Last night as we lay at anchor off Catalina, we were surrounded by schools of Squid. With both the Risso dolphins and commercial fishing vessels actively pursuing these cephalopods, it provided an exciting venue for the students. The students from S-291 had waited for 20 MONTHS (!!) to be aboard, after COVID eclipsed their Oceans & Climate class in March 2020, so they were especially excited.
Dawn's light brought a wonderful breakfast of tasty oatmeal and fresh fruit, a nourishing beginning to today's emergency drills. As an "SSV" Sailing School Vessel it is required by the US Coast Guard that we teach and train the students how to respond to various emergencies, from Man Overboard (MOB) to Fire to Abandon Ship. This morning we walked through these drills with the students, teaching them how to operate the fire hoses and launch and recover the Rescue Boat, all the while the ship was making steady progress towards Hawai'i.
It was astonishing today to view in "real time" the Supply chain issues, the horizon dotted with huge container ships, simply drifting and awaiting their opportunity to unload at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. It's one thing to read about it on the news, quite another to be surrounded by these mammoth vessels with their massive amounts of cargo - just waiting.
Back to our vessel the remainder of the day proceeded with the students acclimating to the "motion in the ocean" and literally "learning the ropes." This evening the moon behind the overcast sky is shedding just enough light to make this first night underway a bit less intimidating (although not all the students will necessarily agree!). The transition from land to sea is always a bit challenging, and with the chilly conditions and choppy seas, tonight is no exception. The good news is the students will soon have their "sea-legs" and we are tropical waters bound.
- Seбn S. Bercaw, Captain
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