Cruise Update: May 7

Position: LAT 43 55 LONG 69 20
Course: 142   Speed: 8 kts
WX: Partially cloudy, winds 15 kts gusting 25 kts.

The day started out sunny as final preparations were made to get underway. Families began showing up on the dock by 0700 to pass final care packages to their students and say their final goodbyes. Channels 5 & 7 came out to interview students and see what the buzz was about and by 1000 the gangway was lowered to the dock and lines were being prepared to cast off.  We were away from the dock by 1045 and the customary cannon salute sounded as the ship maneuvered into the channel before settng a course toward
Turtle Head where we would complete our US Coast Guard inspection.

We were anchored by 1130 and at 1230 we began our emergency drills as part of the inspection. The inspectors tested the fire detection system in the 4/C berthing, setting off the ship’s fire alarm and prompting all hands to report to their Fire & Emergency stations. Thirteen minutes into the drill, the students had completed a full accountability check and our Damage Control (DC) teams were on the scene to fight the simulated fire.  A short time later, the inspectors told our DC teams that the fire was unable to be controlled. The DC teams pulled back from the scene and regrouped on the fantail, verified that they had all personnel accounted for, and we shifted into an Abandon Ship Drill.

The Abandon Ship process requires another complete muster of everyone on the ship. This time, the inspectors “kidnapped” one of our students in order to test our accountability procedures. Nine minutes into the drill, our muster teams had determined that 4/C Crawford was missing and reported this to the inspection team. I should point out that this process of gathering muster sheets, verifying status and cross-checking inconsistencies is completely run by our students. When the inspectors held the debrief of the drills, our students were lauded as “the best accountability process they have seen.”

By 1530 the inspectors were headed ashore and we weighed anchor, heading South to clear Matinicus Rock.

Getting personal gear aboard.
Families crowd the dock to say good-bye.
Students watch as Castine slips away and the training gets real…