Skyler Bertrand ’23 Studies Climate Change on Voyage Through Hawaiian Islands

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This winter, Skyler Bertrand ’23 joins undergraduates from colleges and universities around the country, sailing the waters of the Hawaiian Islands aboard a tall ship ocean research vessel to develop a first-hand understanding of the interaction of oceans and climate in an area of dynamic ocean circulation that shapes global weather.

He is enrolled in The Global Ocean: Hawai’i, a shore and sea-based program offered by Sea Education Association (SEA). He arrived at SEA’s Woods Hole campus on Jan. 3 for six weeks of preparatory coursework before beginning the sea component on Feb. 16 in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he boarded the SSV Robert C. Seamans, SEA’s state-of-the-art 134-foot brigantine.

While on campus, Bertrand and fellow students followed SEA’s strict protocols to form a COVID-free bubble prior to traveling to Honolulu. The ship will serve as the students’ home, classroom, and laboratory for more than five weeks as they sail through the Hawaiian Islands. The program ends in Honolulu on March 26. There will be no port stops.

All students are full working members of the ship’s crew, sharing responsibilities for standing watch, processing oceanographic samples, navigating by the stars, and participating in round-the-clock operations. Perhaps most importantly, students learn to challenge themselves and cultivate new skills in leadership, teamwork, and field research.

In addition to gaining practical skills in seamanship, students will gain valuable climate leadership and communication skills through coursework, field research, and digital storytelling, and will contribute to long-term data sets.

The Global Ocean program will next be offered in Fall 2022.

Track the voyage on the SEA Currents blog through March 26.

SEA is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Mass., and has two research vessels: the SSV Corwith Cramer, operating in the Atlantic Ocean, and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, operating in the Pacific.

Find out more about off-campus study opportunities at Colgate.