October 30, 2017: Today marked the beginning of Ocean Classroom’s major voyage, where we sail approximately 1400 nautical miles from Florida to St. Croix, USVI. Depending on wind, weather, and sail conditions, this voyage is expected to take anywhere between 10 and 15 days. Undoubtedly, it will test our skills as sailors, seamen, shipmates and students, navigators, scientists, writers, and all the rest.
The mood on deck was cheer as we weighed anchor this morning. B-watch had the deck, guiding us down the Amelia River towards blue, clear waters. The breeze was fresh and the sky dry and clear. For the remains of a low pressure system offshore had deposited a high pressure air in its wake. Such systems are often accompanied by a drop in temperature which was all too apparent during the preceding night’s watches, when the temperature dropped to a whopping 42 F.
Once Roseway cleared the river’s jetties, we eased sail and set out head eastward, reaching pleasantly along under press of a northeasterly breeze. Chartplotter, GPS, and all other means of modern navigational equipment was covered or shut off, for during this voyage, we will utilize the traditional navigational equipment only. The sun, the sky, and our celestial and heavenly bodies will be our guide; our position interpolated with the help of a compass, a sextant, along with a healthy tone of common sense.
The remainder of the afternoon and evening watches proved pleasantly uneventful. Under guidance and leadership of a student JWO (junior watch officer), student watches essentially function independently of mates and deckhands. Needless to say, we are proud.