Friday, February 12, 2016

FTV Some Fun Between Ports

1/C Szloch and 1/C Kupeic
We can have fun on the ship, we had our annual weigh in for our fun Jousting match that we host each SeaTerm. This year the Student Government Association has graciously accepted the task of running our tournament. In addition to the weigh ins we had our traditional auction for the charity a different charity selected by the school every year. This year the charity that was chosen was Children of Military Families. All of SeaTerm we have been selling raffle tickets for prizes and incentives.
Tonight in addition to the raffle tickets we will be auctioning off prizes and souvenirs like crew boiler suits, sweat shirts, a pass to skip morning formation back on campus, and no off load duties when we get back to Buzzards Bay. The highest bid went for $420.00 the for an extra day of
liberty in Key West. All of the money we raised is for a very good cause and the cadets really like the atmosphere and auction items. On the auction alone we raised about $3,100.00.
1/C Mills and 1/C Belbin,

Our jousting weigh ins were very fun, as we had all of the participants stand up in the ring for a brief introduction and to meet their opponent. Some of the favorite jousting pairs are 1/C Russo and 3/C Nowak, 1/C Weeks and 1/C Daly, 1/C Mills and 1/C Belbin, and the biggest and most important battle is 1/C Szloch and 1/C Kupeic. Everyone is very excited for the match to see who will be victorious. This is just one way we are able to have fun during our long days at sea.

Later in sea term we will be hopefully be having a talent show and a casino night.

But until then!

Jousting is a sport that consists of martial competition between two mounted knights using a variety of weapons, usually in sets of three per weapon (such as tilting with a lance, blows with the battle axe, strokes with the dagger, or strokes with a sword), often as part of a tournament.

Jousting was just one of a number of popular martial games in the Middle Ages Though the first recorded tournament was staged in 1066, jousting did not gain in widespread popularity until the 13th century.  It maintained its status as a popular European sport until the late 16th century.

The joust permitted a better display of individual skill and, although dangerous, could win large sums of money. Many knights made their fortune in these events, whilst many lost their fortune or even life. For example, Henry II of France died when a shard of his opponent's broken lance went through his visor and into his eye.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

FTV Drift Diving in Aruba

Drift Diving in Aruba
As we are heading to Key West where I am planning a scuba diving excursion, I am remembering our last day in Aruba when a small group of us went a a scuba diving tour. We went to two different reefs off the coast of the island. Both were very different, and we saw a huge variety of reef life on each dive. We left the ship and headed to the south side of the island, where there were not very many people swimming because it was very windy and the swells were rather big. 

We did two drift dives by jumping off the back of the boat, without a line for us to follow down, We
jumped in and just drifted with the water current. After swimming around the reef for a while we were ready to be picked up by the boat so our dive master filled a float attached to a line and it shot to the surface for the boat to see that we needed a pick up! The dives lasted about 30 to 60 minutes depending on how much air you used. I was able to stay down longer because I did not consume that much air. Watch this video for a virtual drift dive of a coral reef


Moray Eel

My favorite part of the dive was seeing a few octopi. We followed one for a little bit, but then it started to spew ink so we thought it would be a good idea to leave it alone. Along with the octopi, we saw puffer fish, box fish, moray eels, many different sponges, and a few basket stars. This is not all we saw, but if I were to list of everything we would be here for a while.
Reef Octopus
It was an amazing two dives and I will never forget it. I can only hope that my dive in Florida is just as good, if not better.

Have you ever experienced a drift? this amazing kind of dive where you are transported by the currents and allowing you to feel that magical sense of ‘flying’ underwater, while making the dive cover a lot more distance than a standard dive, passing by big and small fishes, and literally flying over reefs! Currents are a continuous directed movement of water generated by forces on the water like wind, the Coriolis Effect and breaking waves. Other factors for the cause of currents is the temperature, salinity and tide of the water itself, but the greatest cause of a current is the tide, which is caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun. Learn more

Buoyancy Bull's-Eye
The science of diving Powerpoint and The science of diving worksheet

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CAPTAIN'S LOG – 10 February 2016

Just steaming up through Windward Passage between Hispaniola and Cuba (Haiti and Cuba).  The prevailing wind in the Caribbean and South Atlantic Ocean is easterly, and this time of year it is called the Trade Winds, or simply the Trades – but in the Passage the wind tends to shift North East.  Obviously if sailing a Spanish Galleon from Columbia to Spain this would not be the route to follow – because the wind would be right ahead, making sailing nearly impossible. Back in those days, centuries ago, they tended to favor a route west of Cuba, which would get them into the Gulf Stream, which effectively carries them to the North Atlantic. It is interesting where landmasses and
waterways got their names from.

