SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
Findings and Francis Bay
At Anchor in Francis Bay, St. John, USVI
As the C256 voyage draws to a close, so too does the academic work. This morning, students presented their “Change Paper” on-site research findings to the ship’s company. With so many things to share about their island explorations, the students easily filled the allotted 4-hour time slot with details relating to their projects focused on everything from language and religion to the conservation of marine resources and island land use.
As I referenced in the opening blog entry for this voyage, all of our planned shore-based time during the island stops is centered on exploring issues of conservation and sustainability of natural resources and culture. Part of the stay for each island is preplanned, and students have an opportunity to speak with guides and local experts who can provide insightsinto local issues related to student projects. But, the rest of the time ashore for students in each “port stop” is time to explore and seek out details on their own. This means venturing out in small groups (after consulting with me about the feasibility and logistics of getting from point A to point B and back again) and finding officials, shopkeepers, market vendors or service providers to interview about their projects. It generally takes a group effort to locate places of interest and strike up the conversations necessary for their research, and the combination of self-confidence and trust in the support of their shipmates eases the process and brings great results. And, yes, there is usually time left over to have some fun or just relax before returning to the ship in the early evening.
So, to return to our day, once the morning’s presentations were completed, and papers and journals were handed in, students took advantage of all that the Francis Bay area had to offer with a few hours ashore on the beach, snorkeling with Jeff to get a look at the coral reefs of the area or hiking a short distance to the ruins of a sugar mill (Annaberg) maintained by the National Park Service. Once they returned to the ship and they rinsed off sand and salt, they were ready to dive into another delicious meal (grilled!) from Nina. The mood on board is appropriately celebratory and the entire crew is eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s end-of-cruise events. Stay tuned for all of the details!