Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well, exams are over, grades have been turned in, the Ambassadors/Alumni ball was held last evening. And, now everyone is finding boxes and packing all those wonderful items and trinkets accumulated over the past 4 months.  It has been a very special voyage.  Monday morning will have us arriving in San Diego when this 700 person community will part ways.

Joel, Julie, me and Donna
with Andres, who took both my courses

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Archbishop

With only a few days left on this voyage the ship is a buzz with final exams, grading, packing etc. Archbishop Tutu and his wife Leah hosted a very nice reception for the faculty, staff, and life long learners two nights ago.  He really could be a stand up comic as he had the crowd in the palm of his hand with several jokes.  It has been a delight having the two of them on board for the entire voyage.

The Archbishop working the crowd

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final exam time

Our faculty
We are in our final days of the voyage. "A" day finals were held yesterday, "B" day today and the Global seminar on Friday.  This will be followed up by Commencement on Saturday and a bunch of packing.  Come Sunday evening our boxes and luggage need to be ready as we disembark Monday morning in San Diego.  To say that this has been a terrific and amazing journey would be an understatement.  Glad you have been along for the ride via this blog.
Final exam time

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Oh Hell" celebration

My extended family on board ship plays one game of "Oh Hell" every evening at about 1830.  Last night I decided to celebrate this occasion by having the chef make us an ice cream cake.
The "Oh Hell" family

Hawaii, Part 2- the Big Island

After a delightful 2 days on Oahu we sailed overnight to Hilo, for another 2 days, one night.  Jeremy Stringer, the Dean of Student Affairs, and I joined forces and headed to the Kona side of the island.  Jeremy had a time-share condo awaiting for us in Kona, so I rented the car.  Jeremy, my navigator, got us off on a rocky start.  About 4 miles from the airport, where we rented the car, he says, "I think the ocean is on the wrong side".  Drat, they turned the island around on us...well, one u-turn later we were now headed in the right direction....north.  After checking into the condo our first stop was "Snorkel Bob's" to rent our snorkeling gear.

The fish of Hawaii

We snorkeled at the Kahalu'u Beach Park, only about 4 miles south of Kona. While we did not see all the fish shown on the poster we did see over a dozen different species plus huge turtles.  The shallow (about 4 to 5 feet) and warm water allowed us to view the fish up close and personal in great comfort.
After a fish taco snack we headed north to view the sunset and enjoy the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort.

Jeremy and his Chi Chi
Sunset in Paradise
On the second day we headed back to Hilo via the southern route stopping at the Black Sand beach which was chock full of turtles.  Our much too brief stay was punctuated by our last walk up the gangway back into the MV Explorer for our sail to San Diego.
Black sand beach

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A little R & R time in Hawaii

Classes ended on Thurs and we arrived in Oahu on Friday, for two days.  I spent most of my time with my Aunt Gay.  We played two rounds of golf-- the first day at Waialae (where the Sony Open PGA tournament is held each Jan) where she has been a member for years.  And, yesterday we played at Olamana, over on the north side of the island.  We arrive into Hilo in a couple of hours and snorkeling is the game plan over in Kona.
They trimmed the palm trees to form the "W", for Waialea

Aunt Gay

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let's negotiate a maritime boundary treaty

The culmination of my Geography of the Oceans course was to have the students, who represented either the Kingdom of Kodiak or the Republic of St. Elias, attempt to negotiate a maritime boundary. What normally would take about a decade was compressed into less than 2 hours of time. They did a great job as they took on roles of the Dept. of Defense, Commerce, Interior, and State.
A negotiating round is underway

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Discussing retirement with the Archbishop

Yesterday, one of the anthropology profs held a panel on retirement issues and asked me to give "my story"-- a pleasant surprise occurred when the Archbishop walked in (it was a 0800 class) and sat down beside me.  He had some interesting comments-- during his time as Archbishop of Capetown, during the period of Apartheid, he said it was easier to be mad about something than it was during his second career, post-Apartheid, when he headed the Reconciliation Committee when they had to build up society.  The Archbishop had a busy day as in the evening he spoke at two fora:  Human Rights and Christianity in modern society.
Archbishop making his point 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Groundhog Day

We have enjoyed Sat. November 27 so much that we on board ship have decided to re-live the day again tomorrow, or I should say today.  Tonight the ship crosses the dateline placing us back to the past.

Nov. 27, here we come again

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Even though classes were held today a full Thanksgiving dinner was served this evening.  The 5th deck dining room was set aside for  the "extended" families, families that have been created during this voyage.  Our "family" of Amy, Kayla, and Tony enjoyed dinner together, followed by a card game of "Oh Hell".
Kayla, Amy, and Tony

Amy getting ready to deal a round of Oh Hell

Back to class

Between Japan and our arrival to Honolulu on Friday 3 December we have 10 days of classes, including today-- Thanksgiving.  Classes conclude after this stretch.  We have 2 days each in Honolulu and Hilo before our homestretch to San Diego. Upon leaving Hilo we have 4 days of final exams and that is it.  To say this has been a terrific voyage would be an understatement.

