Week before leaving -- (Jan 11-20)
Week 1 -- (Jan 23-Feb 1 Puerto Rico)
Week 2 -- (Feb 3-9 Salvador, Brazil)
Week 3 -- (Feb 10-16 On the way to South Africa)
Week 4 -- (Feb 19-24 Cape Town and African Safari)
Week 5,6 -- (Feb 25-March 8 Mauritius)
Week 7 -- (March 9-15 Chennai, India)

Week 8 -- (March 16-22 Penang, Malaysia and Singapore)
Week 9 -- (March 23-31 Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam)
Week 10 -- (April 1-6 Hong Kong, Guilin Shanghai, China)
Week 11 -- (April 7-13 Kobe, Japan)
Week 12 -- (April 14-20 On the way to Hawaii)
Week 13 -- (April 21-27 Honolulu, Hawaii)
Week 14 -- (April 28-May 8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica)


Week Three -- Journeywoman's Semester At Sea...


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February 10 -- Captains Dinner

Food, food and much more food. The night that we sailed from Salvador I came back to my cabin to find an invitation from Captain Roman Krstanovic (from Croatia) to join him and his staff for dinner. There were probably about 30 invitees that evening and there will be more Captain's dinners scheduled during the term until all the adults/faculty/staff on board get to eat with the Captain.

We began the evening with hors d'ourvres and wine in the Faculty Lounge and then we moved to a private dining room. I sat beside the Academic Dean on one side and the ship's poet and his artist wife on the other. We were served a formal five course meal accompanied by two wines (menu included shrimp cocktail, Caesar Salad, Vegetable Soup, Filet Mignon, and fried coconut ice cream for dessert (Oh-my-goodness!). All was beautifully served and surprisingly tasty. Everybody had so much to talk about and we all had an absolutely delightful evening. This Captain is a very pleasant, elegant, serious man who doesn't partake in any of the ship's fun activities. He remains aloof, never mingles with the kids, and his word is law. My deck (Deck Five) is where all the administration offices are. I often see him early in the morning when he has his meeting with all the program's higher-ups. At least, I get a hello. Sometimes a smile:-).

P.S. Over the next ten days we will have four time changes (moving the clock forward one hour each time). That ensures we will be on South African time when we arrive on the February 19th. I'm tired already.

Anna Maria Heinzle -Hotel Director

Invitation to Captain's dinner...

Elusive Captain Krstanovic and Executive Dean Kenn


February 11 -- Global Studies South Africa...

Today in Global Studies we had a great lesson on South African music. Max Brandt, the Acting Dean and a musicologist taught us an African song (in Shona language) traditionally sung by South African children about a little boy that meets a lion (Zanga iwa chacatanga pano). The phonetics were projected on a large screen and we learned to sing it in a few parts. Then several students were called up to accompany us with African drums, rattles, musical blocks, etc. It was especially interesting for me as I know so little about beats and rhythms (a language my body refuses to comprehend). Then we learned the first verse and stanza of South Africa's new National Anthem in Xhosa language (a beautiful song titled Lord Bless Africa (Nko-si si-ke-le-li A-fri-ka) -- the one sung after the end of apartheid. Our South African inter-port student helped us with the pronunciation. Then we listened to a recording of the anthem and 700 students in the union sang the first verse together. For me (and many others I spoke to) it was an extremely emotional exercise. I kept reminding myself that there are not many people who can claim to have this same experience sailing on a ship to South Africa. I know I'm very privileged!

P.S. Later on in the week we listened to a lecture about Nelson Mandela and watched a clip of him standing tall and singing this anthem at a huge South African gathering. I recognized the anthem immediately. In a few days I'll think of all of this when I visit Robben Island where Mandela was a prisoner for so many years.

