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!