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Daily Life Aboard the MV Explorer

Permission to Come Aboard.

Many of you have asked about life abroad the MV Explorer, our home for the past

The MV Explorer docked in Yokohama, Japan.

The MV Explorer docked in Yokohama, Japan.

three weeks.  So in this blog post, I’ll try to give you a sense of the daily life of students using lots of photos.

The ship is plenty big.  

The MV Explorer is 470-feet long. Displaces 25,000 tons. Has seven decks.  Two dining areas. Nine classrooms. A library. Computer Lab. Fitness Center. Lots of cabins and decks. And plenty of lifeboats.  (I hope.)

Still, with about 1,000 souls aboard, it’s not easy to find quiet space. Something is always going on.

I have it easy because except for one class per day my days are mostly unstructured. The 630 students on board have four classes to attend.  I’m taking two classes and find it hard to keep up; I don’t know how they do it with four. And I’m not even submitting essays or taking tests.

The view of the ship from a Go Pro mounted on a kite.

The view of the ship from a Go Pro mounted on a kite.

On the crossing, we had classes every single day for three weeks. There are no weekends on Semester at Sea.

Whenever it’s nice outside,

I tend to hang out on the sixth deck aft, off the Garden Lounge dining room.  There’s a lot of reading for my two classes. This is also where I do my journaling and answer emails.  One thing I do not do is any paying work. In one of the best decisions I ever made, I turned off my professional work to better participate on Semester at Sea.

A big passtime on the ship is congregating for the glorious sunrises and sunsets.  Here is just one of the many that we have been honored to see.

When the weather is not so nice

or it’s too windy, I tend to do my work in the Glazer Faculty Lounge, a space on the bow of the ship on the seventh deck. This is the one space on the ship that students may not use, so it’s usually quiet. Faculty typically are here preparing for their classes or grading papers.

I have one project that keeps me busy. Ever since high school, I made daily notations on flip-type desk calendars, you know, the ones where you have to flip a page every day. I kept notes on what I did that day, important events, movies I saw, etc. I’ve kept all those

A big project is transcrbing my old day calendars. This is 1973. Just 19 more to go.

A big project is transcrbing my old day calendars. This is 1973. Just 19 more to go.

calendars and on this trip I intend to transcribe all the information into my computer so I can finally get rid of the paper.  It’s been a lot of fun to go back over my high school, college, and adult days day by day. I can tell you with some precision what I did on, say, January 28, 1967.

Besides classes and meals,

I try to take time to exercise.  At night there are always lectures by faculty or fellow travelers.

The students have organized activities.  I’m leading an improvisational writing group.  I go to bed feeling fulfilled in every way.

Let me close with a few more photos describing ship life, emphasizing the students who are, after all, the whole point of Semester at Sea. Next time: the view from Japan.

Students trying to keep their balance when the ship is rolling.

Students just love to watch the Pacific.


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