July 19: The Final Stretch
When the time came to leave Cape Canaveral, we began our trip to an operational box for navigation located off of the coast of Charleston, SC.
We utilized the box to put the Kennedy through her sea trials, including hard rudder maneuvers at full ahead, a speed run (running and full ahead for 8 hours), then returning on a reciprocal course to do an economic run (running at ideal speed for fuel burn). While on watch, cadets have had the opportunity to have complete control of the watch, which has been a fantastic experience for both learning and building confidence in our abilities.
When not on bridge watch we have been finishing up our celestial navigation for our Sea Projects, receiving training, and doing general maintenance work. We have received excellent training in watertight door maintenance, confined space entry, working aloft permits, line handling, anchor handling, among other various training evolutions. We have all had the opportunity to see the steam plant, and see the systems that allow us to make way through the water; this was interesting as it is all a vastly different system from the main engine of our T/S State of Maine.
The past few days have been spent sailing from Charleston, SC, to New York City. The day before arriving in New York we were treated to a cookout by the stewards department, which we enjoyed alongside our new friends from the various Academies on board. Yesterday morning we dropped the anchor in a tight anchorage, well within viewing distance of the Statue of Liberty, as well as Manhattan. Shortly after dropping the anchor we began taking on fuel bunkers, so Massachusetts Maritime Academy can have their ship back with a full fuel tank. After completing bunkering we weighed anchor (at 2200, which made for an interesting experience, as we have not done many night operations), and headed to Sandy Hook Anchorage, which is our current location as of sending this email.
Tomorrow morning we will be departing the Sandy Hook Anchorage bound for the East River, through Hell’s Gate, which will put us on the northern side on Long Island. From there we will be steaming toward Cape Code, which we will go around and anchor in Cape Cod bay. We expect to be anchored in Cape Cod Bay on July 21st for the night. The morning of July 22 we will pick up a pilot and steam through Cape Cod Canal, bound for Buzzard’s Bay. We are doing this in order to berth the Kennedy starboard side to at Massachusetts Maritime Academy; which is much easier if we use this route plan. We are expecting to have “first line” called by 1200 on July 22 and expect to be “all fast” by 1300.
We will then disembark the T/S Kennedy, bound for various points across the United States at 1000 on July 23.
In the past few days, those of us who have opted to, have focused much of our work on preparing for our Coast Guard License Exams beginning on August 10. We are all very excited to complete this final training cruise, and even more excited (call it nervous anticipation) for our upcoming exams. This cruise has served to help prepare us for our exams in many ways but we are all cranking away at questions using the Mariner Advancement application provided to us by Captain Tarrant, who, thankfully, had the foresight to bring those resources with him.
It has been quite the unique experience on board so far, and we are all extremely thankful for this opportunity as this has been the ideal experience for a training cruise. Despite much of the last minute organization and flexibility required to make this happen, it has turned out to be a fantastic experience.