WOW I never thought I would put those two words together. But let me explain…
So today is Day 2 on the ship however it is also day 5 in Nassau, Bahamas, not day 2 at sea like it should be. Let me catch you up on my first day onboard before I get into the long story of why we have not even begun our trek to Dominica, the first port we hit. I headed for the ship with my two large duffels & bag & backpack yesterday morning at about 11:15 a.m. with Emily and her parents, Adriana and Malia (my roommate onboard & sorority sister). We waited in the long luggage line for a few hours before we made it to the boat. Because of our late boarding time, we completely missed lunch. I guess even on embarkation day there was no special exception for us, which sucked, but they stick to a strict schedule on board, as we obviously learned quickly. We found the snack bar next to the pool and grabbed our $2 cheeseburgers! So cheap! Itâs gonna be hard to resist that place because Iâve already found out how good it is, but Iâm trying to stay away from junk food as much as possible! We had already found our room (Malia and me) so after eating we headed back to the room and began to unpack, which took forever. It was pretty funny to look at all the stuff on my bed and figure out how to fit everything throughout our teeny little cabin. The pictures online make the rooms look bigger, not to mention we have an inside room without a window. Itâs kind of creepy because we have absolutely no idea what time it is ever. Thatâs rough. Anyways, back to the ship problems. We were supposed to leave on Thursday January 19 at 5 p.m. but because of the 27 kids who have been stuck in Ft. Lauderdale all week waiting for passports, the ship decided to wait.
At noon today they gave us a position update and the guy comes on the loudspeaker and says, “It is 12 pm and we have moved exactly zero miles from our original position and are moving at a speed of zero miles per hour.” It was pretty funny. I just assumed that meant we were a little behind schedule, because we were supposed to leave at noon, but then they came back on the speaker and told us we would be not only leaving the port late, about 10 minutes later, but we would be coming BACK to Nassau at 5:30pm. So we are currently at sea but I guess just circling around the ocean until we return to our port tonight. Super weird but they must have needed our dock or something. My mom let me know via email that the ship wonât be leaving port until 8 p.m. tonight. We’ve been in and out of orientation stuff all day, learning about technology, student honor codes, safety, health, and so much more. A little boring and I’m pretty tired since I only slept for about 7 hours because breakfast is early. Our meal schedule is: B – 7:30-8:30a.m., L – 12-1:30p.m., D – 5:30-7:30p.m. Classes start tomorrow so that will be interesting! Since it’s an A day, that means I will only have 1 class, on B days I have 3 classes.
For anyone wondering about what happened to the kids with passport problems, let me explain to the best of my knowledge. There were a TON of problems with the visa company everyone went through this year. There is the first group of problems, where kids got their passports back but with only half of the visas, but they did receive the Brazil visa, which everyone on board is required to have for us to even enter the port and go down the Amazon. I guess they will somehow be receiving the Ghana and China visas en route. Then comes the second group of problems. 27 kids never even received their visas because through some fault of the visa company, Brazil denied and held their visas and passports. 3 of them are Chapman students, and they have been stuck in Ft. Lauderdale trying to get their visas since this past weekend. Itâs such a huge bummer that they were not all able to be apart of the activities in the Bahamas, boarding the ship with everyone else, and so much more, but itâs so great that we have decided to wait for them. I canât imagine being in their shoes and feeling like I was not able to fulfill this amazing dream. Several kids have actually already made it to the ship, but there were still problems with other passports so that is the reason we are still waiting, circling around the Gulf of Mexico.
Mackenzie Jill Weber
Chapman University ‘13
Advertising & Public Relations, major
Semester At Sea Spring ‘12