Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spain, day 1

After a great night with our pre-port staff party, I was up dark and early to watch the sunrise as we made our way into the port of Cadiz. Ana called at 6:30am and soon after I met her on a very blustery Deck 8 forward. Some students were already there and many others quickly joined as we began to see the lights of Cadiz appear in the distance.

The moon was still holding court when we got up at 6:30am to celebrate our arrival in Spain.

Approaching every port Captain Jeremy steps down and allows a port pilot to take over. These specialized pilots know all the nuances of the port; the ocean floor, the currents, the tides, the docking positions etc. It’s like having valet parking every time. In something that looks like a stunt out of a James Bond movie the pilot boat comes towards the ship, flips around along side our ship and the pilot jumps on board just before the small boat turns and peals away from the edge of our much larger ship. We have been told that it is always neat to see but when the water is rough it can be down right nerve racking.

Not a techincally great photo but I still love it.

Slowly the sun began to set the sky on fire as if fighting the moon for its position still high above. Second by second Cadiz reveled more of its self to us the; cathedral’s dome and spires and monuments in the center of a square a few blocks in. The ship found it final position for the next few days and the immigration crew stepped on board and began to review all the passports while Ana and I made our way to the cafeteria for our first breakfast ‘in’ Spain. Conversations buzzed with talks of the various itineraries; flamenco show, Barcelona, Seville, Gibraltar, exploring Cadiz, and of course many students excitement to go to the clubs. Having been prepared for a potentially long clearing process, some times taking up to 6 hours before anyone is allowed to get off the ship, I made my way back to my cabin to catch up on the sleep I missed.

The MV Explorer's lights turn on to indicate its arrival in Cadiz!

I was not even in my room for 15 seconds when over the ships announcement system the LLCs were asked to report to the fac/staff lounge to distribute passports. This was news to us, and not well received news by a number of my colleagues who were woken up by that message. Of course we did what we had to do but afterwards I went back to bed for a few hours before meeting a student to go get a new computer.

Lucas’s computer crashed on the 2nd day of the voyage and came to me the prior evening after our pre-port meeting in which students reminded of general travel safety including the standard ‘do not walk alone’. Well Lucas had planed to go purchase a new computer on his own but came by to check if it would be ok. Sensing his concern I offered to go with him, as I had no real plans other than walking around the city that day as I was on duty that evening. Well I meet Lucas and we take off. I expected Lucas to be prepared with a map, directions, and a plan in general. When I asked where we were headed he said that he wasn’t sure, he just planed to ask the cab driver. I then told him that I didn’t have any Euros, of course nor did he. We begin walking. He asked for directions three times and we finally made it to the store. Not so surprisingly all the computers and Spanish keyboards. Ultimately he chose not to buy a new computer. Seriously. He is just lucky I made it back to the ship in time for lunch.

That afternoon I met up with some students and Steven our SAS photographer for a bit of a casual walking/photo tour of Cadiz. It was nice to explore a bit as well as get to know a few more students all while getting some nice photo tips. I had to return to the ship for duty so I left the group began the walk back through the small streets. I was a bit anxious about the first night of Port Duty but confident that I would be able to deal with whatever came my way. I'm pleased to say that I did so flawlessly as I didn’t get a single call.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for no duty calls! I love that you included photos!