SEA Semester
  • Like Sea Education Association on Facebook
  • Follow Sea Education Association on Twitter
  • Follow SEA Semester on Instagram
  • Watch Sea Education Association on YouTube
  • Add Sea Education Association on LinkedIn
  • Follow SEA Semester on Google+
Sheet

Voyages

SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

Position information is updated on a workday basis only.

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

Mar

22

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Friday 22 March, 2013
Position: 24° 04’ 57.60” N 82° 19’ 33.60” W
Location: Straits of Florida

Image caption: Hands to set everything, even the Raffee!

As all of the days in an adventure must, our trip out at sea is coming to an end. Reflections of the past few weeks have been surfacing, bringing about laughter and smiles as we think about all of the fun that has been had, how much we’ve grown as individuals, shipmates, and crew, and about all that has happened in the 3000 something nautical miles we have sailed. These reflections also bring much talk about what is to come next.

How does one resume a normal life after such a journey? Some are going back to school, some are going to work, some are going home to the arms of loved ones, some are continuing their sailing, some are going to travel the world, and some do not know what to do next, left with a world of anxious possibilities before them. Many have done this transition before and are familiar with the process, however others, like myself, are more reluctant to leave our blue world behind. With a barrage of normal life waiting for us, how are we to hold onto these sea days? How do we make sure this does not fade as swift as a fleeting tide? I fear that we will wake up after our first night off Cramer and feel as though this all were a dream. Most days on Cramer are so good that they usually feel like dreams. If the sailor’s bracelet on my wrist and sandal tan lines on my feet were not there as evidence of my adventures, I might actually start to suspect the great memories I have to all be from a dream.

Today, the Cramer Crew set all of the sails on the ship in the bright afternoon sun. She was a beautiful sight to see. We waved like giddy school girls and boys as pictures of her were taken from the small boat by our first mate Christ and decktern Polenta. Today was our last real chance to sail before making it into Key West at 1100 on the 23rd of March. Since we left Roatan it has been nothing but the wind in our sails. Days like these, I think we all wish to bypass Key West and keep sailing on forever. But alas, there is so much to be done with our remaining time! The past few days have been spent turning in finished scientific papers written with the upmost academic prestige, finishing navigation assignments, and preparing the ship for turnover and port. Life on Cramer has really begun to fall into place. Thinking back to our panic-stricken faces the first time we were told to set a sail, we have come a long way. Now, in the junior watch officer (JWO) phase, students are calling the setting and striking of sails, gybing, getting hove to, tacking, etc. We are stepping into roles we once thought were too big to fill. It is incredible how watch relations grow as more responsibilities are placed into our hands. I think I can speak myself and other students when I say that that I would be nowhere without the help from my supportive and great watch mates, scientist, and mate.

When asked later what I remember most about this trip, I think it will be impossible to pick just one thing or even begin to describe it all. Words are not enough to tell of the infinite blue the sea can be at times, or the way the clouds are so low some days you feel as though you could touch them, or what it is like to process your first neuston tow, examining the 100 count under the microscope to see a plethora of life just beneath the lens. I cannot express what feelings arise when the squares’ls are set for the first time, or how important/powerful/responsible you feel when standing at the helm, or the rush you get when 9-10 waves are tossing the ship back and forth like a see-saw, or the terror that comes over you when lightning creeps closer and closer on the horizon as you scramble to ballantine lines and close hatches. I cannot explain how nice it feels to sail for days on end after so many spent motoring, or what it is like to be woken up early in the morning for watch only to come out on deck and see the most beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen, or how small you feel when looking up at the night sky seeing more stars than you even knew existed. No explanation could tell you of the anxiety and excitement that comes with being JWO, or setting up the science deployments, or the ease and nervousness that sets in every time the captain steps on deck, or how accomplished you feel when you reduce star sights, or use the radar for the first time.

No available words could do any of these experiences justice. No amount of preparation, pep-talks, lectures, lists, guides, or products could ever prepare anyone for what it is like to be out at sea on the Corwith Cramer. It is something that can only be understood through experience. All of the days here out at sea will be greatly missed, the good days and the not so good days. But I know I can speak for everyone when I say that we really have been yo-ho-hoing with the best of them.

Salty love,
Allison Holevoet
C-Watch, Cramer Crew

Mar

21

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Thursday 21 March 2013
Position: 23° 29’ 16.80” N x 82° 52’ 45.60” W
Location: Straits of Florida
Ship: Steering southeast at 7 knots under the full mainsail, staysails, and jib
Wind: East Northeast 20 knots

Image Caption: Hove to at sunset

It’s been a busy and exciting time out here in the Straits of Florida! First of all, now that we’ve re-entered American waters, science deployments are back in full swing. We conducted a full deployment yesterday morning, and are back on station as I type this with the Neuston towing through the water happily scooping up all kinds of critters to be counted and analyzed throughout the afternoon. Yesterday, the entire ship’s company came together to listen to students presenting their projects that they have been working on for the past many weeks. Below decks are starting to remind me of a college library. While it’s windy and rainy on deck, every nook and cranny below seems to have at least one (sometimes more) student packed into it with books and papers, trying to finish their science projects by the deadline tonight. Although they have all completed many projects in their student careers, this time they must balance their work while still standing watch, completing the ship’s chores, and possibly even trying to sleep once and awhile.

