I have previously written at length about the visit to Wellington of the California Maritime Academy’s training ship Golden Bear. I stopped in Auckland on my way back from Washington so that I could greet Golden Bear again as it arrived for its second stop in New Zealand.
Since steaming out of Wellington Harbor on June 1st, Golden Bear traversed the Tasman Sea twice and made several port stops, including in Australia and Hawaii. The ship berthed in Auckland for a few days en route home to California at the tail end of its training cruise, with just one more stop ahead (in Pago Pago).
As in Wellington, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Golden Bear round the distant point and steam into the harbor. Also as in Wellington, the ship turned itself out impressively for arrival, with flags flying and the 250 cadets lining the railings in their dress uniforms.
Waiting with me on Princes Wharf to welcome Golden Bear were cadets from the New Zealand Maritime School, led by Captain Martin Burley. The Kiwi cadets were given a special tour of the ship and reciprocated by giving the Cal Maritime cadets tours of their own School’s facilities.
It was nice to see a couple of television camera crews present on Princes Wharf as well. I had just stepped off my long series of flights from the US and was a bit unkempt, so I asked my colleague Randy to do the interviews.
That evening, Golden Bear Captain Samuel Pecota hosted a reception on board for the Kiwi cadets, Auckland Mayor Len Brown, members of my Auckland student groups, and other dignitaries. It looked as though everyone had a great time, and His Worship The Mayor even favored us with a song.
In addition to feeding the local nightlife economy while in town, Golden Bear‘s cadets visited schools, the New Zealand Maritime Museum, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the Stardome Planetarium. My shipboard friend Nurse Carole also tells me that groups tubed through the Waitomo Caves and jumped off the Sky Tower.
Golden Bear‘s visits have been eventful in all the right ways. The cadets have enjoyed learning about New Zealand. The Kiwis whom they’ve met seem to have enjoyed the interactions as well. Notes were compared. Rugby was played. Cords were bungied. Backs were slapped. And libations were consumed. As I’ve said before, and will certainly say many times again:
There is no better investment in the future than exposing students to new people and new places, and allowing them to interact freely with their peers elsewhere. Such contact enhances mutual understanding, builds respect and affection, and facilitates problem-solving in powerful ways.
Seems pretty straightforward, eh?