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Voyages

SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

SSV Corwith Cramer departed Woods Hole on Friday October 15th with students from class C231. They sailed south to the Caribbean, visiting Grenada, and concluded their voyage in St Croix on November 22nd.

Position information is updated on a workday basis only. Audio updates from the ship are reported periodically throughout the voyage.

Mobile users, click here to open in the Google Earth App.

Nov

21

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration Nov. 21

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration Nov. 21
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: Anchored, Rendezvous Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
  • Current Weather: Current Wind & Sea Conditions: Seas 2 feet. Winds F4. Squalls in the area.
  • Daily Report:
    Our last full day on the Cramer is nearing an end, and with it ends 12 of the most amazing weeks of my life. There was little time to reminisce today for, although science projects have been wrapped up and all academic assignments submitted, there was much to do aboard the ship to prepare for our imminent departure. We participated in our final and most intense field day this afternoon. The events began with three hours of "bunk love," which involved cramming every article of dirty clothing into our packs and scrubbing every corner of our bunks until it passed Liz's "white glove" test. Following a delicious all-hands lunch and an intense final cleansing of the ship, we washed ourselves during the cruise's final swim call.

    The main focus of the day, however, was our final Swizzle, a traditional end-of-trip celebration where we toast Neptune and remember the amazing trip we have experienced. The festivities began with a Mr. Corwith Cramer pageant, a fierce competition between all the ship's men that resulted in Captain Jason Quilter being crowned. A wide variety of other performances, both serious and comical, allowed us to think about all the good times we've spent together these last six weeks. To round out the ceremony, we all knotted a string around our wrists to symbolize how we will always remain tied together. To top it all off, a moonbow (a nighttime rainbow) arched over the surrounding islands and provided the perfect backdrop for the final celebration.

    It is impossible to believe that in just 12 hours we will no longer call Mother Cramer home. I speak for everyone when I say that I have learned so much from this experience and the people around me and that I would never trade my time on this ship for anything. Thanks to our favorite Coasties for keeping up with our endeavors. Thank you Brendan for your wonderful letter and update! You were definitely at our celebration in spirit. Finally, thank you to all our family and friends who have been supporting us in our journey from land. We love you and will see you soon! Signing off for Corwith Cramer Class C231, Blais Hickey

Nov

20

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration Nov. 20

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration Nov. 20
  • Current Position: Position / Course / Speed: Anchored in Rendezvous Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
  • Current Weather: Current Wind and Sea Conditions: Winds ENE Force 1, Seas NE ~1 foot, Skies mostly clear with a few cumulus clouds
  • Daily Report:
    I write to you from the quarterdeck this fine evening. Things are fairly still as Mother Cramer lies peacefully at anchor in Rendezvous Bay, St. John. The awning has been strung up and the Christmas lights shine merrily over the helm. A ukulele plays softly behind the conversations of a content crew. Cool breezes sweep over the low hills, carrying the sweet sounds of peepers to remind us of our tropical locale. What our Christmas lights can't illuminate, the full moon does. With less than 48 hours to go in our trip, the air around us is certainly bittersweet.

    This morning began with a sunrise that would make King Midas weep tears of jealousy. We approached the Virgin Islands on a starboard tack and set a course to pass through Round Rock Passage. Round Rock Passage lies south of my favorite island in all the world - Virgin Gorda - where huge boulders at the southern tip form an area known as Fallen Jerusalem, or the Baths. Both aloft and on the bowsprit, all hands excitedly soaked in the islands; the bright green hillsides and huge grey rock faces make for a thoroughly enjoyable bit of sightseeing after a few days without land. We slipped past Round Rock and entered the relatively busy Sir Francis Drake Channel. It's always fun to be around other boats because we are very proud of our ship and like to think that she turns heads. The day was splendid and the wind funneling through the islands provided a fresh breeze to deliver us to our quiet little bay on the southeast side of St. John.

    The afternoon consisted of a final all-hands Maritime Studies class with Liz, a line splicing workshop with our mates (during which I saw a sting ray leap gracefully out of the water), and a long-awaited swim call to soothe our salty souls. Using the BT Winch davit to support an outboard barbeque, Erin grilled up enough jerk chicken (seasoned liberally with a secret blend of Grenadian spices) to leave us as full as anyone could be. It still hasn't hit home that we have reached the tail end of our adventure and with life so seemingly pleasant, it certainly seems a shame for it to end. Time moves by in funny ways and when you think six weeks is forever, its over in the blink of an eye.

    I must bid you all a good night for I must get back to my Cramer family and cherish these hours. Such a long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there. ~ Matty Holleb

    P.S. Brendan, your letter was read during class today and you managed to crack us up as always. Quigs wants you to know that your project is in good hands, she just doesn't remember what its about. We miss you and think of you often; hope you are doing great!

Nov

19

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: Approximately 20nm from the west side of St. John, USVI at 1630 this afternoon.
  • Current Weather: CCurrent Wind & Sea Conditions: Seas ENE, 5ft. Wind ENE, ~20kts
  • Daily Report:
    Like every day onboard Cramer thus far, today offered more new experiences. After having evening watch the night before, the good folks of A watch emerged on deck at approximately 0610 to take in the morning air before breakfast. The lights we had seen in the distance only eight hours prior had disappeared, and their source had revealed itself - visible land. While taking this all in and realizing how soon we would be stepping off Mother Cramer, dolphins were spotted. A pod of dolphins had found the ship and was leaping out of the water all along the sides and at the bow. These enthusiastic creatures were small - perhaps three to four feet in length. I found their most interesting attribute to be the sounds that they made: dolphins really do chirp, and I heard it for myself this morning.

    With such a fantastic start to the day, it would only happen that watch flew by and was highly enjoyable. The highlight of this morning's science watch may have been coating the hydrowire with fish oil. This is not something I could imagine enjoying on land, but for some reason the idea of painting a large spool of wire with said oil was just too good to pass up. Today was also a great day to go aloft. This has been one of my favorite activities throughout the trip, and since we are near land again, going aloft has provided a great venue for checking out our surroundings. Seriously though, it is so much fun! I went out on the top yard for the first time and it was well worth it.

    It is becoming apparent to all of us that our hours left on the Cramer are numbered. That said, each of us is working on getting the most out of our time left, whether that means going aloft, shooting stars, or climbing inside of the 2-meter net. Like always, everyone on board is ecstatic to have people following our progress. We are all thinking of friends and family on shore and while we are not wishing away the time left onboard, we are excited to see you all soon. Cheers! Hannah Blatchford

Nov

18

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 18 13'N x 54 25'W / 0.2 kts (hove to for science) / 010° PSC
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds force 4 and from the NE, Seas 4 ft and from the NE
  • Daily Report:
    Despite our blogs about the many other aspects of shipboard life, science - one of our primary reasons for sailing - continues in full force. From ongoing daily deployments to final manuscript writing to multiple poster presentations, we're working diligently to understand our data and draw meaningful conclusions in support of the 10 weeks of effort that have gone into our research. Recall that while onshore, each student developed a proposal detailing their plans for oceanographic study during the voyage south. Every day, every watch has contributed to a vast dataset that now offers a snapshot of the environmental conditions and organisms present along our cruise track this fall. Identifying and interpreting the story told by these data is our final academic challenge (and thank goodness the deadline for manuscripts is near!).

    While in Grenada, groups of students working on related research topics prepared posters summarizing the importance of and approaches utilized in their work. Honora, as seen in the photo accompanying this blog entry, and others spent the afternoon sharing their enthusiasm for marine science; visitors to the ship of all ages were both fascinated and impressed by the science envisioned and completed by the undergraduates onboard. Tomorrow marks the last of three days of student science presentations to the ship's company during afternoon class. Each group is sharing some of their most interesting and/or unexpected results as well as providing a little insight into their conclusions and project reflections. It's really neat to hear what everyone has found in their work, especially after helping collect data on their behalf for so many weeks!

    It is also strong in our minds that we have only a couple of days left until our fantastic voyage leaves us stranded on St. Croix. Some plan on taking a Caribbean vacation – others will be forced to endure airport layovers a bit earlier. As we mull over our own performances on the Cramer stage, time can only tell if we've been incurably bitten by the sailing bug; already a few shipmates are scheming ways to return as volunteer crew. Will some of us ever make a return to the islands of Grenada or St. Croix? Given our experiences this fall, enthusiasm for more extensive Caribbean exploration is high. Our newly-elected class representatives, Riely and Blais, will undoubtedly be busy relaying updates and networking so that we all keep in touch once going our separate ways. One regret: that we couldn't bring Brendan along on this magnificent adventure. We wish him the best of health.