P.P.S. Studying for exams.The first big Global Studies exam is scheduled for tomorrow. The sounds on the ship have become a lot more muted and sedate. Study groups have been formed, volunteers to help students with learning disabilities are being recruited (and they are coming forward), everywhere you look kids have their noses in their books. I'm so pleased that I don't write exams anymore. I honestly don't know how these students do it -- their schedule is so hectic, lots of papers to write and lots of social activity to take part in. Anyway, even if I'm not attending a lot of classes or studying for exams my days are jam-packed with other activities that are much more fun.

Today we were invited on a tour of the ship's bridge. The tour was led by one of the officers who answered all our questions including those about pirates. Yes, he confirmed that there are pirates on our course but they go after low cargo ships, etc. We're too big for them to come aboard (he obviously hasn't heard of Johnny Depp who can do anything) and besides we have too many people on board. He's right. Getting 700 people to walk the plank might take too long. I did learn of an ingenious pirate trick, though. They board one ship and then they send a distress signal to other ships in the area. Got it? Lots of people walking the plank THAT day.

We toured the ship's bridge


February 12 -- Making paper roses...

There is a Students of Service Program that goes on each session of Semester At Sea. Last year the student body raised over $43,000 with different fund raising ideas for different charities. I started the ball rolling for my group with the idea of making paper roses (the Philipino food and beverage staff showed us how to make them out of serviettes). It took them 6 minutes to make one flower; it took us almost one hour. We worked on an assembly line. One did the flower, itself, one did the stem, another the leaves, etc. We got 62 flowers ready to sell the day before Valentines Day.

Life Long Learners Class Photo


February 13 -- Group Community College...

Every evening from 8-9:00 PM those people on board with an expertise schedule a community college to share their knowledge with anybody who would like to learn. The topics are always very diverse and it's very informal. Today someone presented on "Myer Briggs Testing" offering students the opportunity to learn about their personalities and the personalities of those around them. Another discussion was entitled, 'Should I Become a Lawyer' which was presented by the law professor on board. Then there was 'The Archeoastronomy of Sacred Places,' alongside Ballroom Dancing. You never, ever have to be bored on the ship. Yesterday the LLL (know who I mean?) presented this topic... 'Who are the life long learners? Come learn about your fellow shipmates and how they got to where they are now'. I thought NOBODY would show up but the room was FULL. Go figure:-) Anyway we had a moderator who asked us (the wise ones:-) about turning points in our lives, the important people in our lives, advice for students, etc. Everybody listened to our pearls of wisdom (I told jokes abnout my life and people actually LAUGHED), they seemed to really appreciate what we had to say and we got absolute rave reviews for our community college. Huh?

Time to sell our flowers. OK, all of you who smirked at my idea of selling paper roses (limited edition) for Valentines Day. It's the day before Valentines Day. We set up shop on the way to the dining room so that students had to pass us in order to eat lunch. Since we were the only game in town we charged $5.00 per (serviette) rose and an extra $2.00 for delivery. Within three hours of showcasing our handiwork our flowers were completely sold out and we earned the grand sum of $400 (we really pushed the delivery (HA HA) As I've always drummed into my kiddies ... see what happens when you dare to dream?

Today with the dreaded big exam behind them, the students are having a Party Animal Dance. Their invitation read... 'Dress like a wild animal (tying in with the fact that we're on our way to South Africa). It's time to let your hair down and show your wild side'. I went up just to take pictures, saw some terrific ingenuity and will share them with you in the blog.

Our paper rose Valentine Boutique

Animal Party Pix

Road kill

Caterpillar and leopard

Mighty Ninja Turtles

Cheeky Cheetah

Adorable Lion

Exotic bird

Queen Bee


February 13 -- My 15 minutes of fame...

Every day on board there is what's called, The Dean's Memo. In it are listed any birthdays celebrated that day and any announcements about the day's programming, meetings being held, and things we need to know to prepare for our upcoming trips. It is usually an embarrassment of riches.

