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Thursday, June 7th
2100 (ZD +4)
Delta Company:Training T6
This morning found the TS STATE OF MAINE departing the sheltered waters of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and heading into the open waters of the North Atlantic. Seas were fairly calm with winds at roughly 15 knots from the southeast.
But no matter where we are, the training programs are underway for all students, whether Deck or Engine, and whether 4/C or 2/C. The engineers are preparing for their written exam tomorrow, given on T7. This will involve being able to draw systems such as the fuel oil system, potable water system, and many others, as well as answer questions about those systems. On the deck side, the 2/C were able to sharpen their ship-handling skills by giving commands to the 4/C helmsman to maneuver the ship 1,000 yards to the right and left of track as we headed north. The 4/C went over basic charting skills to include calculating distances, depth of water under the keel, and clearance above the mast.
With the fair weather there was also a lot of chipping of paint in preparation for painting the decks and superstructure. With the ship berthed in Castine, you can imagine that not a lot of exterior painting goes on during the academic year due to the weather, so the ship’s crew must take full advantage of the time we spend in these more southern latitudes.
Many thanks go to our Dining Services folks who added to the ship’s morale by having their Mid Cruise Bluez sale where milkshakes were only $1.00. They also had a pretzel night in the forward mess.
This morning we transited up the Pillsbury Passage between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John to an anchorage in Pillsbury Sound. It was well protected from the wind and swells allowing us to lower lifeboats One and Two, as well as both Fast Rescue Boats. We were at anchor from 1245 until 1600 in 75 feet of water. The surrounding islands were as picturesque as it can get. But the best thing ---- we were in cell phone range!!!!
We’ll be heading south through the Pillsbury Passage again and then west along the south coast of St. Thomas and then north up the Virgin Passage to the east of Puerto Rico enroute to Bermuda. We have been advised that the pilots in Bermuda want us going through the approach to St. George Bay at high tide, so that means at about 1530. Since this is a really late arrival (if you are in the liberty section that day), we have decided to go in on Sunday, June 10th rather than Monday June 11th. This will allow us to complete all the arrival activities (Customs and Immigration, off-loading trash, setting up the gangway, etc.) the afternoon and evening of June 10th, providing a less hectic start to our port stay.