Third class summer part two – USCG Barque Eagle – is coming to a close. I’m sitting on the bus that is taking us to the airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia. While I am glad to be going home, I will miss being with my classmates and (new) friends with whom I have lived for the past five weeks on Eagle. Being on board this summer was much more fulfilling than my week during Swab Summer—I knew more about shipboard living and working, and we were required to know more about how Eagle works and thus be able to do more without direct supervision from an upper-class cadet or a crew member.
To give you a brief overview of our travels, we reported to Eagle in Baltimore, Maryland. After a day in port, we got underway, in route to Boston, Massachusetts. Because Eagle is a training ship for cadets, we take longer than normal to get to port. Therefore, we spent twelve days underway (an entire week of which we could not see land and were approximately 300 nautical miles off shore). After five days in Boston at the OpSail 2012 and 4th of July celebrations—not to mention a visit from my mom, aunt and cousin (resident of Boston) and a special parade with the U.S. Navy’s USS Constitution—Eagle set off for a short transit to New London, Connecticut, home port of Eagle. In New London, we observed a change of command ceremony and greeted our new commanding officer, Captain Pulver. While in New London, my dad had the opportunity to visit the ship, I had dinner with my sponsor parents, and visited the Teutons’ home for some rest and relaxation. We departed from New London and began an 11-day trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia (again taking the not-so-direct route). We arrived to Halifax and began preparations to depart from Eagle so that the swabs (Class of 2016) can begin their one-week cruises.
So, what did we do all those days out in the middle of the ocean? Standing watches and attending lessons, we gained operational experience aboard a Coast Guard vessel. We rotated through the five departments/sections on a cutter – operations, deck, engineering, damage control, and support. Our duties included acting as lookout, helm operator, and plotter (chart/map work) while in “Ops”; doing a round of compartments to detect fire or flooding and checking the proper functioning of onboard equipment and machinery while on engineering watch; attending damage control classes with hands-on practice; helping with the preparation and serving of meals and keeping the ship clean as a member of the support team; and trimming the sails, hauling on lines, and climbing the rigging while on deck.
Heave! Ho! Then Off to Leave We Go! (Continued)
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