Today I presented my community college about daring to dream. The description for the Dean's memo read, "Travel from a Woman's Point of View,' Evelyn Hannon, Classroom 8, Hear her inspiring story -- from solo traveler to editor of the largest online travel resource for women.' The room was packed. I talked about daring to dream, how Journeywoman grew, and the many funny things that have happened to me along the way. It's 'funny' ... I never really think of myself as a 'funny' person but I'm feeling a transition -- being able to kid around in my presentations and really making people laugh out loud. What a good feeling!

P.S. A day later I was in the ship's shop buying some stuff and I asked about a DVD to burn my photos on to. A young man told me not to buy one, he had loads of them and he would give me one. Later that day he gave it to me and told me that he was in the audience when I spoke and he loved it. So... maybe I WAS really funny.

Our Community College audience gathers


February 14 -- Neptune Day

I went to bed late last night so I was not too happy to hear the whistles, drums and yelling going on at 7:15 this morning. What the heck....? Then I remembered. Today was Neptune Day, a Navy tradition that celebrates the crossing of the equator (we crossed a while ago but we couldn't celebrate then because of classes, etc). Traditionally, this is a time that the crew hazes all the novice sailors and takes them from being skallywags to initiated shellbacks. I dressed quickly and got out of my room in time to see the crew dressed in costume, face paint and marching through the halls making NOISE with a capital 'N.' I pitied the kids who had been at the dance until very late the night before. These students might not have enjoyed it but boy, the crew was having a grand old time. I took pix, went to breakfast and then went up to Deck Seven for the initiation ceremonies. The Dean (Ken, dressed in a grassskirt (huh?) and a wig, and Kay (the economics prof) with matching wig and crown, presided. The sky was gray and there was a storm brewing. It was quite cool but kid after kid had a mixture of blue-green liquid (purported to be blended fish guts) poured over them, then they jumped into the pool, got out, kissed a huge dead fish (my pix don't lie), knelt, kissed the king's ring, and finally were pronounced shellbacks. Nobody was forced to do this but I was amazed at how many students and staff volunteered. The photo opportunities were endless. THEN ... over in the corner students lined up to cut off all their hair. As each person emerged with shaved head, the crowd roared. Over 65 students and staff went through the ritual and even had a group photo taken as a souvenir. In the next Dean's Memo there was this very responsible item: 'Neptune Head Shavers: If your previously sun-deprived scalp is now exposed to the sun for the first time ever, use that sunscreen without fail. Find that hat in your cabin and use it!' Most of the students are in their early twenties, there is a fine line between babying them and alerting them to possible danger. I think those in charge do an excellent job of walking that fine line and most kids take heed. Oh, oh...the ship is rocking and rolling...

The crew wakes us up with noise

Soaked in fish guts

Kissing the fish & the ring

It was COLD!

65 people shaved their heads

She carries her hair

Posing with King Neptune and his Queen


February 15 -- Let's Do Lunch

Many of my friends have written to ask how meals are served on the MV Explorer. Is there only one dining room? Do faculty and students eat together? Are there assigned tables? What's the food like, etc.? I thought there was enough interest to assign a complete blog entry to the subject.

There are two indoor dining rooms on the ship. Each serves three meals a day cafeteria style. Seating is in the dining room itself or at tables and chairs set for outdoor dining on the sixth deck. There's no division at all between faculty, staff or student dining. You can sit with your buddies and gossip or with your history prof and his wife and discuss the books on his assigned reading list. The ship's doctor might ask to join your party and if there isn't enough room everybody adjusts and adds another chair. The atmosphere is free and easy. You can sit wherever you like and you are always welcomed. When I need to to think out a problem I find a little niche in the fifth floor dining room where I can be alone. On most days I love to eat outside with my pals. Think good conversation, oatmeal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, blue skies, warm sun, and water as far as the eye can see. I am in Semester At Sea heaven.

The dining room staff is our dream team. Everybody is crazy about them and well they should be. These guys work long hours and their service is always with a smile. Need some juice? You've got it. Want more coffee? It's there, immediately! I don't think I've ever come in in the morning and not gotten a huge hello from at least one of these wonderful men.

