Questions for an Australian Sea Captain

On Thursday, April 10, 2008, we are going to participate in a live videoconference with one of the sea captains Sue Waters works with at a maritime academy in Perth, Australia. Perth is on the other side of the world from where we live in Edmond, Oklahoma. They are 11 hours ahead of us. This means that when we start the videoconference at 8:30 pm US Central Time on Thursday, it will be 9:30 am the next day (Friday) in Perth. It will be 1:30 AM on Friday April 11th GMT time. This webpage from the WorldTimeServer website shows the relative times in our locations. We will be participating in this videoconference just before going to bed on Thursday night, Sue and the others in Western Australia will be just starting their morning of work on Friday! You can use this WorldTimeServer converter page to determine what time it will be where you live when this live videoconference takes place.

Sue is going to try and broadcast this conference over using her Ustream channel. If she runs into trouble she is going to use Skype and call us directly, and we will record the call to share later. Hopefully Ustream will work, however, so more people can join in. We successfully tested a Skype connection between Oklahoma and Western Australia last night.

Recently Sue created a short (<2 min) video showing some of the fish farming and aquaculture that she works with and around in her job. My connection to Sue is thanks to some helpful comments she made on a blog post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about compasses and magnets. Out of that post and my own learning experience (correcting some misconceptions I’d had about compasses) has emerged this live, synchronous learning opportunity between people literally on other sides of the planet. Amazing.

Sue asked us to brainstorm some questions we’d like to ask to an experienced sea captain prior to our videoconference. The following is the list we came up with tonight after dinner! If you have more questions to add, feel free to add them as comments to this post or just send them directly to Sue via her Twitter account. (@dswaters)

As the crow flies (or perhaps an SR-71) Perth is 10,545 miles away from Edmond. (We used Google Earth to calculate this distance.) The following map shows our relative locations on our planet:

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Alexander: What types of ships have you been on?

Sarah: How big is the engine on your ship?

Alexander: How big is your crew?

Alexander: Is your ship coal-fired like the Titanic was?

Sarah: Do you have any kids that are interested in sailing?


Alexander: How many years have you been a sailor?

Alexander: What do you think of when you leave for an ocean trip? (What are you thinking just when you leave the harbor)

Shelly: What kinds of sounds do you hear at night on the ship?

Alexander: What do you check on your ship when you first set out?

Sarah: How long are your trips?

Shelly: What kind of food do you eat when you are on the ship?

Alexander: What supplies do you carry?

Sarah: What do you know about compasses? Have you ever used a compass?

Shelly: What is the longest voyage you have ever been on, without touching (setting foot) on land?


Wesley: My kids don’t believe that pirates are still real and a danger in some parts of the world. Have you ever encountered any real pirates, or known other sailors who have?

Sarah: How deep is the water in the ocean where you have sailed?

Alexander: Have you met any sharks or other sea creatures?

Sarah: Have you hit an iceberg before?

Wesley: Have you ever been lost on a voyage or had to get on a life boat for real because your boat was damaged in some way?


Sarah: What is your favorite thing to do on the ship?

Wesley: What are the most challenging and most rewarding things about being a sailor and a ship captain?

Alexander: How much training do you have to have to be a sailor and a sea captain?

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