SEA News

Archived SEA News

Large amounts of plastic garbage afloat in the ocean east of Bermuda

The Royal Gazette
July 16, 2010

An article in the Bermudian Royal Gazette about the recent Plastics @ SEA Expedition, which began in Hamilton and ended in St. Georges, Bermuda.

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The Other Oil Spill

You may have heard of the plastic trash vortex in the North Pacific Ocean. It's a region where wind and ocean currents cause plastic to accumulate by the ton. But it turns out that the North Pacific isn't the only ocean with a plastic problem. Host Jeff Young talks with Giora Proskurowski, an oceanographer with the Sea Education Association, about his recent exploration of the plastic vortex in the North Atlantic.

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Fishing for pollution in the Atlantic

Boston Globe
July 14, 2010

"Researchers from the Sea Education Association have removed tens of thousands of plastic fragments from the Atlantic Ocean over the past six weeks in what many believe is just a small part of a giant collection of debris in the middle of the ocean.

In their search for marine pollution, crew members of the expedition found more than 48,000 plastic fragments, most no larger than a pencil eraser, of the type of plastic used in bags, straws, bottle caps, and other household materials floating throughout the Sargasso Sea, a region in the middle of the North Atlantic extending south and east of Bermuda."

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Plastics article written by Alumna Sarah Zielinski, C-143

The Smithsonian
July 8, 2010

"One of my best memories from college is the time I spent on a SEA Semester, sailing around the Caribbean and conducting research from on board a magnificent 134-foot brigantine, the SSV Corwith Cramer (even though I was seasick much of the time and sleep deprived all of the time - there are good reasons why I'm happier as a science writer than a scientist). One of the activities involved towing a net next to the ship either half in and half out of the water or just below the surface. Most tows brought up a variety of ocean life - copepods were common - and at least a small amount of plastic."

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Alumnus Peter Malinowski, C-193 featured in New York Times article

The New York Times
June 29, 2010

BENEATH a floating dock off Governors Island, tucked behind the squat octagonal white ventilation tower for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, there are oysters growing in New York Harbor.

And not just any oysters. These little bivalves, 500,000 strong, make up the largest concentrated oyster population that the harbor has seen in perhaps a century.

On a recent spring day, Pete Malinowski, who tends to these oysters, removed one of the metal grates that have been fitted into the dock's surface, revealing a series of silos, as he calls the 60-gallon plastic tubs in which his charges live. He plunged his hand into a silo and pulled up a few specimens for examination. They were small, maybe an inch and a quarter long, but they looked like normal oysters: ridged, craggy and tightly shut - not the grotesque mutant mollusks that the words "cultivated in New York City waters" might suggest.

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SEA Alumna Barbara Block Examines Effects of Oil Leak on Bluefin Tuna

The New York Times
June 24, 2010

Scientists agree that the Deepwater Horizon spill poses at least some risk to the bluefin, one of the most majestic - and valuable - fishes in the sea.

Its numbers already severely depleted from record levels, the bluefin is also the subject of a global controversy regarding overfishing.

"This is a much bigger problem than people are making out," said Barbara Block, a Stanford researcher who is among the world's leading experts on the bluefin tuna. "The concern for wildlife is not just along the coast; it is also at sea. We're putting oil right into the bluewater environment."

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SEA Highlighted in Science Magazine

Science Magazine
June 18, 2010

Chances are you've heard of the great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is, according to countless press and TV reports, a "trash vortex," "the world's largest rubbish dump," and a "vast mass of floating debris" midway between Hawaii and California.

Similar findings have come from off the U.S. East Coast. Last winter, the Sea Education Association (SEA), a nonprofit in Falmouth, Massachusetts, that takes students on sailing research trips, reported high-but consistent year-to-year-micro plastic counts over a 1450-kilometer transect in the western North Atlantic Ocean that SEA has been sampling for 22 years.

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SEA Alumna/Overseer Chosen as a 2010 “Unsung Heroine of Massachusetts”

WHOI Press Release
June 15, 2010

Dr. Amy Bower, a physical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been selected as a 2010 "Unsung Heroine of Massachusetts" by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW). Bower, a SEA Semester alumna (W-47), was chosen due to her work with students from Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. Bower, who is also visually impaired, sought to involve Perkins students with her work as an oceanographic researcher. "I proposed to make myself available to them as a role model, to take a [Perkins] teacher to sea and to develop an expedition website."

