From the Publisher
Strange New Worlds Issue 8 - Apr/May 1993
Star Trek Cruise Encounters Real Aliens
It sounds like a bad Deep Space 9 plot: a pleasurecraft filled with cavorting,
well-heeled vacationeers who for a week spurn reality in favor of a fantasy existence,
encounters and eventually rescues a craft of refugees fleeing an all-too-real life of
privation and oppression. But this was no television show. Somehow I and nearly 900 other
"Star Trek" devotees found ourselves quite unwittingly in the midst of real-life
On May 20, the cruiseship Britanis, chartered by SeaTrek '93 and filled to
brimming with partying Trekkers, encountered a ramshackle raft bearing four Cubans
attempting to reach freedom in the United States. Far from land, the refugees had been
adrift four days. The Britanis was en route to Miami after a special charter to
Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. If the ship had been on its normal route, the Britanis
would have been nowhere near the raft on this day.
When the raft was sighted, the Britanis changed course and intercepted the
refugees. Once the four were removed to safety, their hand-assembled craft was sunk. They
came aboard barefoot and with no possessions, but overjoyed to finally have reached safe
haven and freedom.
There were many jokes onboard about the headline possibilities: "Star Trek Ship
Rescues Aliens," "Trekkers Have Close Encounter With Aliens," and some that
should not be printed in a family publication. While cognizant of the humor in the
situation, we also opened our hearts to these four adventurers who risked their lives in
an attempt to boldly go into a new world and a new existence. Joe Motes, one of the
SeaTrek organizers, started a collection for the refugees. He was especially moved by the
plight of these young men; Joe still has family in Cuba who cannot leave. Once the
refugees have been cleared to enter the country, the men will be given these funds to help
them begin their new lives in the United States. Also, several dealers from the huckster
room donated clothing. I'm told that when these men first touched upon American soil, they
were clad in Trek T-shirts.
SeaTrek '93 was a pure delight. I had been looking forward to this getaway for over a
year. Amazingly, the experience lived up to the anticipation. Meeting and cruising around
the Caribbean with Majel Barret, Jimmy Doohan, George Takei, John DeLancie, and all the
wondeful guests was a fantasy that I will not soon forget. But it is the memory of that
unexpected jolt of reality that I will most cherish as the essence of my Trek vacation.
Gene Roddenberry always presented a positive view of mankind's future and a belief in the
vital, stubborn ability of man to transcend his own frailties. The plight of these
refugees is a reminder that we still have much work to accomplish before the vision of a
world unhampered by internecine conflicts, petty bigotries, and senseless oppression is
achieved. But the remarkable courage of these four sojourners is a testament to the
indomitable spirit of humanity. Despite overwhelming odds, these men reached their goal.
Despite everything, mankind can as well. Let us reach for the stars!
Jo Davidsmeyer, Publisher
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