Back in May, I got the exciting opportunity to return to the ship, MV Explorer, that’s so dear to me and work as the Communications and PR Coordinator for the spring Enrichment Voyage. The twice-a-year Enrichment Voyages (in May and December) are operated under the same umbrella as Semester at Sea, the non-profit Institute for Shipboard Education, and are open to anyone who wants to come. Think of them as “cruises”—though we dare not say that on board; it’s an educational voyage—with a learning slant; I’ll talk more about the ship activities at a later date, but currently you can nab a great deal on Groupon Getaways for the 25-day, 10-country Enrichment Voyage this winter. But anyway…
After departing from San Diego, we had a very brief staff orientation and lifeboat drill, sailed overnight along the Pacific Coast and arrived in Ensenada, Mexico the following morning.
The best part about traveling by ship is arriving at a port in the early hours of the morning when the city is still asleep. It’s a beautiful, serene moment, as the pilot boat guides us to the dock, and I love finding a secluded, quiet area of the deck at the bow of the ship where I can take it all in.
Well, aside from the chorus of sea lions—you can see their faint outlines above—who barked in a loud, aggressive cacophony of chaos as we pulled into the bay.
The check-in process is always a lot of fun; as the shuttle buses arrived from just over the border, we greeted all the newcomers, their nervous excitement about joining the ship obvious.
Meanwhile, up on deck 7, the “old pros”—like my pal Riley, age 7, who has been on the ship four times—enjoyed a welcome barbeque.
I had heard that Ensenada was just a dusty old port town, not worthy of exploring, but I have to say the view was nice from the ship. I didn’t have time to get out and see any of the area, though my cabin mate Samantha did and gave it high praise, but it wasn’t a bad place to be docked for the afternoon. Surprisingly, too, the day was rather cool; for being Mexico, you assume it to be unbearably hot, but the climate was similar to that of coastal California (which isn’t so shocking, I suppose, given that it’s just a hop, skip and a jump south of San Diego).
That afternoon, following another lifeboat drill, we set sail under a brilliant moon.