2023 Summer Training Cruise

Q and A! and our current location

Posted on: May 27, 2023

Time: 15:34

Lat:  N 39º 36.365′

Long: W 051º 14.623′

(Plug these coordinates into google maps)

Cruise Blog Questions

I have been getting some questions over email! If you have any questions about the cruise experience/cadet’s everyday life that you would like possibly answered in a blog post, please send me an email with your questions to odegaard.fields@tssom.mma.edu. You will probably not receive a response directly but keep returning to the blog for an answer!

Q: Curious about downtime- is it generally music/headphones and screens, or does the experience of being on the ship put people in a more social frame of mind- cards, guitar, etc.?

A: Often, students hang out on the fantail to listen to music and chat. It is a relatively quiet place on the stern, so it is a great place for phone calls home. Students use movies and music to decompress after watch or a full day, but reading is common because WIFI is limited. Sharing sea stories of past cruises, cadet shipping, and regular sea time is one of the more beautiful parts of community building onboard any boat. Late-night poker is also lots of fun.

Q: What are you reading? Is there a library on the ship?

A: I am reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” which I highly recommend as a calming but thought-provoking book about the joyful complexity of hobbies. There is a ship library where students can take out books, you can take/ leave books whenever. I will say after reading about the ship rolling around, I usually go and look at the horizon for a bit

Q: You mentioned kids were fishing- did they catch anything big?

A: The lines are out, but nothing yet!

Q: What does it feel like not to see land for days in a row?

A: Honestly, the horizon looks the same whether you are 30 miles offshore or 500. Our nearest land is Cape Race, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada, 425 nm to our NNW. I will go out on the deck in the mornings, and it’s just more water. I think the interesting feeling will be seeing land after a week or so.

Q: Are there interesting birds in the sky?

A: Yes!, flying fish and jellyfish as well. Last night on watch, I was looking out from the fantail, and small glowing flashes were fluttering out from the prop wash. We were moving through some bioluminescence, and it was very pretty.

Q: How common is it to see passing ships? Are there sailboats on the water this far out?

A: I have yet to see any sailboats, but we pass ships all the time, usually with miles between however, they show up on the radar before we can see them with just our eyes.

Q: Do you have periods where the engine is off, or is there continuous humming/background noise?

A: There is a continuous humming of the different systems onboard. The main engine is always running while we are underway unless testing or training is going on. We also have an electric motor that is powered by the three generators, which only gives us 4 knots max, which is much quieter.

Q: Interested in your comments on holding a course – sounds like no autopilot. Is that due to the age/size of the ship?

A: Actually, we DO have a very nice autopilot. However, deck students will sit for a coast guard exam to be an officer. In the 3rd mate position, students will be asking other crew members to execute helm orders, so it only makes sense for students to have experienced being at the wheel. However, in a world of increased automation, autopilot is extremely common for voyages of any length.

Stay tuned,

4C Odegaard Fields

PS. Hi K8