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Also In This Issue:

New Directions for Weissman Center - Q&A with Lois Brown

Meet FP Scholar Nancy Doherty "05

Levin Discusses Women and Science at MHC

MHC Students Visit Senegal

MHC Receives Rare Book Collection from Alumna

Brad Leithauser Inducted into Iceland's Order of the Falcon

Dept of Public Safety Becomes First in State to Win Accreditation

Students Become Sailors in the Caribbean During January Term

Math Achievement-Gap Expert Busts Myths About Public Education and Standardized Tests

MHC Newsmakers

MHC Milestones


This Week at MHC

Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives
March 11, 2005

Students Become Sailors in the Caribbean During January Term


  Students onboard the HMS Bounty
  Furling the main topsail onboard the HMS Bounty

During January Term, professor of politics Christopher Pyle and 11 students joined the crew of the HMS Bounty for two weeks of deep-water sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship departed from St. Petersburg, Florida, on January 5 and sailed to the Dry Tortugas, Key West, and back to St. Petersburg. While learning the art and science of navigating, handling, and maintaining a 180-foot-long, three-masted, full-rigged ship, the students also kept a Web log, or blog, of their daily adventures. Below are excerpts.

January 6
Allison Shewmake ’08
Tonight will be my first of sleeping on the open water. Luckily, for me, there is just a faint breath of wind, which rocks the Bounty very gently, like a crib. My bunk may most accurately be described as an open-topped coffin. It is just wide and long enough to lay myself out in and if I were to be decapitated, I would just be able to sit up straight.

January 8
Natalia Stefanova ’05
This morning I watched the sunrise from the foremast port yard, while we were shaking the course (one of the foremost square sails). Yes, I must admit that my legs were shaking and the deck seemed further down than it actually was, but the view was worth it and so was the feeling of satisfaction once we got back down to the boat. Right after sunrise we took our shoes off and did some deck scrubbing with the fire hose and then it was time for breakfast—delicious butter biscuits and cereal. There’s nothing like a good breakfast after dawn watch!

January 10
Elettra Fiumi ’05
We made the rounds in the morning and while I was at the helm a second school of dolphins swam by us on portside, jumping around. I’ve never seen so many at the same time. They glistened in the sun and spewed water.
Nino Guruli ’07
Today I got to go aloft and set a sail. I thought that I had gotten over my fear of heights, but being up there pushing the sail off the yard certainly argued the opposite, at least for a moment. Once I figured out where to hold on, I began to enjoy the view from up there.

Carly Steier ’07
The feeling of blue all around you makes you feel so small and insignificant. I’m learning navigation yet I’m still having difficulty grasping how one can steer through miles and miles of blueness and get from one point to another.

January 13
Rose Easterbrook ’05
Sailing is a language all of its own, with a broad vocabulary demanding much more than simplicity of mind. It is certainly a different part of the mind than “higher education” demands: there aren’t any papers to outline, or hours to gestate a new theory. Yet sailors must have a quickness of intellect to manage a ship effectively, which always involves physical activity and willing energy.

January 14
Anna Boatwright ’07
This morning we had work party and I climbed to the crosstrees of the foremast (the very top) to rig a gantline so we can haul up the new mast later. It was intimidating at first when I began climbing the upper ratlines but I just continued upwards and before I knew it I was higher and higher and finally I was at the top of the shrouds…. Being up there was a lot of fun and I am quickly becoming more and more at ease with climbing aloft and enjoying being up there.

January 21
Nicole Brun-Cottan FP ’06
One of the things you learn on a ship is that when there is work to be done, you DO it. Whether or not someone else could, or would be more comfortable, is not the issue. You do not ask questions, and you try not to whine, you simply do your job, end of story. So up and up we went, and when I finally got there, out to the end of the yard, 90 feet off the water, the sun was setting and waves tinged with golden beams were rolling into the vast distance as far as I could see.

To read the entire blog, go to

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