Friday, September 4, 2009
Attention Mrs. Elder's Class
Dear students of Mrs. Elder: I promised Mrs. Elder that we would keep you posted on our trip around the world. We left Norfolk, Virginia on August 24th and spent three days following the US coastline to Halifax, Canada (can you find it on the map?). Halifax is a wonderful seaside city and we spent an afternoon climbing up a small hill to the Citadel which was a fort built by the English at the request of the Queen of England (know her name?). It took twenty-eight years to build the fort and it never fired a shot as it was considered impregnable and would have easily wiped out any attacking French or Indian forces.
Alicia (my wife; that's her in front of the ship just before we left Norfolk) and I left Halifax on August 28th and have now completed a full week at sea. During that entire time I saw one container ship and maybe spotted a whale but hard to tell given the distance we were from whatever it was. This is a BIG and DEEP ocean and at one point our ship traveled over some ocean canyons that were almost twenty thousand feet deep. The water is incredibly blue and fairly cold as each day they tell us the temperature; yesterday it was 68 and today it was almost 70 but still too cold to enjoy a swim if we were to fall overboard. Speaking of which, on a cruise last year on this ship one of the students was partying too much and fell overboard at two in the morning and it took the ship more than thirty minutes to turn around and it was a miracle that one of the students spotted him furiously swimming towards the ship. He was picked up and was "expelled" although I suspect he will never forget that swim.
Well, I should have began this message to you by noting that I am a teacher, like Mrs. Elder and that this ship has over five hundred college students from more than two hundred colleges from throughout the United States. This should be an exciting, fun, and great educational learning adventure for every student and I hope that some day you could join in for a similar adventure.
Tomorrow we reach our first port in Spain and it is Cadiz which is the city that the Spanish galleons came to loaded with the riches of Mexico and South America in the 1600s and 1700s. The people of Cadiz brag that Columbus is buried in one of their cathedrals, but plenty of other cities also say the same--maybe they divided him up?
After Cadiz we sail for Casablanca, Morocco, and I will try to keep you all informed of our adventures. We will finish our sea adventure in mid-December so stay tuned for more updates. Please send us your comments and questions and I promise to get back to you but it may be tricky at times as the Internet on the ship is linked to a satellite and when the weather is bad we can't send or receive messages. In the mean time please be good to each other and pay close attention to Mrs. Elder as she is probably the world's greatest teacher. Regards, Teacher Dan.