2023 Summer Training Cruise


Posted on: June 16, 2023

Time: 23:30

N 40º 02.4

W 010º 47.1

Good Evening! What a perfect three days on the Spanish coast. Students spent their time ashore exploring the historical monuments, iconic architecture, and incredible food that Vigo has to offer. I went to the beach on both days and enjoyed the refreshing ocean. The time to truly relax and recharge was so nice. We are now meandering toward Germany and are scheduled to arrive in a week. Until then, it’s back to the same daily rhythm!

The day before and the day of arrival in Vigo, I had the 1200-1600/ 2400-0400 watch, so I slept through the arrival (0800) process. It was very funny to walk out on deck and be made fast to the pier! I was pier security when Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie company were cut loose on liberty. The Cadet Master and I made sure everyone had the proper identification (TWIC and Liberty Card) to get off. The Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC), essentially a physical background check, grants students access back into the terminal. Students attend port briefs prior to arriving in a foreign port to review key aspects of the port. After the short meeting, they are given a card to show that they attended. The card also has the ship’s phone number if they needed to get in contact during their time off. The next day, Day 2, we were granted liberty after stores were loaded. Right away, some friends and I hailed a taxi to go to the beach a couple of miles away. There was a snack shop in a shipping container by the beach, where we grabbed some ice cream before making our way to the water. The sand was incredibly soft; very different from the steel plating we have been napping on for the past month. After some swimming and tanning, we were very hungry so we decided to go find some food. The slightly irritating concept of siesta is difficult to comprehend when you are starving. In our state of denial that an entire country shuts down during the middle of the day, we hiked to several closed restaurants until we realized our only option was the snack shop back at the beach. After some more fun at the beach, we headed back to the ship and grabbed some sandwiches before getting back on board. Lesson learned.

Day 3, After 60-70 tonnes of oily water was discharged to a barge and some oily rags were taken away, liberty was announced.  I split off from my normal group to get a haircut. I wandered around with a vague idea of where the barber shop was and found some amazing buildings with really cool balconies. After my haircut, I found myself happily back at the beach, enjoying doing absolutely nothing. Then I headed back to town for dinner. I grabbed my bike from the 04 and found a fun restaurant in a square with some live music. After dinner, I biked the dramatic streets watching restaurants open for the night. It was a very fun and restful day to get me to the next port!

In Vigo a group of students participated in a wreath-laying ceremony in acknowledgment of the effort of Magellan and his expedition on behalf of the Spanish Crown. Magellan led the first circumnavigation of the globe, spurring the first step into global trade, and is still hailed as the most important maritime voyage to ever be undertaken.

It’s official! I have switched to engine for my watch and maintenance rotations! Today I had maintenance and it was very different from the deck activities. Normally on the deck side of things, maintenance jobs are often inspections and cleaning. Today in maintenance, we added a lubrication unit to an air line. Compressed “service” air from the engine room is run throughout the ship for lots of equipment. This air line ran to the steering gear where hydraulic rams control the rudder. This machinery requires lots of lubrication, so the air line is used to operate machinery that greases these systems. The line comes from the engine room through a local fine filter and then into a flexible air hose. We removed the air hose and added a lubrication unit after the filter to extend the life of the equipment that will be attached to the air hose. As the air flows through the line, it will pick up high-quality oil from a reservoir and lubricate whatever attachment is connected to the hose. The project was fun because I learned more about the compressed air system and never would have guessed that the air line would have a lubricator attached.  I have maintenance again tomorrow and look forward to whatever project we will be doing.

As I have been writing, we are rolling around more and more. It is comforting to feel the familiar movement of the ship. We have reached the halfway point of cruise and it definitely feels like it. While every day is new and has exciting parts, I have definitely found a rhythm. This being said, getting back into the rhythm after a port is difficult. Your mind is still onshore/ at the beach but you have real responsibilities onboard. Failure to “flip the switch” can be dangerous.  Cpt. Mac reminded everyone this morning that this changeover requires heightened situational awareness, attention to detail, and focus on the tasks at hand. With this in mind, we safely make our way out to sea once again.

Thank you to all the students who submit photos!

If you have any questions or comments, email me at odeagaard.fields@tssom.mma.edu, and I will try to incorporate my response into the blog!

-Stay Tuned

4C Odegaard Fields