since we departed Mallorca harbor last Saturday, we haven't gotten very far. Actually, only about two miles or so away, still in sight of Palma.  The Captain decided to take advantage of the calm seas around here to have 3 days of practical seamanship ship drills.  These include damage control exercises, boat drills, equipment operation and man-overboard maneuvers. We anchored for 2 of the nights, but otherwise we've been just leisurely sailing around in circles at a very slow pace. The cadets love the fact that we are still in cell phone range and the decks have been full of them calling and texting home in their spare time.  We started moving west this morning toward our next destination which is Cadiz, Spain on the Atlantic coast. On the way, we are scheduled to stop for fuel at Gibraltar at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

Richard Delbango

Friday, July 10, 2015

Palma, Mallorca!

News from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:

After many trials and tribulations of international diplomacy, we finally reached a port that welcomed us: Palma, Mallorca. The largest of Spain's Balearic Islands, Mallorca is a tropical paradise in the Mediterranean.  Having cruised the Mediterranean for what seemed like forever, and viewing islands that we could not dock at, everyone aboard was ready to set foot on dry land. We entered the Palma harbor Tuesday evening passing a half dozen of the largest cruise ships afloat already in port. The marinas were also full with private boats and yachts, one almost the size of the Empire State. The city is full of tourists from around the world.

The Empire State docked around 18:00 at the furthest dock in the harbor.  When the ship was secured, leave was granted and the some of the cadets and crew were off to enjoy themselves in this cosmopolitan city. It is a picturesque town with an ancient history reflected in its architecture.

Cadets are enjoying the variety of food available at the hundreds of restaurants and cafes. Shopping is everywhere, from Cartier jewelry to cheap souvenirs.  Pearls are a specialty of Mallorca.  It seems that every other store is a pearl shop.

The College arranged several tours and activities to keep everyone occupied.  The most popular was a tour of the Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves), about 50 miles east of Palma.  These caves are chock full of stalactites and stalagmites formed through millions of years of erosion.  There is also a large underground lake at the bottom and we were treated to a short classical music concert by musicians sailing on a lighted rowboat in the darkened cave. It was an amazing experience. 


There were also snorkeling and scuba tours as well as a deep sea fishing expedition.  On Friday evening, the local water park will be opened exclusively for the cadets and crew who want to have some water fun.  The beaches have also been popular. There is a small, rocky beach that is in walking distance from the ship.  The buses that take us to town also stop at the large town beach just east of the city. The Mediterranean is the perfect temperature for swimming.

We ship out again on the morning of July 11 and it is back to work for 10 days or so until our next port.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Independence Day at Sea!

News from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:

Because everyone on board had to stick to the schedule, the 4th of July was no holiday from work on the Empire State VI.  Regular Saturday work and class schedules were in effect. That didn't mean we didn't get to celebrate.  The crew from Chartwell's food service set up big barbeque grills on the sun deck, grilling burgers, franks and chicken breasts. 

There were plenty of salads to go along with the meats and ice cream sundaes for dessert.  

They even set up a cotton candy machine!

Many cadets got into the spirit decking themselves out in red, white and blue.  Flags were everywhere. For dinner, Chartwells broke out steaks and baked potatoes as well as a huge American flag cake. 

No fireworks at sea though. Even barring local laws, fireworks could be misconstrued as emergency flares.

The Mediterranean has been beautiful since we've entered it. Sunny and hot. We're slowly steaming around in calm waters awaiting final confirmation that Palma, Majorca (Mallorca) will be our next port on July 7. Although there is some disappointment about missing Split, cadets and crew are anxious to hit dry land somewhere.

Rich Delbango
Ship's Librarian

Welcome New Library Director, Kristin Hart

The Stephen B. Luce Library is pleased to introduce Kristin Hart as our new Library Director. She brings with her a wealth of experience that includes the leadership of  Adelphi University's Manhattan Campus library. She holds degrees in Librarianship from Queens College and Educational Technology from Adelphi University. With Ms. Hart's leadership we look forward to the many future successes of the Stephen B. Luce Library.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sailing to Split..err, Somewhere Else

News from the ship's librarian, Rich Delbango:

 Sailing to Split..err, Somewhere Else

There has been no land in sight since Sunday.  The seas south of Belfast have been mildly active.  The ship has been constantly rolling, but nothing too bad other than one or two rough jolts.  The food locker in the Officer's Mess was more than a little messy on Wednesday morning when all of the salad dressings and yogurt spilled. I haven't heard of anything worse.  The sun eluded us the whole way until it finally showed itself on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday remains sunny as we near the Mediterranean.

The cadets and crew have settled into a busy routine of classes, work and some rest and relaxation where they can get it. The Library has been busy in the evenings. Everyone was looking forward to arriving at Split, Croatia next week.  That is until Wednesday afternoon.  The Captain informed us that, despite months of planning, Croatia doesn't want us.  There has been some disagreement between the U.S State Department and Croatia over our berthing rights.  Captain Smith, resourceful as usual, has been scrambling to find us another port to keep us on schedule. It looks (about 99% certain) that we will be going to Majorca, Spain instead. This means our last two ports will both be in Spain.  At least we won't have to deal with any leftover Croatian Kunas (money) as we will have the Euro in both ports. I'm sure the cadets won't be disappointed with Majorca as it is a lively, cosmopolitan island with lots of entertainment and great beaches. So as we push on toward the Strait of Gibraltar, we have to remember that a training cruise is all about the journey, not the destination.

 Rich Delbango 

Here are a couple of photos: