The engine had been running since midnight. By 8:30 a.m. Eagle was close enough to the coast of Nova Scotia for the crew to be able to see cars moving along the shore roads. As she entered Halifax Harbour, land-warmed air greeted her, and the cadets shed their blue Windbreakers.
"I hate these shoes," said Rick Graves, the radioman, looking down at his shiny-black Corfam dress shoes. "I miss my boots. In fact, I don't know which I miss more, my wife or my boots."
Instamatics appeared, and the cadets took snapshots of each other, like tourists, arms about one another's shoulders.
"Third class, man the yards," came the command.
Several cadets scrambled up the ratlines one last time, to stand at parade rest atop the yards. The ship's call letters were then raised—NOVEMBER, ROMEO, CHARLIE, BRAVO—spelled out in bright flags of the International Code. "Never refuse cold beer," someone said.
And then: "All hands to mooring stations."
On a dock of the Halifax Ocean Terminal, pale, pudgy youths of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, sweating in their heavy middies, grabbed the lines tossed them from the deck and made Eagle fast to the bollards. Behind them were swarms of land people in summer clothes; the pinks, yellows, greens looked odd and exotic to one who had been nine days at sea. Dogs, children, bicycles, high-heeled sandals, confusion. One experienced the faintest twinge of panic at the prospect of leaving the orderly world of Eagle for the unruly one ashore.
As the brow, a type of gangplank, was set in place for disembarking, John O'Brien, a young lieutenant who teaches physics at the academy but who resembles a third class cadet, looked at the Coast Guard emblem painted on its side. The Latin words at the base of the shield read SCIENTIAE CEDIT MARE. The sea yields to knowledge.
"That should really be NIHIL CEDIT MARE," he said. "The sea yields to nothing—as we found out about a week ago."
For the record, Dar Mlodziezy finished first in Class AI, Eagle was second, Simon Bolivar third.