Nov

17

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 15 50.2'N x 063 13.5'W, sailing at 4.5 kts on a course of 005 psc.
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds and seas both from the NE. Winds force 5. Wave height seven feet.
  • Daily Report:
    Today's blog topic is the galley. Even though it was difficult to get used to at first, calling the kitchen the galley now feels natural. It's also second nature to repeat the shouted "Hot out of the galley!" whenever you hear it, indicating to everyone around that they should watch out for the hot food about to be set on the tables in the main saloon. Cramer has a wonderful full-time steward, Maggie, who feeds us six times a day, but several students are also responsible on a daily basis for making sure all 35 of us eat, and well. First, each daytime watch has an assigned dishwasher, who – you guessed it – washes dishes, but who also helps out with whatever other galley jazz is going on. The dishwasher can expect to become incredibly pruney in the fingers. Then there's the assistant steward. The assistant steward gets just a little more sleep the night before than the rest of his or her watchmates (who are all awoken at 0300 for dawn watch) and works in the galley all day long, even under adverse circumstances such as inordinately loud science deployments, as Riely and Gigi are experiencing in the included photo.

    Most students get to be assistant steward twice on our trip. The first time, you're expected to help Maggie in a true assistant capacity, and are generally responsible for snacks. Snacks, accordingly, have been incredibly varied; we've had everything from seven layer bars to smoothies to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to chicken nuggets. Sometimes people get fancy with midnight snack (last night we had pistachio biscotti), but a very popular standby has been Ritz crackers with Nutella on them. Your second time as assistant steward, which has only started happening in the past week or so, you take on all of Maggie's responsibilities, becoming the person who plans menus and does most of the galley work. This can seem a little overwhelming, given that most of us have never cooked for this many people before. However, having spent a lot of time as dishwasher and generally helped out in the galley before, I feel fairly confident in my upcoming stint as steward, starting tomorrow morning at 0415. I'm excited to make many, many scrambled eggs. Wishing everybody at home and elsewhere a likewise delicious breakfast, Lydia Mathewson

Nov

16

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 14 11.0'N x 062 36.1'W, sailing at 5.0 kts on a course of 005 degrees on the compass
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Mostly clear with some light passing squalls. Winds and Seas ENE at F4 and 5-6ft. Air Temperature: 30C.
  • Daily Report:
    We are well into Phase Three and being JLOs and JWOs. Being the first JLO was a bit overwhelming, especially as I was unfamiliar with the deployments we were going to do. However, what I realized during my evening watch on Sunday was that I had learned far more than I initially thought these past few weeks. Even more importantly, I have come to be able to rely on my watch and trust that whatever I don't know they will be there to help and support me, just as I will support them 100%. On shore we learned the phrase "ship, shipmate, self" and it couldn't have become more true now. We are no longer just classmates, housemates and friends. We are shipmates. We take care of our home, Mother Cramer, and each other.

    Another thing I've realized, while reflecting during bow watch the following night, is that our time is running short. The days are here wherein we are crunching to finish our science projects and pound out the last few parts of our papers. But I think we've also got to take a look at where we are, what we've accomplished, how we worked our butts off to sail close to 2000 nautical miles, and how rewarding this is. SEA is a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad I've been able to partake in it; I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Each chance to climb the foremast or bowsprit, or watch the sunset on a clear horizon, or even gaze at the stars so bright and beautiful during star frenzy is relished as we hope to permanently fix these images into our brains and never forget our time here. Sending love to everyone back home! Thank you for keeping up with and following our blog! - Kayla Weber

Nov

15

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Course / Speed: 13 deg 21.9'N x 068 deg 16.4'W, about 50 nautical miles NW of St. Vincent. Sailing at ~3.5 knots.
  • Current Weather: Current Wind & Sea Conditions: Winds NExE, 15 - 20 knots. Seas ExN, 3 feet. Air Temperature 25.3 degrees Celsius.
  • Daily Report:
    Today we officially waved land goodbye as we sailed far enough away that the last of the mountains disappeared from view. It's good to be out to sea again with just the clouds and waves. Phase Three has begun! This means that JWOs and JLOs exist, calling all the shots with as much help as needed and kindly offered by fellow classmates and hardly any from the mates and scientists. On my six hour watch today, from 1300 - 1900, Esme was JWO and I was JLO. It was certainly nerve-racking at first. Hourlies, net deployment processing, sail handling, sail trim, weather, boat checks, gybing - an overwhelming blur! But Esme, sporting her designated JWO attire (a very professional blue striped tie) and I, in my pink tutu, took deep breaths of ocean breeze and settled into our roles.

    While Esme smoothly ran the deck, in lab we "winkled" oxygen. Before today, I didn't know what that meant or Cramer's tradition while winkling. Basically, without delving into the chemical reactions and bonding involved, water is collected from deep in the ocean, sampled and mixed with a series of reagents to "freeze" the dissolved oxygen in the sample. Then it is mixed with a few more reagents and titrated, changing throughout a wide spectrum of colors; eventually the solution becomes clear and a measurement of dissolved oxygen is achieved. This may not sound all too exciting but SEA has again successfully made science quite entertaining. When preparing to winkle, Erin (our scientist) busted out a wild assortment of crazy hats, which must be worn during the entire process (apparently these hats ensure the high quality of our data). From left to right, Hannah topped off with a viking hat equipped with horns, myself with a purple sequined fish, Gigi with a red lobster, Lydia with classic pink bunny ears, and Honora with a flashy Cleopatra-style head cover. In this picture, Hannah is the JLO and thus she's wearing the pink tutu as well. Good times in the lab!

    Well, it has gotten late and I must prepare for dawn watch, quickly approaching in five hours time. We home you've had a great day because we certainly have aboard the crazy Cramer, full of sails, science, tradition and entertainment. Wish us luck with our last week as JWOs and JLOs! Love from all of us, Kate Dubickas

Nov

14

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Course / Speed: 12 deg 25.2'N x 062 deg 04.6'W, currently hove-to under stays'ls and main for science deployments
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: A partly clear sky, squally. Warm and humid, but pleasant on deck. Winds light and seas less than 2 feet.
  • Daily Report:
    Cramer and her crew are outward bound once again, sailing towards St. Croix in the final week of the voyage. All hands wished for more time in Grenada but were excited to get underway and face the new challenges of Phase Three. We set many sails to catch the light winds and make our way out of St. Georges harbor, hoping that folks ashore watching were taken by the sight. Initially, there was hardly any wind - we were sitting in the lee of the island - but during the early evening sailing conditions improved and we've started making way to the northwest while getting back into our shipboard routines. Among other things, we're diving right back into science tonight with a CTD cast for water column temperature and salinity as well as two net tows, one collecting creatures down to about 200 meters and the other sampling along the ocean surface. Because many types of zooplankton and small fish migrate to the surface waters at night to feed, it is always interesting to see what sorts of things we catch in our nets - often there are some real surprises, the character in this photo included!

    This evening also marked another major milestone for the student crew: the beginning of Phase Three, during which each person will take on the leadership roles of Junior Watch Officer (JWO) and Junior Lab Officer (JLO). Reporting directly to the Captain, the JWO is responsible for all deck-related operations (navigation, weather, sail handling, record-keeping, communications, cleaning, etc) under the watchful eye of their mate; their science counterpart, the JLO, coordinates equipment deployments, sample processing and other lab activities following the Chief Scientist's direction. The JWO and JLO must work together smoothly, in addition to making effective use of their watchmates' knowledge and skills. It is, without a doubt, a very stressful time, but both students and crew feel they are ready for the transition and challenge. We will surely have more reports over the coming week of JWO/JLO trials, successes and adventures!

Nov

13

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: Docked at Port Louis Marina, St. Georges, Grenada
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Light winds on another sunny day
  • Daily Report:
    Saturday was a busy day for Corwith Cramer. After settling into our dock spot at the beautiful Port Louis Marina in St. Georges, our crew began preparations for on-board tours to encourage SEA's new SEA-Grenada connection. Half of the students were sent off to enjoy a few more hours at the local beaches and markets, while the other half (including myself) were on-board to give tours to people interested in seeing what life on a sailing school vessel is all about. At around two o'clock, Liz Fisher and the crew of the Cramer welcomed the Governor General (equivalent to the President of the country) as well as the US ambassador and several prominent people from St. George's University. Everyone who came on-board was full of questions about SEA's programs and fascinated with our lifestyle at sea. It was really exciting to share our home and our mission with people. I found myself truly passionate about what I have accomplished in the past five weeks and was delighted to boast a little bit to my tour groups about my individual successes and our accomplishments as a crew. Our day of on-board tours was a complete success and Liz informed us that the SEA-Grenada connection is assured to carry on and become even stronger.