In case science projects and watch standing wasn’t keeping them busy enough, they also have their final celestial navigation assignment due tonight as well. For this assignment, each student must take a bearing on three different stars, and derive our position from their “star sights”. These star sights can only be taken at twilight, which is directly after sunset, or before sunrise. Many mornings and evening have seen the deck crowded with students holding sextants, shooting bearings on stars as they try to time the passing clouds and rolling seas to acquire their shots during that short window of time when it is dark enough to see a few stars, but still light enough to see a clear horizon.

If all of the these projects and assignments weren’t keeping people busy enough, we were reminded yesterday that no matter what our schedule looks like, in the end the weather and the ship will always demand our attention as well. Yesterday morning we blew a large rip in our old mainsail, and many students and crew members spent much of the day attaching the new mainsail, which we keep on board for just such occasions. We set our shiny new mainsail at sunset last night, just as the first rumbles of thunder began previewing what sort of an evening we had ahead of us. Once we confirmed that the new sail was in working order, we quickly struck it in preparation of the most dramatic frontal passage of the voyage. Now that the front has blown through, we are once again sailing eastwards, and counting down the miles to Key West. Homeward Bound!

Chris Dimock
Mate

Mar

20

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Wednesday 20 March 2013, 2030
Position: 24° 20.4’ N x 084° 11.3’ W
Speed: 7.3 Knots, motor sailing
Weather: Lightening off the starboard side

Image Caption: C-231 reunited; Phoebe and Shelby, Decktern and Steward

Over one month ago we loaded hundreds of pounds of food onto the Corwith Cramer in Key West. Soon after we received 13 ambitious and hungry students. The past weeks have been spent standing watch, eating and sleeping. This cycle continues throughout the day and with every bell rung, the 29 hungry sailors come scurrying below to devour some food. My job is to provide 6 meals a day (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and midnight snack) to ensure that everyone has food in them every few hours. When provisioning in Key West we received over 300lbs of flour, 100lbs of sugar, rice, potatoes, onions, apples, oranges, grapefruits, pears, and the list goes on. The majority of the produce was stored in refrigerator (reefer) located in dry stores below the galley. Oranges, grapefruits, pineapple, lemons and limes were all hung in nets on deck, which is not only great additional storage space but visually appealing as well. The freezer was loaded with chicken, pork, steak, tofu, frozen fruit, bacon, bacon, and oh yes, some more bacon. Under all of the lower bunks there’s additional storage for dry goods. A whole bunk is dedicated to cans of tomato sauce, whole tomatoes, salsa, diced and crushed. Another to pasta, and more to baking goods, canned fruit, beans, toilet paper and anything else you can imagine needing at sea for 6 weeks. A whole bunk just for costumes is clearly a must as well.

When the students arrived back on February 15th they quickly became familiar with food appearing at all hours of the day. At 1600 snack came “hot out of the galley” to celebrate Allison’s (belated) 21st birthday with fresh, homemade cupcakes. Dinner was then served in 2 seatings at 1820 and 1900. Once everyone settles down for the night, midnight snack magically appears on the hutch (the unit in the main salon that holds all of dishware and so much more) to be eaten when standing one of the night watches. Breakfast is served promptly at 0620 the next morning for the oncoming watch, Captain, Chief Scientist and Engineer, followed by a second seating at 0700 for the off-going watch and lazy watch (those that don’t have watch for another 6 hours). Leftovers from breakfast make their way onto the hutch to be eaten periodically throughout the morning. By 1000 the on watch starts to get a bit cranky so snack comes up to the deck boxes and the watch gobbles down some fruit, granola, smoothies, crackers, baked goods, or anything else that may pop out of the oven in the early hours of the morning. Lunch happens at 1220 and 1300 for the watches and “others” (Captain, Chief Sci, Engineer) to get some food in them before going on watch or taking a brief afternoon nap before class at 1430. Sitting on the quarter deck while learning about the weather, navigation of the ship, science deployments or engineering can really wear a kid out so at 1600 it’s snack time again! Then, the cycle continues. Throughout that cycle for the past 33 days we’ve managed to make a minor dent in the ship’s food supplies. In Roatan we picked up some fresh eggs, fish, starfruit, coconuts, cucumbers, honeydew, plantains and watermelon.

These days the nets on deck sway a little emptier, the reefer looks a little bigger, and I think I can almost see to the back of the freezer. Our bellies are full (too full sometimes), the dishes keep piling high after every meal and if there are leftovers on the table there’s only one thing to do: “put it on the hutch.”

We opened class today with the singing of the national anthem, as we entered back into US waters this morning. We’re quickly approaching Key West, marking the end to this 6-week journey. We’ve all been a little sea sick at times, tired at others, cranky when those two are combined but hopefully everyone can agree that after a meal, or two, or three, their spirits are lifted and their souls well fed.

