Friday, January 14, 2005

Nino: Students take charge

I have not written for a few days and so missed a few key events. We arrived at the Dry Tortugas, spent the day at Fort Jefferson, left the Dry Tortugas and arrived at Key West. Spent most of the day at Key West walking around town and at sunset we went to Mallory (this may be an incorrect spelling) Square were you can watch the sunset as well as performers who come to entertain. The town is a living tourist spot with very little else.

Today we have set sail and are heading to St Petersburg. From this point the idea is that we, the students, will be in charge of the ship (giving orders and setting the course). We will become the mates of the ship. There are certain points on which I do not feel comfortable being in charge on. For example, we are going to have to do a full evolution during one of our watches. While I do understand the basic concepts and I have been observing during the wares, I am not sure I will be able to know what commands to give when and interpret what the wind is doing with what the ship is doing quickly enough. It’s not a real worry, we are still learning and can hardly be expected to know everything about the wind in the span of eight days. I am surprised and tickled by how much we have picked up; I know or can find almost all the main lines for the sails, which was the most daunting task when we first set out. I have also become comfortable with going aloft and I even find it fun now.

Today during work party we were being taught how to do splices for the ratlines. I find that many of the tasks, for the student, on a ship like this one follow a similar pattern. A task or an idea will be explained in a very simple and easy to grasp manner. When trying to do the task you notice that it’s not as simple as explained and usually some small detail will be done wrong. When you ask another crewmember to explain it again, they will do it differently. Finally, the student has to realize that there are many ways of doing the task and the best way to go about it is to be able to improvise (where do you tie of this line? and how?). The right answer can change with each mate or each crewmember.
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posted by Nino