Bower is one of 100 women to receive the 2010 Unsung Heroine award "for their outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities," according to the MCSW.

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Rhode Island Sea Grant News

June 2010 Newsletter

(L) Overseer, Susan Farady, W-83 with (R) Kate Haber, S-182

(L) Overseer, Susan Farady, W-83 with (R) Kate Haber, S-182

Kate Haber, S-182 Alumna and SEA Engineer, was recently selected for the 2011 Knauss Fellowship. She continues in the tradition of other SEA Alumni and Crew (most recently Adam Baske, Danielle Rioux and Leslie Abramson) who were previously awarded this very competitive and prestigious post-graduate opportunity for ocean policy students. Kate will work in Washington DC, in the executive branch of the government. She is one of 49 Knauss Fellows for 2011, and was 1 of 3 total chosen law students Nationwide.

"The National Sea Grant College Program Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, established in 1979, provides a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches highly qualified graduate students with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid fellowship. The program is named in honor of one of Sea Grant's founders, former NOAA Administrator, John A. Knauss."

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College of Charleston Students Sail to Bermuda with SEA

College of Charleston Website
May 18, 2010

Sixteen College of Charleston students are getting the opportunity of a lifetime - to set sail on a research cruise aboard the 134-foot Brigantine sailing vessel headed for Bermuda.

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Floating Clot of Plastic Plagues Atlantic

The Washington Post
April 20, 2010

Researchers are warning of a new blight at sea: a swirl of confetti-like plastic debris stretching over a remote expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. The floating garbage - hard to spot from the surface and spun together by a vortex of currents - was documented by two groups of scientists who trawled the sea between Bermuda and the Azores.

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SEA President John Bullard’s Op Ed on Marine Spatial Planning
April 15, 2010

The performance of the United States pursuant to the Kyoto Treaty and the recent Copenhagen Conference has been a disappointment. Climate change remains a Damoclean sword, threatening relatively well-understood environmental impacts, but threatening less-well-understood economic and national security consequences as well.

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SEA Gains International Attention for Plastics Research

National Geographic
March 2, 2010

Billions of bits of plastic are accumulating in a massive garbage patch in the Atlantic Ocean - a lesser known cousin to the Texas - size trash vortex in the Pacific, scientists say.

"Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," said Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

"But this issue has essentially been ignored in the Atlantic."

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ABC Radio Australia
February 25, 2010

An accumulation of plastic debris, similar to the one known as the 'Great Pacific Garbage Patch', has been growing in the North Atlantic Ocean. It's estimated that about 200,000 pieces of suspended plastic, chemical sludge, and other debris are trapped in every square kilometre.

Listen to the full radio interview with SEA Chief Scientist, Dr. Kara Lavender Law

Science News
February 25, 2010

Recent studies show that the oceans may hold more "garbage patches" of fine plastic flotsam than scientists realized and that the fragments extend well below the sea surface.

Large swaths of the western North Atlantic also hold prodigious amounts of plastic debris, Kara Lavender Law, who also is an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association, reported at the meeting. On research cruises between the Gulf of Maine and the Caribbean from 1986 through 2008, researchers conducted more than 6,100 surface tows that collected more than 64,000 pieces of plastic, she said.

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666 ABC Canberra
February 24, 2010

Marine researchers from the Sea Education Association collected hundreds of thousands of small pieces of plastic from the North Atlantic Ocean by dragging a mesh net behind their research vessel.

Principal Investigator Kara Lavender Law said most of the pieces were broken down fragments from larger consumer items such as plastic bags.

She spoke to Ross Solly on the 666 Breakfast program this morning.

Listen to Dr. Lavender Law's interview

BBC News
February 24, 2010

Scientists have discovered an area of the North Atlantic Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The region is said to compare with the well documented "great Pacific garbage patch".

Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association told the BBC that the issue of plastics had been "largely ignored" in the Atlantic.

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Mercury News
February 24, 2010

A study of plastic debris floating in the Pacific between Hawaii and California shows researchers have been sharply understating the amount of trash there, a researcher said Tuesday.

