9/13/06-Aboard the S/V Gato Verde

When I thought about what I’d be doing when I finished my MS degree, being a member of the Beam Reach instructor team was not necessarily what I expected…it’s more that I just didn’t think a program like this would be a possibly, nor that I would find something like this in the Seattle area. It has been a joy to be involved with Beam Reach. I have been able to match my interests and excitements in teaching, research, outdoor adventures, whales, and being on the water all in one program. Who knew?!

Our first three weeks were content-packed, from a student’s learning perspective to a teaching and preparation perspective for Jason and I. And now, in our fourth week, we sit at anchor aboard the S/V Gato Verde watching as the first hints of pink color the clouds to the west. We’ve had a wonderful and adventurous first few days introduction to sailboat living. After my previous several month sailing experiences in the South Pacific aboard the mono-hull S/V Resolute, catamaran living is pretty cushy! I am amazed at the incredible amount of space, comfort, and ease of sailing the green cat. It’s been so fun to watch the students haul their first mainsail, lower the anchor, and help tack. I can’t wait to see them enact their research plans, too!

We have also guided discussions about how we impact our environment and the ethics of being human players in an ocean ecosystem, connected to larger global economy. Each student must decide what ‘sustainability’ means to them, consider their individual ecological footprint on natural resources, and act on their choices. From dietary preferences, where to pump out wastes generated on the boat, and how much water to use when cleaning dishes, we are confronted with these decisions on a daily basis, particularly when living in a self-contained island of resources like a 42 foot boat.

I have learned so much already from each of the students, Jason, the rest of the support staff, and this experience. My biggest joys have been moments interacting on a 1:1 basis with each student—we have a fantastic group of individuals with different experiences, aspirations, and knowledge. Jason and I have a great, dynamic working relationship, with wonderful support from Scott, Val, Leslie, and now Todd. Can’t wait to see how the rest of our adventure goes.


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