>> Monday, October 29, 2012
Today, the 29th of October, we got word from our Captain, while we were huddled in what warm clothing we have left, that we are heading out tomorrow. What great news! The students and crew are landsick and ready to get out of Jacksonville. Sitting in Jacksonville, waiting out Hurricane Sandy, has not been bad.
Our crew and educators brainstormed and spend hours putting their heads together to create an amazing race. An amazing race is a sort of urban adventure race. Our race included all the students racing around the city of Jacksonville in teams trying to complete tasks and challenges. The race ended at around 6:00 PM with all teams finishing strong, smiles beaming from ear to ear, despite the cramping calves and sore feet.
The next morning, we were treated to visit to the First Coast YMCA. Those with energy lifted weights and ran. Those who needed some relaxation enjoyed the pool and sauna. The day wrapped up with laundry and a celebration of our most wonderful, magnificent, fabulous cook Lizzie's birthday.
And thus, the crazy weekend began. As we celebrated Lizzie, a loud sound system in front of the Hyatt (and therefore our vessel) began blasting music. This continued into the wee hours. As others have mentioned, this weekend was a big weekend for Jacksonville: the annual Gators-Bulldogs game, which took place on Saturday afternoon. The weekend was filled with fans asking questions about the boat, our lives, and asking if Jack Sparrow was our Captain. If any of us wondered what a fish in a fish bowl feels like, we now know.
The night of the game, the professional crew stood watching, giving us the gift of a full nine hours of sleep. I never thought a full night of sleep could made such a difference! Our time in Jacksonville has been packed with classes so that we can get ahead of schedule. By getting ahead academically, out limited time in the Caribbean can be about the culture and experience with less pressure of academics.
Along with the exciting news of setting sail tomorrow, we also learned that the HMS Bounty, a fully rigged ship and one of the largest tall ships on the East Coast, was out in Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, they had to abandon ship. The crew was airlifted from liferafts by the Coast Guard and Bounty now lies at the bottom of the ocean. While we had to work to maintain a positive attitude about being in the unscheduled port stop of Jacksonville, there are certainly no complaints now. We are thankful to be safe and sound, which is the most important thing we can ask for. We know that making the decision to head back to Florida instead of continuing on to the Caribbean before Sandy had even developed into a full hurricane was not easy for our Captain, but he did it and kept us all safe. We have a pretty amazing Captain!
As we prepare to get underway, we are all a combination of anxious and excited to return to open waters for our longest passage yet. Please wish us fair winds for the remaining few weeks!