SEA 2014: Blossoming shipmates (August 6)

A six-week expedition with Sea Education Association (SEA) to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) is underway. This will mark the first-ever oceanographic cruise to PIPA, and is a historic collaboration between SEA, the New England Aquarium, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Republic of Kiribati. The objectives of this mission include the high-quality education of 13 students in both science and policy aspects of PIPA as well as scientific goals, which will be detailed in the coming weeks and months here on this blog.

This is a cross post from the SEA Expedition Blog.

August 6, 2014

Hello, World. This is Laura Page, the C watch deckhand here to write your blog post for the day. Our biggest news of the day has to be the leaving of the Phoenix Island Protected Area waters. After three straight weeks of sailing and sampling here it is hard to believe we are in truly open ocean with only a
week left of program. Our goal for this trip was to explore and discover unexposed aspects of these Kiribati islands.

Another day in paradise, the sunsets here are too beautiful for words

I waited until now to write a post so that I could share with you a truly unique experience I have witnessed while sailing with class S-254. I first noticed the phenomenon of which I speak about a week ago during our afternoon class time on the quarterdeck. Captain Pamela announced that after sailing with a single reefed mains'l (where only part of the sail is ever set for easier control) we were going to take the first few minutes and set the FULL mains'l.

Now as a quick side note the students had spent the last few weeks anchored and exploring islands, working on the PIPA program but not specifically focusing on nautical science skills. When the captain's call was made to perform this new task for the first time I was quite surprised to see each and every student leap up and get ready on the appropriate lines to complete the order. These guys had enough confidence in themselves as a group that they were ready to tackle a new challenge without fear. They knew without thinking that the knowledge to complete the task was spread throughout the entire student body and they as a group would accomplish this new task. And when it was completed they all sat down as if nothing special had occurred.

Every day and every watch since that occurrence the responsibility I have seen these students take upon themselves is astronomical. With the start of the JWO phase of the program they have taken full ownership of their knowledge and skills, but more importantly they have learned how to take advantage of the best resources around them: their fellow students. They have set and struck sails, performed highly technical scientific deployments, determined how to manipulate the wind to get the ship where it
needs to go (not always where it may want to go) and all of these are just a few steps that get them towards their ultimate goals of oceanographic research and policy study.  They have taken all these responsibilities with grace, a little stress, fun, but mostly a sense of ownership that shows they really know how to operate this ship.

It has been my pleasure now to have stood watch with each and every one of the students on board.  I have seen them grow and blossom (cheesy as that sounds) into shipmates, a title that carries innumerable complexities. I am proud to have them as my shipmates and honored that I can stand as one of their own.

Many thanks,
Sailing just south of the PIPA zone

1 comment:

  1. woooow...very nice..good one.
    Caran D' Ache