9:00 AM: Literature tutorial; handed in my journal entry for the ‘Dory’ (the Williams-Mystic student literature magazine), which included snippets from journaling I did on all our field seminars, plus some drawings and words from time here in Mystic; spoke briefly about Moby Dick and what it means to us.
10:15 AM: Went home, dipped apples in plain Greek yogurt, and chatted with my wonderful housemate, Lani.
11:15 AM: History class – learned about the Navy Waves, spoke with Glenn (our history professor) about my own grandmother, who served as a nurse for the Navy during World War II. He suggested I look into her service there to find out what she had done.
12:30 PM: Sat in the Collections Research Center (CRC) at the Seaport and listened an oral history recording of my favorite boat designer, Olin J. Stephens, chatting about his successes and failures, and his love of modern yachting.; took notes for my history research paper.
3:00 PM: Set out on a bike ride with my two friends from Kemble House, Alix and Lucy, out to Lantern Hill Pond and back; we passed by horses, cows, stretches of the most beautiful farm lands you could see, lakes, and boathouses.
5:30 PM: Grocery shopping! We spent exactly $6 less than our weekly allowance – a huge win for Carr House.
7:00 PM: Indian food themed pot-luck at Kemble House, complete with fresh made naan! Mariah (Mallory house member and chef-extraordinaire) makes unbelievable nut chutney – called “Nutney.” I take some for the road.
10:00 PM: Two episodes of my favorite TV show (How I Met Your Mother) later, and I am ready for bed. Tomorrow brings more adventure!
9:00 AM: Have a hankering to make cookies after reading through the Williams-Mystic 25 Year Anniversary Catalogue – it is a WM tradition, after all!
10:00 AM: Cookie-delivery complete! Impromptu shopping trip to Goodwill and TJ Maxx in Groton with Julie from Johnston House and Julia from Mallory House.
3:00 PM: It’s too beautiful and sunny not to stop at Drawbridge for ice cream…
5:00 PM: Chat with Dad on the phone, it’s so nice to know he’s so close by.
6:00 PM: Beautiful run along River Road as the sun sets.
7:00 PM: Surprised by barbeque and friends for my forthcoming birthday! Shrimp and salad and chicken – I am almost too full for s’mores.
9:00 PM: Macklemore emerges from some nearby laptop speakers and the dancing begins. I blow out the candles to my birthday cake upside down in a handstand.
6:00 AM: Up early to drive out to Newport, where some friends are running a 10-mile race to benefit the Fort Adams Trust. I volunteer to hand out Gatorade and water to runners, and get a free t-shirt! Newport is unbelievably gorgeous, and just an hour’s drive away.
12:00 PM: Back home, hand out extra bananas and Gatorade from the race. Exhausted, I fall down into a 2-hour nap
3:15 PM: Inspired by the racers earlier this morning, I take off on a 6-mile loop into the Pequotsepos Nature Preserve.
4:00 PM: Stop by Albion house to see my friend Sophie, who decides we should go for a sail. Upon arriving at Snapdragon, the sailboat for WM students, our friend Morgan picks us up on the Loon – a small motorboat. Satisfied, we go out for a ride.
5:00 PM: Hop in the shower; prepare springs rolls to bring over to Mallory for dinner. Homemade hummus and ice cream!
7:00 PM: Homework until 9pm, when story-time with my classmates commences. What will I say at tonight’s gathering?
11:00 PM: With story-time finished, I return home full of delicious cookies and tea. Time for bed – another wonderful weekend in Mystic!
I write now the final report of our travels as Williams-Mystic S’13 students. The time has flown by at an unimaginable speed, and our final journey has brought us closer than ever. We are also even more grateful for the experiences that Williams-Mystic provides: we have been back from Louisiana for about a week now, and the time to cease conversations about the experiences we shared there is nowhere in sight. Our class still shares laughs over the looks on our professor’s faces as they held snakes and baby alligators at Zam’s in Kraemer on the Bayou Boeuf, wax nostalgic over pictures from our Cajun Dancing excursion, and speak passionately about the ethical and political issues we encountered during our time on Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico.
