5/31/2016 Update from Laurel:
We are just south of the Azores islands and seem to have run into some light showers, but otherwise everything is swell and the seas are calm!
With some time to kill, I had the pleasure of visiting the bridge and chatting with some of the cadets about just how they get the old Empire State to port. They were very friendly and great at explaining all manner of business that happens up there! Many of the things they showed me, aside from the “parking break,” sounded simple in theory but clearly required lots of special knowledge.
So, what’s up there exactly? The bridge looks like what you might expect, with several computer monitors and a nice old ship’s wheel. On the computer screens, an electronic chart coordinates all sorts of information, from our position, course and speed to the location of other ships in our area. There’s also a large box that tells our direction so that the cadet who is steering can correct or turn the ship as needed, hopefully avoiding small sailboats or whales. An ancient telephone also exists for chatting with the guys and gals in the engine room. It's rotary, so I may be one of the few people aboard who still remembers how to use it!
We’re due to putter past Gibraltar around midnight tonight, perhaps enjoying some late evening views of Morocco’s Atlas mountains. Check back in soon for more updates on our progress!