Shout outs to my family and friends back in the Northwest, I’ll bring some Caribbean sunshine back with me. To my crazy boat family; Lucy, Dan, Mickey, Peaches, and Liann, I miss you all and wish you could be here. See you all oh so very soon.
Shelby Mann
Steward

Mar

19

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Tuesday 19 March 2013, 2300
Position: 23° 38.3’ x 084° 44.0’ W Straits of Florida
Heading: 055°
Speed: 2.0 kts
Weather/Wind: Wind out of the ESE, force 2. Cumulus clouds

Image caption: I mustache you a question but I’’ll shave it for later

What’s up land lubbers!?
What an eventful day here on the Cramer! We are officially out of the tropics and have been under sail power for an entire week. Everyone is incredibly happy to not hear that main engine start up but that may change in the next day or so if the winds continue to die down.

C watch stood morning watch and soon became the self-proclaimed squall watch. Around 0930 this morning a series of squalls hit us, veering the winds from SExE to NE and from force 2 to force 7. We went from sailing at just under two knots to around 9 knots in under 60 seconds. Luckily we were able to strike the top’s’l and jib and heave to to ride out the worst of it. After abut an hour and a half of downpour the skies cleared and it again was a beautiful day of sailing.

After weeks of research in Woods Hole and weeks of data collection at sea, the day that all of us have been waiting for finally arrived. This afternoon in class we had our first round of research project presentations. We heard about the mysterious Antilles Current from Zoey and Inga, I enlightened my fellow crew on the wonders of Trichodesmium, Jeremy and Julia informed us about pteropods, Allison and Natalie wowed us with Leptocephali, and Eric shamed us with his research on plastic in the oceans. It was a great and informative round of presentations and we are looking forward to the rest of them tomorrow.

Tonight while on deck we watched a beautiful sunset, everyone is trying to witness the “green flash” before we get back. Then a few of us went crazy with star frenzy, one of my favorite activities on board. The trip is ramping up and winding down at the same time. There is so much to do in so little time but all of us students are trying to make the most of the remaining few days. It will be sad to say goodbye to Cramer, our home for the last 33 days but I know that everyone is excited to see their loved ones and share their experiences. I know I am!

Alex Nelson
University of Washington/C Watch (squall watch)

P.S. Sarah and Byron, good luck on finals this week! I know you guys will do awesome and I miss you quite a bit. Love you two!

Mar

18

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Monday 18 March 2013, 2100
Position: 22° 48.9’ N x 085° 03.8’ W

Image Caption: Casey and Eva shooting the stars during star frenzy.

Hello world!
Where has the time gone? Today marks day 32 on the Cramer and what a beautiful day it was. The sun was shining and the wind was working in our favor, allowing us to sail around 9 knots. For this part of the trip, we were expecting to be fighting the wind and possibly even motoring through the Yucatan Channel. Luck, however, is on our side and today we were able to sail with the Mains’l, Mainstays’l, Tops’l, Course, and Jib, which makes the Captain (and us) very happy. In the past 24 hours, we went 172 nautical miles, which has been the highest log distance thus far!

Science deployments continue to be on standby, as we are still sailing through Cuban and Mexican waters, where we do not have permission to sample. That is fine with the students though, because most of us have been very busy putting the final touches on our research papers. Tomorrow begins the presentations, and I cannot wait to hear about all of the interesting conclusions my shipmates have made about their data. Allison and I present tomorrow on our leptocephali (eel larvae) research, which now has a near and dear place in our hearts.

In a few days, we have a Nautical Science assignment due and we have to do a star fix. This part of celestial navigation requires us to shoot stars using a sextant to determine our location. Nautical twilight occurs in the morning and evening, so students gather on the quarterdeck for star frenzy, quickly determining the height in the sky of various stars such as Canopus, Rigel, Capella, Sirius, and Aldebaran before the stars fade or the horizon becomes too dark.

It’s crazy to think about how fast this has all gone by. It seems like just yesterday we were all arriving, nervous and excited about what was to come of our time on the Cramer. Now, we can navigate by the stars, track ships, and call the setting and striking of sails with confidence. With only a week left, I think I can speak for everyone aboard and say how amazing this experience has been so far and how truly happy and grateful we all are.

Lastly, I want to leave you with an excerpt from Ernest K. Gann’s, Song of the Sirens, so graciously provided by our Maritime Studies instructor, Jane McCamant.

“For now in the time of thrilling noon light every sail on our ship was hauling magnificently, all of our pennants and flags were snapping in the wind, and friendly explosions of sea glistened over the weather rail to refresh us. Our ship was stout, our people all well, and one more long voyage was history in our log.”

Godspeed,
Natalie Wall
St. Lawrence University/ A watch

P.S. Tommy wishes love and best wishes to his mama for her birthday! And says sorry they’re belated.

Mar

15

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Friday 15 March 2013, 2100
Position: 17° 50.3’ N x 085° 03.3’W

Image Caption: Rupert the fearless fighter

The seas continue raging, but they have toned down their temper a bit. We are rolling and bumping along, doing our best to restrain both our stomachs and belongings while the weather continues. We were visited by yet another feathered friend, pulling at our heart strings as he sat perched on a shroud, holding on for dear life. And, it turns out that our dear friend Rupert stayed the night with us, hidden away in his own little bunk on deck. He has all of our best wishes. Seeing all of these struggling birds makes you wonder at all of those who fail to find temporary shelter aboard a boat…do they perish?! I sincerely hope not. We were also visited by a red-footed booby today, a small pod of playful dolphins, and an assortment of terrified flying fish! It was an exciting day in the world of fauna, and we hope for another tomorrow. 

We have taken a short break from science deployments for the time being, which means labbies have plenty of time to work on their quickly approaching project deadlines. By next Wednesday we will all have shot three reliable stars with the sextant, reduced them, and obtained a location from our work. It is a daunting task but one that we may never have an opportunity to try again, and there is excitement in that. Our science projects are coming along, and walking the ship I see biological oceanography students counting their critters through the microscope, and physical oceanographers analyzing water masses and calculating Sverdrups of water transport through various regions. The science is blooming even when our equipment is not in the water, and it is rewarding to see all of the research that is possible without immediate access to internet and smartphones. We are learning by doing, not by regurgitating and I LOVE it! 

We played Whist tonight, a tricky card game akin to Hearts but particular to the maritime world. Inga won, but it was a close game and a boat favorite. We also pulled out Nautical Trivia, Pass the Pigs, and Bananagrams. I got my butt brutally kicked in all four games, which I firmly believe takes a great deal of skill in itself.

A good combination of work & play, with a visit from the sun later in the afternoon made for an all-around productive day. It is sad to think our time onboard the Cramer is closing down, but with our new Junior-Watch Officer phase we are kept busy and alert, while still finding time to enjoy each other and the beautiful ocean around us. Every day on this ship something astounds me, and I am lucky enough to reflect on how incredible our situation is at this moment. We are learning so much, trying so many new things, and becoming part of something irreplaceable. There is nothing like being at sea.

The Cramer sends love to everyone back home, we think of you often, and we dedicate our next sunrise to you.

Love,
Your Salty Sailors
Zoey Greenberg
Bellingham, WA
Student

Mar

14

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Thursday 14 March 2013, 2000
Position:18° 2.5’N x 085° 13.4’W
Image Caption: The water is oh so blue out here! (Photo Credit: Paul Marsala)

Today was a day to find our sea legs again as the wind blew strong with steady gusts around 20 knots out of the NNE.  The deck was restricted, meaning everyone was required to have their harness on and clipped into the puppy runs-the lines that are rigged on both the port and starboard sides of the ship.  B watch (the watch I am a part of) had morning watch today; we had the deck from 0700 to 1300.  While I was in lab, I spent much of the morning on deck trying to settle my stomach as with this wind comes large seas.  Today the swells were at least 7 feet, sometimes as tall as 10 or 11 feet!  This cold frond didn’t bring just big wind and waves however…we were also graced with the presence of Rupert, a small white egret, who took cover on the science deck for most of the morning.  He managed to find a new home in the scuppers for a few hours, but then all of the sudden he was gone.  We can only hope he was able to seek refuge on another ship or regain his strength to fly back to land.

It is funny we departed Roatan only two days ago as everything tends to fall back into place at sea and has a very natural rhythm.  It seems as though everyone is right back into the swing of things with watches, classes, and different responsibilities aboard Mama Cramer.  Tonight we gain even more responsibilities with the start of Phase 3, where each students takes on the role of Junior Watch Officer (JWO) and Junior Lab Officer (JLO).  As JWOs and JLOs, the students and deckhands are the ones who are in charge of the watch.  It is a more hands on role in terms of running the ship.  The assigned JWO is in charge of the big picture and communicating with The Captain about squalls, traffic, changes in weather, amongst other things.  The JWO checks the radar, makes sure the hourly boat checks get done, calls the gybing, setting and striking of sails, heaving to for science, and really works with their watch in order to problem solve instead of the mate answering questions and being in charge.  The role is similar for the JLO, except they are in charge of lab responsibilities, science deployments, etc.  With this last stage comes a lot more pressure as well as nerves and excitement.  It is an opportunity for the students to really take charge as well as grow and learn.

It has been amazing to witness the growth and learning the students have experienced over the past four weeks.  I have seen a new level of confidence throughout the students, which is awesome.  It has also been incredible to have spent these past four weeks on Cramer again, as I was a student with SEA two and a half years ago.  I have so enjoyed sailing with SEA again in a different role and getting to have completely new experiences.  During our last couple of weeks aboard Cramer we will all continue to soak it in and be present with the time we have left.  The time spent sailing with SEA is truly life changing and sure does fly by. 

Love to all of those back home as well as the friends and families of everyone aboard Mama C!

Phoebe McGuire
Boulder, CO
Sailing Intern

Mar

13

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Wednesday 13 March 2013 2300
Position: 17° 43’ 38.40” N x 84° 38’ 50.40” W
Weather: squalls on the horizon
Sail plan: Main sail, Main stays’l, Forestays’l

Image Caption: Hard at work on plotting running fix positions

Our first full day back at sea has been full of mixed emotions. It is sad to leave Roatan as it was our unifying goal for so long, but it also feels so good to be back at sea, back to work, and back on our watch schedules. Today was the final day of Phase II, and while we are saddened to see our watch officers go, we are also so excited to experience our final new team of officers,  move into Phase III, become Junior Watch Officers and take on more responsibilities for the rest of our journey. In our second to last science deployment until we once again reach United States waters, we did a “styrocast” which entails sending decorated styrofoam cups down to a depth of 3,000 meters, where the pressure compresses them to a third of their size, creating cute keepsakes of our trip.