Giora Proskurowski, an oceanography faculty scientist with the Sea Education Association, said winds push plastic from the ocean surface down into the upper ocean. This causes researchers collecting debris from the surface to miss a large share of the trash in the water when it's windy.

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OpEd on Ocean Policy by Carl Safina, SEA Overseer

Newsday (New York)
January 14, 2010

Carl Safina is an SEA Overseer, author of several books on the ocean, and an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University. Read his call for a unified ocean policy under the Obama administration.

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An Interview with Sally McGee, SEA Semester Alumna

Environmental Defense Fund Blog
January 7, 2010

Sally McGee is the Environmental Defense Fund's New England Fisheries Policy Director and a SEA Semester alumna. Read about how her experience on SEA Semester shaped her career and interest in environmental and oceans policy.

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The Soul of Water

The Story with Dick Gordon on NPR
Monday, December 07 2009

Note: Deborah Cramer sailed with SEA Semester as a guest on the SSV Corwith Cramer (no relationship) on C-123 in 1993. She credits that trip with influencing her life and career.

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Tall ship calls St. Croix home for the holiday

The St. Croix Lime
By Cristian Simescu
November 27, 2009

The Sea Education Association's SSV (sailing school vessel) Corwith Cramer, a 134-foot steel-hulled brigantine, arrived in Christiansted Harbor last Saturday as part of a 12-week undergraduate ocean education program.

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Keeping Up with Carbon

Earth Science Week 2009: Videos

Scott Doney, SEA alumnus and Trustee, is featured in this NASA video "Keeping up with Carbon." Dr. Doney is a Senior Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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I'm on a boat

The Stanford Daily
BY Erika Alvero Koski
October 13, 2009

Students gain nautical, research experience on sailing trip from Tahiti to Hawaii.

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A Diversity of Geoscientists
New Woods Hole program encourages underrepresented groups

WHOI : Oceanus
BY Kate Madin
August 21, 2009

The statistics are stark: From 1973 to 2003, only 313 Hispanic Americans, 135 African Americans, and 49 Native Americans earned Ph.D. degrees in geosciences. That’s a sprinkle in the ocean compared with the more than 21,000 people in that time span who received Ph.D.’s in geosciences.

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Corwith Cramer in dry dock

Village Soup
BY Shlomit Auciello
September 18, 2009

When you bring a beautiful ship into dry dock for maintenance, you end up ripping it apart," Capt. Chris McGuire said Thursday. McGuire was apologizing for the appearance of the Corwith Cramer, a 135-foot brigantine that provides college students with oceangoing experiences as part of the Sea Education Association's 12-week program.

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Smythe Joins SEA Semester Cruise

Hamilton College
BY Holly Foster
August 19, 2009

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Ashleigh Smythe spent five days in July on board the Robert C. Seamans, the Sea Education Association's 134-foot research sailing schooner. The ship sailed out of San Francisco Bay, north to Drakes Bay, around the Farallon Islands, and finally docked in Monterey, Calif.

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Summer teacher institute puts educators in touch with maritime history
August 25, 2009

Though Boston-born Homer had no direct ties to New Bedford, the port provided the perfect backdrop for the institute, said Dr. Mary Malloy, a maritime studies professor at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole.

"It provided us with the fabric of a 19th century working waterfront," said Malloy, who co-directed the institute with Mollo.

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Stanford@SEA to set sail across the Pacific

Stanford News Service
May 1, 2009

Ask anyone who is a master at their craft, and you'll likely be told there is no substitute for hands-on experience. At some point, you have to get your feet wet if you're going to learn how it's done. Thus, the Stanford@SEA program, which takes students on a five-week voyage on the Pacific Ocean to conduct oceanographic research and heighten their awareness of the vital role the oceans play in supporting life on Earth and regulating the global climate system.

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Adventure draws many to high seas
April 12, 2009

The sea calls them like a siren, stealing their hearts with the promise of adventure and boundless horizons. Many sailors seem born into the life, and despite its unyielding demands, wouldn't trade it for the world.

The saga of Richard Phillips, the cargo ship captain from Vermont being held hostage by Somali pirates, has also cast a spotlight on the perils of working on the high seas. But beyond the danger and the romance are the monotony, fatigue, and loneliness.