Last night we had our charity auction which will provide aid to the Military Families of Cape Cod, an organization based at Joint Base Cape Cod, involving active and retired military folks.  I think we did OK, but we've a few more days of accepting donations.

Tonight we change things up a bit, as we will conduct Captain's Inspection and Pre-Port Briefing tonight, two nights before port.  We did this so that we could host the annual SGA night tomorrow, which will have antics such as Jousting Competitions, and fund raising raffles. Should be fun.

Early Friday morning we'll take a pilot for Key West – and make our final port visit of the 2016 SeaTerm. It seems like just yesterday that we steamed out of Buzzards Bay – and before we know it it'll be graduation time for our First Class cadets. Crazy how time flies.

FTV Training Continues- Voyage Planning

Third class voyage planning is a critical segment of the larger scheme of bridge team management. When the sophomores are in this phase of training, they will explore the mechanical elements associated with proper voyage planning. This is a large part of our 3rd class cadet’s sea term training.
They have a little less than one month to create a voyage plan of one leg of our SeaTerm.

“A voyage plan is like planning a cross country road trip,” one of the professors, Captain Dalton said to his students as assisting them. You have to plan out the highways, exits you need to take, and some sites you are going to see along the way. The sophomores work together in small groups to complete this assessment until they get it right or run out of time. They work extremely hard and from what I have seen, they have done great work!

The voyage plan that I was overseeing was from Fort Rodman- Balboa Panama to sea buoy WHIS Mo(A) 10s  Sea buoys  are identified by there are many possible light sequences; this means that each buoy can have a distinctive pattern to ensure it is easily differentiated from any other. An Mo (A) is a specific type of buoy that is coded in morse code rather than light color. This maker indicates a mid-channel or safe water mark. This will usually be the first marker you see returning from sea. It will not have a number and may be lettered. It may be lighted or unlighted and may have an associated sound. The light (if lighted) will be white and will flash the Mo (A) sequence. (Morse Code Alpha). You may pass to either side of the marker.

While the next leg of the voyage plan was from Fort Rodman- Balboa Panama to Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
Try your skill at the Online Voyage Planner

Each part of the voyage plan has a check list that includes waypoints (a point that helps us know where we are and where we're going); departure positions from latitude- longitude; the Per Ship's Compass (PSC) course; position fixing (The fix confirms the actual position during a journey);  and soundings (soundings help fix a ship's position by sonic, or echo, depth finders).  All of these terms are how the navigator can tell where and when the ship will be to a certain location.

Talk to you soon,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FTV The Grand Parade in Oranjestad

On Sunday afternoon many cadets went to the city of Oranjestad to see a huge parade. The largest carnival parade is the Grand Parade through Oranjestad, held on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
Carnival is a month-long celebration with festive street parties known as “jump-ups” and spectacular parades.

 This Carnival is not your average carnival, it a giant celebration that is basically a party in the street with huge parades. Unlike the US where we have floats and different cars and bands, in this parade there were huge semi-trucks that had no sides carrying floats and bands and singers everywhere. People in amazing costumes and dancers lined the route of the parade. The central figure of Carnival in Aruba is the Queen. The role of the Carnival Queen is to lead all the street parades and to make a public appearance that promotes Carnival.

Carnival Queen
Carnival was introduced on Aruba in the 1930s by Caribbean immigrants, and has become the most popular festival for the entire population. The origins of Aruba Carnival are found thousands of years ago. The word is derived from the Latin carne vale, meaning farewell to flesh, referring to the time when many Christians gave up food, drink and unacceptable behavior for Lent. Its beginnings can be traced back to the feasts of antiquity held to honor such gods as Bacchus and Saturn. Colonization introduced this phenomenon to the New World and the French brought it to the Caribbean.
The parade when on and on from about 1400 to 1900.So as you can image it was very, very long. The people of Aruba love it and lined the streets for hours. The closest thing I can compare this to is parades on July 4th in the United States. We all had an amazing time in Aruba and are looking forward to Key West.

Until then,


Aruba is part of the ABC islands located immediately to the north of Venezuela. These islands are a type of volcanic oceanic island found in a volcanic island arc. They arise from volcanoes along tectonic plate boundaries. Learn more about islands:

Monday, February 8, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 8 February 2016

We sailed from Oranjestad, Aruba this morning under predictable partly cloudy skies.  The port visit went well, everyone enjoying the finest beaches in the Caribbean, and the annual Carnival – rated third only to Brazil and Trinidad (we are told). The small city of Oranjestad was alive with thousands of people viewing the Carnival Parade that included hundreds of folks dressed in festive costumes, marching (actually dancing) along the parade route with incredible truck-mounted sound systems blaring.  The parade lasted for four continuous hours. I think it was a great time – probably more so for the local folks who had friends and relatives in the parade – but the tourists enjoyed it too.