    Tomorrow we depart our new friends in Grenada and begin the final leg of our journey to St. Croix. Four weeks ago, while battling seasickness and wondering if I could ever adapt to the shipboard routine, I would have never dreamed I would enjoy such an experience in the Caribbean. All of our struggles and hard work were most certainly rewarded by our time here in Grenada: the experience here has been nothing short of magical and I feel I can speak for most of my fellow shipmates when I say that Grenada has captured a piece of our hearts. The crystal blue waters, white sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and friendly faces are just some the elements that have made our time here so fantastic (this photograph was taken by Alexis Quigley of the lights in view from our dock in Port Louis Marina).

    We have accomplished so much in our journey to date and find ourselves on the cusp of our last and final challenge of being at sea. It's hard to believe we have come so far, and now it's time to show off our skills as real sailors! Wish us fair winds we begin our final phase and head to St. Croix! Sending Love to everyone at home, Molly Payne

Nov

12

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: Motorsailing making 4.5 knots into St. Georges Harbor, Grenada
  • Current Weather: Current Winds & Seas: Winds 5 knots from ExN; Seas one foot from ExS. Some clouds, all cumulus. Another gorgeous day!
  • Daily Report: Greetings from Grenada! Yesterday was our class field trip and it was quite spectacular - it's an art to fit such a number of amazing places and sights into one day, but our wonderful Liz Fisher (Maritime Studies Professor) craftily pulled it off. Having all of C231 in the same place at once again felt like a family reunion. These past three days have been staggered visits and boat duty between A, B and C watches and after living less than one hundred feet away from each other in the middle of the Atlantic, it was an odd feeling being separated!

    The twenty three of us, along with some of the crew, stuffed ourselves into a wide-windowed bus with air conditioning (what a treat!) and traveled around the mountainous and lush perimeter of beautiful Grenada. Where we stopped for lunch was, for lack of better words, breathtaking. It was a bumpy ride on a few makeshift roads without tourist-clad decoration or souvenirs in sight. That we were headed to one of the most beautiful restaurants I've ever been to in my life did not seem probable, but then we saw a little driveway just big enough for our bus, piled out, and walked into an open room of green wonder and ocean zephyrs. There was a fish pond on the left decorated with vines and flowers and other plants galore throughout the restaurant. The walls were painted murals of the surrounding islands done by local artists and tagged with different sayings like "Remember your roots." Three long tables were pushed together in the shape of a T with white tablecloths, glass water pitchers, and bowties on the chairs where we all sat down. From the table, huge doorways overlooked the green backyard with palm tree leaf-covered tables and beach and ocean as far as any of us could see! For the food, we had all local Grenadian entrees such as sliced breadfruit, chicken in Grenadian sauce, yellow-fin tuna, passion fruit beverages, and vegetable medley.

    After lunch, we milled about the beach. It was rather depressing though - for such a beautiful spot, once we got up close to the water, there were plastics and glass bottles strewn about as far as the eye could see. It kind of put reality back into our perspective and was a nice grounding measure. We must remember that our job as conservationists is never done and I think in the silence that followed all of our walks through the sand, we took that in for what it was and appreciated the beauty mixed with the pollution even more deeply. Nonetheless, it was an awe-inspiring experience, not just because it was beautiful, but because it was meaningful, too. We miss all of you at home and hopehopehope you are doing well! Brendan, you're still here with us, don't think we've forgotten you! Love, Kate Dubickas

Nov

11

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: Motorsailing making 4.5 knots into St. Georges Harbor, Grenada
  • Current Weather: Current Winds & Seas: Winds 5 knots from ExN; Seas one foot from ExS. Sunny!
  • Daily Report: Another of the highlights of our port stop in Grenada was the spice plantation that we visited on Friday. This plantation was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, as was much of the island.

    Hurricane Ivan damaged over 90% of the homes on Grenada while deeply impacting the agricultural industry of the country. We learned that over 80% of nutmeg trees and 40% of the cocoa trees had been destroyed because of the hurricane. This is particularly devastating because of the long period of time it takes for both cocoa and nutmeg to grow to a mature state; nutmeg takes at least five years to reach a state where it bears nuts and can be collected but it take twenty years until it can be harvested in a way that is commercially viable. Before Ivan, nutmeg was one of the biggest Grenadian spice exports; the destruction of valuable trees has negatively impacted a lot of farmers in a serious way from which it will take many years to recover. Consequently because of Hurricane Ivan and the reduced need for agricultural labor, and the depressed world economy, unemployment has risen to 45% in Grenada.

    While at the plantation, the class went through the unique steps of how cocoa is processed on its way to becoming everyone's favorite treat, chocolate (the drying cocoa beans are shown in this image). The foreman of the plantation also made me realize just how many different trees and spices there were on Grenada, showing us the branches of clove, bay leaf and cinnamon trees as well as the bananas and loufa that come from the surrounding forest. The most interesting part was how their plantations are laid out differently then any other plantations in the Caribbean Islands. While elsewhere in the Caribbean plantations are rows of the same species all together, in Grenada the much more ecological approach has always been putting different species of plants next to each other, with each plant being beneficial to the next. That is placing plants strategically so one will shade provide shade cover to the other, or one plant takes certain nutrients out the soil while the other replaces them, thus making the use of land a whole lot more sustainable.

    I know we have all thoroughly enjoyed our port stop in Grenada, but I am looking forward to getting under sail again...Love and thanks to everyone who's been following us, Brian Cade

Nov

10

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: Anchored in Prickly Bay, Grenada
  • Current Weather: Current Winds & Seas: Calm seas, blue skies. Tropical waves on the horizon.
  • Daily Report: Yesterday, the off watches where shuttled to land in Cramer's rescue boat and could be found looking at grass and unmoving ground in wonderment. One group decided to head to the center of the island in search of a rainforest hike. While looking for a cab, we found two gregarious Grenadians, Rocky and Jamal, who agreed to take us to the Seven Sisters waterfall for a reasonable price. Not only did they take us to one of three freshwater lakes on the island but they also turned into our guides through the forest. The short but steep hike took us to two waterfalls, and as we jumped into the pools the water was, to our delight, colder then we excepted. We enjoyed the nutmeg jam and peanut butter sandwiches we packed while relaxing in the cool of the rainforest. Rocky and Jamal told us about their lives here in Grenada. The younger of the two (Jamal) had three brothers and a sister and was planning on joining the navy to see new a parts of the world. Crammed into the back of Rocky's van, we explored the Granadian countryside along curvy, skinny, hilly roads. While the trail to the Seven Sisters falls was not very hard to navigate, it was great to learn more about the island from the people who know it best. Here it is customary to have a guide most places you go, and in a country where forty percent of the islanders are unemployed, every little bit helps.

    We're looking forward to touring the island with our wonderful professor Liz on Friday. The Cramer crew is loving all the new flavors, spices, and sights of this land, but at the end of the day, stepping back onto the floating floorboards of our ship feels awesome!

Nov

09

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Course / Speed: Anchored in Prickly Bay, Grenada! Current Winds & Seas: Wind SE, F3; Seas SSW, 1Ft.
  • Current Weather:
  • Daily Report: Good Morning beautiful people! Oh and what a wonderful morning it is! The sun is shinning, the water is blue and Grenada is resting peacefully beside us. We arrived yesterday in the early morning at around 0600. Everyone was bubbling with excitement at the idea of seeing grass, ungimbled tables, bathrooms that don't move and, of course, our very own Liz Fisher! After meetings and discussions, A and C watch went ashore whilst B watch took care of Mother Cramer. Now, if I had to even begin to fully describe and give a real insight to the life, people and events of our time on Grenada yesterday I would need at least another 2 hours, 6 pages, water colours, pictures and a papaya smoothie (which Esme and I shared yesterday and let me tell you it was out of this world). So I will try and sum it up for you in 3 words- colour, joy and ice-cream.

