As a service member of the Marine Corps, I volunteered- more like my unit volun-told me- to join on this military cruise to cross the different seas to help accomplish different missions and operations. This was an excellent opportunity for me. Even though I cruised before, I’ve never crossed an ocean. My unit was the 26th Marine Expedition Unit or 26 MEU for short. The 26 MEU had three ships to sail across this ocean: USS Kearsarge, USS San Antonio, and USS Carter Hall. I was on the USS Kearsarge, which was the main boat of all the three ships. Of all three ships, this ship is the biggest and can hold the most people. Events that would mold my mind about doing a worldwide cruise- forever!
Of all the bodies of water that I would experience, the Atlantic Ocean has the roughest waters to get through. I was very glad that I was on the bigger ship because the ship could manage the heavy waves compared to the other ships. The other ships would rock to the point that some people on the ship would feel like the ships would go belly up. Even so, the heavy waves made it difficult to keep balance- I felt like I was in the movie Inception because of the rocking of the boat from the waves. Keeping balance was very difficult with each passing wave; people would constantly bump into each other because the rocking of the boat. What’s worse was people had weak stomachs from the constant rocking, so many people would feel sick. Some people would vomit. One tip if you plan to take a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean or any body of water is to prepare yourself mentally and physically. If you are sea sick, the fastest way to overcome this is acclimatize sooner than later to the ship’s environment. That means drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy meals, and exercising (A great way to keep from being boring). Also, if you have sea sickness, the best way to manage it is to go outside. The sea air made me feel better every time I went outside.
After sailing on the boat for 30-days without my feet touching land made me miss home very much. Also, it made me value the importance of space. A tip I would suggest is bring some family pictures or a family item to help you deal with home sickness. Another tip is to use any a form of communications to reach family members. I would use snail mail, e-mail, and phone. I was very fortunate to use both forms of communication to talk to my wife and kids. Unfortunately, snail mail took forever a day to reach my family, e-mail would stop working at times, and the phones I used had poor reception. Even so, I took full advantage of any communication to talk to my family.
Before I started this MEU, I did one cruise to the Caribbean. What I realize from both cruises was that the food service offer tons of food (Now, whether if it was good or not is a different story). The first week of my deployment, I would eat tons of food like I was beggar on the street; my meals would consist a lot of deserts. I felt like I was gaining weight that I didn’t want, so immediately, I started an exercise program to keep myself in shape; I would go to the gym offered by the boat. Because I started exercising more, I established a plan to cut back on the sweets and fat in a disciplined manner. Moreover, reducing the amount of these foods increased my energy level; it allowed me to have tons of energy to lift tons of weights, so I could look good for the ladies for any ports that I would stop. On any cruise, whether work or vacation, expect to be tempted by a variety of foods that many would considered unhealthy. Anyone can overcome this by taking advantage of the gym offered on any ship and established an eating plan beforehand. Moreover, ensure that that you bring plenty of gym clothes.
Making It Across
After 30-days in the Atlantic Ocean, I made it to Rota, Spain. Being in the ocean for this long would make many people appreciate land and space much more. Just hearing the captain say that the ship would hit port in Spain was exciting. Even though the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean was rough, I can proudly say that I traveled the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Europe by boat. One thing that is checked off my bucket list!