Semester At Sea Traditions: Weird Community Building Fun

I was on Semester At Sea’s One-Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Voyage! Which means they have perfected the process of getting us on and off the ship, and there’s some good ol’ SASsy Traditions which further enforce the weird bound we all now share.

Sea Olympics
Sea Olympics were held between Vietnam and Myanmar. They started early in the morning and lasted through the evening, we got out of class this day which we have every single day we are on the ship. Each “Sea” is a team. The seas: Baltic (Blue), Black, Red, Yellow, and Arabian (Purple), are all the closest thing we have to a dorm. They each have a Resident Director who’s second job after embarkation was to help us organize for Sea Olympics. There was also the Lunar Sea which was comprised of Life Long Learners and Ship Kids. We came up with chants (B-B-B-A-L-T-T-T-I-C, B-B-B-A-L-T-T-T-I-C, BALTIC SEA!! [repeat 3x]) and banners. For all of the team-required sporting events there was a captain, synchronized swimming, lip sync, team spirit, and pass the orange. There were other events too, such as a pull-up challenge, spelling-bee, and one where you had to open a very frozen folded t-shirt. The events change each voyage, the funnest synchronized swimming and lip sync, are staples of this voyage tradition.

Neptune Day
This time, we got out of class for the entire day, because at about 7am we crossed the Equator! The first crossing of the Equator for a sailor (although we, students, were voyagers) is full of myth and tradition. We were woken up by crew and staculty (staff + faculty) banging pots and pans down the hall way with King Neptune and his entourage behind him. King Neptune got on our ship to potentially grant us further safe passage on our voyage. To go from Pollywags (before crossing the Equator) to Shellbacks (after crossing the Equator and going through its traditions), we must “pledge” ourselves to King Neptune. Then we had “fish guts” poured on our heads, we jumped in the pool, kissed a fish (a dead one), bowed to King Neptune and kissed his ring, then we were knighted Shellbacks, and had the option to shave our heads (I did not choose this option). All of this was over by 9:30 and we had the whole day to enjoy our new status, with King Neptune’s Blessing.

The “Centre” of the World – 0,0 Crossing the Equator at the Prime Meridian
There was no exemption from classes this day but at about 7am, we crossed 0,0. We got to circle the bouy which a few countries run at 0,0, and a crew couple got engaged!

Student Auctions
The student auction was a fundraiser for scholarship’s for future voyagers. Many things were auctioned off including bracelets, Sea Boxes, crew-signed work jumpsuits, vacation homes, photo-shoots, and yoga classes. Somethings were raffled off such as Alumni Ball at the Captains Table and a SAS Snapchat Takeover, both of which were won by friends of mine.

Student Talent Show
The student talent show really brought out some hidden talent. There were several performances done by bands which had formed since the start of the voyage. Ship kids who bravely got up and showed us their talents! It was a great way to spend the evening!

Student Culture Night
Student culture night was something else! We got to see performances from all over the world, and some of the performances that exemplified the diverseness of the ship.

Crew Talent Show
The Crew Talent Show was probably my favourite of all the SAS traditions. Pretty much all through SAS, our interactions with the group were friendly but the crew was usually on the quieter side. Then we got to the talent show! Where our crew, blew our minds with their energy and their creativity! They also showed us pieces of their homes throughout the show.

Alumni Ball
The Alumni Ball was the night of our last exam day. It was a celebration of our passing from SAS Student to SAS Alumni. If you recall from a few traditions above, my friend won seats for her and several others at the Captain’s Table. We were all treated to fine dining (in our usual dining room). We got to enjoy the dinner with the Captain and the Chief Engineer. Afterwards, there was a student dance party on the pool deck (the pool was closed). We got to celebrate the end of SAS before two days of “reentry programming,” commencement, and our final pre-port.

Honorable Mentions: Pre-Port and Global Studies
I would feel wrong ending this post without mentioning two of the re-occurring events all voyagers attended. Global Studies was a class with three parts: Port Learning, Intercultural Competency, and Oceans. There were only two sections of it. And we all bonded over the highs and lows, and teachers’ mistakes. Pre-Port was a lecture the night before we got to each port where SAS provided us with all the safety information they were legally required to tell us, they also included some other information, and made it fun with an intermission performance by a Life Long Learner and sometimes other students.

We did this 1-2-6!

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