    Maybe it's because we haven't seen land in a long time or maybe it's the Caribbean light, but the colours of Grenada are astounding! The rolling green hills, the rainbow array of boats, the deep hues of spices and the literally turquoise blue of the water. It is incredible. We journeyed from Prickly Bay to St. George, the largest town. There we ate lunch literally at the waters edge in a delightful restaurant with banana yellow walls over looking the bay. A few of us even had conche burgers! We then explored the spice market: the smells of local cinnamon, nutmeg, oranges, ginger and spices I can't spell hovered in the air. Our conversations with local community members offered insights into where to get the best things and different little local traditions about how to use the spices. These little extra tid bits, things a guide book couldn't and probably wouldn't tell you, are what made our trip ashore so brilliant.

    After the spice market, we took a bus ride to the beach, where things were nothing less then perfect. All of us just lay or floated around like beached whales, savouring the feeling of sand (who thought you could miss sand!) and being able to lie perfectly still. In the style of true tourists, we were probably the loudest people on the beach. Screams of laughter erupting every time one of us went into the water or got hit by a wave. Just when we thought the day couldn't get any better we had fresh coconut (cut right in front of us) and meet the world's loveliest puppy. Phone calls to family and friends followed our beach time, and by then everyone was tired and content. We drove back down to the Marina and had a delicious family meal together. We sat under the stars on lantern lit picnic benches recounting and absorbing our day. An added bonus was that is was trivia night! Although we didn't win the prize, we did get pretty far and had our stomachs hurting from laughing. The stomachache could quite easily also have been from the fact that most of us had had ice-cream 3/ 4 times that day. It was very much a day filled with ice cream. We ate it at every possible moment.

    We send all our loving and joyousness to you parents, friends and Brendan! We miss you immensely. - Ghislaine Mareneck

    P.S. Hello to our friends at the Woods Hole Coast Guard Station! Thanks for following our adventures and your recent letter.

Nov

08

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Course / Speed: 11 deg 56.1'N x 061 deg 22.5'W, about 17 nautical miles east of Grenada's southeast coast / sailing under the four lowers and JT at 3.8 knots, course 212 true
  • Current Weather: # Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds SSE, force 4 and seas SE, 2 feet for much of the sunny day. Currently enjoying clear skies and the tantalizing island lights in the distance.
  • Daily Report:
    Lights flicker off the starboard bow,
    Informing us of what we've found:
    A welcome sight to those who last
    Glimpsed land while standing on its ground.

    Come the dawn with anchors dropped
    We'll swim ashore and trek away
    Into a place we've all forgot
    Where tables do not always sway.

    Grenada's where we'll all delight
    In joys the sea could ne'er provide,
    Like icy cream and mountain sights
    And ocean vistas, now beachside.

    Yet, will this land,
    Albeit grand,
    Fulfill us as it did before?

    With some regrets we must admit
    Our days on sands are numbered;
    How long until we find we miss
    That life that's unencumbered?

    Land's currency is bills and coins
    And these are quickly spent;
    Upon the swells our sweat and minds
    Are all we need to pay the rent.

    'Til we return to roam the waves,
    May we drink well, dine, explore
    And then cast off in our fine ship
    To sail again once more.

    - Matthew Ecklund, esteemed celestial navigation guru

Nov

07

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 13 17.4'N x 60 15.7'W, Under sail making 3.5 knots to the Southeast, 35 nautical miles West of Barbados
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Light winds from the south, waves under 4 feet. Cloudy night sky, but sunny and hot for the majority of the day.
  • Daily Report:
    Hello to everyone and thanks for checking up on the Cramer and all of us. As we approach our port stop and soon enough the final stretch of our voyage, know that we are thinking about all of you back home, hope you are doing well, and are excited to return back to you with new stories and knowledge. Much has transpired since my previous post but collectively I am proud of every member of the crew for meeting the challenges of the open ocean and once again returning to within sight of land.

    Yesterday night we first spotted the glow of Barbados' ambient light on the horizon, and having had the stretch of green land on our sights all day (squint and you, too, can glimpse it in this photo taken aloft on the foremast), it is once again fading into the horizon this evening. From leaving the white sand dunes of Noman's Land (off Martha's Vineyard) to now coming within 30 miles of Barbados, the crew of the Cramer has learned and been brought together by our common challenges of sailing and science; it has truly been an awesome transition to observe. With that said, the pangs of missing home and our loved ones combined with the never-ceasing sequence of watches can be tough on everyone and we are looking forward to some time in port to relax, step back and appreciate how far we've come, and prepare for what we still have ahead. Additionally, fun activities and any break from the regular schedule is great to boost spirits; with Sunday being our day off from class, the crew enjoyed tropical-themed snacks and games today to celebrate our voyage deep into the Tropics.

    We will all without a doubt look back on such times together and remember some of the many great memories of this trip. Thanks again for reading and much love to family, friends, and our loved ones who we miss dearly. - Evan Oleson

Nov

06

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 13 54'N x 59 35'W Course: Traveling south. Approximately 90 miles north-northeast of Barbados.
  • Current Weather: Weather: Mostly sunny with a few squalls in the early afternoon. Winds out of the south-southeast at a Beaufort Force 3. Seas southeast, 3 feet
  • Daily Report:
    Following a refreshing bout of rain during our afternoon watch, the weather had subsided and once again we were sailing along in relatively calm seas. This lull in our time on deck prompted our watch officer, Rachel, to challenge our team to a JT time trial: a competition wherein we would be timed to see how long it took our group of seven to set the Jib Tops'l, trim it according to the current wind, and strike it again, ending with a tight furl on the bowsprit. While our watch has frequently performed this task in the last couple weeks, it had taken us considerably more time than was ideal.

    Ready to prove ourselves, when Rachel called "hands to set the Jib Tops'l" we hastily moved to our positions and began hauling and easing lines to set one of Cramer's highest sails. The sail flew up with little trouble, was trimmed quickly and was brought back to deck as several watch members moved out on the bowsprit to control and furl the sail. All told, this process took about fourteen minutes - a considerable improvement over our past performances and respectable time in the eyes of the crew. Though still room for improvement, we were proud of our accomplishment and have vowed to continue decreasing our time. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a source of competition between the three watch groups.

    Things have been rolling along on the Cramer and as we close on our last couple weeks aboard, I find myself cramming to fit it all in: work on my research project, continue learning on deck, and preparing for my menu for time as assistant steward, among many other tasks. Our days are full to the brim and, while a day off sounds enticing, I don't think any of us would trade the hard work for any other experience. We have all put in great effort to get Cramer from Woods Hole to the Tropics and feel a strong sense of ownership in this huge process. Thanks to all for following along, hope all is well and we think of you often. - Riely White

Nov

05

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 15 29.9' N x 058 55.1' W; Cruising at 6.5 Kts under the 4 lowers, Jib Tops'l and Tops'l; Course Ordered and Steered 190°PSC
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds from ExS, Beaufort Force 5. 6ft Seas from ExS
  • Daily Report:

    As the days aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer pass with increasing speed, we have become more focused upon arriving at our first port stop. For while we all are enjoying the experience of living at sea, there are definitely things we miss from land. Being able to walk for more then 135 feet and in a straight line, ice cream, and not being doused by sea spray upon going outside are some of the most popular things missed. We are all excited about the prospects of exploring Grenada and reuniting with our Maritime Studies teacher, Liz, who did not sail this first leg of our voyage. Here, for example, is a haiku from shipmate Molly Payne, expressing her desire for some of the comforts of land:

    Ahoy Grenada
    Your coke-a-cola flowing
    How I need you now

    While our first week onboard seemed to take weeks to complete, we've all become accustomed to the peculiarities of the watch schedule and it has been shocking how fast the days have begun to pass by since then; one cumulating moment was the announcement during our afternoon class time a few days ago that our time on the boat is already more then halfway over. Since then Mama Cramer has been caught up in the trade winds and as the shanty goes: "the girls have got hold of our towropes today" – we've been truckin' due south since then at the high speed of 6 to 7kts. And when the generator goes dead and a moment of silence passes over the deck, you recognize that it's the wind that is throwing us along at great speed, and how splendid a feeling it is to realize your hands and your muscle is what set those sails to capture the power of the winds.

    Love and thanks going out to all of those following our journeys - Brian Cade

    P.S. from Blais: Robert, hope your leg is healing. Tell your boys good luck at state!! Go Raiders!