Time aboard the Corwith Cramer is very relative, and today Captain Jason decided it was a good time to spring forward an hour, which we will have to do once more before Key West to get back on East Coast time (UTC+4.) Luckily, this meant only a three hour evening watch for B Watch, a lovely treat. Speaking of treats, today we have been blessed with some particularly fabulous food from our steward Shelby, starting with biscuits, gravy and fresh Honduran fruit after dawn watch and ending with a feast of pasta, chicken and triple chocolate brownies before evening watch, leaving us fueled and ready for this crazy cold front descending on us.

The cold front that has been threatening us for days is finally upon us, so both seas and winds have begun to pick up, and will keep us rocking all night. The next few days will be a nice respite from the muggy heat we have been having, and will be spent working hard on our science papers, having our last few classes on the Quarter Deck and trying not to think of our impending return to the real world.

Eva Hayes
Northeastern University/B-Watch

Mar

11

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Monday 11 March 2013
Position: 16° 24.58’N x 086° 16.9’W
Location: At Anchor Port Royal Harbor, Roatan, Honduras

Image Caption: Our guide leading the way to the cave!

After an exciting night with wind gusts up to 42 knots, we woke this morning to a beautiful, relatively calm day. It was our last day in Roatan, and A Watch stayed on board to do boat work while B and C Watches left to further explore the island. Nearly all of us went on a boat tour, which would last the whole day. With fifteen of us split between three small boats, we wove our way through canals in the mangrove forest to a small island on the north side. There we climbed out and stretched our legs, wading in the water and combing the beach for interesting shells. We stopped to open some coconuts and drank the water before cracking them open for the meat—it was delicious, and a first for some of us. After a swim stop and then a quick propeller fix on one of the boats, we were brought to our guide’s home village for lunch and more adventures.

For lunch, we ate fresh barracuda and conch with rice and beans, which was prepared by our guide’s family. After lunch, we walked through the village of Santa Helena to what was described to us as an ancient Mayan cave. The climb through was an exhilarating combination of terrifying and beautiful, and by the end we were all nicely coated in red dirt and mud. This wasn’t a cave you could walk through—we were all on our hands and knees, sometimes stomachs, and the ground was often closer to vertical than horizontal. Although I personally didn’t see any, there were reports of bats and spiders as well as stinging ants, which most of us felt even if we didn’t see them. We finished off the day with a pretty ride home to Port Royal, exhausted and eager to find some respite from the sun.

We plan to leave Roatan tomorrow, which means that it’s our last night at anchor. In celebration, we have local friends over for dinner and will have our first movie night, featuring Pirates of the Caribbean (in honor of our anchorage, Port Royal). Although we all enjoyed a beautiful port stop, I think we are ready to get back to the cooler ocean air, which has the advantage of being insect free, and our sailing routine. I don’t know that I can speak for everyone else, but I certainly sleep better at sea, with the Cramer rocking beneath me.

Inga Holmdahl
Brown University/B Watch

P.S. Lots of love and hugs to everyone at home and in Rhode Island!

Mar

09

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Saturday March 9, 2013
Position: 16° 24.68’N x 085° 17.49’W
Location: At Anchor Port Royal Harbor Roatan, Honduras

Image Caption: Mama Cramer on the hook in Port Royal

Well, well, well. We made it to Roatan. We had our first full day at anchor here with C watch holding down the fort and cleaning up Mama Cramer. The other two watches had a day off, free to do other activities. While here in port, each watch has a day on duty and two days off. Today A and B watch made the most of their day off, snorkeling, scuba diving, going on mangrove tours and lounging on the dock of a nearby ‘palapa’. We’ve had the privilege of using this facility thanks to the generosity of two friends of SEA. It is more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.

The first couple of steps on land were weird after 22 days at sea. You expect the land beneath you to sway, but it doesn’t. As beautiful as the wide open sea is, it was awesome to be able to see wide array of plants and animals available on land here (and a huge variety of tropical fish as well!). We are all tired, sundrenched and raving about our days in the sun, feeling lucky to be here. We’re not sure what the next couple days will hold in terms of adventures and excursions, but we’re deeply enjoying this tropical paradise. We could continue to tease you with details (sorry to those currently in snow) but we (B-watch) are on duty tomorrow and need to rest up. Sweet dreams from Roatan and all of us on the Corwith Cramer.

Casey Dannhauser and Eva Hayes
College of the Holy Cross & Northeastern University/B-Watch

P.S. For all those family and friends: our communication is more limited than expected, but we are all alive and well and we will see you in a few weeks!
P.P.S. DCC saying Hi to Pookie, S.B.,Wiz, M-uh and Stinky. Sending strength and best wishes to Betsy and Dick.