Surprisingly, our Direct TV link worked and the cadets and crew aboard were able to watch Denver upset Carolina in the Super Bowl – I guess if the Patriots can’t be there, at least an AFC team took home the honors.

We have eight training days left before we dock in Buzzards Bay, but before that Key West. There will be many family and friends meeting up with their cadets in the tiny island of the Florida Keys. But the academic focus is most important, as the First Class cadets have many oral assessments to complete, and examinations to prepare for.  We have the unenviable task of getting the young people out of port mode and back on classroom/lab mode – but we will overcome!

FTV A UTV Adventure in Aruba

We picked up the UTVs and we got a guided tour all around the island. We went to Boca beach which was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.

We snorkeled over a reef and floated in the water. Snorkeling here is pretty good with many fish and corals and a good number of sponges to see on the various sized boulders.

Then we packed up our snorkeling gear and ventured to a place in the park where there is a pond full of fish. Now these fish were not average pond fish these fish give people pedicures! So we all sat around with our feet in the pond and got a pedicure. It was very funny to see because out of our groupof 20 most of them we guys and they were screaming because it tickled so much.

Garra Rufa is called the reddish log sucker. They live and breed in outdoor pools where they feed on the dry skin of feet. During a treatment customers place their feet in tanks of warm freshwater containing dozens of toothless Garra rufa fish, which are about the size of minnows. They are also known as doctor or nibble fish. They suck and gently nibble away at dry and dead skin. The end result is said to leave your feet feeling refreshed and healthy.
This is a great example of symbiosis which is the interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
I'd say my favorite part of the tour was when we went to the natural pool and snorkeled, saw some fish, and jumped off the rocks. By the time we were finished it was dark and we went back to drop off the UTV's and called it a day!

Everyone had a wonderful day yesterday and we are excited to get out and see some more of Aruba!

Until next time,

Symbiotic relationships are an important component of life in an ecosystem. In such relationships, plants or animals of different species may be dependent on one another for survival. They may share habitats or lifestyles or interact in a specific way to benefit from the presence of another organism.

When two organisms are in a symbiotic relationship, sometimes both organisms benefit (mutualism) and other times one organism may benefit while another is unaffected (commensalism). Not all symbioses are positive for both organisms: in a parasitic relationship, one member benefits while the “host” is harmed.

Although there are many ways organisms interact with one another, most symbioses involve clever ways to obtain food or protection. For example, species of snapping shrimp and gobies inhabit the same burrow; since the shrimp is blind, the goby warns it of unwanted company, while the shrimp keeps the burrow clean. In its juvenile stage, the spider crab can be seen hitching a ride inside the bell of the cannonball jellyfish. At hydrothermal vents, chemosynthetic bacteria live inside of animals in a mutualistic symbiotic relationship where the animals support the existence of the bacteria and the bacteria provide food to the animals in an environment where light does not penetrate.

Learn more about symbiotic relationships in nature
The Real Nemo Lesson Plan
Try this challenge
Symbiotic Relationships
Make it a game
Drama based symbiosis instruction

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Displaying wave.jpg

Sunday, February 7, 2016

FTV Touring Aruba's Local Sites

Hello Everyone!

Day one in Aruba was by far the best day I have had all of SeaTerm! Everyone was able to go out and explore. Whether it was going to Eagle Beach or renting ATVs everyone had something to do yesterday.

Divi Tree
Eagle Beach has the widest beach in Aruba and is famous for its soft white sands. It is the home of Divi trees, Aruba's natural compass. Divi trees stand at a 90 degree angle and point in the direction that the island's natural trade winds blow. Their roots grow above ground; the way they tangle is amazing to see.

Nesting Sea Turtles

A few months per year Aruba Eagle Beach is dotted with red and white markers to protect turtle nests. The turtles hatch mostly around sunset and at night. Four species of sea turtles nest in Aruba - Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green and Hawksbill. Turtles can have their nest anywhere on the island, however most nests can be found on Eagle Beach in Aruba. Each nest contains some 80 eggs. Watching the hatchlings find their way to the ocean conquering the sand and waves is a unique experience in Aruba.

