Final examination day after about 18 hours of pretty windy and rough conditions, but it has layed down a bit. The conditions will hopefully permit the cadets to perform well. Right now it is 44 degrees F, cloudy with force 6 winds out of the north-northwest. The seas are a state 6, but just on our port bow, so we are riding well with occasional jerky rolls and pitches.
Yesterday we mustered all the cadets on the Helo Deck for a 'pre-port' briefing
- which is a little unusual before going into our homeport. I could not resist
having a little fun with them while explaining our decision to go in a day
early, which was received with cheers. I explained the weather forecasts and
the problems for docking and travel. Then I told them we were not granting
liberty until Sunday afternoon - silent stares - shock set in mere moments.
Then I said 'just kidding'. Hey, I have to have a little fun out here!
One element at this point in the voyage is the time away. For most it has been
about 45 days or so - a long period of time. But I reflect on the ship's
permanent crew where, except for a few consecutive four-day weekends around the
Christmas season, we have been aboard since Halloween's hurricane. I know that
they all are looking forward to putting Kennedy to bed, and although our work
continues, we'll be able to be home on a daily basis until August.
So, we are on schedule to take the state pilot off the east end of the Cape Cod
Canal at 0600 tomorrow morning. We'll enter the breakwater at Scusset Beach
around 0630, and meander through the Canal, taking the tugs boats alongside
about 0720 before the railroad bridge. We should turn into the slip at Taylor's
Point at 0740. For those folks coming to see our docking - remember we'll need
to two or three hours to clear customs - so the dramatic 'first off' ritual
will be delayed. For the folks keeping warm in Pande Hall, I'll blow the
ship's whistle about 10 minutes before we release the cadets.