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cadet blogs

From the (Far) East to the West

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Chang Photo Konichiwa! It’s currently 2200 in Yokosuka, Japan. We arrived onboard the USCGC Mellon two weeks ago and are currently in port. On the underway side, however, the Mellon is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen. It was overwhelming at first, this 378-foot long boat built in the 1960’s but, once you get the hang of it, it’s sort of like exploring Hogwarts. You know how in the first Harry Potter book, Harry, Ron and Hermione end up in the dungeon with Cerberus? Well, it’s sort of the same concept minus the three-headed hellhound. It’s a big boat with an awesome crew and as long as you stay out of the bilges you’ll be just fine.


One of the reasons why I was put on board the Mellon was for translating purposes. I wasn’t expecting to be doing much of that since we were going to be near Japan, but I was proven very wrong. As it turns out, there are two Marines who speak Mandarin as well as two Chinese Naval members. So far, we’ve come across three Chinese fishing vessels; two of which I’ve assisted with in translating on the radio. Even though I’m not qualified to go on an actual boarding with the Marines, it was really cool to be a part of the process and interact with the Chinese vessels.


But let’s backtrack a little bit and go back to a few weeks farther back…


After leaving Norfolk, Virginia (we got to see a Plain White T’s concert and went on a Brazilian tall ship!), we made our way up to New York for the Eagle change-of-command ceremony, where our previous Commanding Officer, Captain Pulver, was relieved by Captain Meilstrup. We anchored right by the Statue of Liberty and saw some awesome fireworks along the New York skyline. Being from New York, ending the phase there really hit close to home (no pun intended); especially since it was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty (I’m also a horrible New Yorker).


After that, the seven of us going on the Mellon were put on a 15-hour trip from Connecticut to Japan. Personally, Eagle really helped with managing jet lag because it warps your sleep schedule to the point where a 13-hour time difference is the same as having midnight watch, perfect with a cup of black coffee.


But I digress; our time in Japan so far has been nothing short of amazing. When we first arrived, it was still in port so we were able to walk around Yokosuka. The first day we did some community service and hung out with some Japanese students on the Japanese battleship, the Mikasa. On the second day, a few of us cadets took the train to Kamakura, where we explored the shrines, temples and had some delicious green-tea-Oreo ice cream. We also had the opportunity to climb the famous Mount Fuji; all 3,776 meters of it. It was five hours of wind, rain, and volcanic trails, but we made it to the summit! Next port call we’ll be returning to Mellon’s home port, Seattle, Washington. I’ll let you know how it goes!


More about Olivia.