Turbid Waters

January 15, 2007

January 11, 2007

Our first week on the Picton Castle has been amazing. We have done things I have only dreamed of doing. After being daunted by the sheer number of lines when we first boarded, I am now familiar with nearly all of them.

I have been collecting data on the turbidity of the waters we have been sailing. Turbidity is amount of particulate matter that limits the penetration of sunlight and therefore what can grow and thrive. I have been measuring this simply by lowering a secchi disk into the water and recording the depth at which it disappears from sight. The data will be used as part of an independent research project. This trip has made me appreciate how much local, non-scientific knowledge can broaden my thinking about marine science.

Yesterday we hiked to a secluded beach where we snorkeled, swam, and chilled for the day. The scenery on both Carriacou and Grenada is endlessly green. Fruit trees abound. Hard to believe that just a few years ago Ivan blew every leaf off the trees and most of the roofs off houses. Our guide in Grenada sent us back to the ship with a pile of exotic fruits he picked for us along our way – mangos, bananas, nutmegs, coca beans, cashews.

The sailing has been awesome. Today we sailed off the anchor at Tyrrel Bay to sail north past Union Island and back to Hillsborough. The wind blew from the east at about 15 knots and we set all but the royals and a couple of staysails. Most of us have climbed aloft a few times; some have gone out on the man catcher net beneath the bowsprit to furl headsails. The pro-crew have now accepted us as friends, and are there to help us climb aloft, secure lines, coil the proper way, and generally become useful. The other trainees are also very nice and supportive and as a whole we have had many great times.

Tomorrow we will move to another bay, practice small boat handling, do more snorkeling, and barbeque on a deserted beach.