Turtle Nests
Hatchlings head back to the ocean
Our Group started off the day with a tour of local Aruba sites. We went to their famous light house. Unfortunately it was being repaired, but it was still neat to see. Originally the lighthouse was designed to warn ships from the coastline of Aruba, the California Lighthouse is now a landmark for tourism. This lighthouse does much more that emit a coastal warning light; it beckons visitors to the most spectacular views of the island.

The old stone California Lighthouse
 Guadiriki Cave 
After that we ventured over to the national park side of Aruba. Located within the Park is Guadiriki cave known for its dramatic natural lighting, and nearby is Fontein cave. Inside Fontein Cave, the walls contain thousand-year-old rock art—red hand prints, sun shapes, and animals
Cave Art
We made a stop at the old gold mine ruins. 

The Aruba Island Gold Mining Company built the Bushiribana smelter in 1825 to extract gold from the ore that was being mined in the nearby hills of Ceru Plat; it operated for ten years.  Today, its remains are a stopping-off point for tourists on their way to view the Aruba Natural Bridge, Not many people know that Aruba had its very own version of the Gold Rush. For much of the 19th century the precious metal was mined on the island mainly with the aid of dynamite. Over the years Aruba's gold industry extracted 3 million pounds of the metal. Today the sandstone and coral building is mostly in ruins with only a few crumbling walls still standing. 

All along the north coast there are literally thousands of rock piles like these. Throughout the years people have created some pretty impressive rock art by piling one rock on top of the other and so on. These are known as Wishing Piles…you make a pile and make a wish.

Next stop was the natural pool that we all got to go swimming in.The Natural Pool, also known as "conchi" or "Cura di Tortuga", is a natural pool of water located in a very remote area in the north of Aruba. It is formed by rock and volcanic stone circles.

Aruba is not just beaches and coral reefs it is home to tropical dry forests which are one of the most
threatened parts of the earth’s environment. The tropical dry forest type typically experiences an annual hard dry season. The average rainfall is sufficient enough to promote growth of trees, but these tree and plant species must be able to withstand periods of low precipitation and moisture. During the driest months these species will drop their leaves much in the same manner that northern deciduous forest species loose their leaves in the fall and winter. Dry forests occur most commonly on low islands or on the lee side of mountainous islands and on coastal areas of low relief. Learn more about this ecosystem

Explore other ecosystems found in Aruba
Sorting out Forests
Make a brochure of world biomes
What is biodiversity criteria for classifying forests

Saturday, February 6, 2016

FTV Surface Velocity Program Drifter Buoy Launched

Drift Buoy Launch Team
On the evening of January 27th, at approximately 1900, a group of Cadets from the TS Kennedy assisted the NOAA, National Weather Service representative, Rob Niemeyer, in deploying a Surface Velocity Program (SVP) Drifter buoy in the southern Pacific at approximately 2° degrees North Latitude, 82° West Longitude. A second drifter buoy by a second group of cadets the next morning at sunrise at a position of approximately 5° North Latitude, 83° West Longitude.

A drifter nicknamed holey sock

The drifter buoys are a high-tech version of the "message in a bottle".  It consists of a surface buoy and a subsurface drogue (sea anchor), attached by a long, thin tether.  The buoy measures temperature and other properties, and has a transmitter to send the data to passing satellites. The drogue/sea anchor dominates the total area of the instrument and is centered at a depth of 15 meters beneath the sea surface so that the dominant buoy drift is influenced by the ocean currents, not the surface wind flow and waves.  The Drifter Buoys can provide over 400 days of information to analysts ashore.
Learn more about SVP's
Explore: A Drifter Model

The hopes of the two drifter buoys deployed by the Cadets of the TS Kennedy are that they will provide valuable information to analysts about the “El Nino” located in the southern pacific. El Nino is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

Weather is important to all that go to sea and it is regularly monitored by the bridge cadets. This special project by the NOAA emphasizes the importance of of marine vessels to monitor daily weather conditions both in their current location as well as the weather along the planned course. The cadets on the TS Kennedy are trained to monitor weather during their watches, as weather affects the ships course. On the bridge temperature and pressure measurements along with observing clouds, reading surface maps, and observing waves are among daily watch activities. These observations are forwarded to NOAA everyday so that the information can be shared with other ships traveling in the same area.

Friday, February 5, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 5 February 2016

One Happy Island.  We arrived at 0700 and were finished with engines and all fast at 0848.  Pretty painless docking.  Port officials cleared the ship in record time, and the crew are starting to head ashore.  Cadets to follow after their holds are approved for liberty.

The weather is as expected, easterly breeze and 80 degrees – about how it is nearly every day of the year.  We have alerted the cadets and crew that this will be the last weekend of Carnival – reaching a peak on Sunday with a day-long celebration that last from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm.  I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable port visit.