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Voyages

SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

The Corwith Cramer departed from Woods Hole on Tuesday, August 2nd with students participating in the Science at SEA. They will spend time sailing and collecting data, and will disembark in Woods Hole Wednesday, August 10th.

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Aug

09

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Monday, 8 August 2011
Tarpaulin Cove, Naushon Island
GPS: 41°28.5’N x 70°45.3’W
Heading: 035°
Speed: 0 knots
Weather: Consistent drizzle, winds NE, Beaufort force 3, temperature: 22C
Caption: Oceanographic poster presentations commence!

Today at SEA we faced fog, intense heat, and then a downpour after we had anchored off of Naushon Island in Tarpaulin cove. This all after a day of dealing with a range of weather conditions the captain told me was typical of a low pressure system moving through the area …strong winds from the south, heavy rain and fog. We even hove-to for a while when the winds got up to Force 7!  Last night there was so much fog you could hardly see the bow of the boat!  Now I know why we need to stand look out.

Today we presented our research projects that focused on data we’ve been collecting over the trip. These projects were all very interesting, having to do with the relationships between things like plankton, phosphate, ocean currents, dissolved oxygen, and sunlight. Although there was no singing involved, the projects were all well explained and there were tons of good questions. We are all buckling down to work on our journals, as the journal reviews are tomorrow. The food was exceptionally good today- our galley provided us with leftovers from this week, including: lasagna, mac and cheese, taters, and purple drank. Then we had pudding with oreos. WOW. Mom, I’m writing down the recipe… Now that the Cramer is anchored, the students are no longer experiencing motion sickness due to the ship rocking. Looks like potential plans to go swimming are canceled as it is raining cats and dogs out here and there is lightening.

This has been a review of our activities today, but now I’d like to briefly describe our “community”. We all share the opinion that we have formed a spectacular group and have all made great friends. We are all starting to feel very sad about the close of this program, but that isn’t stopping us from having a great time.
-Ethan, with moral support of Zoe and editing by Patrick

Aug

07

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Sunday, 7 August 2011
GPS: 40°57.3’N x 070°53.4’W
Heading: 110°
Speed: 5 knots
Weather: Drizzle, SExS winds- Beaufort force 5, temperature: 22.9°C
Caption: Students study light and color attenuation in the water column with tiny, specialized sampling equipment.

It all started at dawn watch, a four hour shift from 0300 to 0700.The “labbies” from C Watch (Corey, Morgan, and I) mostly processed the data from the final super station completed the day before.  We had collected many interesting specimens that we then labeled and preserved in formalin (among these creatures were crab larvae, a starfish, lantern fish, shrimp, and much more).  Corey did a 100 zooplankton count which took all four hours to complete! As he poured over the recently deceased zooplankton under the dissecting scope, Morgan and I threw on some crazy hats and started chemical titrations.  We had to figure out the amount of dissolved oxygen in each water sample from the super station - a process called “winkling”. Winkling took us most of the morning and was very tedious but one benefit was the beautiful sunrise. We watched the starry night sky turn from a midnight blue to a brilliant pink, golden hue.

Soon our watch was relieved by the next and breakfast was served (then I slept until lunch)!  On the boat, we try to grab as much sleep as we can between watches because day watches are six hours and night watches are at odd times so it’s nice to be rested so that you can be aware of everything. It’s up to the watch on deck to keep everyone safe so you must be very attentive (and awake!!!) in order to perform your duty.  In the dawn watch you are assigned two daily questions; one for the lab and another for people on deck. Our question was about bioluminescence, so naturally we took the more creative route and wrote a song about it.  After our presentation we had regular class. In class we took different colored M&Ms and threw them over the rail. We were timing them to see which color was visible for longest (light attenuation). As for the nautical part of class, we went around learning our lines and line handling in watch groups.  As soon as class was over C watch was allowed time off until dinner; most people slept, hung out on the headrig (literally!), or milled around on deck.  After dinner ended, we were back on watch from 1900 to 2300.  Our watch was rather uneventful and chilly but we warmed up with tea and raspberry bars made by the galley girls!  As soon as our watch ended, we dove into our bunks and fell asleep to the gentle rocking of our temporary home, the Corwith Cramer.
- Camille, C Watch

Aug

06

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Saturday, 6 August 2011
GPS: 40°20.5’N x 071°7.4’W
Heading: 345°
Speed: 4.5 knots
Weather: Sunny and warm, Southerly winds- Beaufort force 4, temp: 24°C
Caption: A Watch enjoys “winkling” in the laboratory.

