Due to an unforeseen incident, our stop in Barbados was cut short. However, despite the setback cadets got firsthand experience in real world situations that will prepare them for the maritime industry. Cadets, faculty and staff worked hand in hand to repair the minor damage to allow us to continue our voyage safely. With spirits being lifted as the all clear was given to continue, the T.S.G.B. is currently making her way to Lisbon, Portugal after departing Barbados late last night.
Life aboard the T.S.G.B. can get a bit monotonous at times so to switch things up, certain Sunday’s are reserved for a ship favorite. Sunday BBQ’s. This is when cadets as well as faculty and staff, converge on the fantail (main deck aft) bring a seat, bask in the sun, and enjoy a BBQ meal thanks to the galley staff. There’s music, cadets dressed in Hawaiian shirts, relaxing after a day full of watch, day work, and practical training. It is an opportunity for everyone to enjoy a well deserved break and socialize before heading back inside to work on various assignments. It also marked one day before reaching Barbados, where cadets get the opportunity to explore this small island nation in the Caribbean.
Cadets lined the railings all through the night to see first hand the incredible feat that is the Panama Canal. The canal spans 51 miles and encompasses two passage ways that include three locks (areas that fill or empty water), and two lakes that allow ships to cross in opposite directions at the same time. The T.S.G.B crossing from the Pacific to the Atlantic was met with a few vessels going in the opposite direction which cadets cheerfully waved at in passing. Helping us in the transit were “mules” a locomotive system that tows ships from land on a rail slowly and carefully through each lock to ensure the vessel is kept in place. Each set of locks took around one hour to fully pass through and the locks themselves date back to 1913. Because of the historic event for everyone, cadets took photos and videos to remember their first passage through the canal, from the 01 deck all the way up to the 04 deck. Not only that but they stayed up, some for the whole transit that ended in the early hours of the morning. The T.S.G.B. is now through and out of the canal and on her way to Bridgetown, Barbados. This will be the official first port of cruise 2019, here cadets will be able to disembark and experience what this island has to offer. We’re set to arrive 21 May, and spend two full days there and set sail once again at 0800 on 24 May.
After a week and two days since departing Los Angeles the T.S.G.B. has reached the Panama Canal. Since reaching the entrance to the canal we have stopped to fuel up once more before our journey through to the Atlantic. At the fuel dock the cadets and crew have a view of cargo ships, cranes and the Bridge of the Americas (which connects the continents of North and South America). As tropical weather has it the day started out cloudy and it has started to rain all the while being in the upper 80s. Thunder was heard out in the distance and lightening was visible as well. The hills surrounding the canal are full of lush jungle and past the entrance on the canal in the far distance the skyline of Panama City can be seen. We’ll begin our transport later this evening and going through three locks to reach the other side of the canal in the early morning hours on the 18th. Many people aboard will be staying up to observe how the canal works. Next stop Barbados!
We can finally see Panama! We’re less than 24 hours away from entering and beginning our passage through and over to the Atlantic. Many on-board are relived to finally have a change of scenery rather than the open ocean. We’ve slowed down and are cruising toward the entrance. Tomorrow cadets will get the chance to experience what it is like to travel through the canal via its various locks and lakes. The majority of the trip will be in the evening which despite the time of day doesn’t mean the canal is any less busy.
If there is one thing about cruise cadets can’t wait for it is getting to the next port. While Bridgetown, Barbados is still five days away the Panama Canal is approaching quickly. Which offers cadets a unique experience not found in many places. As crossing the canal is an opportunity not many people get outside of the maritime industry. The T.S.G.B. will carefully go through the canal as cadets watch through the night how the canal works with each of it’s locks and lakes to get through it entirely.
It has been nine days since the T.S.G.B. officially left its home port in Vallejo. In the days since cadets have been hard at work with classes, watch, and day work. The weather has been slowly getting more tropical with temperatures in the mid 80s and humidity hold steady at around 80%. It is definitely a change for many but a glimpse for whats in store for our first stop in Barbados in six days.
It is Mother’s day aboard the T.S.G.B. and for some it is the first time away from home during this holiday, which can be difficult. However, we still make sure to show our appreciation for all the Mother’s out there despite the distance. Here are some cadets and staff wishing their Mother’s a very Happy Mother’s day!
Cruise has begun! After weeks of preparation from both the cadets and ship staff, the T.S.G.B. left Cal Maritime promptly at 0600 on May 5th. The Golden Bear is set to sail through the Panama Canal then Bridgetown Barbados from there going transatlantic to Lisbon, Portugal. Following that, the Golden Bear will stop in the Azores, in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel. Thereafter, we will be going back over the Atlantic to Port Everglades, Florida; then ending our two month voyage in Galveston, Texas on July 1st, 2019.
In the days since, cadets have been working hard in and around the ship. From handling mooring lines, to lighting up the engine, cadets have been gaining unmatched hands on experience. Not only that, but they got to experience traveling underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, through San Francisco Bay, and got a glimpse of life out at sea as the T.S.G.B sailed from Vallejo to the Port of Los Angeles. On our way there, cadets witnessed a pod of Dolphins while relaxing on the fantail after a long day at work. While in the Port of L.A, the T.S.G.B. held a Captain’s reception where families where able to meet with their cadets one last time as well as enjoy a dinner.
Next Stop the Panama Canal.
They’re slowly getting their sea legs and now the ship is headed to the Panama Canal after we departed the Port of Los Angeles at 1200, 8 May 2019. From this point on the weather will begin to warm up as we get closer to Central America, we are scheduled to arrive at the Panama Canal at 1000, where it will take 10-12 hours to fully pass through.
Welcome to Follow the Voyage 2019: The Virtual Cruise of the Training Ship Golden Bear! Follow along with the cadets and crew on board as they visit Los Angeles, Panama Canal, Barbados, Portugal, and Florida.
Cruise 2019 begins on Wednesday, May 1 at 1600 and the ship departs on Sunday, May 5 at 0800. Cruise officially ends on Monday, July 1 at 1200.