Universe Explorer in Sitka, AK

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S.S. Universe Explorer

Voyage of A Lifetime

In Summer of 2003 I embarked on the three month long Semester At Sea with my wonderful parents. My father had applied to be a professor in the program and it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

We sailed on the Steam Ship S.S. Universe Explorer, which looking back was a very small vessel. But the ship became the backdrop on one of the greatest adventures I've ever been on. We became accustomed to shipboard life and came to enjoy the little quirks of our aging host.

We attended classes while at sea, and then were free to travel and sightsee when we arrived in port. Our voyage took us around the Ring of Fire, hitting stops around the Pacific ocean.

Vancouver boat deck ship mast ship mast red and green observation deck ship bow sports deck

These are some photos I took of the ship while we waited in Vancouver for the rest of the students and faculty to arrive.

One of the bars pool deck studen union

As you can see there were a few amenities onboard. Sports deck, swimming pool, student union.

Navigator's Lounge Lounge view

This is the Navigator's lounge, which was unavailable to students during the voyage. If we wanted to see off the bow, we had to look from up above on the observation deck. In the wind.

My room porthole me in my cabin

I was lodged on one of the lower decks in a small two person room. As you can see I at least had a porthole which helps keep you aware of the time of day outside.

Tug boat lowering boat Lower boat close up

In some ports we anchored and tendered using the ships' boats.

ship fan tail ship from boat moving away from ship Ships and helicopter

The boats were very utilitarian, they were our lifeboats, but they did lend an interesting perspective of the ship. Looking at your transport from a distance after several days trapped on board is mildly cathartic.

wooden pier ships lines ship in Kodiak

However in most ports we docked at a pier.

sea from fantail boat deck sunset life ring rainbow the sea at night boat deck sunset sunshine on boats fantail sea

Life at sea affords some very picturesque situations.

fog at sea more fog

Though not always.

before polarbear swim polarbear swim upper decks polarbear swim after polarbear swim

The staff did their best to keep us entertained while we were at sea. These are some pictures of the polar bear swim in the north Pacific. The pool was filled with sea water and brave souls ventured across the frigid span.

The voyage starts in Vancouver!