Mar

08

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Friday 08 March 2013,  2200
Position: 16° 24.68’N x 085° 17.49’W
At Anchor Port Royal Harbor
Roatan, Honduras
Sail Plan: Harbor Furl

Image caption: Ship’s company at Prom-themed Swizzle Night underneath the awning and main boom on the quarterdeck at anchor in Port Royal Harbor

Nimbly navigating a narrow channel set between two coral reefs the SS/V Corwith Cramer dropped anchor at 1100 arriving in Port Royal Harbor.  All three watches were on duty to accomplish such careful ship maneuvering and smartly strike all sails in style.  We were greeted by fine weather, postcard views, and friendly locals offering their aid and fresh catches of the day.

After some ship cleaning and harbor furling our first day near land included a long-anticipated afternoon swim call from the science deck into the calm, balmy, waters of Roatan.  The unobjectionable weather and high spirits carried on toward dusk with a finely crafted meal, grilled to perfection by the steward, shared by the entire ship’s company eating up on the quarterdeck instead of by watch down in the main saloon. (I.e., we all but brought out the china). 

This night, the 8th of March, marks C-245’s first night at anchor after twenty two successful days at sea.  We could think of no better way to celebrate such an occasion than having a Prom-themed Swizzle Night.  Earlier in the week students were matched randomly with a date as were staff, respectively.  One half of each match was arbitrarily charged with asking out their “date”… with strong encouragement to find a unique and creative way to muster up the necessary courage.  For example, this staff member was asked by the Captain in the night orders—instructions read by every watch stander in the ship’s company - which is akin to being asked in front of the whole school!  Needless to say, my heart was aflutter. 

As night fell our eventful day culminated with a ship and her company decorated to the nines for Swizzle Night.  The ceremony of the Swizzle Night is held to honor the return to land and the tenacious choreography such a journey of some 2200 nautical miles requires.  With costumes donned toasts were made, music was played, dancing was had, and the jubilee of celebration carried our spirits high into the starry night sky.  After three weeks of hard work, rolling seas, small spaces, and standing watch any hour of the day this 8th of March was a great start to our port stop exploring ashore before returning to the challenging routine of life, and class, at sea with finals not far on the horizon.  Aboard this research and sailing training vessel Corwith Cramer we are a class, a crew, a community, a floating campus and when the occasion arises we know how to appreciate a Friday.  It is not school aboard the ship it is life aboard the ship.

-Volunteer Crew

Mar

07

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Thursday 07 March 2013 1038
Position: 16° 17.8’N x 085° 18.8’W
Location: Off the coast of Honduras; sailing towards Roatan

Image Caption: Eva & I giving a class presentation

Hello,
This is day 21 since arriving aboard the Corwith Cramer, and what a day it is: hot, sunny, and tropical. It’s hard to believe that today marks week three aboard, but maybe not so much when we look at the horizon. The Island of Guanaja and the mainland of Honduras were visible this morning on dawn watch; we’re a long way from home.

Yesterday in class the Captain had the watches compete against each other in a little game. Each watch had to get the boat as close as possible to a buoy that was set adrift. It was a blast and B-watch (my watch) went first and performed very well. This was also the first time the ship was under sole command of the students (with some helpful advice from the Captain, of course). A great time was had by all.

We’ve had some beautiful weather these past few days, sunny but not too hot and finally have gotten into some steady trade winds. We’ve been sailing the last couple of days and it has been too good to be true. Also yesterday afternoon a, believed to be, False Killer Whale followed in the ships wake for a few minutes and the watch on deck (B) and a few others were lucky enough to see it. These past two to three days have been great for charismatic mega-fauna, in addition to the whale many dolphins have been seen, especially a treat on a dark bow watch when they light up with bioluminescence from the surrounding water. Truly a sight to see.

Everyone is very much excited to arrive in Roatan tomorrow. We should be arriving around 1100. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday will be days of shore leave for the watches. (Saturday: A & B/Sunday: A & C/Monday: B & C) There is an air of excitement around the boat and this should be a really great time. Sending love to all our friends and families back home.

Reid Webb
College of Charleston/B-Watch

P.S. Mom and Dad look for my call/text Saturday or Monday. Can’t wait to talk to you guys, I love you and I am having the time of my life.

Mar

06

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Wednesday 06 March 2013, 1340
Position: 17° 09.9N x 083° 16.9W
Sailing Southwest Toward Roatan

Image Caption: Enjoying the sunset.

Hello, world!
The wind on this trip has been trying, and yesterday when the wind died down again we knew we had to do something to alter our fate. Sailors are very superstitious, and there is an old sailor’s trick to turn a ship’s luck around. The youngest boy on the ship must go to the foremast, whistle (which is usually forbidden), turn around three times (clockwise or it doesn’‘t work), and then scratch the foremast. The youngest boy on the ship is Jeremy, so he did the honors. And I kid you not, within minutes the whitecaps on the ocean began to appear and our sails were full of air. My mind was blown.

This morning C Watch’s day began at 2:30 am. We went up on deck for dawn watch and were greeted by a sky full of stars and the trade winds carrying the Cramer toward Roatan. In class a few days ago we learned how to navigate with no instruments, so everyone on deck practiced that, set sails, stood lookout, and steered at the helm.

