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Guam Greatness

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo After two months on Sequoia and having crossed most of the Pacific Ocean, we finally reached its homeport: Apra Harbor, Guam! What an incredible place! And the third video of my “Pacific Journey to Guam” vlog series will show you some of what I was able to do there. My time there was short, but I got a lot of exploring in and had some pretty amazing experiences. Distinctly unique from the other tropical islands I visited this summer, Guam is home to incredible adventure, warm hospitality, and great memories.

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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Aruba, Jamaica, Ooh I Wanna Take Ya’

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Ritchie Photo After San Juan, Puerto Rico; we sailed to Aruba; then Cozumel, Mexico; and ended in Miami, Florida. (Jamaica wasn’t one of our port calls, but we were singing the Beach Boys’ song “Kokomo” all the way from Puerto Rico to Aruba.)

 

My parents met me in Puerto Rico. They flew down from Pennsylvania and spent a week there to see me and to take a vacation for themselves (but mostly to see me). I hadn’t called home much lately since I was preoccupied with studying during finals week, and there’s no cell phone reception at sea, so it was nice to catch up with them. The next day, my friends and I explored the fort in San Juan and then went shopping in the area. We had three days in each port, two of which we had liberty, and one of which we gave tours on Eagle.

 

The first day in Aruba, I volunteered for a community service project repainting an elementary school. The hours I got that day count towards my community service requirement for this semester, and it was a fun opportunity to leave a mark on a foreign country. The second day of liberty, I spent with Eva’s parents at a resort. For dinner, Mr. Sandri caught a red snapper, and we went to a local restaurant called the Old Cunucu house where they prepared the fish as an appetizer for us. The food there was delicious.

 

In Mexico, my friends and I went snorkeling. The water in the Caribbean is so clear in some places that you can see the whole way to the bottom. Being a great vacation spot, Cozumel offered so much to do, but we were limited in our time there.

 

One really nice thing about being underway is that you don’t have to worry about money. There’s not much that you can buy when you’re at sea, so all the money you earn is saved for the port calls. This is definitely another benefit of going to a service academy. We not only get our education paid for, but we also get to travel to amazing ports and have some money to spend while there. I wouldn’t say it’s free because we work hard, but it is definitely more than worth it. I felt so privileged when in Aruba, I turned to my friend and said, “It’s okay that we didn’t snorkel today. We can just do it in Cozumel next week.” Just thinking about how much I got to do and see this summer makes me so excited to see what my future in the Coast Guard holds.

 

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Kwajalein “Kwaziness”

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo After departing Hawaii, Sequoia departed to Kwajalein Atoll, which is in the Marshall Islands. This video highlights the buoy tending work the cutter did while we were there. Exploring the small island of Kwajalein was fascinating—what an interesting little place to explore! Not many people can say they’ve been there. I hope you enjoy the second chapter of the “Pacific Journey to Guam” vlog series!

*Special thanks to artist Har Megiddo for the use of his music in this video.

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Week 10: Guam Adventures!

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo I think this week’s reflection is going to be short. There really wasn’t work for the crew this week, so most of my days were free aside from the one day of duty in which I broke-in as an officer of the day (OOD). I’ve been working on many small projects, which are enjoyable. It’s rewarding because I know that I’m contributing to the cutter and doing something that will last and be beneficial for the crew and officers (or at least I hope!). As I mentioned last week, I enjoy projects that make things better for those around me; this week has been great for that!

 

When I wasn’t working this week, I was exploring the island. There are some exciting hikes and interesting places to go. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the cool landscapes, amazing views, tropical beaches, and ocean cliffs as well as some interesting wildlife (have I mentioned the dive-bombing birds yet?).

 

It’s been a relaxing week, and I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that I only have one week left onboard. Where has the time gone!? I’m looking forward to going home, but part of me doesn’t want to leave. I still have more of Guam to explore. Thankfully I have another week left to have a few more days of adventure.

 

As far as leadership and Coast Guard reflections, I can’t say that I have much to say for this week. I’ve been thinking about school a bit more (mentally preparing myself for it), and the Academy seems like such a different place from this side of the world. Honestly, the perspective has been just what I needed to refresh and ramp up for my last year! It has been incredible being in the operational Coast Guard doing work and standing watches as a professional member of the service. I hope when I face challenges at the Academy that I can remember my perspective now to remind myself that the Academy and all the craziness that goes on there isn’t the whole Coast Guard. I’m proud to serve in one of the world’s premier maritime services!

 

Well, I’ll leave off there. Not sure if I’ll write next week since I’ll be flying home about the time I usually write these reflections (and 10 reflections is a nice even number…). I can tell you now that it’s going to be a busy week as I scramble to finish all my projects, tie up other loose ends, and prepare to head home. Thanks for joining me on my Pacific journey this summer. In a few weeks, be on the lookout for a vlog with pictures and video from these past few months. Have a great rest of the summer!

 

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A Dispatch from the Arctic

(Just for Fun, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Kearney Photo Ahoy all ye blog readers!

 

"Polar Bear! 1 mile ahead. Port Bow." The all-hands announcement ignited a storm of eager sailors and scientists alike, as large-lensed cameras were brought out on the deck of the Healy and a plethora of oohs and ahhs followed. I am writing to you after witnessing yet another polar bear upon this wonderful Arctic ice; the unique wildlife, along with the breathtaking, illuminated horizon, provides a constant reminder of the awe-inspiring world north of the Arctic Circle.

 

Despite the recreational views, the science work has continued in full force this past week. A mooring recovery and deployment were conducted in order to obtain data on the North Slope boundary current, shelf break, and the Pacific water’s path into the Arctic Ocean. The moorings are reused, with this most recent mooring reaching its 10th deployment since 2002. The depth of this particular mooring reached 147 meters.

 

Along with the moorings, we have continued to conduct the Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) casts. The scientists and crew recently painted creative and unique images upon Styrofoam cups that were attached to our deep sea CTD cast. The water pressure at that depth dramatically shrunk the cups. The depth of the cast reached 3,744 meters, and as a result, the Styrofoam cups are tiny, beautiful, and a wonderful memento of our time in the Arctic.

 

For the duration of the current science mission, six Coast Guard Academy senior cadets have embarked on Healy in order to gain final fleet experience before obtaining their officer commissions next spring. 1/c Marina Stevens, 1/c Elise Sako, 1/c Gabriel Patterson, 1/c Anthony Orr, 1/c Abby King, and myself are currently onboard the ship and have crossed into the Chukchi Sea for the first time. While onboard, we are in a watch rotation where we will either obtain their Bridge Watchstander and Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) qualifications, or their Technician of the Watch (TOW) qualification. During their sophomore and senior summers, Coast Guard Academy cadets are sent into the fleet in order to garner skills in seamanship, ship engineering, and leadership.

 

And last, but most certainly not least, the Saturday morale night consisted of a highly competitive sumo wrestling tournament. Our well-trained and Olympic fit athletes donned the giant sumo suits in order to grapple in this marvelous spectacle of pure grit and determination. SN Redhorse won the overall competition, while MK2 Martin won the Most Creative category. The event was a delightful way to end the week, for both spectators and competitors alike!

 

Follow the ship via our track-line updates on Icefloe (http://icefloe.net/uscgc-healy-track-map), and we will catch you on next week’s installment.

 

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