Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Orientation

Monday morning, bright and early,we packed up the house in San Diego and headed to a hotel near the port to begin our orientation with Semester at Sea. It was designed well in that we were interspersed with all of the faculty and staff for the voyage and got to meet the academic side of the ship as we all got oriented together. I got to sit with the ships physician and three professors and their spouses and one residential director who will be working on student life on the ship. (A job that I applied for in college and was not selected for because I had no personality...not bitter, just saying.)

We snagged a shuttle bus to the port and embarked on the Semester at Sea ship in the afternoon and met the entrepreneurs that we will be sailing with and documenting during the voyage. Our first meeting was with a camera in their face which is how they will most likely see us throughout the voyage. :-)

It was exciting to get to meet them face-to-face for the first time after hearing so much about their ventures and backgrounds. They are doing remarkable things for the huge issues in our world, but in getting to mingle with them, we quickly realize they are people just like everyone else. They're approachable and interesting and hard-working and totally awesome.

We had our first muster drill where we donned our life jackets and headed to our stations in silence. Matt got sent back to put pants on since he was wearing shorts. Apparently, it's important to dress conservatively in the lifeboats.

We finished our drill and then had an informal induction ceremony that allowed everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves and say what they were excited about. This included the film crew and because we were filming we had to jostle around a bit to get everyone on the crew filmed during their moment to speak. It was all well and good until Matt got to introduce himself and the ship began to back up causing the loudest (and moderately concerning) amount of vibration in the room. None of us could really hear what he was saying because he still has his "sick voice" from the cold. It felt like the louder he spoke, the louder the vibrations got, and it ended in defeat as everyone laughed at the funny situation.

After introductions, we headed out to the stern of the ship to watch San Diego disappear into the night. It was quite magical, and people had all sorts of reactions. Our new friend from India began an impromptu dance party where he led a circle of Unreasonable seafaring dancers in steps to his singing. A fun ending to a long day.