The students on board are all doing independent scientific research projects, and it’s crunch time! We are finishing up most of our deployments this week, collecting data, analyzing, and preparing our papers and presentations. Jeremy and I are studying pteropods, these little pelagic snails. We have so far identified 396 little snails to the species. And that’s only from one net tow!  Between watch, class, nautical science, engineering presentations, and all this research we are all kept quite busy on the Cramer. But there’s always time for some relaxation. C Watch enjoyed their morning off by reading on deck, going aloft, and doing laundry.

Having never gone sailing before, I have been trying to figure out why everyone, including myself, falls in love with it. And I think it’s because it forces you to be present. In every moment, you are only living in that instant. When you are steering or on lookout or hauling on a line or coiling or scrubbing the deck, it all becomes sort of meditative. There’s no space to not be in the moment. It’‘s pretty wonderful.

Julia Schulman
Oberlin College / C Watch

P.S. Hi Hannah! I love you! Talk to you on Sunday!

Mar

05

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Tuesday 05 March 2013
Position: 16° 46’ 19.20” N x 83° 22’ 48.00” W

Image Caption: View of the Corwith Cramer from aloft

The wind and waves from the cold front that passed through a few days ago have calmed down, and today was another beautiful, sunny day. It was an early start for A watch, as we were woken up at 2:30 for dawn watch. Whoever stands dawn watch does a full scrub of the below deck soles (floors) and heads, but it also means shower day!

Class today was filled with the usual presentations on weather, navigation and science, and we continued with our presentations on the engineering systems of the ship. A watch presented a sea shanty for everyone to learn and then we had a class on how to navigate and steer without instruments (no compass, no sextant, nothing!). Class was followed by a quick man overboard drill and a delicious dinner. Then A watch was back on for evening watch, a little longer than normal tonight, as we changed time zones in the middle of watch. It was a busy night in the lab as we completed
and processed 100 meter and 200 meter net tows, finding some really cool shrimp and fish.

We are gearing up for a prom themed “swizzle” the night we get into Roatan. We picked names out of a hat and people have been getting pretty creative with their invitations. I think the best one today was the words PROM? spelled out in homemade pretzels at snack time. We also have been signing up for a few planned excursions for our port stop in Roatan, including scuba diving, snorkeling, and a boat tour through the mangroves. Lots of exciting things to look forward to in the next week!

Love to everyone at home!
Molly McEntee
Williams College/ A Watch

Mar

04

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Monday 04 March 2013, 1800
Position: 17° 28.0’ N x 081° 48.5’ W
General location: Between Jamaica and Roatan
Heading: SW
Speed: 5 kts
Weather: sunny, winds out of the NxE, 4 ft seas
Sail Plan: Main, mainstay’sl, forestay’sl and top’sl.

Image caption: Looking back at “Mama C” from the ‘sprit.

Greetings from the SSV Corwith Cramer!
It has been an exciting few days here in the Caribbean Sea. We experienced a cold front over the weekend and the seas got a little rough, at some points reaching 10 feet. We went hove-to last night to ride it out and keep all of us here on board healthy and safe. Things went very smoothly, illustrating the true saltiness that the past few weeks at sea have instilled in us.

We were able to set sail again this morning around 0800. On Sunday due to rough conditions we were unable to do a science deployment but much to all of our delights we were able to complete a morning station today including a secchi disk, meter net tow, CTD, and neuston tow. C Watch set the top’sl today after the morning station and we began to cruise SW towards Roatan at about 9 kts and could not have been more pleased. The cold front has seemed to pass and the sea conditions are definitely improving. We are looking forward to continued winds out of the NE for the next few days, helping along our journey to Roatan Island, Honduras for our expected arrival at 1100 on Friday.

The shadow phase that we entered last week has been going very well, and all of us students are learning quite a bit about what it takes to run a watch shift. Also, we have started presentations on different engineering systems aboard and are working diligently on our research projects. It is amazing how much we can learn and how many things we can accomplish while we are busy sailing the seas.

Sending our best wishes to our loved ones at home, we love and miss you all!
Alex Nelson
University of Washington/ C Watch

P.S. Sending all of my love to Byron and Sarah, I miss you both and hope the Seattle rain hasn’t gotten you down!
P.P.S. We have seen about 14 dolphins in the last 48 hours, pretty rad.

Mar

03

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Sunday 03 March 2013, 16:30
Position: 18° 30.0’ N x 080° 47.6’ W
Location: West of Jamaica, 1620.3 nm

Image Caption: Rock Me Momma Like A Wagon Wheel

The Bad Is Worse, The Good Is Better
The day began with bumps in the night as the Corwith Cramer met head on with a brief squall. Since then, the conditions have lightened slightly with little rain and a sky patched with bits of blue. The sea, however, is less forgiving. The ship pitches back and forth as 7 ft waves slosh over our sides and send our bodies flying below deck. We have eaten heartily, with a scrumptious pumpkin soup, and an afternoon snack of 5 different pies, but with this bumpy ride it’s all we can do to keep it down. The sea legs we have gained over the past few weeks have facilitated much of our success.