After a long first day of travel, we made our way to our hosts for the remainder of the trip, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), for dinner and to settle into our dorm-style rooms in Cocodrie, which is approximately 85 miles southwest of New Orleans. LUMCON provided us with a home base as well as our first introduction to real Louisiana style home cooking—biscuits and grits were staples during mealtime, as well as some very charismatic crawfish for dinner and fresh fish caught by our classmate Morgan!
LUMCON is situated directly on a marsh, which is perfect for studying the “lobes of Louisiana,” or the areas most directly affected by the shaping of the Mississippi Delta rivers, channels, plains and marshes. To better understand this dynamic landmass, Sam Bently, a Williams-Mystic graduate and professor at LSU, led us through the sampling of a vertical core of the marsh sediment using a vibracore, which gathered sediment samples from 3 to 5 meters below surface.
Our next excursion was to Grand Isle, with a stop at Port Fourchon, which supports half of the drilling activity in the Gulf and 75% of all deep water production on over 1,2000 developed acres of land. Our brief stop here was highlighted by a quick lecture by Katy Hall on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 and its impact on Port Fourchon and surrounding areas. We quickly piled back into the vans and arrived at Grand Isle, where Mr. Chris Hernandez, a Grand Isle town official, gave us a guided tour of the area with a stop at his home to meet his family. The day was capped by lectures on local author Kate Chopin, a literature lab at Grand Isle State Park, a quick dip in the Gulf, and free time on the beach.
Our final day brought us to New Orleans, where we had free time to explore the French Quarter after being shown the historic and state-wide landmarks on a walking tour by our history professor. Fresh beignets (an incredible powdered donut and New Orleans specialty) were enjoyed, pictures were taken, and we even had a ride on the Mississippi River on an old-fashioned steam sternwheeler, the Natchez!
After an action-packed trip, a nice long weekend helped us recover some much-needed sleep and classes began as usual Monday morning. Although the travel has ended, the days are longer and adventure waits at every corner here at Mystic Seaport.
Time between trips here at Mystic seems short, maybe because of all of the exciting activities and classes our days are filled with, and maybe because time between trips is, in fact, short! A few quick weeks after finally touching land after our 10 days aboard the Cramer, we were off again—this time to absorb the beauty of another coast altogether in the Pacific Northwest.
Our Pacific Coast Field Seminar began on Saturday, March 2nd in Seattle’s SEATAC Airport, where we began the first of our many hours in the five rental vans that became our pseudo homes for the duration of the trip. We loaded our bags into the trunks, buckled up and began our trip down the West Coast. We headed first for the heart of Seattle, where we ascended the Space Needle for a birds-eye view of the unique and vibrant skyline, the port of Elliott Bay, and the Seattle-Tacoma shipping ports. Our stay in Seattle was focused on containerization and the evolution of the cargo shipping industry, illustrated quite vividly for us by a trip on a Crowley Marine tugboat.
Before leaving Seattle, we poked around Pike Place Market, visited the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center, and saw the largest commercial fishing port in the country, known as Fisherman’s Terminal. After spending our final night in the historic College Inn, the only remaining building from the Alaksa-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, we left for Oregon, stopping at Powell’s Books (the largest new and used bookstore in the world!) and Multnomah Falls for a quick hike.
The next few days felt like a blur, arriving in Astoria, OR where we got to spend the night at the Columbia River Maritime Museum and stroll along Cannon Beach. Our days were filled with observing tidal creatures along Haystack Rock, one of the most photographed views of the Oregon coast, bonding with sea lions in the largest sea cave in the world, and tumbling down the largest dunes any of us had ever seen on the Oregon Dunes National Seashore.
