Summer in Cape Cod
Sea Education Association (SEA) is an "educational institution dedicated to exploration, understanding and stewardship of the oceans, and to the study of humanity's relationship with the oceans." They offer several programs for undergraduate students and three more for high school students. Each program is divided into a shore and sea component. I participated in Science at SEA (SAS) in the summer of 2010; a twenty day program for high school students.
My time on shore in Woods Hole, MA for SAS was spent mostly in three classes: Oceanography, Nautical Science, and Maritime History. All three classes involved copious amounts of work that were to be compiled into one final portfolio that would be graded by our three individual teachers. We also went on a variety of field trips. We toured a fish factory and whaling museum in New Bedford, took samples at a salt marsh when given a case study of purple sulfur bacteria, toured a Coast Guard station, and visited the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole.
My twenty-three classmates and I then became part of the SSV Corwith Cramer's crew for another ten days. We were organized into three watches that stood a collective 24 hour watch over the ship. We were responsible for the same tasks as the regular crew members such as setting and striking sails, conducting boat checks, cleaning the ship, and navigating. We also conducted research as we sailed out to the edge of the continental shelf: we took and analyzed water and sediment samples, alternated spending watches in the lab, conducted "100 Counts" (documenting the species of the first one hundred plankton found in a petri dish) and executed three neuston tows. We used the data we compiled to answer oceanographical questions posed by our teachers. (i.e. Why does oxygen decline in the water column with depth? Why is there an abundance of oxygen in the deep ocean?)
In order to achieve a successful voyage, my crew members and I also had to adhere to a strict collective constitution. Despite everyone dealing with various stages of sea-sickness and adjusting to sleeping in four hour cycles, every member of every watch had to be excruciatingly punctual. If one member of the watch didn't show up on time, the previous watch that had just finished a four or six hour watch couldn't be relieved until that individual appeared on deck. We also had to be an incredibly tight-knit, self-concious unit. We had to resolve conflicts easily, become accustomed to the idea that a sleeping shipmate resided within ten feet of any given point of the ship, and work together seamlessly.
Below is a collection of photos I took during SEA. More photos can be viewed under "Cape Cod/Atlantic Ocean" under the "Photography" tab.
For more information about SEA: www.sea.edu...