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Sailing by the Stars

Written by Lewis Kendall

Sixteen students sailed for eight days off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, last winter. Photos provided by Professor Luke Keller

Last winter, 16 IC students learned to steer a ship with only the sun and the stars as their guide. They spent more than a week last January in the Caribbean, conducting scientific research on a 134-foot sailboat.

As part of a capstone biology class, the students and four professors partnered with the Sea Education Association (SEA) Semester program to learn how to take scientific measurements and perform research at sea.

The students took ocean water measurements, collected plankton specimens, and even learned celestial navigation, calculating the latitude and longitude of the ship based on the positions of the stars and sun. The college hopes to offer a similar course in 2016.



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