What would Science at SEA be without the science?! A Watch: 6 hour shift; 0700 to 1300 (7:00 am to 1:00 pm for all you non-sailors). For me, today is lab day. But today is a special lab day! Today is a Super Station! What was on the agenda? First off- a sediment grab in 350 meters of water. Our super station was delayed an hour, and so when we finally got to our destination, we were pressured for efficiency. But A Watch took on the challenge! My job was driving the hydrowire for the sediment grab. But it wouldn’t be science without the dilemmas, oh, nay-nay! A current was causing the equipment to tow instead of going straight down, so we had to put out much more wire than depth to get our sediment! Luckily, we were still able to grab some nice sediment - silty sand from the continental slope.  Then we deployed the Secchi disk - a measure of turbidity in the water column. Afterwards we deployed the rest of our science equipment (carousel, phytoplankton net, surface light sensor) and, finally, towed a neuston net!  Just an easy couple of hours for A Watch.  With hunger in our bellies, we switched responsibility over to B Watch and enjoyed a delectable lunch as we relished in our success! Needless to say, it was a good day in lab. -Mara, A Watch

Aug

05

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Friday, 5 August 2011
GPS: 39°21.5’N x 070°58’W
Heading: Hove-to
Speed: 0
Weather: ENE winds, Beaufort force 3, temperature: 23°C
Caption: Steward Ashley fillets fresh Wahoo for dinner.

Early this morning we saw dolphins off of the bow.  It was pitch black out, so you could only see them when they moved and disturbed the phytoplankton around them causing it to bioluminesce.  It was a beautiful sight to see them darting in and out of the water within inches of the bobstay chain. Every watch was able to see them because they stayed by the ship throughout the whole night.  This morning we reached the second super station location and sent down the Secchi disk to observe how far light penetrated the water column.  We also deployed the carousel, sent a CTD down to 2000 meters, and deployed a phytoplankton and neuston net.  We are under no engine power, just moving by the power of the sails.  After making it off of the continental shelf into deep ocean waters, some of the students were experiencing common symptoms of sea sickness, but are feeling much better now.  The scientific crew is having fun right now pulling samples from the deep water samples and comparing it to the surface water.  The deck crew is enjoying themselves by striking and furling the jib. We are having another very enjoyable day aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer and can’t wait to see our families. -Brian, B Watch

One of the most enjoyable points of my last 24 hours was the other fauna we have come into very close contact with; one is in fact in our bellies! The deckhand, Tristan, set a fishing line out behind the boat yesterday sometime in the morning. Around sunset, Mara, Emmet, Elena, and some others and I were relaxing on the quarterdeck when Mara noticed that the clothespin attached to the railing and the fishing line had come off - a sign that a fish had taken the lure! The cry was let out that we had a “fish on!”, and soon all available hands rushed to help bring the fish aboard and man the cameras for posterity. As we hauled the fish in, we saw that it was a WAHOO!!! The cry of the same word went up and, sparing the gruesome details for the sake of the squeamish, with a little bit of slicing and squelching, we had a wonderful addition to our food stores. The whole crew at this moment has this lovely fish in our bellies.  The fish was quite delicious, put together by our lovely Galley Goddesses in seasoned rice with baked yams and broccoli! In other animal news, we have currently caught from our nets two baby flying fish, many lantern fish, and one baby puffer fish. Stay tuned for more excitement of the animal persuasion. - Corey Allred, C Watch

Aug

05

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Wednesday, 4 August 2011

GPS: 40º 7.6’N x 71º 17.8’W
Block Canyon
Heading: 185º
Speed: 6 knots
Weather: Easterly winds, Beaufort force 4, temperature 23ºC
Caption: C Watch sheets in the mains’l.

