As of 0700 Eastern Standard time, 1200 GMT and 0900 ship time, the Empire State was underway from Barcelona, Spain and enroute to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. She was located at 32 degrees 58 minutes North Latitude, 044 degrees 39 minutes West Longitude, steering course 270 degrees true at 15.5 knots. That position puts her approximately 1000 miles east of Bermuda. The weather was clear with winds out of the southeast at 10 knots. Barometric pressure was 1032 millibars. The air temperature was 68 degrees and the sea water temperature was 66 degrees. The depth of water beneath the keel was 2491 fathoms. The ship continues to ride well on small southeasterly swells.
Valentine's Day at sea! What a letdown.
Somehow, being rudely awakened at 0545 as the Deputy Commandant places little silver chocolate kisses on my nightstand isn't the idea, is it? The Deputy Commandant's burly mug and European demeanor did remind me, however, that associating Saint Valentine's Day with love and courtship might have started in the Mediterranean. Roman mythology gave us Cupid, a young, playful god frequently credited with causing people to fall in love when he shot them with gold-tipped arrows. Every card shop on the planet has his pleasingly plump likeness pasted in the window. What would the day be without this tiny winged munchkin, carrying a bow and sporting a quiver. Cupid was around long before the Middle Ages when our modern customs most likely began. There were at least two Italian priests named "St. Valentine" who were martyred on the 14th of February. In addition, many people observed that halfway through the second month of the year, birds began to pair up. Chaucer, an English poet who lived between 1340 and 1400, wrote:
"For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every fowl cometh ther to choose his mate".
Regardless of when the practice began, February 14 became the special day for lovers. Today as in times past, folks exchange love letters, send cute little gifts and do special things for "sweethearts".
That bit of trivia completely exhausts my knowledge of Valentine Day customs.
In the modern, high tech world, we routinely transmit well wishes around the world to our sweethearts via e-mail and snail-mail. Aboard a ship in the middle of the ocean (despite what we sometimes tell the new freshmen cadets)there is no "Mail Bouy" and we have no chance to post or receive mail. Our radio operator, however, knows it's Valentine's Day. He has received more than 50 wire messages for cadets and crew, each proclaiming heartfelt wishes for this special day. After the onslaught, he was heard to say: "I am sick of 'Roses are red, violets are blue' and don't care if I never hear that phrase again!" If Hallmark isn't getting an economic boost from the Empire State, the radio transmitters at ITT and WLO in Chatham are!
While we were in Barcelona, some of the brighter, more forwarding thinking cadets and crew made advance arrangements for beautiful flowers, delicious candies or lovely cards to be delivered today in their name. They are very happy with themselves but I have it on good authority that many aboard forgot to plan that far ahead. So, on behalf of all the good men and women on the Empire State, to all of you sweethearts back home:
"From here upon the might deep,
Sweet thoughts of love
To you, my sweet.
From deep within this heart of mine,
I ask you to be
my one, my only valentine."
Isn't that better than something made of chocolate? Happy Valentine's Day... See You Tomorrow.
QUESTIONS FOR TUESDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2000
As we know by now, the Captain and crew of the Empire State used a compass during their journey. Does a compass point north?
HINT-This is NOT a trick question!
The cadets and crew of the Empire State have certainly experienced some temperature swings during their voyage, ranging from the chilled air of the Atlantic near Cape Cod - to the mild and warm temperatures of the Mediterranean. But what are the hottest and coldest places on earth?
The cadets really enjoyed their stay in Barcelona, Spain and they saw many interesting sights...including a church that took 100 years to build. It is the 'unfinished masterpiece' of the Spanish architect Gaudi. What is the name of this famous structure?
When using standards of measurement one must to be able to convert. For example a gram is about the weight of a paper clip; A meter is a little longer than a________? A liter is a little more than a quart. Zero degrees Celsius is the_________point of water and the boiling point is______celsius.
ANSWERS FOR MONDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2000
GEOGRAPHY: They are called the Cardinal Directions or points of the compass.
SCIENCE: 70% of the Earth's surface is water. Of this 70%, 98% is salt water, leaving 2% as fresh water. Approximately 90% of that 2% is frozen.
HISTORY: 1620; Virginia.
MATH: 20x12x12 = 2880