SEA Currents: Mar 2017
Boats are meant to move and the crew with them. Alongside the dock, there is an anxiousness that ripples through the crew; the pull of land and loved ones and the internet are strong, but the sea, she calls us. Last night the students arrived and all of us, sailing interns included, began intense training.
The staff has been working hard for days to get ready for the students of class S-272, and today at 1430 they began to arrive! All the cleaning, fixing, mixing, meeting and general business has now settled down to getting the students ready to go to sea, the program has started to roll and it will not stop until we finish in Tahiti. This afternoon after all were aboard we had our first ‘muster on the quarterdeck’ as introductions were made and watches assigned.
10 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A GAP YEAR
From hiking in the Andes to volunteering at a local hospital, a gap year is a personal journey of exploration. Such a journey can take many routes. So how do you plot your path?
The following are some of the key elements that students typically consider when planning their gap year.
Read through the list, and consider which items are important to YOU.
Doing so may help you define your priorities as you decide on your gap year experience.
The students of S-272 will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans by March 30th in Lyttelton, New Zealand. They will complete their voyage in Pape’ete, Tahiti, around May 6th, with port stops in the Chatham Islands and Raiatea.
I am very proud of my shipmates.
Yesterday, we wrapped up our student “Final Mission” in which the students of C-271 took complete ownership of vessel operations in order to meet a divers set of scientific, cultural, and nautical goals. At 1430 yesterday, we heard the final mission report from each watch’s delegate, and I speak for all of the faculty when I say we found that the students did a terrific job operating the vessel and articulating their achievements. Not only did they meet their objectives, but they worked together across all watches to complete the mission as one team. It was great.
Always, always, always I find myself struggling to find the right words to wrap up a voyage. Inherently it is an unsolvable problem, a hopeless effort to address a seemingly simple question - ‘So, how was the trip?’, which in truth is a prelude to an overwhelming sense of confusion.
You enter Lyttleton Harbor through a deep slot in the tan brushy hills of the Banks Peninsula, on New Zealand’s South Island. This was all a volcano once, and now the flooded crater reaches inland as a series of long sheltered bays. We’re just short of halfway to the south pole. That’s a latitude similar to Boston, but with no continents nearby, the feeling is different. There’s a lot of motion in the sky here, with the hilltops alternately visible and obscured by folding patches of cloud. It’s possible to feel several seasons’ worth of weather roll by in an hour-bolts of warm sunshine, blasts of sharp wind, sudden sprinkles of rain from some non-vertical direction.
As I write this, the students of C-271 are breaking down the posters they created to reflect on-site observations they made and the conversations they had with people regarding their individual projects in our four port stops. The “ground truthing” of the research they did ashore, while not necessarily contradicting what they learned from published sources available to them in Woods Hole, has certainly given each of them more to think about in terms of issues ranging from cultural preservation and marine resource management to diversification of island economies and human impacts on humpback whales.
After arriving on deck to begin afternoon watch I learned, from a reliable source, that we were sailing in a whale sanctuary. To some this fact would be described as “cool” or “exciting”, but to me this information was life altering. I love whales. I admit it. Maybe a little too much, but I have dreamed of one day seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal. Yet the sea, at least what was visible on the surface, was absent of whales.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank my parents. I know I am definitely prone letting all the things they do for me go unacknowledged. When I told them that I was thinking about applying for a semester on a boat that sailed around the Caribbean it was easy to hear the reservation in their voices. What type of boat? A sailing type I assured them. Where would it go? A few islands, definitely Cuba and Jamaica. These were the types of questions they asked and the types of answers I gave. Having now been on the boat, having sailed around the Caribbean I am acutely aware that I didn’t really know what I was going into.