Yesterday, March 7, the Corwith Cramer strolled into the harbor of Port Antonio, Jamaica, docking for the first time since San Juan. Our entrance lined up perfectly with a heavy squall which made our all hands docking procedure very wet, but all went smoothly and here we are.
We have been docked here in Jamaica for less than 48 hours and so far this has been a jam-packed port stop. Without even having to step off of the ship the Jamaican experience began with a few special guests. Representatives from the Jamaican nature conservancy group called Alligator Head Foundation boarded our ship and met with students whose Change Projects align with issues that the foundation is dealing with in Jamaica. These include fisheries management, sargassum trends, mangrove depletion, lionfish invasions and pollution. Before we talked about these pressing issues in Jamaica, we students gave our guests a tour of the Cramer, showing off our own methods of science and explaining daily life on the ship.
Today was a swim intensive day, for both research and fun. Our first and only scheduled adventure of the day was a coral reef survey of the reef area just outside of the harbor where we are docked. By the time it was my group's turn to be transported out to the site another squall poured rain down on us, we were relieved to enter the warm waters and get our survey underway. The status of the reef according to Jeff was that it is in better condition than his previous viewings of the area. But with that being noted the coral bleaching and overall absence of diversity of species was relevant again as with the reef in St. John. After about 45 minutes of swimming and taking data on our assigned species we returned to the ship, by this time the sun was shining which was a good indicator of how the rest of the day would go.
The remainder of the day after the coral survey was open for individual exploration of everything Port Antonio has to offer. This included for me and a few other students a lunch of jerk chicken and ice cream. And then for some C and A watchers who didn't have any ship responsibilities tonight, a trip to Blue Lagoon for more swimming. Blue lagoon is a deep lagoon protected from ocean currents where saltwater from the sea and freshwater from the land meet, creating the perfect brackish water swimming hole. We each took turns climbing and jumping off of a large and sturdy Indian Almond Tree which Meredith, our tree expert, was quick to identify.
Port stops are an essential part of this voyage for us students on the Corwith Cramer. Not only do these places we visit lend us knowledge academically, but they also allow us to immerse ourselves in new places and break off from watch schedules and daily tasks aboard the ship for a short time. These stops allow us to recharge so we can better experience the next leg of the trip at sea and what amazing things it has to offer.
C Watch is losing some family when we depart from Jamaica. Thank you, Genevieve Davis and Peter Stone for sharing your knowledge throughout this trip. Gen, the whaling experience would not have been the same without annoying you with whale questions and I'm sorry I'm still learning how to do dishes proficiently. Peter, my journal would not look nearly as good without your continued advice and thank you for all of the great conversation.
I now must attend evening dock watch, which is a lot less exciting than watch at sea.
- Nicholas Sette, C Watch, Saint Michael's College
P.S. Hey fam. Miss you Mom, Dad and Zack, can't wait to go into more detail about these experiences with you. Also thank you for supporting this journey and my education.