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SEA Trustee Richard Wilson finishes 9th in Vendee Globe

Vendée Globe
March 10. 2009

While nineteen of the 30 skippers who started from the Vendée start line on November 9th had to retire from the race, the most gruelling challenge in solo ocean racing, Wilson, the race’s senior skipper at 58 years old, has stuck rigidly to his watchwords of safety and conservatism, showing huge determination to complete the course as the pinnacle of a sailing career which already included three ocean passage records.

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Rich Wilson crossing the finish line of the Vendee Globe after a solo circumnavigation of 28,000 miles and 121 days. He then addresses the crowd en francais. Watch video

Landlubber Becomes Captain

By Scott Calvert
March 2, 2009

SEA alum, Tanya Banks-Christensen, takes helm as captain of merchant ship replica.

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Around the World in as Long as It Takes

The New York Times
February 2, 2009

SEA Trustee Richard Wilson of Marblehead, MA competes in Vendee Globe singlehanded race. Follow Rich on his website,

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Semester At SEA Builds Knowledge And Character For Chatham's Hart

The Cape Cod Chronicle
By Elizabeth Van Wye
December 1, 2008

If you want to learn more about the ocean and the fish that live there, there’s no substitute for getting out on the water. For Katelyn Hart, a Chatham resident who is a senior majoring in marine management and policy at the University of Rhode Island, that recently included spending an exciting and challenging semester at sea.

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For Foxboro woman, it's life on the sea

The Sun Chronicle
By Michael Gelbwasser
December 1, 2008

FOXBORO - Foxboro resident Mary Malloy not only enjoys hearing the sea roar, she knows the words.

Malloy is an expert in maritime history - and shipboard music, too.

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UMass to host teachers institute in 2009

November 13, 2008

DARTMOUTH — A four-week, 2009 Summer Teacher Institute at UMass Dartmouth will use Winslow Homer's paintings as the point of departure for a voyage of discovery about maritime history in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Search and Rescue Case Study

ASTA Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships

Jen Haddock, Marine Operations Coordinator Sea Education Association, to speak at INTERNATIONAL SAIL TRAINING & TALL SHIPS CONFERENCE 2008

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Interest peaks in studying abroad

The BG News
By Becky Tener

Freshman Maddie Ritter is looking for classrooms to study in next year. Her options include the sandy beaches of Australia, the lush countryside of Ireland and the crystal waters of Greece.

Ritter was one of the many students who attended the Education Abroad Fair hosted by the Education Abroad Department here at the University.

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Tuna (broadcast Friday, September 5th, 2008)

Science Friday

Dr. Barbara Block, W-49, of Stanford University, talks about 'biologging,' the use of electronic sensors, implanted or attached to animals, to track and record their movements, behaviors, physical setting and physiological state in the wild.

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Student Joins Ivy League Cohorts on the SEA

Hampton University
By Naima A. Gethers

A summer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed into an opportunity for Justin Morrissette, a junior chemical engineering major, to explore the ocean in his own unique way. A class trip to Cape Cod introduced Morrissette to the Sea Education Association (SEA).

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Students embark on tall-ship adventure

Monterey County The Herald
By Kevin Howe
August 4, 2008

Conducting marine science research on a sailing vessel gets students out of their heads and into the world. "We get them out of the classroom and into the field," said Barbara Block, a professor of marine science at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove.

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Heard Around Town: Life is sweet at Wood's Hole

The Daily News
July 06, 2008

He was led to Wood's Hole by the Sea Education Association to be a chef on its ships. In 2002, he bought the Pie in the Sky.

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Morrison at SEA -- but it's a good thing

The Lowell Sun
June 29, 2008

After spending more than four months in Quito, Ecuador, studying marine and tropical life in the Galapagos Islands and in the rain forest, Rachel Morrison of Chelmsford, who will enter her senior year at Boston University in the fall, returned home for a week, then headed off to her next academic adventure with the Sea Education Association, or SEA, program.

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Good Signs from Greenland's Ice Sheet

By Richard Harris
April 20, 2008

SEA trustee, and WHOI scientist Dr. Sarah Das, W-129, co-led an expedition to Greenland to study glaciers.

