SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 16, 2016
Day 1: Orientation and Field Trips
Alongside Gallows Bay, St. Croix
Weather / Wind
Light breeze, passing showers, 80°
Today was our first full day of programming, and it was a busy one. The day started with more orientation to life aboard followed rather quickly by a field trip to a local snorkeling site, Cane Bay, where students conducted their first reef survey of Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean program sea component. Under the direct supervision of faculty and staff, students set out to locate and tally marine life in and around the coral reef. It was a successful snorkel by all accounts, and we now have a base set of data for comparison with upcoming port stop surveys.
Students and accompanying faculty and staff returned to the ship to rinse the salt away and refuel with a delicious lunch before preparing for the second outing of the day; a walking tour in nearby downtown Christiansted. Prior to the start of the tour, National Park Service Superintendent, Joel Tutein, spoke with students about his experiences with conservation efforts on the coral reef in the Buck Island National Monument of St. Croix.
Then, Ranger Benito Vegas treated students to an in-depth guided tour of historic buildings managed by the National Park Service with a resident’s insights into the culture, economy and history of St. Croix and its capital city. The tour included the historic fort that protects the harbor as well as the customs buildings, old slave auction house and an early Danish church. Despite the rigorous morning and heat of the afternoon, the nearly two-hour tour flew by with plenty of opportunities for students to ask questions related to their research projects. It was a day filled with gathering facts and observing the marine and terrestrial environments.
Tonight, students continue with orientation to the ship and prepare take on new responsibilities in their roles as active members of the ship’s crew. Excitement is building for the early-morning start of the sailing voyage--a transit from St. Croix to St. John. Stay tuned for updates from students, faculty and crew.