What's the food like? It's really very good. It's not fancy restaurant food but it's not supposed to be that. As someone who has run a children's camp kitchen I know how hard it is to serve 1000 people three meals a day. Taking that into consideration I think they are doing a terrific job. There are always two choices for the carnivores and some dishes to please a vegetarian. There are sandwiches for lunch if you don't want a hot meal and peanut butter and jelly for those who don't like anything.

Want a special treat? There is special occasion dining (reservation only) aboard the MV Explorer as well. For about $25.00 you are served a formal five course dinner with a glass of champagne. The Life Long Learners will be doing one very soon.

Finally, if you miss a meal or if you are still hungry you can make your way to the seventh deck where you can order a hamburger, veggie burger, pizza, fruit smoothie or a frozen yoghurt dessert all at extremely reasonable prices.

I'm sure you won't be surprised if I say that I'm gaining weight.


February -- Bits and pieces...

While I didn't put this information into the exact days that it happened, we had two-three days of really rough seas this week. Things were flying off my night table (I kept my computer on the floor), trays were flying off dining room tables, it was hard to walk down halls as we were thrown from one side to the other. I didn't get 'throw up' sick but it made me very tired trying to concentrate on not thinking of the ship's rocking and rolling. A few times I lay down in order not to get dizzy but it wasn't horrible and I'm proud of the fact that I'm earning my sea legs. However... I'm told that there is a typhoon awaiting us after South Africa. He-l-l-lp! My sea legs are not THAT developed.

One evening this week the staff, faculty, and LLL each paid five dollars and Avi the staff videographer changed hats and let us in on his other expertise -- wines and wine tasting. He led us in a sampling of South African wines so I'm a wee bit more prepared for choosing wines when we get to Cape Town. I'm constantly reminded that I'm living in a community of very talented people. What a joy! P.S. I asked Avi for his two overall (not necessarily South African wines) and these are the two whites he told me about. (1) Viognier from France (Rhone) and Caymus Conundrum (blend of 5 different grapes) produced in Napa Valley.

In our last Global Studies about South Africa we learned about South African politics and about safaris and the Big Five that we will (hopefully be spotting) this week. I'm very excited. Safaris have been on my 'to do' list for many years now. I'll be getting a mini taste of three days in a game reserve called Kariega Lodge (www.kariega.co.za) -- a two hour flight from Cape Town. The batteries on both my cameras are charged and I'm ready to go. I'll be rooming with a student I haven't met yet. There is a huge board posted in the ship's central meeting point (called Pursers Square) with photographs of every single person on the ship so I know what she looks like. Now I'll have to find her room number and introduce myself some time today.

In eight days we have travelled 3124 nautical miles from Salvador, Brazil. Now there are 200 miles to go before reaching Cape Town tomorrow.

OK. That's it for this part of the journey. I'll begin blogging again after our six-day stay in South Africa. We dock early tomorrow morning. I can now better imagine how Magellan felt after months of sailing between land sightings. I'm ready for adventure after only nine days at sea. I'm such a wimp!

Assistant Dean wine tasting

Relaxing on the way to South Africa

Sunset on the way to South Africa



End of Week Three


Week before leaving -- (Jan 11-20)
Week 1 -- (Jan 23-Feb 1 Puerto Rico)
Week 2 -- (Feb 3-9 Salvador, Brazil)
Week 3 -- (Feb 10-16 On the way to South Africa)
Week 4 -- (Feb 19-24 Cape Town and African Safari)
Week 5,6 -- (Feb 25-March 8 Mauritius)
Week 7 -- (March 9-15 Chennai, India)

Week 8 -- (March 16-22 Penang, Malaysia and Singapore)
Week 9 -- (March 23-31 Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam)
Week 10 -- (April 1-6 Hong Kong, Guilin Shanghai, China)
Week 11 -- (April 7-13 Kobe, Japan)
Week 12 -- (April 14-20 On the way to Hawaii)
Week 13 -- (April 21-27 Honolulu, Hawaii)
Week 14 -- (April 28-May 8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

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