Winkie Law and Michael Cheng, A-Watch, University of Chicago
1. C-Watch on duty, ready for the sea! (Christine, Isabella, Cristian, Kly)
Noon Position: 41 ° 19.342 N x 70 ° 04.055 W
Ship Heading: 133 °M
Ship Speed (knots): 0
Taffrail Log (nm): 32.89
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan: Mostly sunny weather with some altostratus cloud coverage, calm waves, and Beaufort force 3 SSW wind. Anchor is down and snug.
Description of Location: Nantucket Sound, NW of Nantucket Island
Michael: We finally departed! In the foggy morning, we said our goodbyes to Woods Hole and set sail toward Nantucket Island. We anchored at Nantucket Sound and will be staying here overnight before we sail again tomorrow.
Today was another intensive day of training. From learning about how to deploy scientific equipment to understanding boat-specific vocabulary terms, our day was jam-packed with lessons and trials:
03:00 ~ Middle of the Night, SEA Dock
Welcome to spoopy hours, Winkie here! Instead of doing full 6-hour watches, we’ve started off with doing 3-person, 1-hour boat checks all through the night, so that everyone gets to run through boat checks top to bottom, with a crew member to help us out. I was unexpectedly not as grumpy as I thought I’d be about waking up in the middle of the night, and honestly doing the check as a small group helped a lot. We sped through our check pretty fast – walking around the deck for a deck check, sneaking below deck to check on our heads (our toilets, which are located at the front of the boat), showers, living space, engine room, and freezer room in the galley. We had enough time to just stare around the night sky (99% fog though) and the MBL dock for a little bit. It’s still weird being on the Cramer and looking out from it, instead of looking at it from afar from the street like we’ve been doing the past week, but I get why people like the dawn watch: it’s pretty quiet and tranquil up here, definitely clears the head.
13:00 ~ On the way from Woods Hole to Nantucket Island
Michael: In less than 12 hours after boat check training, we had to do it for real… and without supervision! Doing the actual boat check felt completely different from observing demonstrations by seasoned crew members. I had to stay extremely focused because a successful check ensures the safety of the entire crew. I spent a long time attempting to find all the gauges and meters. I spent even longer discussing with Winkie about whether we were reading the instruments accurately. Ultimately, the boat check went smoothly: we did not encounter any major obstacles and there was only a small problem with bilgewater. I realized just how intricate the boat system is: every single component must be maintained properly in order for the boat to function. Now that I’ve completed the boat check once, I am confident in my ability to repeat the procedure more efficiently.
14:00 ~ Nantucket Sound
Back to Winkie :3 We had a pretty packed afternoon after anchoring, and we went straight into emergency drills: man overboard, fire, and abandon ship. We did as much as we could, sans actually leaving the boat or spraying water under deck, which included sounding the loud, loud boat alarms, spraying the fire hoses over deck, spelling our names into the water, and making rainbows. One of the funniest parts – trying on our emergency immersion suits for when we might need to enter the water – which were for most of us, very oversized, and made me waddle around like a slightly deflated character mascot.
2. Trying on our immersion suits. Very red. Very sus. Couldn’t find the imposter.
16:45 ~ Nantucket Sound
Michael: Right after the drills, we went into more orientation sessions! We learned about our roles for watch duty, which included how to control the fate of the entire crew (aka how to steer the ship). We were also taught how to deploy scientific equipment for sample collection. Four people (two “dancers,” one “wire,” and one “j-frame”) worked together to simulate the process of transporting equipment from the deck to the water and back. Lastly, we learned about rope tying techniques, such as how to “sweat” and “tail” to reduce the slack on a rope. I’m not sure if I can properly “sweat” but I sure sweat a lot while in the immersion suit. (:
Now that most of the training is completed, we will finally shift to the standard shift schedule tomorrow (6 hours on, 12 hours off). I am especially excited to steer the ship and collect live organisms (and sleeping a bit more :D)!
Last but definitely not least – a very very special shoutout to the galley stewards Jackie and Audrey. The food was advertised to be amazing, and definitely did not disappoint. Best thing too, we get frequent snacks in between all the meals, and for all our watches. Definitely in food heaven c:
Especially the muffins ~~~~ they were absolutely divine <3!
A big big hi to mum, dad, and Justin! See you all very soon, and will send all the pictures c: ~ Winkie
Hello to mom as well! Hope you are having a good time (: ~ Michael