In the summer of 1979, Diane Meyer Lowman, a nineteen-year-old Middlebury College student, embarked on a ten-week working trip aboard a German container ship with a mostly male crew.
The journey would take her from New York to Australia and New Zealand, through the lush Panama Canal, to a Koala sanctuary and a Maori Museum. She swabbed decks and mended linens, navigated not only the Panama Canal, but perhaps more harrowingly the awkward and sometimes threatening male shipboard society and politics. The voyage would forever change her perspective on the world and her place in it. She left the port of New York a subservient, malleable girl and sailed back past the Statue of Liberty a more confident, independent, resilient young woman who’d learned to stay the course, even in the roughest of waters.