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Global Warming: The Greenland Factor

By John Carey
April 17, 2008

SEA trustee, and WHOI scientist Dr. Sarah Das, W-129, co-led an expedition to Greenland to study glaciers.

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To save or savor? Overfishing leads to precarious status of Atlantic bluefin tuna

Stanford Report
February 27, 2008

Dr. Barbara Block, W-49, of Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, has uncovered remarkable details about the journeys of bluefin tuna.

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Dr. Barbara Block, W-49, and Dr. Andy Rosenberg, W-7

February 18, 2008

block and rosenberg

Dr. Barbara Block, W-49, of Stanford University and Dr. Andy Rosenberg, W-7, of University of New Hampshire spoke on a panel at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston. Their subject was improving management of the tuna fishery.

Royal Bermuda elects Richardson Commodore 2008-10

Sail World
By Talbot Wilson
November 22, 2007

SEA Overseer Ralph Richardson is the first black Bermudian to be appointed Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

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YOUR VIEW: Connecting the dots on global warming
By John Bullard
November 15, 2007

Listening to the various campaigns for the presidency, it's almost impossible to pick up any sense that global warming is a top-tier issue. It's all about Iraq and immigration. It's not much better at the state or local level either. But today, there is a chance to change that in New Bedford.

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Bullard happy to see water, water everywhere

Wicked Local Falmouth
By Craig Salters
October 24, 2007

Some people have a problem with their neighbors, a problem with their carry-on luggage or a problem with their long-distance provider. John Bullard has a problem with the planet.

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SEA Semester

Rowan University

There’s wind in your hair, a crisp briny spray on your tongue and warm golden sun on your face. Next port of call: Bermuda, Barbados, possibly Tahiti. Sound like the best spring break ever? Think again. This isn’t spring break at all but a full semester. At sea. For 17 college credits! Welcome to SEA Semester.

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Semester at sea turned out to be voyage of a lifetime

Charlotte Observer
By Chanda Blitch
August 15, 2007

Sailing a tall ship across an ocean could be the experience of a lifetime. Hickory's Robyn Hoskins had such an experience this summer. In July, Hoskins sailed from Honolulu to San Francisco on a traditional sailing ship, while earning a semester's college credit.

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Sailing lessons - Zoology student attends school aboard tall ship

Times Herald
August 15, 2007

Alison Cole grew up on Lake Huron and the St. Clair River in Port Huron. But until this summer, she'd never learned how to sail. Cole, 21, didn't learn the sport locally on a small boat; instead, she spent a month on a tall ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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Former Dean Jim Millinger Speaks

Maine Today
May 1, 2007

Historian Jim Millinger will present an illustrated lecture entitled, “Portland Harbor 100 Years Ago: Playing Historian with the Angell Collection,� on Thursday, May 24, 2007, at 7:00 P.M., at Portland Harbor Museum.

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Life Lessons

Sailing Magazine
By Nick King
March 2007

Hands to strike the jib topsail!� The cry rings out on a blustery moonlit night in the mid-Pacific. We are under sail near the equator in the middle of the largest ocean in the world, and a squall is bearing down on our tall ship, the 135-foot Robert C. Seamans. Even if it is an ungodly 3 a.m., we need to lower some sail, and fast.

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SEA Semester illustrates human impacts

DU Today - University of Denver
By Doug McPherson
March 20, 2007

Philosophy and religion have reputations for being deep subjects. But they’re not nearly as deep as the SEA Semester program.

Deep as in the ocean kind of deep.

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Setting Sail

Holy Cross
November 30, 2006

Junior Jane Sarno knew she wanted to spend a semester off campus, but she didn’t want to go the traditional route of studying in a romantic country. Instead, she wanted to navigate the ocean — literally.

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U.S. students aid rescue of Haitians adrift at sea

By Kari Huus
March 10, 2005

For 22 U.S. college students on a voyage in the Caribbean, the six-week trip would have been an adventure to remember in any case, but their encounter with a boat full of Haitians adrift at sea made it a life-changing event.

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Cape-based students aid 49 Haitians

Boston Globe
By Megan Tench
March 11, 2005

Twenty-two college students spending a semester aboard a research vessel in the Caribbean helped rescue 49 Haitians drifting on a disabled sailboat yesterday and carried them to a Jamaican port, the school program said.

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