Jeff Warner PHOTOGRAPHIC, Golden, Colorado, USA

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boston, MA

8/21 Boston

The flight to Boston was uneventful, other than the fact that we were diverted to Canada (!) for a thunderstorm over Boston, and we had to haul around 270 pounds of luggage (in addition to four rather densely packed carry-ons). Boston was mid-90's and way-muggy. We checked into our hotel after an expensive cab ride from Logan ($30 for 3 miles???), and proceeded to find a Thai restaurant just down the block (yay!). The next morning the boys were excited to meet up with Uncle Evan, who joined us for the three mile walk of the Freedom Trail. After seeing the top deck of the Constitution, we proceeded to climb 294 spiraling stairs to the top of the Bunker Hill monument. Climbing up was not so bad. Climbing down seemed not so bad. We stood around for a few minutes after we got to the bottom, but when we started down some stairs to leave, the boys, Heidi and immediately caught rig! Despite how much cycling we do, those stairs kicked our butts and our thighs started to seize like catgut on a tennis racket!

A gravestone at the Granary Burial Ground, where victims of the Bosston Massacre are buried.

Will somebody help get this pigeon off my face!
A memorial to the men and women fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Waitin' for the train...
After a late checkout, it was finally time to head toward the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal to board the MV Explorer. It's hard to express the excitement, especially mine, after spending so many hours reading staff and student blogs, seeing the myriad pictures of the vessel in ports around the world. You have to understand that I've spent very little time on the water, and transportation vehicles of any sort have always fascinated me, little boy that I am. As the cab pulled up to the terminal (a very large building adjacent to the dock, nearly impossible to see anything), I could see the 'familiar' blue hull through the occasional glass doorways; we then reached the entry doors, where we could finally see: EXPLORER! Woo hoo, it was finally here, and although we were 40 minutes early, they allowed us to board (embark, in nautical terms), avoiding the lines of faculty and staff that were to follow.

Finally, we are ready to board the MV Explorer!
Such an amazing thing to finally be aboard the MV Explorer, and it's such a beautiful ship. Built in 2002 as a cruise ship, it has been retrofitted to literally be a floating campus. Although we currently have a temporary (small!) room on the third deck due to the Forum on Global Engagement that is going on during the leg to Montreal, the accommodations are quite comfortable, despite the fact that we can't really unpack. In order to access supplies, we need to move suitcases, then to get to the suitcases, we need to move boxes of supplies. A bit like Whack-A-Mole, albeit with big, heavy, squarish rodents. It'll be nice to move up a floor and have some more room after these 400+ forum-goers disembark in Montreal.

That night there was an alumni event aboard the MV Explorer (900 alums!), and we were able to get Evan and his girlfriend Caitlin on board from 7 until 10:30 pm. Since Evan lives in Boston, we decided to send some stuff ahead so that we wouldn't have to spend the day shopping for stuff like: 4 months worth of shampoo, 4 months worth of saline solution, 4 months worth of 'name-your-favorite-staple-here', etc. He brought the first load to us in his rolling duffle, and the boys had fun showing them around their new home. We all got a chance to get to know Caitlin, and Tate and I talked for awhile with a college student from Fort Collins who had just finished the summer trip that morning. Kylie gave Tate the inside scoop, and introduced him to Howard, who just may be able to come up with fresh bananas at times when you might never expect one to be within hundreds of miles!

The following morning they both met us at the ship to get together to go to the aquarium, and brought the second load: 46 pounds of box we sent, plus about 30 pounds of Molly the Owl books that Lorien and Eric overnighted so that we could give them to kids around the world (thanks guys!). Evan was happy to be done with the sherpa duties, though I ended up getting stuck at the bottom of the gangway with the duffel bag, unable to re-board due to the 400 prospective students boarding for the next hour. I chatted with a Boston Police officer for the next 80 minutes, and it was fascinating to hear his perception of seeing the 600+ summer students get off the ship that morning. He said that most of the people getting off cruise ships are old and crusty, annoyable, hot, and just plain testy. Seeing the students say goodbye to the friends they had made while saying hello to a parent they hadn't seen in 8 weeks was an amazing experience, and he hadn't realized that such an academmic program existed (as most don't).

The tug prepares to pull us out of the Port of Boston.

Anyway, everyone (but me) enjoyed the Boston Aquarium, and I joined them for lunch at Bertucci's. Walking the 2.5 miles back to the ship was entertaining, as Little Man Tate decided that walking wasn't so high on his priority list. In preparation for departing the Port of Boston, all passengers must undergo 'muster' training, that is, learning the procedures for abandoning ship via the ship's life boats, the largest four of which hold 150 people each. After dinner as the last light faded from the western sky, the kids waited for a tugboat to approach the MV Explorer. After watching the tug maneuver around and attach a line, we told the guy working on the deck of the tug where we were headed, which amazed him. They finally pulled us away from the dock at exactly 9:00 pm, and 15 minutes later we were under way, under our own power, headed for the Atlantic with the Pilot boat cruising alongside. Twenty minutes later I watched the pilot hop off the ship onto the pilot boat, and they both blew their horns as the pilot boat flipped a 180 and returned to the Port of Boston.

After five months of waiting, we were finally underway!

Pilot boat alongside, getting ready to let us go!


  1. Bon Voyage and safe returns. Looking forward to keeping up with your adventure. you realizew that you will be one day older than the rest of us Coloradians once you return. Should have gone from east to west.

  2. Thanks Dan! I'll tell you when I feel older!


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