Nov

04

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position/Speed/Course: 17 18.7'N x 058 27.8'W, going 7.8kts on a course of 190 true
  • Current Weather: Current Winds & Seas: Winds ExS, F5 and Seas ExS, 8ft. Some lingering cumulus clouds around the horizon, but otherwise it was another beautiful and sunny day.
  • Daily Report: Dear Corwith Cramer fan club, We have entered Phase Two of the Sea Component. What does that mean? It means that we are each taking on more responsibility. One member of the watch spends time as a shadow to either the deck officer or the lab officer each watch, learning the skills needed to take over as "JWO" (Junior Watch Officer) or "JLO" (Junior Lab Officer) during Phase Three. Whenever you are chosen as the shadow for next watch, your mind becomes a stressful whirlwind of checklists and questions. One of the biggest reasons for all the panic lies in the major difference between Phase Two and Three: our watch officers will no longer be a viable resource to ask questions of, therefore, we are all frantically scrambling to get all the necessary information we can out of our current watch officers. In the midst of this process, we have come to recognize that our greatest resource is one another. Often, when we realize there is something on our checklists that simply slipped our mind (such as the never-ending hourlies), we turn around in horror only to find that one of our incredible watchmates already made sure it was done. Every watch member has found a way to lighten the burden of overseeing.

    But it's not just our responsibilities that are changing...In class today we were asked to learn and to practice even more celestial navigation. As if we aren't testing ourselves enough, we have now been challenged to turn off our compass light and steer using our zenith star. To think that thousands of years ago sailors didn't have compasses! Daunting as this task seems, many of us, when we take the helm, have already toyed around with navigating strictly by stars. Besides just steering, however, we have all been practicing our celestial fixes. Using a sextant, we can find the position of a star and using several star lines, we can get a fix for our location. At 1800 tonight we were able to use a star fix to plot our position on the chart; our fix was 17°30.5'N x 058°21.0'W. As you can see by comparing these numbers to those above, we may not be perfect, but we're getting pretty darn good at figuring out where we are in the deep blue sea!

    Much love to all our friends, families, and followers. We hope all is well and think about you every day! --Emma Poland

    P.S. Another reason to learn more about the celestial sphere…you never know what will fall from it! I was on bow watch the other night and saw a shooting star that appeared to be a GIANT ball of fire fall about 12 nautical miles away from Cramer!

Nov

03

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position/Course/Log: 19 25.2' N x 58 16.52' W / 185° / 1380.1 Nautical Miles traveled
  • Current Weather: Current Wind & Sea Conditions: Winds ENE, Force 4; Seas ENE, 5ft.
  • Daily Report: A few short weeks ago you would have found 23 students wrapped in layers of sweaters and fleeces shuffling around the SSV Corwith Cramer, awkwardly setting and striking sails, stumbling as the boat rocked, and feeling somewhat lost and confused, not to mention seasick. We followed instructions to the best of our ability and tried not to fall over lines and down ladders. We called the head the bathroom and below decks downstairs. As we sailed south away from Massachusetts and towards hot climates, we shed layers along with the awkwardness of our actions. I look around today to see us taking control, understanding why we are setting sails, why we should ballantine versus coil a line, or sheet in or out the jib (which Evan is preparing to furl in this image). We are scrubbing soles with vigor and doing 100 counts speedily. We are looking at the radar and understanding what we are seeing while pulling out our sextants to celestially compute a star fix. The change is obvious and exciting.

    In our free time you will no longer find us hunched on a deck box nibbling on the corner of a saltine or desperately trying to catch up on lost sleep. We seem to have figured out when to sleep, when to eat, when to study, and when to appreciate the mind-blowing beauty of yet another amazing sunset or sunrise. You will find us excited for dawn watch and appreciating the salt coating our hair or inhaling Maggie's amazing food with a speed that would impress an outsider looking in. The repetitive routine of our lives - eat, sleep, sail, science, clean - leaves room for the appreciation of Cramer, our shipmates, and the beauty of the ocean and skies around us. We rely and are wary of the simplest of nature's elements: the wind. For this I am thankful because when you are all but disconnected from the outside world, it is a joy to rely on something as powerful as this.

    To our families and friends, we miss you dearly and think of you daily. From the warmth of the tropics,
    Esme Lovell-Smith

Nov

02

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position/Speed/Course: 52 32'W x 21 27.5'N, going 3.2kts on a course of 185°
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: All day we've seen light winds from ENE, making the waves no higher than about 3 feet. We were able to sail with the most sails set today as we've had all trip: the main, the two stays'ls, the jib, the jib tops'l, the tops'l, and the raffee. It's continued to be hot and sunny, with temperatures from 27-29° C.
  • Daily Report: Today on afternoon watch I got a break from a typical deck watch or lab watch by being Assistant Engineer to Tom, the Real Engineer. The assistant engineer basically follows Tom around and works on whatever projects he has going on. At first, this did not constitute much of a break; we began watch by finishing up "engineering field day," which meant we had to clean out the forward pump room, accessible only by clambering down through a hatch on the sole (floor) of one of the heads (bathrooms). Tom made sure some of the day's "gray water," which is water waste from the sinks, got pumped out. This, along with the echoing sound of the vacuum in such a small, enclosed space, meant we had to wear ear protection for a while. Next we had to scrub all of the surfaces down. This was sweaty, nasty work: in the very bottom of the boat on a hot day, I got much of the grime I was scrubbing all over myself. It was soon time for class, however, so when I finished up I hosed myself down on deck in the sunshine, and felt absolutely incredible and refreshed afterward. Seriously, I cannot even express how wonderful it feels to rinse off.

    After class (during which we learned a) fun facts about A watchers and b) how to effectively use RADAR to track weather and navigate), Tom and I continued engineering field day in the engine room, which is also a very hot place. We cleaned up the workbench, and then moved on to fixing an engine room fan. I got to take it apart, remove the carbon and copper conductor pieces, file down new ones (that's what I'm doing in the photo), and solder them in. I had never done any soldering before, so this was exciting. I learned the difference between welding and soldering: in welding, all the pieces being connected are melted down, but in soldering, only the piece that connects the other pieces is melted. I used the soldering iron to melt some wire between the two sections of copper wire in the motor, and once they were connected, the motor worked again! We put it back together and back in its place. As a final touch, I tossed the old carbon and copper bits overboard.

    Tom mentioned today that he bet I never thought I'd be using a soldering iron in a hundred degree engine room in the middle of the Atlantic, and he was certainly right. I also reflected today while I was scrubbing the greasy depths of our boat that I'm having an entirely different experience "abroad" than I ever expected, or than most of my friends back at school, and that even though I'm often sweaty and dirty, I'm learning so much just by experiencing life on a ship and I continue to be grateful that I'm here.

    All the best from the Cramer,
    Lydia Mathewson

Nov

01

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position:
  • Current Weather:
  • Daily Report: What an eventful twenty-four hours we've had aboard our fair ship Cramer! I must begin this daily report by regressing back to the 31st of October, a day referred to by many as Halloween. Ghouls and goblins aplenty gathered on the quarterdeck for an afternoon of lively festivities including a display of unique talents, a pumpkin carving contest, and some of the most scrumptious pumpkin pies that this lover of everything Fall has ever been lucky enough to try. Yet as the festivities waned and the sun dipped gracefully below the horizon (this sunset was something special), the students of the Corwith Cramer had no idea that the trickery and shenanigans of this oh-so-frightful holiday had only just begun.

    With a delightful dinner (for all dinners prepared by our all-star Steward Maggie are) in their bellies, the off-duty watches settled into their bunks for a night of dreams and rest. Meanwhile, the crew of the Cramer, wily and seasoned in the art of at-sea trickery, devised a mischievous Halloween event that will be remembered by each and every student of class C231 for years and years to come. The event occurred just after 2200 when the call for all hands on deck was issued by First Mate Sullivan. Pouring out of their bunks, the students strapped on their harnesses and bustled as quickly as possible to their designated places on deck, ready — if not fairly confused and bewildered — to follow any commands given. In the darkness of the Sargasso Sea night, hands found and grabbed hold of downhauls and brails, hauling away until almost all the sails were struck and furled. A team of students were sent below and a chorus of screams could be heard by all on deck. More students went below and more screams followed; what the students had wandered into was none of than a haunted house — perhaps the finest and most terrifying in all the Atlantic. As the hazy fog of confusion began to settle, it became clear that the students of the Cramer had been tricked by the best in the business. As the amused crew took off their costumes, all hands gathered on the quarterdeck to have a nice long laugh and attempt to bring heartbeats and pulses back to their regular levels. Indeed, it was a Halloween none of us shall ever forget.

