The last few days have been busy despite most activities being on hold while we waited for the results of our second COVID tests to come in.
We have been working on various training aspects; we have focused on line handling, anchor operations, and using the cascade system (SCBA air tank refill system) among other things. This past week every cadet got the opportunity to use the after most crane on the TS Kennedy, and we were all delighted at this opportunity. Operating the crane was much harder than the bosun made it look!
We are currently on a two day on/two day off watch rotation, with the two days off of watch consisting of one day of training and one day of maintenance. The watch groups are lettered Alpha through Foxtrot (six in total).
The watch groups have been integrated with the other academies. It has been a great experience to work alongside cadets from other academies and the watch groups have integrated seamlessly. This opportunity has allowed many of us to get used to the idea of not always “working with our friends”.
Yesterday we were informed that everyone on board tested negative for COVID and therefore we will be sailing tomorrow, July 2. Thanks to with stringent cleaning and a mask wearing policy, combined with a little luck, we were fortunate enough to have avoided an outbreak aboard. Our sail time is set at 1330 CDT (1430 ET) and the current plan has us taking departure (at the sea buoy and the pilot disembarking) three hours after “last line” is called.
From there we are expected go to anchor outside of Mobile, AL, in the Gulf of Mexico. The following day (Friday, July 3) we will be anchoring off of Tampa, FL. At that time, we will do several anchoring drills. Once we have completed anchor drills, we will be swinging the ship (so that we may calculate our deviation table after coming out of the yard); we will do so six times – in order to give every watch group the opportunity to go through the evolution of swinging a ship.
After we have completed the ship swinging we will round the southern tip of Florida and begin to make our way up the coast. We plan to anchor somewhere off of Palm Beach, FL, in the coming week, but the duration of that is still being determined. Once we weigh anchor at Palm Beach we will steam towards New York, with the potential for another anchorage off the mid-Atlantic coast.
On July 20 we are scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor to bunker. On July 21 we will anchor just outside of Cape Cod Canal. On July 22, at the first favorable tide (as the current can get up to 8kts during max flood/max ebb in the canal), we will enter the canal and steam into Buzzards Bay and tie up. On July 23 we are schedule to disembark; this will mark the successful completion of the 2020 Multiple Academy Cruise.
After we received confirmation that we would be getting underway, morale is at an all-time high. We are all greatly looking forward to being rocked to sleep by the sea, and shooting our stars at twilight. There is still much to do, and much to learn. We’re looking forward to a smooth completion to cruise over the next 21 days; as well we look forward to sharing stories of our unique, once in a lifetime, sea term with our family, friends, peers, and faculty.