Thursday January 31, 2002
Thursday 31 January 2002
At 1200, EST the Training Ship Empire State was located 175 nautical miles north of Progresso, Mexico, at 24 degrees and 06 minutes North Latitude and 089 degrees 27 minutes West Longitude, steering course 060 degrees true at a speed of 09 knots/Rpm 50 turns. The weather was excellent; skies were clear, winds from the northeast at 15 to 20 knots, air temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit, barometric pressure was 1016 millibars, seas were from the southeast at 5 to 7 feet, sea injection temperature was 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Depth of water beneath the keel was 3591 meters.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Now who can argue with Mark Twain? We are here to get an education and things are working out just fine. The pleasant weather is permitting us to do plenty of necessary work topside and the calm seas limit the number of interruptions in the classrooms. Rough weather, on the other hand, may make teaching the theory of positive displacement pumps and center of gravity much easier, but a number of students keep leaving to call their brother "Ralph" on the porcelain telephone. We like the nice weather and are doing fine without help...thank you.
Yesterday, I wrote about the thrill of navigating among the rocks and shoals and believe me, the cadets had a wonderful night of it. The radarscopes were aglow with the reflected evidence of peril, but we zigged and zagged correctly and today find ourselves in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Another workday has begun.
In the back of everyone's mind, Brady and the Patriots continue to play out our fantasies of a championship football team. In the front of our minds is work. It may be a four-letter word in some circles, but out here, it is the word of the day-every day. Despite the musings about Incas and Mayans and the talk of wind and weather, the two things that never stop on this ship are maintenance tasks and watches. Both go around the clock, or 24/7 as they say in today's parlance and both represent hard work.
Although we frequently use much of this space to illustrate the varied, humorous and unusual happenings about the ship; talking about skeet shooting from the fantail and tours of Mexican ruins; our first, second, and third reason for being out here is education, and that also takes work. Don't let the talk of anchoring within signal range of the local Cayman TV station (Channel 27... 'already checked it out) to catch the game dissuade you from the fact that we are all hard at work.
It is difficult, sometimes, to explain the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of the Sea Term to outsiders. Start with an unusual language (from alidade to Zodiac with mid watch, mess deck, and metacentric height in between). Add an alphabet soup of acronyms (MSEP, SSTG, IMB, SBE, RPM and FWE), and then take the normal human existence and turn it upside down (work all night-try to sleep in the day-with 154 of your friends around). For increased difficulty, explain how hard it is to go to Mexico, Grand Cayman, Puerto Rico, and Ft. Lauderdale in the winter. Yes, explaining Sea Term to land lubbers is like explaining the color "orange" to Helen Keller.
Obviously, running a floating hotel for 500 active, adolescent men and women is a good definition for hard work. Consider, at this hotel we must also make our own water and electricity, and run a wastewater treatment plant. We have our own hospital for emergencies, our own police department, and a court system for law and order. Add a twenty-four hour a day college of applied technology. Then figure in the fact that the hotel is made of steel and is sitting in salt water. Take the entire hotel on an 8,000 mile journey, occasionally shake the whole contraption like a terrier shakes a rag doll, and you begin to get the picture. Out here on the training ship, work never takes a vacation.
While I leave the keyboard and get back to my other job - running the ship - I thought I would give you a pictorial tour of the cadets at work around us. Enjoy the great pictures from 1/c cadets Katelyn Ladden and Caryn Arnold. They do good work, don't they?
See you tomorrow from the vicinity of the Cayman Trench.
QUESTIONS FOR FRIDAY 01 FEBRUARY
MATH: Charts area drawn to a scale, for example 1 inch equals 12 inches. That is a ratio or 1:12. The ratio of 4 inches to 2 yards is the same as which of the following ratios? (1) 2:2 (2) 2:4 (3) 1:18 (4) 18:1 (5) 1:6
SCIENCE: ___________ lines are made by circles that intersect with both the North and the South Poles. ___________ is measured as a angle from the equator of the Earth (0°) to the North Pole (90° North) or to the South Pole (90° South).
GEOGRAPHY: There are active volcanoes in Mexico. Can you identify three volcanoes that have erupted in Mexico in the last 5 years?
HISTORY: Take a look at the flag of Mexico. What legend lies behind the eagle and the serpent seen on the flag?
ANSWERS FOR THURSDAY 31 JANUARY
MATH: The circumference of a circle (barrel) is found using the formula:
C = (pi)d, where C is the circumference (44) (pi) is about 22/7
d ( the unknown) is the diameter.
C = (pi)d
44 = 22/7 x d
To solve, multiply both sides by 7/22.
7/22 x 44 = 7/22 x 22/7 x d
14 = d
SCIENCE: Unequal heating of the atmosphere and differences in air pressure causes wind.
GEOGRAPHY: The Empire State must adjust for one time zone. The adjustment is to retard (turn back the clock) one hour. The time zones are Eastern and Central.
HISTORY: The Mexican general was Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. General Santa Anna had a wooden leg. He retreated so rapidly at the battle of Cerro Gordo that he left behind his spare wooden leg!