Sunday, February 19, 2012

Captain's Blog 2/19/12

This morning's arrival in Buzzards Bay did not disappoint despite the early hour. Hundreds of people greeted us alongside the Cape Cod Canal as we transited, and maybe a thousand at the dock. Strong shouts and signs held high by loved ones and, cadets shouting back at them. And I guess that is how it should be - so many cadets - 593 of them, with 334 that have completed their first sea term, and for most of them the longest time away from home in their lives. They did very well too, good academic performance and excellent behavior aboard and ashore. I couldn't ask for anything else from them.

NOTE: Since it as mostly a night transit this morning, the greeters that blasted off the fireworks in Sagamore made us smile - but I wish those folks with strobe lights and high powered lamps would think twice in the future as their signal to some one aboard was a problem for those of us on the bridge.
On this last Captain's Blog before going home to rejoin my family, I like to acknowledge people, organizations and companies that made our trip better. On top of the list is the MMA Parent's Association - who not only provide support to their cadets, but also awards sea term scholarships to many, many cadets; The Student Government Association , who offer activities to the cadets aboard, but also contributed financially to the shore transportation in Guayaquil, Panama City and St. Thomas; UMASS Memorial Medical Center for the doctors primarily, but also for their consultation during the trip via satellite phone on a number of cases; The US Embassy in Panama, especially the Marine Detachment for their hospitality; LT Patrick McCurdy, USN Southern Command for his assistance in Panama; Don Spring at Sandwich Ship Supply for rapid assistance and advice on numerous occasions; Lisa at Jeppeson Marine of Falmouth for the loan of hundreds of electronic charts; Tom at Bardwell Electronics of Vineyard Haven for always being at the other end of a cell phone call when our electronics starting going haywire; Northeast Marine Pilots for safety guiding us in and out of Buzzards Bay; the Charleston South Carolina Bar Pilots for their generous assistance; Cape Cod Canal Assist for pushing us around in and out of the slip on Taylor's Point; and Scott Smith of Opflex Solutions for donated oil spill equipment; a special thanks to our shipmates from Chartwell's Dining Services - who fed us over two thousand hot meals a day, and thousands of cookies and snacks off hours - we really don't need the extra pounds - but we enjoy every second of eating them! Finally to our ship owners, the Maritime Administration for their unfaltering support before, during and after this annual voyage - it takes a lot of energy from their local man Jeff Brown, with Bill Ingram down in Norfolk, VA, and Tony Margan at Washington HQ - and there are many more that contribute - thanks to one and all.

Of course Massachusetts Maritime Academy has an army of shoreside support folks - I will not mention one for fear of forgetting another - but you all know who you are, and what you do, and how much we appreciate your support. I do want to mention Meredith Emery who rode with us and provided much of the Follow-the-Voyage - I know many school students and parents were more enlightened about the voyage because of you - thank you!

So, until we sail again!

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