Growing Back our Sea Legs

August 7, 2020

Annaleena Vaher, C-Watch, College of the Atlantic

On our way to St. George, looking back to Cramer from a Zodiac
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On our way to St. George, looking back to Cramer from a Zodiac

Ship's Log

Present Location
12° 06.244’ N x 061° 50.355’ W

Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail Plan
Heading north towards Bequia with mains’l, mainstays’l, forestays’l, Jib and JT are up but wind is too calm to go faster than 3 knots. We are taking our time because we are not in any particular hurry.

Weather
Surprise, surprise but the winds are still coming from East, the seas are calm and sky is mostly clear with few cumulus clouds offering artistic challenges for anyone who is trying to draw the island profile into their journals.

Souls on Board

All blogs from C-290

There was a fair amount of excitement in the air this morning as everyone got up to the deck to check whether we are still anchored or already on our way. Today we are setting the sails to depart Grenada and head north towards St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to our next port stop – Bequia. We were still anchored this morning but the crew was making preparations to set the sails: the forestays’l is officially back in the game and has happily recovered from the small surgery of fixing up the ripped part of the sail material; Cramer crew has been checked out from Grenada and all our passports have more ink in them than before; the boat looks shiny as the crew scrubbed the hull and removed all the rust yesterday while anchored; and we are all out on the deck, recording final views of St. George into our journals before heading forward.

Coral reefs in Flamingo Bay with Butterfly fish on the foreground

Coral reefs in Flamingo Bay with Butterfly fish on the foreground

In today’s class we reflected on the snorkel survey that all the students completed collectively in Grenadian waters. We snorkeled in Flamingo Bay and Dragon Bay (which is famous due to its underwater sculpture park) and encountered more than 55 species! The most exciting underwater creatures were octopus, reef squid, water snake (we kept a good distance with that guy), and a lionfish (an invasive species that Grenadians collectively are trying to get rid of as it outcompetes many local fish species). Both of the bays where we snorkeled are part of a Marine Protected Area, meaning that strict rules are set to protect the habitats of those bays. Overall, there was great species abundance on the reefs but we also saw a huge percentage of unhealthy bleached corals. As our guide Wayne said: “the reefs are protected but could definitely be in better conditions.”

Our knowledgeable guides - Albert (at the wheel) and Wayne (answering questions astern) from Eco Dive Grenada

Our knowledgeable guides - Albert (at the wheel) and Wayne (answering questions astern) from Eco Dive Grenada

On our way to snorkel survey, we saw a local fisherman anchoring and spear fishing in the protected area (both of these activities are illegal). Hopefully, Grenada (but this is really a global rather than a local scale dilemma) can create a successful balance between its people whose livelihood depends on fish and areas that fish depends on in order to spawn and increase the population size.

 Kaitlyn and Norah record observations on their dive slates

Kaitlyn and Norah record observations on their dive slates

We have now set the mains’l, mainstays’l, forestays’l, and jib (I know, sailing has a specific jargon lingua and only time and practical experience makes it easier to understand all the words…) and we are slowly but steadily moving forward.

Molly takes a closer look at one of the many impressive sculptures in Dragon Bay.

Molly takes a closer look at one of the many impressive sculptures in Dragon Bay.

We are currently deploying the Neuston net and collecting other scientific data. Tonight, we are going to pass one of Grenada’s sister islands, Carriacou, where the local people are celebrating Carnival. Unfortunately, we cannot be part of the celebrations but we can only imagine in our dreams the vibrant and colorful atmosphere of the festival. Off to the new adventures, new stories, and new places – Bequia here we come. But before, let’s grow back our sea legs and enjoy the next full day of sailing!

- Annaleena Vaher, C-Watch, College of the Atlantic

PS: Hemingway was right when he wrote that there is at least one Estonian in every harbor. Yesterday I saw 16 of us, on 2 boats in St. George. It was really nice to speak Estonian which I had missed so much. Today is very special because it’s our Independence Day – 102! Head Vabariigi aastapaeva koikidele eestlastele ja suured kallid kodustele ja sopradele! Biiiig hugs and kisses to my English speaking friends as well!

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