As of 0700 Eastern Standard time, 1200 GMT and 1300 ship time, the Empire State was entering the harbor at Barcelona, Spain and located at 41 degrees 21 minutes North Latitude, 002 degrees 16 minutes East Longitude. The weather was clear and calm. The air temp was 62 degrees and the sea temp was 60 degrees. Barometric pressure was 1025 millibars of mercury.
So much for the uneventful expressway ride that we have enjoyed since that little bump in the road at Madeira. We rumbled, bounced and slid up and down what seemed like twenty miles of bad road yesterday afternoon. Many aboard cried: "I'll pay the toll if you get us back on the road!"
We had been sailing comfortably along at 12 knots, relishing smooth seas, and gentle breezes when BAM! Mother Nature turned it up a notch. Suddenly, the winds were building- peaking at a force eight gale by mid afternoon. Forty knots of screaming wind roaring southeast from the Gulf of Lions whipped the sea into foam. Delicate whitecaps abruptly became high seas, twenty feet from crest to trough, that stopped our speed of advance.
"More turns Chief, we're gonna be late!" I said, knowing instinctively that more turns (RPM) wouldn't help at all. When the ship is diving into booming ten foot swells, the bow descends, the stern goes up and the propeller points skyward, fanning the breeze. Turning that artistically formed mass of bronze faster in the cool air might refresh the sea birds, but it will certainly not increase ship's speed.
What a ride! The whole ship "shuddered" as tons of raging cold seawater pushed downward on her weather decks, countered by the forces of buoyancy driving her up. She twisted and turned under the tremendous opposing forces of man and nature. To our recent "landlubbers" the battle was eye opening as the ship charged up to the swell tops, stopped, caught a quick breath and dove headlong toward the foot of the next mountainous green wave. Then, just as many were rushing for the "sea weary" bags, we steamed into the lee of the Sierra Madre mountains. Thank goodness. The high elevations deflected the powerful winds up and over our position. By midnight the seas had moderated, the propeller remained submerged and Empire State took off like a shot.
Don't you just love it? "Hey Chief, slow her down a bit", I called down to the engine room. Chief Engineer Bill Butler (Bourne, MA) mumbled something about my ability to navigate. I had the Cadet Officer of the Deck judiciously execute a couple of racetrack turns (for training of course) south of Barcelona, and like magic, we were precisely on time again.
We cruised into Barcelona, Spain with the beautiful morning sun and quickly finished with engines. The efficient cadets and crew were gone before 1000, celebrating their last stop on land before the long haul home. Our own LCDR Don Antonangeli (Falmouth,MA) of the Commandant's Department is in charge of the shore excursions. Nicknamed "Flying-A-Tours", he has exciting things planned to suit every taste and the "Touristas" off the Empire State will not be disappointed with the abundant itinerary. Barcelona is a delightful place. They will have fun...See you tomorrow.
QUESTIONS FOR MONDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2000
The cadets sailed within 10-miles of the African continent during their voyage. Which continent is the third largest in area, following Asia and Africa?
On their way back to Buzzards Bay the cadets are likely to spot some sharks swimming by the ship. But are sharks in danger of extinction?
The Massachusetts Maritime Academy Sea Term is our annual expedition, although we are not 'explorers.' But when was the first recorded expedition and from what country?
Cadets Green and Griese explored Madeira during their stay. Cadet Greise drove. He left the pier at 11 a.m., drove an average speed of 25 mph and arrived at the resort at 2 p.m. Cadet Green, meantime, rode his bicycle. He also departed the pier at 11 a.m. He traveled at an average speed of 15 mph. What time did Cadets Green and Griese arrive at the resort?
ANSWERS FOR FRIDAY 04 FEBRUARY 2000
SCIENCE: The Arctic Ocean. The Arctic ice sheet is about 9 to 10 feet thick.
HISTORY: King Juan Carlos I
MATH: 8 feet.