Cadet Blog: 2/C Alexa Huppe "Rise & Shine, Quartermaster!" Wednesday, 6-3-21

Submitted by NancyFranks on Thu, 06/03/2021 - 13:25

Welcome back everyone -
This morning, we entered the world of Watch. And while it comes with a difficult mess of a sleep schedule, and a little more pressure to perform at a professional standard, it is some of the most important training we go through on Sea Term.
It's our shot on the Bridge or Engine Room learning the job of Mates or Engineers on Watch. It's a big job with a lot of responsibility, so we train cadets to do one job at a time in order to understand the expectations of each portion of the Bridge. The Cadet On Watch (COW) is a 1/C (senior) role that oversees the Bridge. It's their watch...the rest of the cadets work under them to give them the information they need to run a smooth ship.
My alarm went off at 0245 this morning. It will do that for the next four days. I got up, put on my uniform, brushed my teeth, and shuffled my way to muster. I'm Quartermaster for the next four hours. 

It feels like there a million stairs between me and the Bridge. The air is humid, but the stars are out. And I feel the salt on my face from the wind.

The Bridge is dark, quiet, and full of people. For anyone's first time there, it's intimidating. For me, it's still intimidating; but I have a job to do.
I make my way to my station where I'm briefed by the last cadet posted. Watch turnover is the most hectic time of the shift, and it needs to happen quickly. I get the numbers I need for Variation, Deviation, and Gyro Error from the Navigation Team.  I need them for calculations that need updating after every course change. That way I can calculate the True Course, Magnetic Compass, and Compass Error for the rest of the team. 
I also have to log every relief on watch, every Detex round on the hour, and whenever the Helmsman changes. There are many things that go into the log book, but at 0400, I'm hoping that's plenty. Ask me again the morning we pull into Buzzards Bay.
So far, we are sailing comfortably with no traffic or weather spikes. Ms. Kennedy is cruising at a solid 14 knots this morning on track to reach Puerto Rico by tomorrow (Friday) morning where we will spend our weekend doing anchoring drills. 
I saw some dolphins off the port bow yesterday; they had black freckles on their backs. They love to play next to the Kennedy! While the ship is underway, they race us with style while they skip in and out of the swells. Eventually, they disappear into the impossibly blue world below us, and we were still talking about them at dinner. I wonder if they are talking about us too...
It's time for my next shift. 1515 is my next report time! If anyone has a spare bag of coffee, let me know. I'll pick it up at the next mail buoy...Black Rifle is my favorite. 




Are you stumped by some of the words and terms that Alexa mentioned in her blog?  Perhaps these definitions will help.

Magnetic Compass: In navigation or surveying, a magnetic compass is an instrument for determining direction on the surface of Earth by means of a magnetic pointer that aligns itself with Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic compass is the oldest and most familiar type of compass and is used in different forms in aircraft, ships, and land vehicles and by surveyors. 

Magnetic Deviation: The error induced in a compass by local magnetic fields, which must be allowed for, along with magnetic declination, if accurate bearings are to be calculated.

Gyrocompass:  A type of non-magnetic compass which is based on a fast-spinning disc and the rotation of the Earth (or another planetary body if used elsewhere in the universe) to find geographical direction automatically.

True Course: A ship's true course is determined by the direction from the ship to the geographic North Pole (also called True North). Navigation charts and the compass are labeled with True North, but setting a ship's course is not merely a matter of steering in relation to the North Pole.

Variation: For a magnetic compass, the needle will point towards magnetic north rather than true north. Depending on where you are on the earth's surface this difference may be as much as 30°. Variation may be to east or west of true north, again depending on where you are on the earth's surface.