Saturday, December 13, 2014

FTV The Itinerary Is Set!

Our Itinerary is set!, The T.S. Kennedy is getting prepared to sail for  Sea Term 2015. After enjoying a holiday break the Cadets will board the Kennedy soon after the New Year holiday. This year the cadets will be heading to the Caribbean Sea to the islands of Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Additionally, this years Seaterm has a scheduled visit to southern Florida’s city of Fort Lauderdale. In today’s blog we will explore the Island of Puerto Rico, and in subsequent blogs we will learn more about St Thomas and Fort Lauderdale.

The island of Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Its Geographic Coordinates are Latitude: 18° 15" N   Longitude: 66° 30" W. It has a shape almost like a rectangle. The island is approximately 100 miles long by 35 miles wide the coast measures approximately 580 km, With an area of 3,425 square miles (9,104 sq km), Puerto Rico is the third largest island in the United States and the 82nd largest island in the world.

Puerto Rico is close to the deepest submarine depression in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Puerto Rico Trench is about 1,090 miles (1,750 km) long and 60 miles (100 km) wide. The deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean, lies within the Puerto Rico Trench, the trench seems to have been opened continuously for about 70 million years. It is partially filled with sediments.

Learn more about the Puerto Rico Trench with this video

The island is very mountainous (covering about 60%), Puerto Rico’s ecosystems include rain forests, deserts, beaches, caves, oceans and rivers. The mountainous interior is formed by a central mountain chain extending across the interior of the island, from Mayagüez to Aibonito, The second main geographical feature is the coastal lowlands, which extend 13 to 19 km (8 to 12 mi) inward in the north and 3 to 13 km (2 to 8 mi) in the south. A series of small valleys lie perpendicular near the west and east coast. This area was originally formed by the erosion of the interior mountains.
The third geographical feature is the karst region in the north. This area consists of formations of rugged volcanic rock dissolved by water throughout the geological ages. This limestone region is an extremely attractive zone of extensive mogotes, sinkholes, caves, limestone cliffs.

Learn more about Puerto Rico with this activity:

El Yunque Peak is the Caribbean National Forest. These 28,000 acres are all that remain of the rain forest that once covered much of the island. More than 100 billion gallons (yes, billion) of rain fall here each year, creating a lush forest with many types of plants.

Living in the forest is the tiny coquí frog. This tiny creature (a quarter to one inch in size) is considered to be the national mascot. The largest number of bird species can be found at Guánica Forest, which is home to 700 plant species of which 48 are endangered and 16 exist nowhere else. Puerto Rico also has some of the most important caves in the west hemisphere. The Río Camuy runs underground for part of its course, forming the third largest subterranean river in the world. There are fine examples of stalactites, stalagmites and, of course, plenty of bats.  Close by you can find the Cueva del Infierno, on which 2,000 caves have been discovered; in them live 13 species of bat, the coquí, crickets, an arachnid called the "guavá".

Learn more about El Yunque Peak with this activity:

Puerto Rico, due to its short width and its east-west running mountain chain, does not have long rivers or large lakes. The longest river is the Grande de Arecibo, which flows to the northern coast. Puerto Rico does not have any natural lakes, although it has 15 reservoirs, commonly called lakes, formed by damming the main rivers to produce hydroelectric power and water for irrigation.

 A tropical rain forest in the northeastern section of the island has tree ferns, orchids, and mahogany trees; part of this tropical area is included in the Caribbean National Forest. Iguanas and many small lizards abound, and bats are present. The island has animals that are not found anywhere else in the world.

 For example the Puerto Rican  Parrot lives only in a few hidden areas of the Caribbean National Forest. The Puerto Rican  Parrot is bright green, about a foot in length, with red forehead, blue primary wing feathers, and flesh-colored bill and feet. Barracuda, kingfish, mullet, Spanish mackerel, tuna, lobster, and oysters are among the many fish inhabiting coastal waters.

The climate is Tropical Marine with an average temperature of 80°F (26°C). Puerto Rico enjoys warm and sunny days most of the year. The winds blow from the East, and moderates temperatures and rainfall.

Weather and climate scientists use graphs to provide a visual picture of the changes in weather overtime.

Hurricanes frequently occur between August and October, although the U.S. National Weather Service considers the hurricane season for the North Atlantic Basin to run from June 1 to November 30. 

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