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A Boat of Navigation Masters (??)

Dec 3, 2010


Location: Great Harbour, Peter Island, BVI
Author: David Steren
Today was the day oh so dreaded by every student on board, the seamanship (MTE) final exam. Unlike the first exam in which the questions were purely multiple choice and the material was basic sailing rules and etiquette; this exam was focused on navigation, tides, and currents. This exam was so grueling and intensive, that the entire day was dedicated to it. This MTE exam included techniques such as three point fixes, dead reckoning, estimated positions (any of you parents know what any of those were?), and much much more. While five people were working on separate charts, the others would do the remainder of the test, which included tides, currents, and material from the first test, and than rotate as those doing chart work finished. The non-charting portion of the test took approximately 45 minutes to an hour, while those charting took anywhere from 2-4 hours! After a late night of studying (yes, we do study every now and then) we hoped we were adequately prepared. Many long and frustrating hours later, everyone was finished. The majority of the crew immediately plopped into bed and passed out from exhaustion, but a couple crew members (mainly Matt Johnson), including myself, convinced Kris to take us diving. After some bargaining, Kris finally agreed. He took us to the shipwreck Fearless. Little is known about this sunken wooden ship but there are rumors that it was a minesweeper in 1980s. We dove down to 70 feet and explored the Fearless. It was an amazing wreck, with lots of crazy looking boat parts, such as the toilet on its deck. Why it was there, we haven’t a clue. We also saw Damselfish eggs, a giant dog snapper, and were kept company by the many barracudas following us around trying to make friends. After the dive everybody hung around the boat until it was time for dinner, exquisitely prepared by our own Captain Eric and Nick. As if the 5 hour long MTE exam wasn’t enough work for our tired brains, we have a VHF radio exam in 20 minutes. I guess that’s finals week. Wish us luck!