We finished up our trip with even more adventure, clambering around marshland and estuaries at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and interacting closely with marine biota in Cape Arago tide pools.
With all of the incredible sight-seeing and touring we did in these eight short days, it seems we would’ve come back home with nothing but memories of the beautiful sights we saw and the incredible history and biology we learned. Instead, we stepped off the plane laughing about the times we shared with professors in vans, the incredible food we ate, and the extraordinary people we met along the way.
Time and time again, Williams-Mystic proves that there is room in a day for more than any of us ever thought possible, and still somehow leaves us wanting more. Lucky for us, our next trip is right around the corner: Louisiana is a few short days away, and none of us can wait to see what adventures are in store!
My name is Leah Feldman, and I am the new Admissions Blogger for the Spring 2013 class of Williams-Mystic! I’m a junior and English major at Colgate University, and am SO excited to be here at Mystic for the semester. I absolutely love Mystic and the Seaport — not surprising from someone who’s spent their whole life on the water. I’ve been an avid sailor all my life, as well as sailing competitively for Colgate’s sailing team.
Other than loving all things maritime, I love music, all things outdoors, my amazing dog, great food and my exciting active lifestyle, making Williams-Mystic a PERFECT fit. I get to spend my days here doing all the things I love most: studying the ocean and all the amazing literature, history, policy and science it has to offer, listening to my incredibly talented friends and peers play music, go for awesome runs along the Mystic River, cook exciting new foods with my housemates and, if I’m lucky, even play with my literature professor’s dog, Ruby!
I knew coming to Mystic was the right choice from the moment I arrived (moving into my cozy historic home certainly helped!) but it wasn’t until our first Field Seminar — 10 days offshore the Straits of Florida on the tall-ship SSV Corwith Cramer — that I knew exactly how incredible and life-changing this experience would be.
The experience abroad the Corwith Cramer was unlike anything I had ever done before. Never before had I woken up to sound of waves crashing right outside my bedroom wall. Never before had I been responsible for something as important as keeping our 115 ft. ship on course. Never before had I eaten so well, so many times a day! I was absolutely astounded by the people I was surrounded with; the mates and scientists on board, but also the other Williams-Mystic students that I was just beginning to get to know. The experience aboard the Cramer is one that I will remember all my life, and no one will ever know how much that truly means as genuinely as my peers will.
Prior to the offshore trip, I knew that my housemates were funny and caring, and that the rest of the program consisted of intelligent, enthusiastic and like-minded individuals who all seemed extraordinarily pleasant. After the trip, I knew that if I ever needed anyone to rely on for something as small as handing me a line when my hands were full or as big as making sure I drank water when I was feeling seasick in the middle of the night, I had 16 people I knew I could look to. This was especially true for the 6 other students on B-Watch with me; one of the groups that we were all split up into to provide round-the-clock sentry aboard the ship. These five other faces became nearly all I knew on board, as I ate with, slept next to, hauled lines with and conducted lab research with these people for 10 days. We did everything in shifts, including sleep, which never lasted more than six hours.
When we returned to shore, I was asked many times what my favorite part of the trip was. I usually replied that I couldn’t say, that all of it was incredible but I think it was actually the most simple answer there was: the people. And the best part about that is that, with the exception of a few, I still get to surround myself with these wonderful people every single day.
Back in Mystic, we’ve spent many delicious potluck dinners and late night study-sessions distracting ourselves with pictures and stories from our trip aboard Cramer. We all missed it terribly in those first days back, but we soon were sucked back in to our busy lives here in Connecticut. I miss Cramer, too, but I find our classroom discussions and movie-nights to be just as exciting and educational, if not as warm and sunny. With so many perspectives (we have students from all over: California, Germany, Maryland and even Japan!), I can’t help but feel like I’m learning something new every day.
I am so lucky to be here, and so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible people. Tune in next week for more on the faces I can’t get enough of and the incredible lessons I’ve learned from each one of them.
