Cruise 2023 - We have departed from beautiful Hilo, Hawaii. We are now circling the Hawaiian Islands while conducting our rubber docking and underway training exercises, which began on June 20th and will conclude tomorrow, June 23rd 2023. Our port stay in Hilo went very well, and everyone seemed to have made the most of their time there. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was a favorite among the cadets and many made the trip to the park, both day and night, to see the amazing eruption of Mount Kīlauea before it ended on June 19th.

"The first thing that changed upon arrival in Hilo was the air. Unlike the South Pacific and Samoa, with air as muggy and hot as a sauna, Hilo was gentle, inviting, and quiet. Most cadets were excited to be able get off the ship in what was our last tropical port call as the excitement mounted around 18:00 on Friday, June 16th, as the very first beacon lights of Hilo could be seen. As the night progressed, a dim orange blur could be seen. Lava! How astonishing that one of the first sights of the big island was a lava surge. When the gangway came down cadets were quick to scurry in all directions as the announcement came over the intercom that certain divisions were released for liberty. Some spent an afternoon at the Liliuokalani Gardens to see a beautiful Japanese style park with Tori gates, an arching bridge, fishponds, stone lanterns, pagodas, and a teahouse. Others enjoyed the various waterfalls on the islands and took opportunities to dive into the water from small ledges. The food was tremendous, simply put, they didn’t mess around. A personal favorite of mine was Ken’s House of Pancakes. Their Sumo Special came with 3 eggs, a half-pound burger patty with gravy, onions, 4 scoops of rice, and 3 large pancakes. Sufficient to say I made light work out the gargantuan meal. An ample number of cadets also made their way up to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where they stood in wonder of the steam vents which can bellow steam out at 238 degrees fahrenheit. The crater was an astonishing sight to behold as it spans over two miles in both length and width. Lava was present as well, making for fantastic photos and a great experience. Though some may not be able to see it now, how lucky are we that we’re able to embark on this fantastic expedition, which will remain enshrined in my memory forever."

-Mason Marotta, Assistant Purser

Immediately upon our departure on June 20th, we began our underway training. This process occurs every year on cruise, and is essentially split into three parts. Rubber docking gives the deck cadets an opportunity to take control of the helm - one by one - and maneuver to bring it alongside a buoy that we drop off every morning and pick up every evening. While this is happening on the bridge, engine cadets are in the engine room shifting controls and changing speed as necessary upon request from the bridge to make these maneuvers successful. It takes a lot of communication and coordination between the two departments and so far everyone has done a great job. Finally, cadets get plenty of practice operating our Fast Rescue Boats during underway training. Cadets work together with a Licensed Officer to deploy the Fast Rescue Boats, conduct maneuvers, and then stow them to be used all over again. As the ship is full this year, we have quite a few cadets being signed off on their proficiency with rubber docking and FRB, so it has been a jam-packed couple of days with more to come. 

Cadet Levi DeVries on the bridge wing

Cadet Levi DeVries on the Bridge Wing


Cadets Ryan Bean and Madeline Schmid with LWO Mike Thomsen practicing FRB maneuvers. 

Underway training

Dolphins joining in on underway training! Photo credit: Miles Daniel

Check back often and follow the voyage with our blog series that gives the latest news from Summer Cruise! The TSGB will travel to Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Apia, Samoa, Hilo, Hawaii, and Astoria, Oregon prior to returning to Vallejo on July 7.

Stay tuned for updates to the Follow the Voyage blog.

Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves nearly 1,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. The new oceanography degree program launched in the fall of 2020. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.