2023 Summer Training Cruise

We made it to the Azores!

Posted on: May 31, 2023

Time: 1900

Lat:  N 38° 33.8′

Long:  W 028° 11.4′

I used to think of the TSSOM as an endless maze. The last few days it has been a little Alice and Wonderland-y with the time change and never-ending close proximity. There are over 250 people onboard, and it is starting to feel a little cramped. The weather has been a little dark and rainy for the past couple of days, but the weather today is fantastic. I just saw the first island of the Azores. People are talking about waterfalls and hot springs, beaches, and volcanic mountains. We are supposed to be tied up by 09:45 tomorrow, which is so exciting. In preparation for the pier, maintenance hauled lines from the lockers through a small round deck hatch. They are incredibly heavy, but many determined hands make light work. We flaked the lines out across the deck; four on the fantail and five lines up on the bow. I found the whole operation really fun, but my arms will be useless tomorrow.

I got to chat with some engineers while they played Ping-Pong. There is a pad of yellow paper by the ship’s office where anybody onboard can write the date/ location and issue with their stateroom or hallway. It is called the Trouble List, and students deck/engine go and fix the issues. Engineers often complete the plumbing and electrical issues. It is one of the student lead activities which allows students to put into action skills they gain on maintenance or from classes. The engineers talked about how entering the gulf stream really changes how the engine room feels and operates. The TSSOM stays in cold water for most of the year, so to see temperatures and pressures differ from their usual values was an interesting experience. While I’m happy with my choice of major, it is fun to listen to the engineers talk about the engine room as more of a being than lots of loud, dark machinery. They also talked about the satisfying feeling of finding problems and going through the long process of solving them. It’s a “living, breathing engine room” in which they take a lot of pride in the proper operation and maintenance.

Internet connectivity is a blessing and a curse. Shout out to our onboard IT guy, Dakota, for trying to give everybody as much communication with home as he can. He has shown me parts of the operation, and it was wildly complicated. The data allotment system has changed, so students will be getting used to the new process so bear with them. I know parents, family and friends look forward to a text or call, but for students onboard, but from the tight schedules and the time difference, it’s a difficult balance to achieve. The digital connection to home can be complicated because you can hear/ see what is happening back home with all of the typical summer activities, all while what we are doing here requires lots of energy and attention.

I just left the 04 to type this up (if you are unfamiliar with the layout of the TSSOM, the 04 is the uppermost deck with the painted white helo circle), where students are enjoying the beautiful weather; tanning, reading and playing corn hole. The are some deck juniors on the bridge wings using a sextant to calculate the angle of the sun for their cruise project. I wish I could explain it more for everyone but I have yet to take that class. Last night there was a bingo night run by the student morale officer that was a big hit. Later that night I went to look at the star but the moon was incredibly bright. I did see some shooting stars and lots of satellites though, which was really fun. Hopefully, on the way back across the weather will be a bit more cooperative because I really would like to see the milky way.

Stay Tuned

4C Odegaard Fields