Local: 24 deg. 13.6 ‘ N x 82.29.9 ‘ W
Sailing under the four lowers and the JT and a sky full of stars
We’ve had a near perfect day aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer on this sunny February day. This is Katie the Director of Admissions at Williams-Mystic. Today was very busy, from the usual watch schedules to science presentations and even a marlin spike class. Here’s a detailed look at what I’ve been up to in the past 24 hours.
1900 – Galley clean-up with C Watch. We washed dishes, galley mats, the sole (floor), trash cans, and all the surfaces in the galley to make it spick and span for the stewards.
2230 – Helped wake up A Watch who was coming on deck at 2300 for Midwatch
2301 – Asleep
0600 – A wonderful wake up encouraging me to get up on deck to see the stars before breakfast
0620 – French toast for breakfast!
0640 – Washed dishes in the galley
0700 – Listened to Lauren the assistant steward play banjo on the science deck as the sun rose
0800 – Set, furled, passed, and then re-set the Jib with C Watch and Don the Engineer. Don helped keep pace by singing a few chanteys while we worked.
0900 – Time for a deck wash!
1000 – Fruit and granola for morning snack
1015 – Cut 25 lines for marlin pike nautical science class
1100 – Assisted in the Lab double checking data with assistant scientist Mitch
1200 – Learned how to make a Turk’s head bracelet from Lisa Gilbert on the quarter deck
1300 – Mac & Cheese and Chili for Lunch
1330 – A quick nap
1400 – On deck for science poster session presentations from the students. The goal of our research while aboard Cramer was for the students to understand the biological, geological, chemical, and physical controls on the Straits of Florida. For example, Alix from Williams and Caroline from Hamilton explained vertical migration of zooplankton in the noon and midnight neuston net tows; Lucy from Williams, Morgan from the California Maritime Academy, and Alex from Mt Holyoke showed us the difference in bottom sediment between our continental slope and continental shelf sediment grab stations; Chris from California Maritime Academy and Casey from Mt Holyoke explained surface nutrients and productivity along our cruise track.
1530 – Scones for afternoon snack
1545 – Nautical science class on deck: splicing and whipping line
1700 – Taught a few students how to make a Turk’s head bracelet on deck while Andrew made leather cuff to prevent one of the ship’s lines from chafing and Stephanie sewed a new anchor bag for one of the dories.
1900 – Roast beef or spiced tofu, wild rice, green beans for dinner, followed by boat check, and bed. As we sail closer and closer to Key West, Florida I can’t believe how quickly our trip has gone. Tonight the students will be taken watch by watch onto the bowsprit for a few apt readings about life at sea with Professor Lisa Gilbert as they stare into the night sky. It is a beautiful way to spend one of our last nights on board.
Fair Winds from a happy crew,
February 6, 2013
24 deg. 33.5 ‘ N x 82 deg. 49.7 ‘ W
Sailing under the four lowers and JT
Greetings from the SSV Corwith Cramer! This is Stephanie, here with another installment of our Offshore Field Seminar. Lily from Williams is currently at the helm, guiding us away from the Dry Tortugas under the supervision of Captain Justin and Second Mate Jess. Students are scattered about the deck, setting sails and preparing to head for the sunny shores of Key West. We’ve just cut power to the engine and are traveling solely by sail – the best way to travel! By now the sound of the wind in the rigging is quite familiar to the Spring ’13 class.
Our day started off early at 0600 with an all-hands wakeup for breakfast, a delicious meal of homemade hash browns, grits, and fruit. After watching the fog dissipate and the sun rise over Garden Key, the crew prepared two inflatable dinghies to take everyone ashore. Students helped out by hauling the inflatables off of the Cramer’s decks and into the water, a feat much easier said than done. Life vests were handed out for the quick trip in, their day-glow orange reflecting the eager smiles of the excited bunch. Once we were all on the island, students had some free time to stretch their legs and explore. Fort Jefferson, a brick building on Garden Key, is the largest 19th century American coastal fort. We were able to walk through its many hallways and chamber and climb to the top of its walls to see the beautiful aquamarine waters of the Gulf. This was certainly a different view from the last several days! For many students the moat that surrounded the fort was a highlight. Morgan from California Maritime Academy loved the moat so much that it took him an hour to take in the views and enjoy its beauty! Other students stretched their legs as they took laps around the fort walking and jogging.
