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Physics lessons on a ship

19 March 2015

Ytsen Boersma and Idsert Wijnja, two fourth-year pupils from the Borgman College in Sneek, recently followed a special training programme: they sailed around the Caribbean on topsail schooner the Wylde Swan. During the trip they put physics theory into practice. They wrote this report for Science LinX.

On 25 January 2015 we and 19 other pupils from the Netherlands left for a five-week sailing trip around the islands of the Caribbean. Having landed on the island of St. Maarten, we boarded the ship straight away and got to know the rest of the group.

Our first destination was the British Virgin Islands, which was about a day’s sail. We visited various islands there, saw awesome beaches and even swam with wild dolphins. Then we set a course for Trinidad, where our mooring turned out to be in an extremely industrial port. We did go on a great excursion to a waterfall though.

After a week in Trinidad we set sail for St. Lucia, where we moored the Wylde Swan to a palm tree and climbed the Petit Pitton Mountain. We swam a lot in the beautiful clear blue water there.

Dominica was next on the list, and we visited the ‘Boiling Lake’, a lake of boiling water caused by volcanic activity. Antigua was the last island, an amazing, luxurious island with plenty of resorts. The trip ended back at St. Maarten, where we went out on patrol with the coastguard in a 700-hp rib.

It was an awesome ‘holiday’ of course, but we were expected to work too. Our school had given us an action plan to follow whilst on board the ship. In the mornings we had to do independent study from 8 to 11. We also had lessons for about an hour in the afternoon that went into more depth into a topic in physics, biology or chemistry that related to the ship itself. An extra assignment during the trip was to apply for a job on board that would enable us to take over the ship.

We really did have the time of our lives and hope that in these few words we have given you some idea of our experience.

Report: Ytsen Boersma and Idsert Wijnja

You can find more information about this programme on the website of the Wylde Swan .

Last modified:08 February 2018 08.36 a.m.

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