It is currently my third year doing the trip south, each one has been to a different destination with a different crew, different set of students and different adventures. I only planned on going on the first trip south two years ago but have somehow managed to be on every one since. When students come onboard we always tell them this is their trip and they will get out of it what they put into it, but they always ask what past trips are like and after 2.5 trip South’s I can safety let you all in on a little secret, no trip is the same.
No trip is the same even before covid, and while some things have changed, we are more cautious, we cleaned a lot, even more than we already do, we are still on Cramer, on a long voyage to a destination and that’s about where the similarities end. On my first trip I was a sailing intern, last year I was 3rd scientist on my first trip as a scientist, this year I’m second scientist with some trips under my belt. Last year we had nine gap year students, this year we have 24 students, both gap year and in college. I am glad that in these uncertain times I am able to share my love of the sea and science with so many, crew included.
Setting the JT.
The best part of these long voyages is that the students really get in the swing of things. This trip was a little different at first hanging around close to land, anchoring maybe a few more times than the students thought we would, but once we solidified our pod and started heading south things started to change. You can see it, when students and crew alike get into the groove of standing watch and sailing. The first couple of night’s underway people couldn’t wrap their minds around the swaying of the gimbaled tables but tonight at dinner I looked around and noticed people moving gracefully around them, not even blinking an eye when they had to “think skinny legs” and get their legs out of the way when a big swell came through.
So long underway gives the students the time and opportunity to really learn and understand every aspect of living working on a ship. Nothing makes me happier than when I come into lab at the start of the watch and my labbies have already taken charge telling me the plan. The long voyages give them the confidence to take over in lab but also on deck, before long they know their lines and are even calling sails (calling to set or strike them).
I’ve been enjoying getting to know these students and truly helping them make this trip their own. Tomorrow is Halloween and I can’t wait to see what everyone can come up with for costumes, I’m currently rethinking mine because it’s not conducive to warm weather…
- Sophie “Süpi” Vallas
PS: Happy Bday Mic, Hope you had an amazing day and can’t wait to hear about it. Hi mom, dad and Zoe hope you’re all doing well at home without me!