    Today, the first of the month, found the Cramer setting the mains'l and beginning a speedier sail to the south as Hurricane Thomas continues westward. Averaging about 4.5 knots with a course ordered of 180º, the Cramer is currently located at 26º 13.2' N x 055º 27.9' W. We have officially entered the tropics and as the rays of the sun grow warmer and warmer, a fresh breeze from the northeast keeps us feeling cool. The seas remain tranquil and out of the northeast, and our log currently reads 1231.8 nautical miles. As of today we are halfway through our voyage and as our Captain reminded us, cherish each and every day because they will only continue to go by faster. So as the Cramer continues her southward path towards Grenada, the science continues as usual, the sextants appear each dawn, noon, and dusk, and the mood aboard the ship remains one of happiness and contentment with the community and lifestyle in which we have chosen to live. I wish everyone the best and hope that things on land are going just as swell as things on the big blue sea. Much love to all family and friends and don't forget to vote! Goin' where those chilly winds don't blow
    - Matty Holleb

Oct

31

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 23 25.6' N x 58 06.3' W Course: 180°
  • Current Weather: Wind: NNE, Force 3 Seas: NE x N, 3ft
  • Daily Report: We spend a lot of time trying to figure out where we are and where we want to go. Dodging hurricanes and squalls, we sail ahead, behind, or around foul weather, keeping clear skies on the bow all while trying to maintain a course due south. Recently, however, we have found ourselves in a rather strange situation. There is no wind and there is a hurricane 600 miles south with potential to come find us in the middle of the sea. We opted not to shorten that distance by any means so for the last few days we have more or less been adrift in the south Sargasso Sea.

    A whole new perspective is enabled when the motion subsides. We have been looking ahead for nearly three weeks trying to make good time to Grenada and keeping a watchful eye on the waters ahead. I think right now people are just starting to look aft at what we have accomplished. Thirty-four people have been on a 134 ft. sailboat for three weeks. We've sailed 1180.5 nautical miles to a place where birds are a joyous rarity, traffic is exciting, and the horizon is just a different shade of blue. We look to the stars for entertainment and to our neighbors for a song. Not a simple life, just simplified. Simplified to the point where the wind is more than a sound in the trees, it is our power. The stars are not just speckles of light, they are maps and bow watch companions. We have given up our known ways of life to be out here but what we realize is that the simplest things in nature are the things we never actually knew. Sometimes it just takes a few days in the doldrums to figure it out.
    Trick or treat ~ Collin D. Schmitt

    P.S. We have discovered some deep sea pumpkins in our recent science net deployments. Strange resemblances.

Oct

30

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position/Course/Speed: 23 57'N x 58 10'W / Hove-To
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Calm winds and sea out of the NE, so calm that three sails are set and we are essentially being propelled by the current. The sea looks completely different than it has thus far on the trip, almost like glass. We are hove-to for the night to let Hurricane Tomas pass through before heading south.
  • Daily Report: G'day mateys! We have successfully survived Tropical Storm Shary, which I understand is now a hurricane. That was an exciting experience in itself, what with the 20 foot swells and constant rolling of the ship. Aside from some minor bumps and bruises from losing our balance, we all made it through the storm in top shape. In fact, after dealing with those waves, I feel safe in saying that we have all found our sea legs, and seasickness is behind us, knock on wood. Today's weather showed us just how calm the ocean can be after the passing of such a large storm, as our movements were dictated primarily on the engine rather than the trade winds we eagerly await. During breaks in the weather, almost all of us have gotten the chance to go aloft, which I must say is very intimidating. The first few steps are the hardest as you must maneuver past the scientific gear and navigation lights, but then it's a clear path to the course brace where you can take your first rest. Then, assuming you have the nerve, it's just 50 more feet until you're at the tops'l yard and can literally see 360 degrees around you for miles. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about being in the rigging is that you are not allowed to yell out while you are up there. This means that if you spot a whale, you cannot yell out 'Thar she blows!' If you want anyone else to know, you must come up with a hand signal for your shipmates, provided they're still watching you, or climb down and tell them in person. Unfortunately still, there have been no megafauna sightings apart from a few Atlantic Spotted Dolphins last week. The picture you see is from the first time that I went up into the rigging. Others that came up with me include our watch officers: Sully and Erin, and our watch, Blais, Shelby (gazing longingly at the horizon), Hannah, Lydia, Brian, and myself. We went up within an hour of sunset on a relatively cloudy day, but every now and then the sun would poke through with an amazing view. We are all excited about future trips up there to think and gaze at the horizon. That's all for today, but I would like to leave you with one final thought: we are only two weeks into our trip and are already at the same latitude as Key West and it's 80 degrees everyday. Life is good. - Mickey Cavacas

Oct

29

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 26 05'N x 57 50'W Speed: Motoring at 6.5 knots Course: 195° PSC (roughly south)
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: It's been a calm and sunny day, and although some squalls are looking mighty threatening to our west, they're likely to stay there. It's starting to get pretty hot down here!
  • Daily Report: Well, after a squally and unpleasant day and night, things have calmed down. Unfortunately, they have calmed to the point of us resorting to motoring in order to make headway. While this certainly gets us where we need to go, it makes life a little warm below decks. Many of our crew took advantage of the relatively still deck to get some workout time in, much to the amusement of those of us on watch at the time. The picture is pretty self explanatory in that regard. On that afternoon watch, I was assistant to our engineer, Tom. Although much of that watch was taken up by class, we managed to fit a few jobs into the schedule. This included going aloft on the foremast to "check wiring." While the wiring did get checked, I was mostly up there for the sights, which included a lone sea turtle! I spotted him just off our starboard bow, and although we quickly left him behind, Tom and I enjoyed that sight greatly. We also checked out the motor on the rescue boat and the battery bank down below to round out an afternoon of engineering. A great day was finished off by Maggie and Kate's wicked tacos. That's all the news from the Atlantic today. Thanks for following us! We're thinking of those of you on land, especially Brendan. Good night! ~Becca Rusk P.S. Happy birthday to Beth and Maddy!

Oct

28

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 27 10.6 N x 58 15.1 W Course and Speed: Hove to under main staysail
  • Current Weather: Today's weather: Squally with heavy rain at times. Seas 15'. Wind 20 to 30 knots.
  • Safety lines run the length of the deck, foulies and harnesses are mandatory for the on watch, and Mama Cramer's motion is lively on the building seas, but everyone's at dinner and Maggie's stromboli disappears so quickly it's hard to believe she fed us bread pudding three hours ago. Banter all but drowns the sound of wind and waves in the main saloon as dishes are passed. We ran south on the wings of cool northern breezes and tasted the joys of trade wind sailing (1 part salt spray, 2 parts speed, dash of sunscreen). We're currently hove to under the main staysail enjoying full bellies, laughs, and camaraderie built on 1500 miles journeyed together. Keeping a weather eye and dreaming of the trades.

Oct

26

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 29 55.7' N x 057 53.6'W, sailing a course of 180 degrees at 7.3 kts
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Air temperature 24 degrees C; a pretty cloudy night, not great for stargazing but a beautiful breeze.
  • Daily Report: B watch finally made it aloft today and the weather was beautiful! Climbing up so high on the mast was really nerve-wracking, but we conquered our fears and it was definitely worth it. We'll never be the same, everything was so blue and gigantic! Thank God for Rachel, one of our watch officers; without her, we all would have most likely frozen on the shrouds. Today had a perfect ending with Miss Maggie's delicious steak and mashed potatoes. Shout out to all the friends and families of everyone aboard, we love and miss you all! -Alexis Quigley

Oct

25

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: East of Bermuda (32 deg 10' N x 58 deg 30' W) sailing southeast at 6.8 knots
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds and seas from the ENE, swells 6 - 7ft. Partly cloudy skies but many stars and the waning moon visible.
  • Daily Report: All hands have been busily working to complete their Week One Deck and Lab Checklists, assignments that require mastery and demonstration of basic knowledge and skills essential to safe and smooth shipboard operations. Once the entire watch has been checked off, they get training for and permission to go aloft. Congratulations to C Watch for being the first aloft yesterday! Despite the challenges of climbing the shrouds on a moving ship and possible hesitation due to the height, all agreed that the view from aloft on the foremast was incredible (one perspective is shown here). Now many want to spend all their free moments aloft!

