March 11, 2005
Students Become Sailors
in the Caribbean During January Term
the main topsail onboard the HMS Bounty
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
read the entire blog, go to http://www.mhcbounty.blogspot.com.