From Lisbon to Palermo

By Luke Whipple, First Class Engine Cadet

As we near the end of summer sea term, Palermo was a well needed break. Palermo’s classic European architecture combined with its lively night life was a perfect combination for the ship’s cadets and crew.

Trips were offered to a local beach, the volcano Mt Etna, and a tour of some classic Greek and Roman temples. About 20–30 minutes walking distance from the ship was an old monastery’s catacombs. Here there were 300–400 mummified bodies. Most of these people were monks and small children. It was interesting to how the Sicilian culture view death 200 years ago.

While at sea, the TS EMPIRE STATE celebrated the Fourth of July. We had a barbecue out on deck and most of the day off to relax and catch up on sleep. We flew a massive American Flag off of our aft kings post and had a Corn-hole tournament on the stern.

As per usual, the engineering department was still working while the ship was tied up to the dock. Our boiler rate cadets works with our licensed engineers to perform a bottom blow on the boiler. This process evacuates some of the pressurized feed water out the hull of the ship. Italy is hot and dry climate but our Air Condition system is still holding on strong.

The food here in Italy is fantastic! Although a language barrier exists, ordering from an Italian menu is always a surprise to see what comes out of the kitchen and onto your table. The seafood here is fresh and is sold in the streets similar to a hot dog vendor in Manhattan. Today we head back out to sea for our last and final port. We’re almost home but still have a lot to accomplish before New York.

Belated post from Lisbon that didn’t reach us earlier due to technical difficulties:

After our refreshing stay in Lisbon, the ship is ready to depart for her next leg of the trip. Lisbon had many museums and beaches. The public transit was simple to use and castles could be seen all around. While some soaked up the sun, other went for a more action packed experience. Many people went cliff diving and rock climbing around the Portuguese coast.

A short walk away from the ship was the museum strip. The strip had a Portuguese maritime museum and a 20th century power plant. This power plant museum showed much of the equipment cut-away. This gave some of the engineering cadets a new perspective in the shore side power industry and a better understanding of some of the machinery we learn about in our textbooks. Both the TS EMPIRE STATE and the power plant use the basic principles of the steam cycle and steam technology. It was very interesting to see a steam turbine split from its casing. The ABB power generating turbine was much larger than our marine propulsion turbine and instead of being coupled to a drivetrain like on our ship was couple to a synchronous alternator producing AC power for much of Portugal.

Today we go back out to sea eager for the next port and more eager for to get home.

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