Sleeping on the Morgan!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Only at Williams-Mystic do students get the opportunity to sleep on the last wooden whaling vessel! A few of us slept over there on friday night, with the lights on. It was pretty scary being in that HUGE boat at night. But it was loads of fun and really really cold. The best part about sleeping on the Morgan was being woken up by Mystic Seaport Staff at around 7am, asking us if we had permission to sleep on the boat. He said "I didn't expect to find anyone sleeping on here this morning." It was really funny. Other than that, it was a cold night and the bunks were super hard. Boy am I glad I wasn't a whaler back in the day!

Surfing and Snow !

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This past sunday morning, six other students and I learned how to surf by our history professor Glenn!! It was amazing! Glenn has not only taught us how to surf but he's taught us how to Tango and even how to do the two-step. Surfing was great but bitterly cold, like I mean even if all the wet suit stuff on it was freezing (that is once you got out of the water). I'm still sore from our sunday morning adventure. The craziest part about surfing on sunday was that it snowed in Mystic yesterday morning. So we went from surfing to snowing.

Louisiana and Grand Isle

Friday, November 5, 2010

Last week we traveled down to Louisiana. It was a very eye-opening experience that I feel so fortunate to have been able to do. The faculty here are great. They really know what they are talking about. The trip made me laugh and at the same time want to cry.
The people that were affected by the BP Oil Spill compare it to a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina. The people of Southern Louisiana talked about how they can clean up after a hurricane but the damages of an oil spill never really go away.

It broke my heart to hear them talk about it. Most of the people that we encountered said BP was taking care of them. They are grateful for BP. This blew my mind away. Please tell everyone you know, that the oil isn't gone and it won't leave for a long time. It's in the sand that was supposedly clean and is killing or has killed marsh grass.

The people of Grand Isle are so resilient. They will come back from this--but they can't do it alone. The people of Grand Isle have amazing leaders who will do everything in their power to help the people of Grand Isle. The things the people talked about shocked me--because they would never happen up here. The Grand Isle Mayor told us that when a Hurricane was coming, they had to evacuate everyone. When they crossed the bridge and were on higher land, the Mayor realized he had forgotten a homeless man. And you know what, the Mayor went back and got the homeless man. I know in my town that would never, ever happen. It is the people of Grand Isle that are so special, like their land. Therefore, we need to do everything we can to protect them and their disappearing land, because Grand Isle is slowly disappearing.

One last thing, you dig six inches into the sand on a beach in Grand Isle and there is oil. The spill is still having ramifications on the aesthetics and environment of Grand Isle.

Oil Spill!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today was the BP Oil Spill talk! We learned a lot about the oil spill and what has happened. National Geographic has a special edition and the articles in there are GREAT! Mallory House ( the house which I, Annie, Justin, Chris and Patrice live in) had the honor of making snack for policy class. See--we have snack every week in policy class because Katy Hall gets very hungry about an hour and a half into the class..
So that being said, we had the oil spill! It was great..(no not the oil spill but our edible creation about the oil spill). Here are some pictures that I hope you enjoy. They are from a book Patrice has.

Back from California!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

California was a blast. I got to drive a tugboat, watch killer whales eat their prey and much much more. It was an amazing experience and tons of fun!!! The best part about the trip was the Monterey Aquarium! It was really awesome. All the animals were so cool and they set up the aquarium so well. I could have spent days in that aquarium. Everything else was wonderful too. I got a little seasick on the whale watch but I was prepared this time with my ginger!! Thank God for ginger!
I'm going to put some cool pictures up now. Enjoy the show.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One of the best parts about this program is the maritime skills session each student has to do. I being the fool I am decided that shipsmith would be my skill. Little did I know how hard it would be ! I worked for about three hours on a little hook that is now sitting on my desk in my room. With the metal (or rather my hammer) taking on a mind of its own, the hook is not that straight and there is a little nook in the eye. Other than that, it's a normal hook.
I've realized along this journey through the maritime world that nothing will be perfect and I guess that is two-fold for life. As with shipsmith, everything takes time. So even though I can't build a harpoon (not yet..!) I am working towards a goal. Being here has given me a different perspective on life. It's a combination of the place and people here that make this a great place. Instead of getting as frustrated as I was, my shipsmith instructor Bill, repeatedly said: "it will come". And it will come, but just like anything--it takes time. However, time is a rarity here.
Reading everything for every class takes lots and lots of time, but when you actually read all the material that we are using for our classes you can see how great it is. We are not just learning about Marine Policy, but actually studying past cases--I feel like a mini lawyer when I read Policy. Even for history--we are not just learning about the Charles W. Morgan, but are actually sitting in the berths where the sailors slept on their voyages for whales. Having a sense of place while here is key. Marine Ecology is just awesome because instead of reading about phytoplankton, we are getting our own from the Mystic River. Having access to learn like this is not something everyone has the opportunity to do. The maritime world takes on a whole new meaning when I feel like I'm actually living it, rather than reading about it. (and even literature is great because we are reading all of the great American works about the sea.)
So I'll stop now, but if anyone has gotten this far in this post, all I ask is that you pass along the information of this program to at least one person you know.

Land !!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I never really knew what sea sickness felt like until I stepped onto the SSV Corwith Cramer. Oh boy, was I sea sick! My stomach was literally in my throat for most of the trip. It felt like I was on an 11-day Disney roller coaster that would not stop. The only time I did not feel sea sick was when I was sleeping. Besides being sick, I saw whales breech in the open ocean, got to touch sand dollars from the bottom of the ocean in Stellwegon Bank. And most importantly, I learned how to sail. Even though the motion of the ocean affected me physically, I really did enjoy myself.
Being out in the open ocean with nothing else around you is a truly amazing experience. And oh the sunrises and sunsets! They are even more beautiful out at sea !! Life is completely different out at sea. First of all we eat six times a day and the food is amazing!! Like I mean, every day was a field day in terms of food. It was probably the best food I've ever eaten.
I would have to say, the worst part about being out at sea is dawn clean up. This is the time of the day when the watch that has been on deck from 0300 to 0700, has to clean up the entire ship using sponges that one would use to clean dishes in a sink. This event takes about an hour and feels like it lasts forever. It is even worse when you feel like throwing up. I'll stop rambling now, and just put up some cool pictures--because pictures are worth a thousand words!