Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to Sea!

Pat and Dan on the MV Explore as it leaves Boston
Boston Skyline & Wharf

We are on the High Seas!  Well, to be more accurate, we are somewhere off the coast of Nova Scotia, not far from Halifax – though we haven’t seen any land today, and the wind is high and the seas rather rough (though I’m told we haven’t seen anything yet…).  We pulled out of Boston Harbor at 9:00 pm last night, though it took us nearly an hour to actually depart the Harbor itself, accompanied by trusty tug boats along the way.  Spirits were high on deck, as the Faculty and Staff for the Fall 2011 Voyage (Yes, we are called “Voyagers” and old timers even use Voyage as a verb, as in “Have you voyaged before?”  Pat and I are resisting…) joined the members of a shipboard seminar, the Forum on Global Engagement, in bidding farewell to land.  The Boston skyline was colorful at night, as we moved under the flight line from Boston Logan Airport, and made our way out the channel, guided by bell buoys. 

Hard to get to sleep with all the excitement of our departure, and Pat and I were trying to make all our final phone calls as our phone service is now turned off until Thanksgiving when we dock in Hawaii – momentarily back in U.S. territory.  We dawned our “Acupressure” bracelets to try to ward off motion sickness, and slept soundly to the gentle rocking of the boat.  We awakened to leaden skies and no sign of land – my first time being out of sight of land on a ship.

Our days are taken up with orientation activities, and also participating as we are able in the 5-day Forum on Global Engagement, “Diplomacy and Dialogue: A Focus on Sino-U.S. Relations.”  The program for this event is impressive, including Jim McNerney, the CEO of Boeing, Chair of Pres. Obama’s President’s Export Council, and Chair of The Business Roundtable, and former Ambassador to China, Stapleton Roy, who helped to negotiate the establishment of U.S.-China diplomatic relationships in the 70s.  This afternoon we heard from Molly Corbett Broad, President of the American Council on Education – the conversations are stimulating and an excellent introduction to the themes of the semester.

Molly Corbett Broad, ACE
Wake of the MV Explorer as we sail toward Nova Scotia
So far Pat and I seem to be adjusting relatively well to the gentle rocking of the boat, though it can definitely make one a little queasy!  We’re getting oriented to the 7 decks on ship, and passed our Lifeboat drill yesterday.  We are in a temporary cabin until the FGE participants leave Thursday in Montreal, at which point we’ll move into our permanent quarters and the roughly 500 students will join us.  Friday we set sail for Casablanca, Morocco!


  1. You two look great with Boston in the background. The program for the sail to Montreal does sound like a great beginning to the semester. How nice that you get some time with the ship, faculty and staff before the students board. Thanks for the great pix and story. I am very much enjoying the blog. Good sailing. Jean

  2. Hi Dan and Pat! Sorry we missed your call yesterday.. but we LOVE the blog and are followers now! Waiting impatiently for your next entry:) We love you, Martha and Laurel