Published: February 12th 2009
February 3rd 2009
I returned from Spain with the strange peace that only wild, free-spirited emotion can bring. Amidst people excitedly recounting the tales of their adventures, I walked around that night in quiet reflection. Sometime late at night, miles from land, I glanced out my porthole and saw a flock of seagulls flapping furiously alongside our ship. They were riding our wind, soaring wildly beside us, dodging waves and performing reckless aerial acrobatic maneuvers. The next morning, it rained. After lunch the skies began to clear, and rays of sun broke through the clouds, casting light down into the choppy sea. Spray leapt into the air and caught the sun, becoming misty rainbows. I feel I will remain a nomad for some time.
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The passage to Morocco was WILD! To begin with, we were scheduled to refuel in Gibraltar. However, the port was closed due to stormy weather and the fuel barge could not connect to our ship due to rough seas, so we floated just inside the strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea for 12 hours until refueling could take place. As a result, we ended up arriving a day late in Morocco, which completely shuffled everyone’s planned trips schedule (which, predictably, caused uproar amongst those still struggling with the ability to accept change). Sailing to Morocco, we encountered some of the roughest seas we’ve experienced yet, and the ship was rocking and rolling like never before. The most extreme portion happened moments ago; the captain came on the loudspeaker and announced that the entrance to the port was blocked by a massive 15 foot swell and as we rounded the corner, we would need to disable the outboard roll protection. Secure all belongings and HOLD ON. So I ran like a child to a candy store to the smokers’ deck outside where about 15 other people were clutching the railing. A few minutes later, we hit it. Pandemonium erupted; the ship must have listed at least 30 degrees to each side, and one person who let go was flung from the railing 20 feet back to the door into the ship. Moments later a staff member ran out the door and yelled at us all to come in; we waited until the ship started to tilt up in the opposite direction and all ran across the deck to the door as it began to lean upwards. Inside, we all ran the length of the bucking ship to the Union at the front, known for being the worst place in terms of turbulence. About 20 of us ran to the middle of the room, a slippery wooden floor, and laid down on the ground. The rolling had somewhat subsided, but a moment later it hit again in full force. With each sway, a pile of 20 of us tumbled across the room, slamming into the chairs at the other side, and tumbled back and forth, rolling across the ground. It was some of the best fun I’d had since boarding this ship. When we finally reached port, and all was calm, we ventured out back into the hallways. The bookstore lay in ruins; nearly everything, books, clothes, school supplies, etc, lay strewn across the floor. People’s rooms were trashed, a cabinet had opened in the dining hall and glassware had flown out and shattered across the room. It was utter chaos. We are now docked in Casablanca.
Note: leaving Morocco, the swells were even worse; this time, somehow word had spread like fire and there were no less than 50 people in the Union. People tumbled back and forth across the room followed by dozens of chairs which slammed into the pile of us; one kid broke his wrist, one ended up in the hospital wing with knee and leg injuries and a gash on his foot, and one professor supposedly needed stitches after being hit in the head by a falling object.