Semester at Sea: The Final Days

After Morocco, the ship had just four days at sea before disembarkation in Southampton.  The inevitable was fast approaching, and my friends and I could no longer push away thoughts of leaving any longer.

So with (most of) our classes done, my group got closer – both literally and physically. We began hanging out in a cosy little alcove under the second deck staircase, and spent much of our days hanging out there.

semester at sea friends

The alumni ball was the night of the 29th. The seas was pretty rocky; dancing was a hoot. The entire dance floor would shift back and forth as each wave hit. I’m pretty sure if there had been a dance party the first week, we’d have all fallen overboard. Thank goodness for getting our sea legs!

The final song of the dance was the Titanic song, My Heart Will Go On. We joined arms in a circle, rocking back and forth. It is really striking how close we’ve gotten in such a short time; although with the the lack of internet and such close quarters, it was probably only natural.

My friends sure do make me look good, don’t they?

semester at sea group photo alumni ball

semester at sea silly stair photo

Instead of yearbooks, most people bought world maps from the store and asked everyone to sign theirs. The first two days the maps gradually appeared, but by the third day you were practically stepping all over them. I put off signing them as long as I could, but ultimately had to begin saying my goodbyes.

Commencement for the seniors was a bit of a hoot, only on SAS…

semester at sea commencement

Packing was pretty difficult. Partly because the cabin was physically too small for us to both pack at the same time, but mostly because the bags I brought were absolutely tiny. I swear I didn’t buy that many souvenirs, they multiply like rabbits!

semester at sea outside cabin room and roommate

I’ve never had a roommate before, but Brandon was a pretty awesome guy. Despite his claims of ‘never reading’, he finished roughly 50 books during the four months.

As winners of Sea Olympics, the Bering Sea was given the ‘privilege’ of getting off the ship first. Our Assistant Dean Zaneeta called our sea, but Celeste and I weren’t ready to disembark. Our group huddled together and waited for the last groups to be called to finally disembark.

Was I ready to get off? I can’t really answer that. Part of me missed the freedom of land and promise of more than just pasta, potatoes, and peanut butter and jelly. But most of me was eager to continue at sea, my brain is almost still waiting for the next reembarkation. And as much as I thought during the voyage that I would miss the MV Explorer, I really won’t. The MV Explorer is a beautiful ship, but what I’ll truly miss is the people and ideas that it carries. From the overdramatic security briefings and cult-like Ubuntu Coffee social venture to the family dinners and open-mic nights, I’ll miss it all. But despite it all, saying goodbye to my closest friends wasn’t overly sad at the end of the day. It was a genuine ‘see you again.’

semester at sea fancy dinner photo