Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25. At sea heading for Tenerife, Canary Island The end of the voyage is in sight, and I find myself sad at the prospect of leaving the ship, and the community that we have formed over the last month together.     Wow, I just looked out of the window, and I can see the snow capped peak of a volcano!!  I am in one of my favorite spots on the ship, the observation lounge on the top deck.  The library is here, with comfortable swivel chairs and windows all around and above.  It will be another 3 hours or so before we arrive in Tenerife.  The volcano that I am seeing is the highest mountain in Spain. So, I was musing on  community.  By nature a trip such as this is a temporary community.  This particular group is particularly rich, high powered, well educated, well traveled, and mostly  WASPS.  The vast majority of us are Americans, with a few Brits, a couple of Australians, a couple of Swedes, and a few Phillipinos.  There are at least 10 people who have lived and worked in West Africa, a number of them in the peace corps. Of course you can't get to know everyone, and there have been a few stinkers that you wouldn't want to know.  Luckily, they have been pretty easy to avoid.  All in all, a fascinating group of people. The professional staff have all been outstanding.  The naturalists each have their area of expertise, but they also are pretty good at being generalists.  Not surprisingly, the anthropologists have given wonderful lectures, complemented by the historical lectures.  I have gained a whole new understanding of the role that the slave trade played in history and world economics. I love the photography team.  They have periodically done lectures using their own pictures to illustrate what to do and not to do when taking photographs. Jay Dickman did a lecture on the anatomy of a National Geographic piece from conception to final edit for publication.  All of Them have given me many pointers on photography while out in the field.  I have taken more than 2500 photographs during the last 5 weeks.  It will be a major job to edit them down to a reasonable show.

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