Everyone is slowly but surely getting used to the limited space that we have to share on the ship. Wall lockers are full and the compartments underneath each cadets' rack are squared away with belongings. It's crazy to think about how 703 people are able to coexist on a 540 foot ship for six weeks, with everyone's personal gear and all of the shipment that was on loaded at the beginning of the Sea Term. Patience and cooperation is definitely key when living aboard the T.S. Kennedy.
One creative way that I've learned to keep myself organized is to buy a shoe rack. It's hanging on the inside door of my wall locker, which makes everything easily accessible. Hooks are also a necessity; you don't want to hang up a boiler suit that you just wore in the engine room with all of your clean clothes! We've got hooks everywhere!
Once 2200 (10:00 pm) rolls around, the lights in the holds are usually out. Boots, shower shoes, sneakers, anything that was left on the floor can turn into a tripping hazard, especially when we are underway. Everything must be secured! If something is rolling around, it could endanger someone; it is everyone's job aboard this ship to make sure we keep each other and ourselves out of harm's way.
To further protect the cadets and crew, a "traffic pattern" has been established on the Kennedy, along with all other ships in existence. This method enables everyone to flow easily about the ship without blocking each other's path. Without a traffic pattern, ladderwells (hallways) and other passageways about the ship would become congested and could potentially become a fire hazard if an emergency occurred.
If there is an emergency, it would be no surprise if the lights inside of the ship went out. In this case, the ship would be completely black-out dark. Everyone has been instructed to carry a flash light at all times, and with the help of some light, arrows located at the bottom of every indoor bulkhead (wall) will become illuminated to guide the way out while safely following the traffic pattern to the nearest exit.
We should be getting close enough to the coast of Florida this evening for a short period of cell phone service! That will be sure to brighten everyone's day!
As we head around the southern tip of Florida we will be passing the Everglades. The Everglades which span the southern tip of Florida is the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the United States. It is actually a river, or wetland, featuring broad, shallow, slow moving water. Some call it a big swamp.
Known for its rich animal and plant life, the Everglades is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. It is a refuge for large wading birds, such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great blue heron and a variety of egrets. Featuring temperate and tropical plants, the river holds mangrove and cypress swamps, pine-lands and hardwood hammocks.
On December 6, 1947, President Harry S. Truman dedicated the area as Everglades National Park to ensure protection of its unique plant and animal habitats. The park is home to many endangered species, including the Florida panther. Today, the real Everglades is one half its original size. Both federal and state governments are committed to restoring and protecting this national treasure. There is only one Everglades.