SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 20, 2015
Old San Juan Port Stop
Alongside the dock in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Taffrail Log (nm)
0.0 nautical miles, but not for much longer!
Wind and Weather
As we near the time of departure all hands are beginning to look ahead; what are the winds and weather going to be once we leave the protected harbor of Old San Juan? Based on the vigorous snapping of our flags high up on the mast, we can expect some sporty conditions tomorrow with the winds from the East North East (ENE).
As prudent mariners it is always important to look ahead and plan accordingly, but as an academic, I will take the time to also summarize what the students have been doing the last 24 hours.
After a busy day of travel and several hours of shipboard training, the students quickly retired to their bunks last night. All reported having slept well in their new home and were ready for the day's adventure to start at the leisurely hour of 0645. By 0800 all students had eaten and made ready for their first academic field trip about Old San Juan with Dr Craig Marin (Assistant Professor - Maritime Studies). Their circuitous route through the blue bricked streets of this port city revealed the unique history of this former Spanish colony, including the impressive fortifications of El Morro which protected the harbor against attack from competing colonial powers - including a failed attempt by English privateer Sir Francis Drake in 1595.
By mid-day students were given a few hours to explore Old San Juan on their own and make necessary observations specific to their individual research projects. Toni visited City Hall and spoke with city employees that deal with waste management issues in Puerto Rico; Thomas met with Director of Flamboyan Foundation (FlamboyanFoundation.org), Dr. Katherine Miranda, also a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, to discuss K-12 education initiatives; Kat and I visited a local beach to survey the amount and type of marine debris washing ashore on Puerto Rico's lovely beaches, while Emily visited a local museum with a few of her classmates to see an exhibit of Taino artifacts - the indigenous people who were eradicated from Puerto Rico by colonizing Spaniards about 500 years ago.
The rest of the afternoon was spent back onboard the Corwith Cramer with another round of training stations including: line handling skills, Lab safety, Engine room safety, and Watch Quarter Station Bill. The latter
training introduces each student to their respective responsibilities during various emergency scenarios, such as Fire, Man Overboard, and Prepare to Abandon Ship. If the students had forgotten, they were quickly reminded that they are indeed integral members of the ship's crew with real responsibility and accountability to each other. It was heartening to see the attentiveness of each student during this important lesson.
To cap off a day already full of learning, the entire crew was fortunate to meet Captain William (Bill) Pinkney and his wife Migdalia Vachier Pinkney. Captain Pinkney is renowned for many reasons, which he spoke of including his time sailing solo round the world (1st African American to do so), his time as Captain onboard the replica Amistad, and his time sailing to Africa and Cuba on a mission of peace and remembrance. His wife spoke of her time growing up in Puerto Rico as a mixed race (African and French) woman who speaks Spanish, and the challenges and opportunities this presented to 'fit in' with her peers in Puerto Rico, New York City, and Pennsylvania. Both Bill and Migdalia were a joy to speak with, and we were thrilled to have them join us for dinner and conversation that continued long into the evening. It was a tremendous honor to have them both onboard the Cramer. For future students, I am glad to say that we will have this opportunity the next time we visit Puerto Rico since Captain Pinkney happens to be an Overseer for Sea Education Association.
Whoa. And to think, we are just getting started. Stay tuned as this grand academic adventure continues.