Fri 12 Aug 2011
Today marks the 45th day of Cruise 2 2011. We are now two days out of Pago Pago, American Samoa with eleven days to go to reach our last liberty port, San Diego, CA.
Let me tell you it has been a very eventful and entirely enjoyable month and a half for me and I’m sure for all our cadets too. The port arrivals and departures have gone smooth as silk thanks to the hard work and dedication of our deck and engineering faculty, staff and students. Our port stays in Brisbane, Auckland and Pago Pago, each offering their own unique experiences to the crew, were surely memorable for everyone in some way. The fine photos and accompanying text appearing in this blog, largely the work of our terrific Follow the Voyage coordinator Roxanna Andrews and her husband Mike (also the vessel’s 2nd Assistant Engineer), have captured well the many adventures our cadets have had in these three ports.
One of the purposes of the Golden Bear’s visit to the ports selected for this cruise was to act as a semi-official representative of the California Maritime Academy, California State University, and the United States. I’m happy to say that our cadets performed that ambassadorial role quite admirably. I heard nothing but praise for our students from many Australian and New Zealand officials present at the on-board receptions in Brisbane and Auckland. Our students were complemented for their polite manners, professional knowledge and mature bearing. We can all be proud of them.
While the port visits provide the most interesting photos in the Follow the Voyage blog, the real meat and potatoes of cruise is the day-to-day life on board and the practical training that the cadets receive during the transits between ports. Roxanna has been faithfully documenting the hard work (and horseplay) that make a Golden Bear cruise a truly unique experience. I hope all you viewers now have a much better idea about just what goes on aboard the ship during her two sixty day journeys each summer.
A somewhat unexpected bonus for our deck cadets on this cruise was the ability to use, for the first time, the new Navigation Laboratory for actual training. In the morning, 1st class cadets were given a two-hour practical training session on the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) in which they simulated taking a loaded containership outbound from Port Elizabeth, NJ through New York Harbor. Quite challenging! In the afternoon, 3rd class deck cadets used the simulator for three hours of practical training in manual radar plotting for collision avoidance. Texas Maritime’s Captain Herb Walling and I conducted this class, the cadets’ first experience with radar. We were most impressed with the student’s enthusiasm and performance; the new simulator operated flawlessly.
Even though cruise is now three quarters of the way finished, there remains much work to be done before we pull into Vallejo on the 27th. Many first class deck cadets still have to complete their celestial program, there are 3rd class steering assessments to finish, and many other STCW competencies in watch standing and other practical skills must be successfully demonstrated by all cadets in order to pass cruise. And of course, the entire vessel must be cleaned from stem to stern prior to her next eight month docking at CMA.
On the vessel operational side, an Underwater Inspection in Lieu of Dry-docking (UWILD) must be conducted in San Diego. This involves, among other things, a diver inspection of the entire underwater portion of the ship’s hull, rudder and propeller. Also, a deadweight survey will be started to allow our classification society ABS and the US Coast Guard to determine whether or not the vessel will be required to undergo an inclining experiment to assess the vessel’s stability status after the addition of the new Navigation Laboratory and other more minor modifications over the years. The vessel’s Chief Engineer Bill Davidson, Captain Harry Bolton, and Chief Mate Dan Linz will be spearheading these efforts.
Lastly, the Golden Bear will be hosting another alumni reception while in San Diego on the night of Tuesday 23 August. We expect to have a large turnout for another great night of fun and socializing for friends and family of the local Cal Maritime community. This will be the sixth (and last) Captain’s reception for this year’s summer cruises. The previous five have been stellar. There are still reservations available through the link on the Cal Maritime website. Hope to see you there!
Captain Sam Pecota