As I write this, the screenshot below reflects current conditions in New Bedford Harbor, as reported on the very useful web site U.S. Harbors, which provides similar information -- and much more -- for coastal communities throughout the United States. For each port, the site assembles real-time data with general ten-day forecasts and hourly, detailed 48-hour forecasts.New Bedford Fortnight course, we will learn a lot about the geographies of the historic whaling trade, including the biogeography of whales, the migration patterns of those who pursued them, and the influence of the whale trade on the economic geography, urban landscape and demography of New Bedford.
We will also learn about some aspects of the physical geography of New Bedford through the lens of the whaleboat hobby and sport that is increasingly popular in the city. In fact, much of what I know about the city has been learned in modern replicas of the historic Azorean and Yankee whaleboats, as I am an active member of both of the city's clubs - the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society and Whaling City Rowing. I also learn from occasional involvement with the Buzzard's Bay Rowing Club in nearby Fairhaven, whose members row on the same waters. All three clubs interact frequently with the city's Whaling Museum, of which I am also a member.
Members of all three clubs consult weather and tide charts to plan routine rowing events and special events including races and excursions. Rowing within the dynamic harbor environment requires planning routes according to wind and tide, as well as seasonal variation in the traffic of commercial ships and pleasure craft. Rowing captains consider the experience of crews and expected wind speeed when determining the safety of a planned row; individual rowers will consult the forecast when planning what to wear, especially during the colder months.
|Our summer course will include some whaleboat demonstrations, but there will be no snow on the oars, as in this photo of pre-dawn rowing on December 14, 2018. Photo credit: Cyn Spence. I am the rower in the striped shirt.|
My main blog -- Environmental Geography -- includes three relevant articles from the early days of my harbor learning in 2012. The first -- Harbor Learning -- describes the use of weather forecasts in a bit more detail. Rowing and Rocket Science explains how some of us use geotechnologies during the rowing itself, and the convergence of many technologies that we have come to take for granted in smartphones. More broadly, Seaside Changes points to some reporting that was then being done on the changing geographies of New Bedford and many similar cities in New England -- changes that are the inspiration for this special summer course.