February 07, 2001
At 0800 Atlantic Standard Time, the Training Ship Empire State was located at 20 degrees and 05 minutes N Latitude, 070 degrees and 45 minutes W Longitude. She was steering course 286 degrees true at a speed of 18 knots, enroute to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Dominican Republic was 12 nautical miles to the southwest. The air temperature was 80 degrees and water temperature 80 degrees Fahrenheit; skies were cloudy; winds were from the East at 03 knots; barometric pressure was 1018 millibars. Seas were gently rolling at 2 to 4 feet. Depth of water beneath the keel was 3525 meters.
Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.
El Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz
Our chosen route to New Orleans has us skirting the northern edge of the Caribbean Island Hispanolia, between the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas Bank. The water here is about as deep as one will find in this part of the world. Ocean currents streaming by for billions of years have eroded the deep trenches and surrounding landmasses. It is amazing that the island has survived.
Columbus used this route after landing at San Salvador by following the wind and current, and maintaining his latitude. He never knew where he was relative to longitude (east to west), but he fixed his position, north and south. He knew his latitude to be the same as that of the Far East, which he so desperately desired to reach. He spent many adventurous days sailing around what we now call the Gulf of Mexico, stopping at every rock and sandbar without discovering that the path to Far East lay very Far South; a long, long way down "round the Horn". (Chile's Cape Horn)
Tonight, we sail through the Old Bahamas Channel between Cuba and the Bahamas Bank. It is a relatively narrow passage, measuring only ten miles wide, but nearly thirty-five nautical miles in length. The experience will entertain the Bridge Watch Section since the darkness will limit the sightseer appeal. (Even in daylight, the distant hills of Cuba aren't much to see anyway.) The Navigation Team will definitely want to focus on maintaining a precise course and speed for the ship. Even though inexperienced, they certainly appreciate the perils associated with the air, water, dirt interface... and judiciously avoid it.
Speaking of speed, our dedicated engineers are keeping the propeller humming. The Grand Ole' Lady is hustling along at a cool 17.8 knots on average. Nearly a full knot is provided courtesy of Mother Nature. The tail current should push until we clear the Bahamas Channel. Then we buck the clockwise flow of the Gulf of Mexico- just when the Deck Cadets think they have the Time, Distance, Rate riddle solved.
The Snipes are also persistently making water and trying to regain the reserves that trickled down the drains in Curacao and St. Thomas. We have instituted conservation measures, including shutting down the laundry in order to hold our own until arrival at New Orleans. Water is easy to get there; one simply barters for it. The Cajuns trade hard cash for sweet water all the time.
Well, my friends, I must go and prepare for the traditional Stowaway and Contraband search that we will complete this evening. An official search of every bag, stateroom hold and space aboard the ship. It is required by U. S. Law prior to our arrival back in the USA and is never fun... but after a week of no laundry, I'm not looking forward to poking through the dirty laundry bags. I better check with Nurse Sylvia to be sure my shots are up to date. I wonder what we might find? If we have any new husbands, wives, or wannabees squirreled away, I'll let you know all about it tomorrow.
St. Thomas, Cadet 2/C Angela Abbott
We are on the open sea again and happily headed for New Orleans. After three days in St Thomas, many wish that we had been stuck there forever. The cadets swam, shopped, surfed, dived, and explored the wonders of the island. We certainly enjoyed those few days.
The days leading to our arrival were hard ones. The AC was broken and with few fresh air vents, sleeping in the holds was almost impossible. So, as Empire State sailed into St. Thomas at 0800 Saturday morning, the beautiful turquoise blue water below, and the towering rainbow that graced the sky above us, made our arrival even more special. St. Thomas was a gift to everyone who felt as if they would struggle to deal with another day.
We took some time to prepare the ship's four motor whaleboats, which were our connections to land for the next three days. Once they were in the water,however, liberty was granted and we were out on the town. My day began with a phone call home! How nice it is to talk to the people you love so dearly; to hear that they are doing well, and missing you!
Many of us went swimming at Magen's Bay, at one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. It is heart shaped with white sands and mountain views. The sidewalk was crowded with stands and venders selling everything from t-shirts to smoothies. So I was sucked into a tourist trap where I bought postcards and a few gifts. A woman approached my friends and me and asked if we wanted our hair braided. A man told us about a taxi that went around the island for just $1.00. My roommate and I decided to take it and we squished into the back of the pickup truck. (sorry mom) The truck wound around the steep hills and up to where we had the most amazing views of the surrounding islands and Bay. There was Empire State riding at anchor in the beautiful bay. In the distance, St. John and St. Croix.
We left the taxi at Sapphire Beach to enjoy the wonderful view as thick fog rolled in over mountainous St. John Island that lay before us. The scenery all around was incredible; sailboats darted across the water, the fog crept in, and a gentle rain began to fall. We snorkeled in crystal water above a tropical reef and although I knew it would be impossible, I was tempted to swim to the beautiful islands, nearby. At sunset, we met friends for dinner and danced to live music. It seemed as if the entire ship was there and we had a lot of fun.
My second day in St. Thomas was also a wonderful experience. I went scuba diving with a group of 50 Cadets. The dive boats came to the ship and we boarded at the bottom of the accommodation ladder for a short ride to the reef. We saw two stingrays, a sea turtle, a moray eel, and many schools of multi colored tropical fish. Diving in an aquarium could not have been better. Then we picked up anchor and moved to a new dive site, an old shipwreck, which was home to rays and some amazing coral. I had a wonderful time.
St. Thomas was nice and I can't wait to visit again. There were so many amazing beaches to see and explore. I'm sure you could be there for years and find new things to do everyday. I'll be back again, someday! Who knows, maybe next Sea Term?
QUESTIONS FOR THURSDAY 08 FEBRUARY
Cadet Phillips was steering the ship on course 045 degrees true. The Cadet Officer of the deck ordered him to come left and steer course 270 degrees true. How many degrees did the ship turn to reach the new course?
The natural circulation of water from ocean, to atmosphere, to ground, to ocean is called the __________ cycle.
Name the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest Service.
The Holocene epoch describes what period of time?
ANSWERS FOR WEDNESDAY 07FEBRUARY
Interest (I) = Principal (P) x Rate (R) x Time (T)
I = PRT
I = 900 x .18 x 2 = 324.00
He will pay $324 in interest. His total bill will be $1224.00
Temperature. Many creatures have very limited tolerance for temperature variations.
St. Croix, St Thomas, and St. John
We live in the Cenozoic Era. Cen means recent, Meso means Middle, and Paleo means ancient.