Wednesday September 19, 2012
East of San Clemente Island, CA
33° 02’N x 118° 27’W
Greetings from sea! We have had a busy day sailing through the Channel Islands off the shore of southern California. The Williams-Mystic students are becoming steadier on their sea legs and have smiles on their faces. They are becoming more and more familiar with their roles, the ships lines, and what it really means to feel the wind on their face. Rachel from California Maritime Academy is happy as a lark. When I asked her what her favorite part of the trip had been so far she replied, “I just really like the feeling of the water, I like standing up at the bow and feeling the ship move.”
Yesterday morning, each watch went through safety drills including test driving their immersion suits. After a short tutorial I watched A watch wriggle into their giant orange suits, velcroing and zipping each other up. This serious orientation takes a lighter note as giggles burst out of student mouths when they see one another all dressed up!
Later in the day we were lucky enough to have an afternoon of music on the port side of the science deck. There are quite a few musicians on board and bunk #7 is full of instruments including but not limited to a guitar, two banjos, two ukuleles, and a fiddle. Prof. Lisa Gilbert, our chief scientist, led the charge when she pulled out her banjo during afternoon watch. As her notes traveled with the wind students gathered to sing along and take a try at the banjo, guitar, and fiddle. Toby from Bowdoin picked up the banjo while Shelly from the University of Puget Sound took a turn on the fiddle. Music has always been a large part of the maritime world and it is clear to me now that having music on board lifts everyone’s spirits.
To start class this afternoon Lisa Gilbert recited “Exultation is the Going.” written by Emily Dickinson in 1890 which comments on what it is like to leave land and head out to sea. For many this is the first time they will not be able to even see land. There is much more to come in our sailing adventure with the Fall 2012 class. We are looking forward to our first oceanographic Super Station at 0700 tomorrow morning, the line chase on Friday afternoon, and standing watch for sunrise and sunset.