The Schooner Bowdoin Approaches Nuuk, Greenland

Posted on: June 15, 2024

While underway to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and the next international port on our journey to the Arctic, we covered various topics, including the history of fishing on the Grand Banks, navigational lessons, shipboard systems, and the dynamics of ocean currents and their deep-water pathways.

Located off the coast of Newfoundland, The Grand Banks are renowned for their rich fishing grounds, which support species such as Atlantic cod, swordfish, and haddock, as well as shellfish, seabirds, and sea mammals––driving both local economies and international trade.

Our time while traveling through these waters is divided into four-hour watches, where we have been standing duty and learning valuable lessons through such things as course-plotting, manning the helm, and keeping a sharp eye open for icebergs, of which there are now many.

The Bowdoin’s inner shipboard engineering systems have proved particularly invaluable, as we take on more responsibility with keeping track of the ship’s refrigeration, electrical systems, and onboard water desalination system.

Ocean sciences are also becoming more prevalent in our studies. Now that we are in Greenland’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and have their permission, we can begin to take samples from the waters we travel through to learn about the nature of the water currents within. These “rivers of the deep” are crucial in regulating the Earth’s climate and distributing nutrients across the oceans. Our studies have covered the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Drift, and the deep-water currents that travel from Greenland to the Gulf of Maine. The Gulf of Maine itself is a prime example of the interconnectedness of our ocean systems. As a semi-enclosed sea bordered by the northeastern United States and Canada, it is thus influenced by the colder waters flowing from Greenland and its nutrient-rich contents that sustain a diverse array of marine life making the Gulf of Maine one of the most productive and dynamic marine environments in the world.

All this and more have been ever-present reminders that the ocean is not just a body of water but a complex living system that requires our respect and stewardship. By combining historical knowledge, modern engineering, and a commitment to conservation, we can ensure that it and the maritime traditions it inspires are honored and live on for generations to come.


Post By:

Jorge Morales-Lopez (Graduate Student, Global Logistics & Vessel Operations)

Henry Smith (4th Class Regimental Student, Oceanography and Small Vessel Operations)