A day in the life of two students in different watches

June 17, 2023

Makenna Keyek, C watch, University of New Hampshire & Carolina Auerbach, A Watch, Claremont McKenna College

J.R. Fuller and M.C. Auerbach

Ship's Log

Noon Position
21°54.2 ’N x 158°41.68 ‘W 

Ship Heading:
At anchor

Taffrail Log (nm)

Weather/Wind/Sail Plan
Sunny with a little bit of rain and windy

Description of Location
On the coast of Kauai

Souls on Board

All blogs from S-309

Wow! What a long day we had today. My day started out with an anchor watch from 2:30-4:00am with our lovely reef tech Sydney. As soon as it hit 4, other C watchers took over for anchor watch and we went back to bed right after. We woke up around 7 to Rocky announcing over the speakers that there were dolphins! Our second or third sighting of dolphins. Then we started preparing to present all our projects to the crew and the other students! First, we started off with presentations of our oceanography projects. Those were with our watches. C watch was looking at Oxygen and Zooplankton. It was very interesting to see the differences in what species we caught during the day vs night. After all watches presented their work we had a yummy snack of some nachos and another visit from the dolphins off the port side of the boat. Right after we broke up into our coral research groups and started sharing our work with the crew and staff! I thought it was so interesting learning about what the other students researched and what they are interested in. Carolina and I put in Captain Rebecca’s mind that instead of doing our last snorkel that we should go to the Nā Pali Coast. We convinced her and everyone else on board and we took up anchor earlier than planned and headed towards the coast. Once we saw the coast it was so beautiful and peaceful. It was amazing seeing an uninhabited piece of land where there were no human besides other boats. We were even lucky enough to see a rainbow while sailing by it! After that we had some yummy dinner and then a song and some dessert for another birthday for one of the crew. Carolina and Dewey came through again with their wonderful birthday songs that never fails to make us laugh. The sun was setting just as C watch relieved B watch. We were on watch until 1 am. We had a watch where we were all so tired and wanted to go to bed but we made it through with many jokes, stories, and riddles. At turn over we got to set the Main’sl. It was fun but tiring. 

I’m so thankful for this experience and all the people that I’ve met on this trip. I have learned so much about sailing and the ocean and hopefully I will never forget any of it. I’m feeling sad to be leaving all these wonderful people but I am ready to sleep in a big bed and have a nice long warm shower. 

Hi Mom, Dad, Nik, Bella, and Sadie of course. Also, hi to all my other family that has been reading this. I saw your comment Aunt Debbie! I miss you and everyone else. I’m going to be calling you guys soon after I get home. Also, Happy Birthday Stephanie!!! I hope you had such an amazing day and a blast at the DMB concert. See you so soon! Hi Owen I can’t wait to see you in just a few short days. Happy Fathers Day dad and to all the dads of SEA kids, love you so much. Cant wait to tell you about all my fun adventures on the boat. 

Makenna Keyek, C watch, University of New Hampshire

I will now hand it over to the lovely Carolina to tell you about her day!

Thank you for the lovely handover from Makenna!

I was lucky enough to escape the grips of a dawn anchor watch this morning so I awoke a little later in the morning. As Makenna wrote, we were blessed by the beautiful dolphins this morning who found less interest in us as we were anchored and not producing any wakes for them to surf. Regardless of their truly malicious intent and the fact that they are the bullies of the ocean and are not seen in their true light because of their ‘friendly’ demeanor and silhouettes, it is always exciting to listen for Rocky’s dolphin announcements on the PA.

This morning was exciting for another reason: it was time to present our findings from our oceanography projects and coral reef papers to the entire crew and our peers. Yes, indeed, we have been doing academic research and preparations this entire trip regardless of what you may have read in the blog posts about our glorious adventures and borderline insane mind’s meanderings. I will not bore you with the miniscule details but I will make note of a few bits and bobbles while I have your attention. My watch group, A Watch, was presenting on Physical Properties of the Pacific Ocean along our Hawaiian Island cruise track following sea surface temperature, Chl-a, and salinity. Despite being the only non-STEM student on this program, I thoroughly enjoyed this component of the program for pushing me out of my normal academic state and comfort zone. Next up was presenting our preliminary posters for our research paper. I have been fortunate enough to be working with the lovely J.R. Fuller on this project and while it has been chaotic, it has also been an exciting learning experience. We were answering the research question of “How have anthropogenic disturbances affected sedimentation on Hawaiian Coral Reef Ecosystems”. I would tell you more about it but, alas, I don’t want to. I was warned that the free-will of the blog writing would get to my head and I believe it finally has.

As Makenna mentioned, the two of us were able to carefully articulate the perfect argument for heading up to see the Nā Pali coast and getting some extra sailing in for our finals days instead of remaining in our beautiful secluded bay off of Kauai. We set sail around mid-day and slowly made our way up the Western coast of the island; each minute a new perspective of the agile red cliffs exposed to our view. I basked in this experience perched on the charthouse top with a few fellow crew members. We spoke of normal tall ship topics: the Welsh, dysentery, who should be the next James Bond, and the Welsh again in their crusades along the Oregon Trail in Napal with the aliens and the UFOs. This may sound like gibberish to you sane land-goers, but I promise you we also think it sounds like gibberish but it is entertainment and we have been on this boat for almost three weeks and it does the trick in making us laugh so hard our bellies hurt the next day. I will not attempt to describe the images of these cliffs as words would take too long and my patience is growing thin so instead I will insert a picture of these massive wonders and urge you to come visit if you ever have the privilege to.

Napali Coast!

As it was a crew member’s birthday, Dewey and I wrote another magical birthday ballad telling the tales of Nick from Washington on tall ships. It was amazing, per usual, and was accompanied well by our sunset views and birthday brownies.

I shall now relieve you from your reading and leave you with a few final thoughts. Today I finished a book; 1070 pages and six days of gripping storytelling and immersing myself into a world so far-off I could barely imagine what it would be like. Anyways, I loved this book and was grateful for the lending of it to me but found myself beginning a new story last night on a more somber note. I was not quite prepared to leave my former characters and setting and stories and despite beginning a classic, Dracula, I am not as enticed as I would have hoped. Reading is addicting and it is a habit I am happy to never quit. My time on this boat has made that quite apparent and I missed spending hours every day with my nose in between the pages of some classic or memoir or dystopian fiction. My time on this boat has also made me aware of many new habits and customs and purposes and pursuits that I have spent much time pondering. I cannot explain them to you, as you have not lived this experience with me, but I implore you to pursue such behavior in life that forces you to think this way.

Farewell my reader, it has been a pleasure writing for you. Happy Father’s Day to my own father, Jon, and my grandfather, Phillip, and all of the other fathers in my life and others. Sending my love and affection to many of you, whom I shall leave unnamed and you make take your own liberty in assigning that title to yourself.

Carolina Auerbach, A Watch, Claremont McKenna College

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