I have been busy around the ship doing my freshman activities, so here is what we have been doing.
We left Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, Saturday morning after an exciting couple of days along the pier. The pilotage up the Delaware River was very long; the pilots (all MMA alumni) boarded at 04:30 and got off once we were alongside at 13:30. Pilots usually board at the sea buoy, a distance from the entrance to a harbor or port and stay till the vessel has been made fast. On our way up the river, we passed the shipyard where the new training vessels are being built! We also passed the United States, a ’50s steamship that has long since been decommissioned but still holds the fastest Atlantic crossing with a top speed of 42 knots and an average speed of 35knts. We were surrounded by nautical history; a thirty-second walk down the pier was the Seaport Museum which displayed Philadelphia’s role in shipbuilding throughout history. Students also went to tour the Philly Shipyard, where the shiny NSMVs are being built. I was on watch, but apparently, they have a “new ship smell”; everybody is very excited!
On liberty, students, staff, and crew got a chance to stretch their legs and stock up on snacks for the longer voyage coming up. Our berth in the heart of Philly was directly adjacent to a park with an amphitheater. Students stand a “pier security” watch to make sure that only approved visitors and technicians visit the vessel. While ship tours can be arranged in our home port of Castine, with all the busy students and crew working full days, the ship is not open to the public during port visits. Nevertheless, students on the pier got a healthy dose of community relations while regulating who was supposed to be on the TSSOM and who was not.
We are making our way toward the Chesapeake now, rolling around a bit in the swells. Our anchorage will be brief, just on the hook long enough for the garbage barge to come alongside. Then it is off the Azores at an average speed of twelve knots.