SEA Currents: megafauna
We have once again lost sight of land and are somewhere sailing in the South Pacific ocean. The only thing that we can see are the clouds passing by with an occasional whale tail flopping out of the water during the day, and countless shooting stars at night. We are underway, heading south to our second destination in Tonga, Nuku’alofa where we will dock for a few days.
A Sailor’s Life For Me
Days passed on the trip..the crew began to worry that no whales would be found before the breading season came to a end. As we sailed through the many islands of Tonga, a crew member spotted the blowing of a whale dead ahead! All the crew gathered on deck to spot it, and all around the ship, near and far, whales we appearing. Every time one was spotted, I would point in its direction and yell, “THAR SHE BLOOOWWSS!!!!”
Extreme Whale Watch
We were woken up at the extremely early hour of 6:30 in the morning. We then quickly ate and did our chores and then headed onto the bus. We traveled for about an hour until we reached Plymouth MA: the home of Plymouth rock. However, we were not just there to see the rock in the ground, we were also there to be on a whale watch. We waited in line for what felt like forever and then aggressively boarded the boat to secure the “best” seats.
The morning began with a 7:30 wakeup and eggs. On the short bus ride to New Bedford, we listened to music and discussed our excitement for the day. Once arriving in New Bedford, we were immediately struck by the historic appearance of the town. After going over the day’s plans with Dan, we entered the Seaman’s Bethel. Inside the Bethel, we studied the cenotaphs, which are memorials for someone whose body was lost after their passing.
This morning we woke up bright and early to a breakfast of English muffins. At 7:30, we boarded the school bus and embarked on the hour long journey to Plymouth where we were scheduled to go whale watching.
The boat was large and crowded, but our hopes were high and we enjoyed looking out at the vast and open ocean. After an hour of sailing to our destination, we came to an abrupt stop where we saw several humpback whales. Humpback whales are between 35 and 55 feet long, so seeing these massive creatures ride in and out of the waves made our respect for the ocean and its ecosystems greater than it had been when we arrived in Woods Hole two weeks ago.
Noise Pollution and Getting Involved!
This morning for breakfast we had pancakes, bacon, and strawberries. After breakfast we had our watch meetings where we learned the sheet bend knot from the very talented and capable RAs.
By 8:30 we were in the Madden Center ready for our first class from guest speaker Dr. Heather Heenehan. She taught us about the work she has done to study marine mammals and noise pollution. It was pretty early, but she woke us up by doing a fun activity where we act as whales and try and find our pod. We were each given a device to make beeps and a pattern that matched up with other classmates and we had to find who had the same pattern. The high beep noises definitely woke us up!
Stanford@SEA: Final Blog
The sighting came while the ship was stopped so we could lower scientific instruments into the deep blue—for the last time.. A large white shape appeared just below the surface not 50 feet away from our side. It moved forward to aft and then disappearing behind us, among the whitecaps and glare of the sun. Moments later, it was back. This time the large creature was almost bobbing at the surface; this time presenting a clearly recognizable shape. “Whale ho,” went out a cry from the quarterdeck.
Stanford@SEA: Three Sheets to the Wind!
Stanford@SEA 2017 is on the move once again. At 2213 Friday evening, after 38 hours at anchor to the lee of Isle Maria, the ship’s company hoisted the Bobby C.‘s anchor and got underway for our next stop - Rarotonga!
The weather is cooperating. We are finally being pushed by the west-blowing trade winds predicted for this voyage, and our estimated time of arrival to Rarotonga is 0900 Monday morning.
Dolphins, Whales and 21st Birthdays
What a day on the Cramer! This is about to be a long blog, but I deemed it necessary to try to capture all that this day had to offer, so stick with me. Though every day has its excitement here on board, today was something to remember. We spent the day in the Hudson Canyon, the largest submarine canyon along the US Atlantic Coast, rivaling the depth and scale of the Grand Canyon, just southeast of New York City.
We got the opportunity to participate in the New York Seascape program, a program working to connect New York residents to their nearby ocean.
Boat Bucket List
You have heard about the experiences from all of the students so now I’m going to give you my experience from the perspective of a staff member here aboard the Cramer.
When I told my friends and family that I was going to live on a boat for six weeks back in 2014 they thought I was crazy.