SEA Currents: SEASCape
July 31, 2019
Today in Chatham
Today we spent the majority of our day in the town of Chatham. Chatham is home to the famous U.S. Coast Guard Station featured in The Finest Hours and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), both of which we visited. At the White Shark Conservancy, we learned about great white sharks and the high concentration of white sharks in the Chatham area due to the increased local seal population. We learned how the scientists identify white sharks by the unique groove patterns on their dorsal fins. There was a virtual reality exhibit with a short film about nurse sharks and great hammerhead sharks. We also got to stand in a shark cage (picture attached!).
Afterward, we spent some time at the beautiful Lighthouse Beach before going on a tour of the Chatham Coast Guard station where we learned about the different types of rescues and missions that they perform and the types of vessels they use in those situations. We were guided around the station by Jason Dunsavage, and Josh, who told us about the station’s fascinating history and the harrowing rescue mission of the crew of the Pendleton in 1952. Josh was very funny and nice and told lots of jokes. He also told us about his experiences in Coast Guard boot camp. We learned that the swimming portion of the boot camp is only a lap around the pool, which was surprising.
After the tour, we conducted our sampling of Lighthouse beach, dividing up into four different groups; Physical, Geological, Human Uses, and Chemical. We then got back onto the bus and headed into the town of Chatham where we split up into groups and spent around an hour browsing the various small stores. Soon after, we were on the bus once more, headed back to the SEA campus where we spent the rest of the afternoon unwinding. Later on, we watched, Into the Gyre, which discussed Sea Education’s very own Corwith Cramer and its long journey to the Sargasso Sea to study plastic amounts near the North Atlantic Gyre. We learned that most of the plastic in the oceans is made up of not large pieces, but tiny fragments no bigger than your pinky fingernail. Of course, there are larger pieces of plastic, but the majority of it is microscopic. The Cramer studied how far east the plastics traveled in the gyre and how much plastic per square kilometer there is.
Overall, it was a fun and informative day. We look forward to the next.
- Gwen & Jaffir