    With the Sea Component of C231 well underway, we are looking ahead to the upcoming gradual shift of responsibility into student hands. During the next two weeks, students will be asked to oversee more of the sail maneuvers, navigation and lab/deck coordination under the watchful guidance of their Mates and Assistant Scientists. Already students have been calling basic science deployments and sail setting/striking with great success! All is well aboard and we continue to enjoy our time in the Sargasso Sea.

Oct

27

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 28° 41' N x 58° 06' W (Nearing the same latitude as Cape Canaveral)/ 5 kts / 180° PSC
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: As of 1900, winds are ExS, F5 (17-21 kts). Seas are ExS as well, with waves averaging 7 ft on a moderate swell and increasing. We are experiencing weather associated with a low pressure system. As a result, foul weather gear has been at the ready all afternoon and the net affectionately called the 'student strainer' has been put in place. Not to worry, it hasn't been needed.
  • Daily Report: Greetings! I would like to extend a thank-you from all of us aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer for following us on our epic journey south. Much of today has been dictated by the weather. Squalls have been in the area all day, but it wasn't until after lunch that the decision was made to move class below decks, and soon thereafter strike the mainsail to set the storm trysail. Time spent in lab this evening consisted of processing a neuston net and filtering water for chlorophyll from a recent hydrocast deployment. I learned how challenging (and rewarding) it is to pour water out of a graduated cylinder during a 25° roll. Meals were another experience altogether. First, baked apples are the prefect breakfast food. Never has an apple been so delicious! Dinner saw the most extreme rocking of the tables yet. Surprisingly, no hot sauce was sent flying. Overall, the tempestuous conditions have done absolutely nothing to dampen our spirits. Again, it means a lot to have people following along with us, so thanks! Hope you've enjoyed another exciting episode of As the Cramer Sails. We're all thinking of our people back home (landlubbers!). Yours truly, Hannah Blatchford

Oct

24

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: East of Bermuda, sailing south at about 5 kts Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Continued 10 - 12 foot swells under partly sunny skies
  • Current Weather:
  • Daily Report: Hey, everyone! It's update time again for your favorite blog. Apart from drifting through enormously high swells at breakneck speeds, isolated from any major continents, we seem to be doing pretty well for ourselves. Let's talk a little about seasickness. Like with any ailment, the sufferer feels an almost instantaneous need to rest and sweat and lounge about, watching old episodes of Knight Rider while sipping a fresh-out-of-the-fridge Sunny Delight. Alas, on this boat, there's no time for that; in fact, there's no time for anything at all - other than watch duties and homework and of course, that veritable pastime, sleep. While that's all nice and good, our attentions are continuously focused on scientific exploits and meddling with the ship. When we come home, there's a good chance we'll use gibberish that you've never before heard of when trying to explain ourselves, like "jiggers," "fo'c's'le," and "gybing." There's always something new to be learned and always something more to do - up to the last.grueling.second. Of the last.grueling.hour. Of the last.grueling.watch. It's a challenge, but my shipmates do it all with a smile and a spring in their step.

    Today, A watch (which I proudly am a part of) had the afternoon six-hour watch, which meant we toiled while others made use of their class-less Sunday for whatever they wanted. The crew says that it'll all even out in the end...We went about some sailing maneuvers, lab deployments, and then pulled out the sextants to derive our position from stars in the sky. I marked the end of my watch with bow lookout duty - essentially scanning the horizons for anything of note from the front of the ship. This is undoubtedly my favorite part of "deck watch," solitary and quiet, bouncing along with our vessel as we cross over briny waves and under cavernous clouds. The adventurousness of it all is rivaled only at the helm, with the awesome feeling of steering the ship. Plus, the bow lookout gives me just one more opportunity to appreciate just how lucky we are to be here, and the immensity of our surroundings. (PS: Much love to my family, friends, and girlfriend! Also, Brendan, keep it real!) - Chris Duckworth

Oct

23

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 33°51.33'N x 61°46.186'W, Sailing Southeast making 6 knots over the ground
  • Current Weather: # Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Solid breeze around 20 knots from NNW throughout the day made for good sailing, and continuous big swells, some over 10ft, kept the boat rocking. Beautiful night sky dotted with cumulus clouds; looks like a pleasant night of sailing.
  • Daily Report: Greetings to all our readers and thanks for following us along on our journey south. We all very much appreciate the support family and friends have shown that got us to this point and we look forward to returning home with new experiences and perspectives to share with all of you. The crew seems to be falling into the groove of life at sea, meeting its challenges with enthusiasm and fully basking in its glories. Today we gave some love back to Cramer, our wonderful home for a week now, and gave her an outstandingly thorough cleaning. Being part of this community is truly a pleasure and everyone was happy to give some time back to the boat (and was also excited about the showers, music, and candy we were allowed as a reward…). While smooth sailing and glorious sunsets (what today's picture doesn't show well was the monster swells) are enjoyable, I have perhaps most enjoyed so far taking on the challenges of ocean sailing and watching the entire crew learn so much and enjoy themselves. We all look forward to more challenges, plenty more learning, and some Caribbean weather. Sending much love out to family, friends, and all our loved ones back home; we hope you are all doing well and thanks for caring about us. –;Evan Oleson

Oct

22

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 32°40.37'N x 64°;49.68'W, approximately 120 miles N of Bermuda! Sailing at 6 knots.
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds have been very good, coming from the NW, and seas about 4-5 feet - all around good weather today. We've seen some squalls in the distance which have made for some great clouds!
  • Daily Report: Greetings family and friends from the Corwith Cramer! This is Molly Payne writing to let all you land-lovers know what we've been up to out here on the high seas! Today was a beautiful day on the Atlantic (Northern Sargasso to be more specific). The warm weather has made our winter clothing obsolete and we have all been enjoying a life of sailing in the sunshine! I've learned so much in the past couple days (now that I'm finally adjusted to life aboard a moving vessel). Last night I got my first glimpse of Leptocephali, or eel larvae, which were caught in our midnight neuston net tow. I am excited to be looking closely at these organisms in my personal research project. The creatures we have been identifying in our nets have been nothing short of fascinating. Tiny squid, lantern fish, baby flying fish, and jellies are just a few of the things we have seen so far. It is so neat to see what is living in the beautiful blue ocean that we have been traveling through. Today's picture is of our deployment of an automated research float commissioned by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute as part of an international oceanographic collaboration. The Argo float was transported by us to its desired position and then we simply tossed it overboard. The cardboard box will break down around it and the Argo will be left floating around in the Sargasso collecting data. The tossing of the box overboard was quite amusing to us, the crew, and we look forward to one more float deployment at a later point in our cruise.

    Tonight my watch got our first taste of "Star Frenzy." In other words, we began to use our sextants to shoot the positions of navigational stars to determine our location. I was very excited to finally be using the stars to navigate, and apparently I'm good at it too! Now not only can we admire the stars, but we can use them to help us along on this journey. A full moon and surrounding stars glistening above the waves of the open ocean is a sight that I will certainly not soon forget. The feeling of being out on deck at night with the wind in your face is simply phenomenal. As this journey continues to unfold, I am learning more and more about sailing and about myself. I can't wait to tell you all about it in person! Sending love to all the families and friends of the crew, including mine - love you Mom, Dad, Hannah and Ryan! Standby for tomorrow's update…onward we sail! - Molly Payne

Oct

21

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 35°24.9'N x 65°30.0'W, sailing strong at 8 knots, steering 140°. We are about 190 miles NE of Bermuda.
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Winds SWxW and waves around 6 feet. 50% cloud coverage early in the evening, with temperatures remaining nice and warm at 24.5°C.
  • Daily Report: Mid-watch at the wee hours of the morning from 2300 last night til 0300 this morning was warm with increasing waves and clouds in the area. Both dawn and morning watches experienced some lovely rain that moved in but it eventually cleared and C-231 experienced yet another beautiful sunny day on the Atlantic. Class this afternoon consisted of weather, navigation and science reports as usual, more "creature features" and a lesson from our 1st and 2nd Mates on how to navigate by the stars. The picture taken is from my, Collin and Esme's presentation today on types of gelatinous zooplankton that will be found in many of the net tow samples collected during daily science deployments. Using a sleeping bag (with Collin inside of it), we demonstrated the differences between our three organisms by adding and taking away features that distinguish the various zooplankton from one another. Class today was followed up by cupcakes and song to celebrate both Lydia and Nikki's 22nd birthdays! Almost everyone has now officially recovered from seasickness, we're almost on some sort of a regular sleep schedule, still loving Maggie's wonderful cooking, and loving everyday aboard Cramer! Shout-out to Brendan and all the friends and families that are tracking our journey. The sailing continues! - Shelby Mann