Greetings from the SSV Corwith Cramer! We are now on our second day of sailing. The dawn watch enjoyed a beautiful and calm sunrise as we hoisted the sails and shut down the engine. We are now headed south towards the open ocean on a dry east-northeast wind. This morning we completed our first superstation and look forward to the next one tomorrow!

Even though many are battling seasickness, we are becoming more accustomed to the watch schedule and feeling more comfortable with the boat. We are getting into the routine of doing responsibilities such as boat-checks and hourlies in the lab. While on watch, the deck crew is in charge of boat checks, checking for gear adrift, making sure everything is in order with the rigging and engine, and recording the weather. The deck crew also handles sail and steers when at the helm, along with positioning the tubas for maximum ventilation down below. Lab hourlies are readings of temperature, salinity, latitude, longitude, chlorophyll-a, and more, and are collected every hour. The labbies also did a 100-count, which identifies the ratio of different zooplankton in water using a representative sample. They had the opportunity to see many crab larvae, or zoea, which are uncommon in these quantities. They also saw some bioluminescent phytoplankton last night.

In class we learned even more about sail handling. Before we leave, we will be able to coil line like pros. Some have had the opportunity to go out on the bowsprit when we set and/or strike the jib and the jib topsail. We hope the favorable winds will continue as we progress to our next superstation and into the open ocean.

~Chelsea and Ellie, B Watch

Aug

04

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

GPS: 41º 21.2’N x 70º 46.9’W
Menemsha Bight
Heading: anchored
Speed: 0 knots
Weather: Northerly Breeze, Beaufort force 2, clear skies, temperature 22C
Caption: A Watch tries on their survival suits in our walk-through drills.

After an evening watch of severe thunderstorms that brought high winds and distant lightning, the weather settled down and the morning watch of 8/3 brought clear blue skies and lightly northerly winds.  These conditions provided a perfect backdrop for our shipboard safety orientation program which began as soon as we left Woods Hole. Throughout the morning   students continue their familiarization with shipboard routines and are given their assignment on the Watch Quarter and Station Bill (WQSB). The Station Bill is a chart which provides the entire ship’s company with responsibilities in the event of Man Overboard, Fire and Emergency, or Abandonship.  We finished the SAS II orientation program by walking through our emergency drills and practicing our jobs in the event of emergency situations.  The fire pump is exercised, the rescue boat is launched and everyone gets the chance to try on survival “gumby” suits.  A thorough orientation program is the foundation of a safe and successful cruise and no shortcuts are taken in this regard. I was very impressed with the focus of the students as individuals and as shipmates. We are off to a good start!

Captain Wiggs

Aug

03

C235d - Science at SEA II

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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

GPS: 41º 21.2’N x 70º 46.9’W
Menemsha Bight
Heading: anchored
Speed: 0 knots
Weather: beaufort force 3, partly cloudy, temperature - 22C
Caption: Science at Sea II students board the Corwith Cramer

Bright-eyed Science at Sea II students boarded the Cramer today and eagerly explored their new ship together.  We took in our dock lines this afternoon and had a lovely transit down Vineyard Sound.  Now anchored off of Martha’s Vineyard, we have already started the motions of shipboard life. 

After an amazing dinner of herbed fettuccine, freshly-made bread, roasted garlic, and a tasty salad, students started their first orientation stations.  They are cycling through the ship to learn about lab safety, navigation tools and helm commands, the engine room, and how to do a thorough boat check.  Following more orientation tomorrow and safety drills, we will haul anchor and set sail for our first science superstation! 

The red sun is setting below distant thunder clouds and these students will go to sleep tonight tired and excited, humbled by the new knowledge they hope to retain with practice.  For John and myself, along with the rest of the professional crew, we could not be more excited to sail with these particularly inquisitive students.

Good evening to you from the gently rocking Corwith Cramer
- Skye Moret, Chief Scientist