Cruise 2023 - Day 57 out of 65. We have reached our fourth and final liberty port: beautiful Astoria, Oregon.
Aside from our underway training, it was an uneventful and foggy passage to the Pacific Northwest from the Hawaiian Islands. Many of us aboard the TSGB are happy to be back in the cool weather.
We have officially made it to Astoria, Oregon, and we were welcomed back to the West Coast by our Columbia River Bar Pilot who was brought to the ship via helicopter, along with the USCG who were gracious enough to include us in a training exercise. Below you will see a photo of our Bar Pilot, Captain Christian Julien arriving by helicopter - which was pretty cool to witness! Capt. Julien also happens to be a Cal Maritime Alumnus.
Cadets and faculty watched as the Bar Pilot skillfully landed on the TSGB.
Promptly after the Bar Pilot arrived, the USCG Search and Rescue Team circled us with a helicopter and proceeded to drop a message block on our fantail! Dropping a message block is typically done in search and rescue operations, as a last-ditch effort to make contact with a vessel that has experienced communication or radio failure. In our case, as our message block was delivered as a training exercise, the message stated: "we have been trying to reach you about your ship's extended warranty".
Just kidding, but that would have been hilarious! The message block actually had this nice welcome note and included an awesome challenge coin (pictured below):
“TS GOLDEN BEAR, welcome to Astoria from the Coast Guard! We’re glad to have you here! This is a message block, a last-resort method of communication we can use with mariners if radios and other communications fail. It’s a great career with an important life-saving mission, and the Coast Guard is always looking for talented and committed folks to join our ranks, on the sea or in the air! You can reach out to Coast Guard recruiting closest to you by visiting GoCoastGuard.com.”
The helicopter pilots dropped two message blocks down to us before continuing on with their training. Cadets, faculty and staff alike lined the O3 and flight deck rails to watch this exercise. Once the blocks were dropped, the pilots tilted the helicopter as they flew away to use the blades to help blow the blocks in the right direction. This maneuver ensures that the message block will land in the correct location. We were not expecting the strong gust of wind coming from the helicopter with each departure, so needless to say, we were all thrown back and many hats were blown away! All in all, it was an amazing and exciting thing to witness and we were all buzzing from adrenaline after!
A huge thank you to Pilots LT Amanda Thrasher, LTJG Dan Efinger, and all of Air Station Astoria for the warm welcome, and for including us in this exercise!
Cadets manning the rails as we arrive in Astoria, Oregon.
Arrival day is always a good day!
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.
ABOUT CAL MARITIME
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.