Oct

20

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 36°21.4 N x 67°24.5 W / 3.5 knots / 160°(SSE)
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: The skies are relatively clear with squalls on the horizon. The waves are probably around 3 feet.
  • Daily Report: Hello everybody from the deep blue sea! This is Phoebe McGuire writing to you from off the coast of Virginia. We are now on our third day underway and headed to the Caribbean! The past three days have felt like three weeks... waking up at 3 in the morning, learning tons of different lines, cleaning, cooking, dish washing, sail handling, and all that jazz. And that is just a little taste of all that we have been doing since we left Dyers Dock in Woods Hole. Today was a beautiful day. Last night I had watch from 23:00 (11 PM) to 03:00 (3 AM). My job for the night was galley (kitchen) clean up. I spent most of those hours scrubbing the floors, cleaning the mats, and making sure everything was spick and span. Sailors really do like to keep a clean ship! On deck the rest of my watch was taking care of science and sailing the boat. There was lightning in the distance, beautifully lighting up the night. I worked on deck with my watch handling the sails, in between scrubbing the mats of the galley. 03:00 came and C watch relieved us (B watch) so we were able to sleep.

    At 13:00 (1 PM) B watch was on watch again. I got to work on deck, at the helm and doing various other jobs such as hourly weather reports. At 14:15 (2:15 PM) we had class which I think is one of the best parts of the day. We all get to meet together on the quarterdeck and learn! Today I taught the class about isopods and how to identify them in the lab. We then had The Great Biannual Corwith Cramer PIN CHASE of 2010!!! This was where we lined up in our three different watches (A, B and C) and had a race to the hundred different lines aboard Mother Cramer. It was in the form of a relay race where we had to carefully walk (anything faster than a walk called for a punishment of a crab walk) across the deck and point out the line that was given to us on a note card by one of the crewmembers. The race called for lots of cheering, excitement, and fun! And my watch (B watch) won!! It was very awesome!!! B watch then continued on watch until 19:00 (7 PM) and afterwards we ate a delicious dinner of homemade pizza prepared by our amazing steward Maggie. After dinner I squeezed in a shower and now I am here in the library writing to you all out in the "real world." Life aboard the ship is much different, but I love it. It is challenging and I am learning so much, all the while in a beautiful environment. The picture taken is from tonight's sunset. It was breathtaking. Well, we love you and miss you all; Brendan, we think about you every day! Stand by for tomorrow's update. Signing off. - Phoebe

Oct

19

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position / Speed / Course: 37 deg 21.3' N x 068 deg 56.4' W, sailing in the Gulf Stream, east of Virginia / 7.2knots / 165 degrees True
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: WSW winds consistent at Beaufort Force 4 (which is about 11-13 mph). The waves have been between 3-5ft all day but they're getting a bit bigger this evening, closer to 5-6ft.
  • Daily Report: Since C Watch was up until 3am last night, we got to partake in something the Cramer Crew lovingly calls "The Sleep of Kings," where one gets to sleep from the time watch ends (3am) until class starts (2:15pm). Well, I most definitely took advantage of those sleeping hours and woke up as kingly as one can after a rough 48 hours of seasickness. Today was the first day that I hardly felt nauseous at all! I'm glad that my body seems to be finally obtaining these 'sea legs' that the veteran seagoers tell me I'll have soon enough. With my new 'sea legs' underneath me, I was finally well enough to successfully stand on the bow as Lookout for this evening's watch. From 6pm to 7pm, I strapped my harness right below the Topsail sheet (pronounced top sole, not sail. Learning to speak like a sailor!) and looked out over Cramer's bow in search of other ships or anything out of the ordinary. The hour up there was nearly indescribable!

    To my starboard side, there was a yellow and orange sky painted with pink layers of clouds still bright from the just set sun and to my port side, a near full moon shone out across the white-capped ocean. Periodically, the sky would illuminate with heat lightening. Every so often, the boat would hit a wave just right and send the bow flying up. On its way down, sea would spray through the bowsprit netting. I found that if you ducked at the right angle and at just the right timing, you could avoid getting too salty and wet. Eventually, Papa B (Brian) came to 'relieve me' when A watch took over and C watch and 'others' (members of the ship not part of a specific watch, such as the captain, steward, and chief scientist) got to leave for dinner. After the flailing up and down on the bow, I still wasn't nauseous and I successful enjoyed dinner down below. My sea legs seem to be holding out pretty well. Mostly everyone has been feeling better; there's a few still not 100% but we're well on our way. Brendan, we all say hey! And of course, everyone else, we all say hey! And that we love you and miss you! And know that, despite our uncomfortable occasions of heaving our past meals over the railing, we are so very fortunate to have you there to support us and we are so thankful that you have allowed us be here! Now I'm going to bed, because I have watch again in six hours, goodnight! -Kate Dubickas

Oct

18

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 39 07'N x 069 51'W (about across from Delaware Bay) Speed: 5.1kts Course: 195 (roughly south-southwest)
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Cloudy, warmer, wind from WxN at about 14 kts, Seas from WxN with a height of about 5 ft. Sea Conditions: Waves from the west and remaining moderate throughout the day
  • Daily Report: After almost two days of sailing in beautiful, sunny weather, we are tired from watch, our hands are raw from hauling lines, our brains are full, and we (those of us not still hugging the rail) are happy. I speak for many when I say that today was the turnaround point for seasickness, and I am feeling great! Science has begun, and after two Neuston tows and other deployments, groups now have data to begin their projects! Classes also began today, and we were all thrilled to hear the list of assignments due in the next six weeks. Spending much of my time on deck in an effort to combat the sickness, I have learned so much already about the sailing of a tall ship. There are so many things to do on watch - from setting and striking sails to gybing, taking hourlies to steering the ship, and manning bow watch - that a six hour watch flies by. I manned the helm for the first time today but after many overcorrections was graciously relieved of my post. Riely, despite his seasickness, proved to be a more apt helmsman than I. I ended my night with an hourlong bow watch - uneventful yet very meditative - and had time to be thankful for this opportunity, for the great weather, for not being seasick, and for my family and friends at home who are reading this report. From all of us on the Cramer - we love you! - Blais Hickey

Oct

17

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: 40. 47' N x 70.41' W Speed: 6.7 kt (very fast!) Course: South 185
  • Current Weather: Current Weather: Clear and sunny with winds at 15 to 20 knots from the west to southwest Sea Conditions: Waves from the west and remaining moderate throughout the day
  • Daily Report: Sail away! Early this morning SSV Corwith Cramer escaped it's restraints of Dyers Dock in Woods Hole and set a course for the high seas. The ship was filled with many lovely smiling faces at the thought of getting underway today. We began to officially apply everything we had learned for the last six weeks and two days from weather observations and location plotting to boat checking and sail handling. There were many brave and strong souls today as the new experience finally sank in to most of our minds-on a ship, sailing into the ocean, no turning back. There were a few moments taken to just sit and contemplate all of this but only a few because soon there were sails to set. Everyone gave it their best and did all they could for their ship and shipmates. -Devin Wild

Oct

16

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: Position: Dyer's Dock, Woods Hole
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Clear and sunny most of the day with high winds
  • Daily Report: Today we started to "pick up the spaghetti" and began to learn many of Cramer's lines and their function. We got a head-start on learning some sail handling while still in calm waters. We performed many safety drills, donned immersion suits (and loved it if you couldn't tell from this picture), and thoroughly enjoyed all of Maggie's fabulous meals. Tonight we will also participate in watches. Cramer is expected to set sail tomorrow morning and the anticipation couldn't be higher. Everyone is beaming with excitement for the adventure ahead. -Nikki Zuck

Oct

15

SSV Corwith Cramer C231 - Ocean Exploration

SSV Corwith Cramer  C231 - Ocean Exploration
  • Current Position: # Position: Dyer's Dock, Woods Hole
  • Current Weather: Current Weather & Sea Conditions: Gale force winds, cold, light rain
  • Daily Report: Twenty-three students joined the crew of the Corwith Cramer in high winds and stormy conditions this afternoon. We remain tied up to the dock for the evening, and are hoping for calmer seas tomorrow so we can depart on our voyage south. Even though we have yet to leave the dock, we have entered a new world unlike any we students have ever been a part of. We are so excited and honored to call Cramer our home for the next six weeks. -Honora Montano