There is no greater noise than when you hear a student’s excitement when they realize that class will be held on a pristine white beach. Today that was the case! Students learned more about the Tortugas from Williams-Mystic Professor Lisa Gilbert , discussing how oceanography and weather have influenced the human history and current marine policy of the area. The second part of class was snorkeling in the country’s third largest barrier reef. Armed with fins, masks, and snorkels, Annie and Julie, from Williams, joined their class for some quality time in the water. Amongst many other fish, we saw parrot fish, mackerel, moon jellyfish, and even a seven-foot grouper! Post-swimming, students enjoyed sandwiches prepared by our fantastic stewards Lauren and Shelby while they waited to go back to Cramer.
It’s hard to believe that there are only three days left in our Offshore Field Seminar. S13 has accomplished so much this week and has had a great time learning the ropes of life at sea. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!
24 deg. 37.9′ N 82 deg. 52.7′W
At anchor off Garden Key, Dry Tortugas National Park
Katie here with a note from aboard the Corwith Cramer! We’ve had a wonderful day sailing in the warm Straits of Florida sunshine. We’re now anchored at the Dry Tortugas, and have had our afternoon classes (history of Fort Jefferson and anchor theory) and science project time. We’ll stay here overnight.
The Williams-Mystic S13 class has become comfortable on board and is excited to take on more responsibilities in the next several days. Early this morning, B Watch completed the first deck wash of the trip. Meagan from the University of Saint Joseph and the rest of her watch used salt water from the fire house and long arm deck brushes to keep everything clean. Tonight while we are anchored off the Dry Tortugas students will be standing their first anchor watch of the trip, making sure we maintain a steady location and continuing hourly boat checks.
One of my favorite places on the ship is the galley (kitchen), arguably one of the most essential places aboard. I had the pleasure of spending quite a bit if time there today helping Lauren, the assistant steward, with afternoon snack. Molly from Williams College diligently worked on dishes from breakfast and mid-morning cooking throughout her 0700-1300 watch, while I helped mix and roll out pie crust. We had a wonderful time talking and laughing while we worked.
It always amazes me how delicious the meals are aboard the Cramer. The stewards Shelby and Lauren create a stream of incredible gourmet meals and snacks on a 24-hour basis. Today I learned that the basic ingredients that I can see while standing in the galley are only the beginning of the dry stores on board. Under nearly every bunk and under every bench in the main salon, there is galley storage. A map posted by the galley will help you find the cans of sweetened condensed milk, multiple jars of peanut butter, a wide variety of hot sauce, and pounds of rice. Bananas and oranges are scattered forward in hanging desk baskets, while fresh vegetables, cheese, and frozen meat are kept in the ship’s relatively large reefer (refrigerator) and freezer directly under the galley.
To really show how well fed we are here is a highlight of our meals on Cramer today (yummm!): Midnight Snack: Pumpkin chocolate chip bread; Breakfast: Home-made bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, red onions, tomatoes, and orange juice; Morning Snack: Double chocolate chip cookies; Lunch: Chicken or Tofu fried rice and salad with mandarin oranges,cucumbers, and tomatoes; Afternoon Snack: Pie in many flavors: blueberry, pumpkin, key lime, chocolate, and pecan: all in celebration of Assistant Scientist Mitch Schrimpf’s birthday!; Dinner: Lasagna, salad, and fresh baked bread.
I am quite certain that I will not eat this well when we return to land in a few days, but we will all pick up a few good tips from our amazing stewards before we leave!