First Month!

Hi Everyone! Steph here, the student blogger for the S’11 class of Williams-Mystic! If you haven’t had a chance to read my bio, here’s a brief bit about me: I’m a third-year student at Bryn Mawr College studying English and Creative Writing and hail from the fabulous state of New Jersey.

While this may be my first blog entry, the Spring semester has been underway for about a month here at Williams-Mystic. My classmates and I returned to home base two weeks ago and have been thrown once again into the “real” world of deadlines, technology, and chaos. I’ve definitely found myself wishing on more than once occasion that I were standing the 3a.m. bow watch!

Speaking of which, here are a few highlights from our cruise: climbing the foremast and yards, smelling the sweet and smoky winds of Havana, losing track of the number of shooting stars seen in one watch, successfully completing Winkler Titrations (a meticulous process in which we tested for the presence of dissolved oxygen in sea water), being fed every 120 minutes, sharing class time with a pod of dolphins (twice!), listening to spontaneous acoustic jam sessions held by my crewmates, eating fresh Mahi Mahi caught by my literature professor…the list goes on.  If you’re looking for a more detailed account, check out the blog from our trip at here.

Returning to darkness and snow after 10 days of sunshine and warmth was difficult, but knowing that the Cramer is giving others the opportunity to discover new places and learn about themselves is enough to keep me warm until the first crocus pokes it’s head through the snow.

While in Mystic, my classmates and I have been busy between attending class, working on research proposals, and taking in everything the community has to offer. I’ve fallen into a comfortable routine of daily trips to the gym, completing work in one of two local coffee shops, and walking through the Seaport when the sun’s beginning to set on the river. I particularly like living in a house (I share a double with another student in Kemble House) and being able to cook for myself. After a long day learning about anything from mercantilism to Ernest Hemingway, it’s a pure treat to come home and share a meal and good conversation with my housemates.

Our schedule is about to be shaken, though, as we’re leaving for another field seminar in the Pacific Northwest early this Saturday morning. I’ve never been West of the Mississippi River and am particularly excited to simply see the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been told that it’s very different from the Atlantic, and that’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing myself. Other things I’m hoping to do include walking through Powell’s Books in Portland, looking at the city of Seattle from the top of the Space Needle, and sleeping on the lightship Columbia in Astoria.

Right now it’s quiet in our house; we just finished having dinner with our house advisor (veggie lasagna and an apple crumble for desert…yum!) and are bunkering down for a bit of Oceanography reading. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking to think that in just five days I’ll be on a completely different coast…but for now it’s time to focus on reading about coastal sediments and beach erosion in preparation for tomorrow’s lab at Napatree Point.

Fair winds!


Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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