"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Swim call in the deep

>> Monday, March 17, 2014

We've had some amazing swim calls on our voyage thus far. Not only is it refreshing for the body in the sweltering heat, but it is refreshing on the mind and for the ship's dynamic. Nothing works to brighten the morale of the ship's company like a good old swim call in thousands of feet of clear Caribbean water!

More photos after the jump:


Venus in the sky

Scott, in reading Bowditch's formidable tome The American Practical Navigator (as one does) and the current edition of the Nautical Almanac, learned that Venus, currently at an astronomical magnitude of -4.8, is visible during daylight hours. Mayhem ensued, as eyes strained for the planet amidst the bright sunlight in the hopes of getting a sextant sight and a daylight celestial fix. While Scott had Venus momentarily brought down to the horizon, the elusive daylight planetary sight eluded us... until next time!


Barracuda biology

We haven't had too much luck fishing as of yet, catching and releasing three barracudas. Our fourth barracuda, unluckily for her, got her gills caught in the hook and died. Lucky for our students, however, who got to dissect the fish and learn about barracuda biology...


La Republica Dominicana

First, apologies for the long absence... We've all been busy with mid-terms, exploring the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere, and preparing for our service project adventure.

With a very fast passage leaving Trinidad, we were able to make a quick stop in Vieques, Puerto Rico before making landfall in Santo Domingo, DR, a successful week-long passage of nearly 800 nm using solely traditional means of navigation. Our GPS intentionally turned off by the captain, we relied on navigational fixes using the sun & stars and "dead reckoning," which calculates our progress using our course steered and speed to track our own progress. Our students, now well versed in the ship, are learning more advanced skills like celestial navigation by calculating our latitude by measuring the angle of the sun's apex--or our local apparent noon.

Here in the DR, we'll be working with a local school and orphanage that aims to help poor, mostly immigrant youth of Haitian decent. These kids often have no nationality status, and little prospect. In learning about the long, fractured history of Haitian & Dominican relations, we'll hopefully better understand how national policy and long-held perspectives on race affect these kids. We'll post more photos and student work in the next few days, so stay tuned!

And apologies for the slideshow that stopped working... you can still access all of our photos from the link at the top of the page under the banner, and we've replaced the small slideshow with a better, Flickr-supported one that is expandable within the blog.



>> Sunday, March 2, 2014

A fast passage from Grenada of less than a day saw us bearing down at dawn on the "Dragon's Mouth," the narrow passage between small islands that lead to Chagauramas, Trinidad. After clearing customs, we hauled back on the windlass in searing heat, bound only eight miles west to Chacachacare, an abandoned Leper Colony. The buildings--dorms, hospitals, cinemas--are quickly being reclaimed by nature, and only the buzzards call them home these days. Medical records, medications, vials--all left out, as if the place was abandoned suddenly. After reading the short story How to Escape from a Leper Colony, whose setting was Chacachacare in the 30s, we cautiously explored the grounds. After returning for supper, we geared up for a night snorkel on the reef, if for nothing else to add to the spooky nature of the place.

The next morning we motored east toward Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital, and anchored off the T&T Yacht Club.

Laura Ifill photo
Carnival season is in full swing here in Trinidad, and we took in our first taste of the holiday at "Kiddie Carnival," a scaled-down version of Tuesday's larger celebration. The students, versed in the spectacle's history and practices, were primed for the music, costumes, color, and food. All are eager for Tuesday's main event!


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