Text books used in my classes

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good bye Japan

Two nights ago we set sail for Honolulu; it was sad to know that we were leaving our final foreign port of our voyage.  Like several of the Asian ports we have just visited Yokohama lights itself up at night.
Port of Yokohama from our ship as we departed

Mount Fuji

On my last day in Japan I headed off with a bus load of colleagues to Mount Fuji, which is located between Tokyo and Osaka. The morning began dreary and raining-- while eating breakfast I announced to our group (I was the tour leader) that we were to hold good thoughts for the day's weather.  Well sure enough, as we approached Fuji-san (mountain) the clouds gave way briefly to allow us to see the wonderful mountain in all her glory.
    By the time we reach the mountain the clouds had rolled back in.  But, it was fun to hike a bit amid the snow and slush at station 5, about 2/3 up the mountain.  While at this point I took a photo directly up towards the summit-- the sun was out, but the top remained covered in the clouds-- but the resulting picture has an eerie quality to it.
  We then went to the other side of the national park to Lake Ashi to take a ropeway (cable car) up the mountain-- by then the clouds blocked any possible view we may have had of Fuji-- the day finished with brief, but delightful, boat ride across the lake.
Lake Ashi

The Ropeway, as we saw it
The Ropeway, on the best of days
Looking directly up at the summit into the sun and clouds
Mount Fuji

Monday, November 22, 2010


Me, with the MV Explorer, in Yokohama
This morning we sailed into our final foreign port.  Like the other Asian ports we have visited on this trip Yokohama is quite modernized.  The port itself where our ship is docked has a very pleasant wooden "park" for walking and underneath the walking area is a concert hall.

Concert hall, with our ship next door

Throughout the trip we have been very fortunate to have wonderful weather in the ports.  Today, however, there was a light rain in the morning and more is coming in for tomorrow---the day I am heading to Mt. Fuji and Hakone.

Port of Yokohama   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sayanara to Sandra

This morning at 0500 I placed Sandy in a taxi for her ride to the Osaka-Itami airport for her 1+ hour flight to Aomori.  She will be spending about 4 days with Tesia before flying back to Wash DC the day before Thanksgiving.  Laura will arrive into Dulles, from Norway, an hour after Sandy so the two of them will spend about 4 days together.
Sandra's farewell dinner on the ship


We arrived in Kobe yesterday morning and by early afternoon Sandy and I were traveling on a bullet train with a group to Hiroshima.  Although we spent only 3 hours there we able to see the various memorials and museum remembering August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am when the first atomic bomb was dropped.  The building now designated as the atomic bomb memorial is situated about 300 meters from the center of the explosion.
Atomic bomb Memorial

Photo of city following the explosion
A special memorial has been erected for Sesaki Sadako, a girl who was 2 years old and about a mile away from the center of the blast.  Before her death at age 12 years old she captivated her friends, and later the world, by making origami cranes. An old Japanese story says that if you make 1000 cranes you may make a wish.  She completed only 644 before her death, but her classmates completed the remaining 356 and sought funding for a memorial to be erected in her memory.  Daily origami cranes are delivered to this memorial.

Memorial to Sesaki Sadako
Origami cranes brought to the memorial


After our stay in Beijing the group flew back to Shanghai where the ship was waiting.  Shanghai is a coastal city where the Yangzi river flows into the East China Sea.  Sandy did not return to the ship until late in the evening.  I had a nice walk around an older part of town, viewing the local market place.  Then, at night, the river just lights up.  A few photos of the scenes I saw.
Night in Shanghai
Woman selling crabs

The Great Wall

Just a few pictures of this unbelievable feature.

Concluding my descent via toboggan


Most of my time in China was spent traveling for 4 days, 3 nights in the Beijing area.  I was a "bus" leader which meant I had to keep track of about 28 people periodically.  Immediately after arriving we headed to the Hutong area, an old section of Beijing where low-income people share common space (cooking, toilets, etc)-- we had arrived via rickshaw and enjoyed a wonderful home cook meal in a family home.
Suzanne, a life long learner on the voyage, and me in the Rickshaw on our way to dinner
 The next day we were off to the Forbidden city, Tiananmen Square, an orphanage and finally to a restaurant to enjoy Peking duck.  From 1407-1924 the Forbidden city served as the imperial palace to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Forbidden city
These hands are now registered as lethal
On the third day we saw a demonstration of martial arts, and then it was off to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, about 45 minutes from Beijing.  We took a cable car up to the wall, walked for about an hour before taking a tobaggon (luge) down the mountain.

In my role as bus leader

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hong Kong

Days ago we arrived in Hong Kong for another too brief stay. Sandy and I spent only one day there before heading off to different trips; me to Beijing and she to Guilin. We spent a fun day traveling across the harbor on the Green Star ferry and took the tram up Mt. Victoria.

On Mount Victoria overlooking Hong Kong and Kowloon
The change in Hong Kong since I was last there, about 20 years ago, is remarkable.  Before, there was nothing but walking paths at the top of the mountain; now, there is an entire mall complex. And, the entire waterfront is one modern building next to another.