Jeremy and Julia
We just arrived in Port Royal and what a journey it was. We had a packed schedule every day and definitely had to adjust to being in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean, a wild but welcome change from Canadian autumnal weather. Jeremy immediately got sunburnt and Julia got seasick, but it feels like we started sailing forever ago and we’re certainly adjusted to life onboard at this point. It has been incredible to speak with so many brilliant scientists from around the world while we sail. Most fulfilling has been practicing giving our talks and lectures to other sailors on the ship, speaking with them about climate science, and discussing their fantastic questions. Most of the day is spent working on field measurements and analysis with our working groups, or performing tasks around the ship. Jeremy’s favourite ship-related jobs are those that involve climbing the rigging while Julia’s been her happiest telling people how to take proper field notes in those Rite in the Rains notebooks (thanks Christie Rowe)! We are currently docked in Port Royal, preparing our talks for the crew tonight and for local high school students tomorrow. We’re looking forward to a fantastic five days of climate outreach in Jamaica!
Jeremy and Julia
It was a magical moment to walk along the harbour to the ship last night and board after one last COVID test next to the ship. Most of us boarded last night and slept for the first time side by side in hammocks. This morning we met in the onboard classroom to get oriented and then students went to work in their research groups and instructors got in a line with other passengers and crew to help pass all the food on board. This afternoon we set sail and then the crew teaches us about our sailing duties.
As with any adventures, the young heroes were submitted to a multitude of tests of strength and resourcefulness. It’s just not as fun when you are those heroes and running around the Toronto airport. From Jeremy getting caught between terminal train doors and Julia chugging 2L of water to get through security, to swapping out COVID test requirements and having to fill out yet ANOTHER form, we have been put through the wringer and come out victorious; we are finally boarded and en route.
After several weeks (or let’s be honest, months!) of applying for university approval and a whirlwind of packing and prepping this past week, it feels a bit surreal to actually be on our way. We’re so incredibly excited to board the Statsraad Lehmkuhl and meet the members of working research groups and the crew. As any mad scientists, we are ready to let our minds run with the crucial climate data we will collect at sea.
Stay tuned to see if we prove the existence of mermaids and the kraken!
Jeremy and Julia
My heart still skips a beat in excitement every time I arrive at it. Grateful to have a calm morning of reflection by the Caribbean Sea in Curaçao before 3 weeks on the ship. I arrived last night and Jeremy and Julia are on their way, due in this evening. Today we will all get additional PCR and antigen tests to board the boat and meet the requirements to enter our next stop in Jamaica. Exciting to see our boat awaiting us in the harbour.
Packing and prepping for this journey, especially during a global pandemic, has been no small feat! Imagining three weeks as a sailing scientist on a tall ship in the tropics is already a lot to take in from the crisp fall weather in Montreal, even without considering the pandemic. We need to make sure we have the right gear for staying comfortable working on deck most of the day and sleeping in hammocks side-by-side at night, the equipment to conduct our research and take oceanographic measurements on board, and the right paperwork to cross borders and board. With no wifi or cell service on board, we will be bringing all our course content and outreach and research project materials with us. There have also been many extra, much-needed covid-19 safety protocols to consider, and given this will be our first big journey since March 2020, we are all feeling a bit out of practice on travel.
But despite all that, and with the urgent need for climate action as motivation, we are now all packed and ready to go!
For me - especially in the midst of COP26 and with the weight of travel on our shoulders during both global climate and health crises - the responsibility to make the most of this unique opportunity that brings together international perspectives, interdisciplinary expertise and a life-changing learning environment to have a lasting impact on the future of our planet is at the forefront of my mind.
During the month of November I along with two graduate students from McGill, Jeremy Roffman and Julia Morales, will make our way to the Caribbean to join an international group of students, instructors and sailors for a Climate Action, Ocean and UN Sustainable Development Goals themed field course aboard the One Ocean Expedition (Check out their web page here and follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube). After meeting online since September for weekly seminars and to develop ocean research and outreach projects, we will be obarding the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Curaçao for 20 days at sea with stops in Jamaica and Cuba. The course is hosted by the research school CHESS and the PhD summer school ACDC.
Although there is no wifi on board, we will be posting updates as regularly as we can here so you can follow along with our travels.
This is an exciting opportunity, I can't wait!