100 Nautical Miles

November 27, 2023

Author: Grace Augspurger, Middlebury College

First dawn watch with Kaden at the helm

Ship's Log

27 November 2023Current Position: 35°42.844’S x 174°49.326Ship’s Heading & Speed: 330 degrees true, 5 knotsWeather: SW wind varying from 10-20 knots, sunny and warm with few clouds

Greetings Landlubbers,I am writing to you from about 70 miles north of Auckland, due northwest ofGreat Barrier Island. It’s currently 1630, and the students and crew arejust out of our first class on board. When we’re sailing, the dailyafternoon class is the only time that all watches are awake and together atonce. Even after just 24 hours at sea, it felt like I hadn’t seen some of myold housemates from Woods Hole in forever. Today in class, we passed aroundsome pyrosomes that were pulled up on this morning’s CTD (a cluster ofgelatinous tunicates formed into a hollow tube, whose name translates as“fire body,” due to their bioluminescence. The ones we got were small enoughto fit in your hand, but one pyrosome discovered off the coast of NewZealand was big enough for a diver to climb inside!), and practiced seabirdidentification and gybing. Finally, Captain Allison briefed us on ourjourney so far: we’ve sailed over 100 nautical miles, completed 10 gybes,and executed  two science deployments as well as six surface stations inlab.And here’s an update on C Watch: Last night, from 0100-0700, we stood ourfirst watch! I was on deck with the 2nd mate Olivia, and Lila and Kaden. Werotated between steering at the helm, standing lookout on the bow, and goingdown below for an hourly boat check. Around 0300, we set the jib, our firsttime hoisting a sail as a watch. Up in the lab, Zeke, Leia, and Winslowidentified the zooplankton from the 0000 Neuston tow, also featuring lots ofbioluminescent critters! We ended our watch with a breakfast of oatmeal,accompanied by real maple syrup brought all the way from Canada by Owen.Then off to bed. Reading in my bunk before bed (currently reading Two YearsBefore the Mast, shoutout Dad!) while my watch says 0800 is a certainlystrange. I guess I’m still a bit of a landlubber myself.Signed,Grace Augspurger (Middlebury College)

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