SEA CurrentsCatch up on news, events, and daily posts from SEA Semester voyages in SEA Currents, the official blog of Sea Education Association.
SEA Semester in the News
This fall, Rowan University students Elizabeth Thompson ‘18 (Biology, Biomedical Art & Visualization) and Niclas Grant ‘17 (Biology) are sailing on an ocean research voyage to study the human impact on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems. Through SEA Semester: Caribbean Reef Expedition, a study abroad program offered by Sea Education Association, Thompson and Grant, together with other students with a variety of academic interests, will conduct guided field research both on shore in Grenada and at sea sailing through the Lesser Antilles to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Bryan Jew, of University of California, San Diego, describes his research in the Tobago Cays as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
Your friendly neighborhood salt-dog here again, reporting on one of the more beautiful and decidedly terrestrial days the Seamans crew has seen yet. We had a free day in odd, quaint Napier, a town about half-committed to its art deco history so it looks something like a forgotten Disneyland for adults.
So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda.
Hello from Napier!
This morning was a busy morning as we arrived in Napier. It was the end of our mission and A watch was on duty when we struck all of the sails and motored in to dock at the Port of Napier. The Port of Napier turns out to be a largely commercial port and we are currently surrounded by large mounds of timber, piles of shipping containers, and cargo ships.
So there I was, in 10 ft. waves sailing North in the surprisingly rough waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Cramer was performing all sorts of acrobatics and the gimbled tables in the salon were swinging wildly from side to side. Having just left our 4-day port stop in St. Vincent, most of us hadn’t regained our sea legs yet. We were having a hard enough time focusing on standing watch when, suddenly, a squall hit. Rain, wind, waves – it was chaos.
At 0600 I woke up to the strange feeling of not rolling back and forth in my bunk, the sure sign of anchorage. I sleepily crawled up the salon ladder, bright sunlight briefly obscured my vision of our second anchor point, Montserrat. Known affectionately as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat is characterized by swooping, green mountain lines; an almost Jurassic view complemented by a looming, active volcano.
A big “Ahoy, matey!” from the deck of the Robert C. Seamans! As we reach the 3-week mark of our open ocean cruise, your favorite pirates are getting comfortable with life at sea and the trappings that come along with work on a tall-masted ship. Although we are scraping the dregs of the reefer and pining for fresh vegetables, don’t fret – unlike voyagers in the 17th and 18th centuries, we aren’t suffering from scurvy quite yet!
After dinner last night, Captain Bill called a mysterious meeting to discuss an exciting activity that we would be participating in today.
Today, well the part of today that was spent awake, has been nothing short of beautiful. A late night on watch calls for sleeping in past breakfast. As I write this blog, I’m sitting on the quarter deck with one rain boot on and one sneaker staring at the mountainous island of Montserrat. The skies are blue and the Caribbean Sea, even bluer. As we approached it earlier this morning, the volcano touching the clouds became detailed hills, hillier, and the bluffs, steeper.
This morning I got my wake up with the news that we were starting our Anchor Watch (1 hour rotations instead of a full 6 hours), and that the anchor was just now getting dropped. I stepped out onto the deck greeted by a clear sky full of stars, dark masses of land bordering our ship, and the sound of 3 shots (each shot is 90 feet) of chain being let out as our ship tethered to the sea floor. It is a bitter sweet mix of feelings seeing land again.