SEA Currents: c260
June 28, 2015
Lifelong Dream Come True
Saturday (27 June) dawned cool and grey with Force 5 winds, as we closed back toward the Irish Coast to view Fastnet Rock and Light during daylight hours. An amazing sight to see the huge structure perched atop a jagged rock, miles out to sea and surrounded—even in fine weather—by pounding surf. Cap took the helm to give all a great visual experience. As the evening wore on toward night, winds increased to force 7+ with heavy rain, making for a wet and wild evening watch, followed by a restful sleep.
June 26, 2015
Land ho? (!)
The sky is bright, the clouds are few and high, the raffee is full of wind, and the world, as Chief Mate Mack would say, is “luminous.” I write at 1850; I was waiting to start this entry until the end of the day in hope that we would have seen Ireland by now. We haven’t, yet, but the sun has been setting so late that there’s still a chance we’ll see it before the light is gone. Ireland is on the radar, less than 12 nautical miles to our north, and with our squares’ls and raffee set we’re sailing briskly through the whitecaps towards land.
June 25, 2015
High Seas, High Grades
Today we were reminded we are sailing in the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Wind and waves reached among their highest yet on this trip. It was a surprisingly comfortable ride now that we are so in-tune with the Cramer. Despite the pitching and rolling, we had an eventful day. As planned, our poster presentations began today during class.
June 24, 2015
Ben Runs the Show and No Serious Disasters Happen
Today I was a Junior Watch Officer, which meant that I was supposed to run the deck, under Chief Mate Mackenzie’s supervision. I was a bit nervous for this, because usually I prefer to be a lookout, zone out, philosophize, and serenade myself with national anthems. Fortunately I prepared for it pretty well and for the first couple of hours everything went smoothly. Then it was time to strike the tops’l, gybe, heave to, and strike the jib so that Science could deploy the styrocast.
June 23, 2015
Let the JWO phase begin!
Last night’s evening watch marked the beginning of Phase 3, the JWO (Junior Watch Officer) and JLO (Junior Lab Officer) phase. From here on out the students will be putting their newly acquired knowledge to the test and running the ship on deck and in lab, while the mates and assistant scientists take a step back, guiding with a more hands off approach. Our first three JWOs were JJ from A Watch (evening watch), Darcy from B Watch (midwatch), and Clare from C Watch (dawn watch).
June 22, 2015
Another Day on the Pond
As I sit in the computer lab of the ship, on the port side just below the waterline, I watch the porthole in the room dip in and out of the water as I think of what to write in this blog. The problem is I am not sure where to start. No matter what I talk about, I still feel like I am going to miss something. We could start with all of the whales, dolphins, sea turtles, tuna (which came out delicious, by the way), and even a couple dozen liters of jellyfish; or perhaps the sunrise, sunset, moon, stars and planets that we have been using to find our location in the world.
June 20, 2015
Drop On the Deck and Flop like a Fish
I’ll tell you the story of when we caught a tuna.
Early this morning I was enjoying being the lookout on the bow. It was cloudy and very picturesque; the sun was just ahead of us, and whenever it broke through the clouds it made the water shine silver like a sea of mercury.
June 19, 2015
Dolphins and jellies and birds, oh my!
At 0620, I rolled out of my bunk in the main salon, saw muffins on the breakfast table and thought “this is going to be a good day.” And, boy, was I right! The motor was running, since the winds were too light and variable for strong sailing. But, we can’t let anything get in the way of our great circle route to Ireland, which is now only about a thousand nautical miles away! It’s hard to believe we’ve made it this far already.
We’ve recently entered the phase of our cruise known as “shadow phase,” where each watch one of the student crew shadows the mate or assistant scientist to learn more about the inner workings of running a ship.
June 18, 2015
Place in the World
Clear morning at last, after a few rough and sporty days of being tossed by waves and recounting what it means to live at sea—I look at myself, after emerging from the doghouse onto the hard deck, and am once again gripped by the wonder of the high blue seas. No land in sight—everything I learned to grow up and be with all my life is far away now; and now, I find everything to be foreign, unprecedented, and one-of-a-kind.
June 17, 2015
Clean Teeth and Dolphins
Just a few hours ago, I began my daily routine of brushing my teeth on deck. I sat on the aft port deck boxes, facing the sun and the wind. As I began to brush my teeth, not more than 5 feet away from me, in a cresting wave, a dolphin slid to the top of the water, its fin and dorsal side clearly visible. As I stood up and shipmates pointed and ooh-ed and ah-ed, the dolphin cleared the water twice more with graceful leaps, all the while maintaining a parallel path to the ship. How else could I describe this moment than as magical (and orally hygienic)?