Given the conditions, morale is still high and there is certainly no lack of adventure or good spirits here. We upon Cramer are experts in making our own fun. While instruments have not been braving this weather lately, there has certainly been much music in the air over the past few weeks and our sea shanty-ing abilities are blossoming. Field days (aka: clean-Cramer-from-top-to-bottom-days)! are the only days we are allowed to listen to music not made by ourselves. Another one took place this past Saturday and who knew one could miss obnoxiously belting Taylor Swift songs so much…

Without class this weekend we have been keeping ourselves occupied with good ol’ field day, making adjustments to our research papers, and working out our calf muscles trying to stay up right. Aside from that, we have now entered into phase 2 of the voyage: Shadow phase. This phase has already proven itself to be very different from phase one and is evident in the roller coaster of emotions that manifest throughout a watch. In this phase, new scientists and mates are assigned to the watches while we students step up and start taking more responsibility. We shadow our new watch members in order to learn more intricate details about ship life and what it truly means to sail a tall ship. It’s like trying to walk in someone else’s shoes and yet still making your tracks at the same time only to find that you don’t have enough feet to go around!

While most of us were reluctant to switch watch officers, with change comes growth and a chance to have more incredible experiences es with new people. We are leaning to work together as less of a set of students and more as an integrated system where each small part is pertinent to the bigger picture, where everyone’s ability and confidence is reinforced by our shipmates and from the knowledge that we already possess, an integrated system where the growth of each individual is growth of the whole.

Life at sea no doubt tests you. Its tests your stamina, your endurance, your ability to problem solve, to follow directions, your way of thinking, your ability to work as a shipmate, as a scientist, as a student, and as a lover of the seas. It tears down all preconceived thoughts or feelings and builds everything new from the ground up again. Phase 1 of this trip was building the foundation.  Phase two is about building upon that foundation to apply what we already know and to fine tune it in order to prepare ourselves for phase 3. While going throw many changes during our sailing adventure, all that needs to be remembered is summed up perfectly with an excerpt from Gertrude Jekyll’s Pleasures in a Garden,

“Let no one be discouraged by the thought of how much there is to learn… for the first steps are steps into a delightful unknown, the first successes are victories all the happier for being scarcely expected, and with the growing knowledge comes the widening outlook, and the comforting sense of an ever-increasing gain of critical appreciation. Each new step becomes a little surer, and each new grasp a little firmer, till, little by little, comes the power of intelligent combination, the nearest thing we can know to the mighty force of creation.”

Salty hellos to our loved ones and to everyone who made it possible to be here. Thank you Jane for providing us with such great literature of this trip. Wish you were here.

Allison Holevoet, with guest blogger Zoey Greenberg
Sailor / C – Monkeys
University of Rhode Island, & hello Bellingham!

Mar

01

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Friday 01 March, 2013
Position: 19° 03.7’ N x 77 26.1’ W
Location: North of Jamaica
Sail Plan: Reefed main, main stay’sl and the full stack
Heading: West

Image Caption:  C Watch on the Science Deck

It’s another scorcher in the Caribbean, with the mid-day heat nearing 85°F. We are happily running down wind, headed west with Jamaica to our south and Cuban waters to our north. The main engine is off, ukulele music can be heard coming from the foredeck, and the ship is gently rolling her way toward Roatan.

Morning watch started at 0700 with 2 stay sails set and the engine running. At 1000 we were able to shut down and heave-to so that we could maintain position for the morning science station. The final deployment out of quite a few items was the neuston net, which needed to be towed at 2 knots. C Watch got creative and set the top’sl and the course, our two large square sails, and turned to sail downwind in the light air. The net was put over the side and all was well. The only tricky part was maneuvering the neuston boom around the course sheet and tack – the two lines that hold the sail down to the rail of the ship occupy the same space as the rigging for the neuston boom. Luckily, it all worked out and no plankton got hurt in the process.

The engine has stayed off this afternoon and we were able to have class under the awning on the quarter deck. Now the raffee is set so we can say we are sailing under the “full stack.” Love it! We are enjoying the calm weather as we anticipate a cold front approaching in the next 36 hours. While we were on watch this morning, we tied a reef in the main so the sail will be smaller as winds pick up.

Hello to everyone at home and at sea elsewhere. I miss you! Happy Birthday Emily!

Sarah Herard
2nd Mate

P.S. Happy 21st Birthday Angela! Love your big sis Heidi

Feb

28

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Thursday 28 February 2013, 19:38
Position: 18° 42.8’ N x 75° 39.7’ W

Image caption: Krysten stands by the main halyard.

Hello fellow readers on land. Yesterday we saw Haiti, and some of its very tall mountains from the ship. It was strange to see land after a couple weeks at sea! A watch stood the morning watch today (7am-1pm), and I had quite an eventful watch. My project, which was originally on the spiny lobster larvae, Panularus argus, was changed to the Halobates micans (the water strider), the mains’’l and the JT (JT stands for Jib Topsail) were struck, and then the mains’’l was then re-set. We also had a few major waves and the boat rocked and rolled, and caught some people off guard.

We just changed watch officers last night, and are going to shadow the new officers for the next two weeks so that in the final couple weeks we will be able to give commands to our fellow shipmates and become Jr. Watch officers.

The weather was fairly nice today. We did have some threatening clouds out today, but luckily we did not get any rain out of them, because we were just about ready to set the science gear. It is really neat to get to see one or two other places that I have not seen before, and to be on a tall ship, because not many people get to experience a tall ship anymore. Also, we should be in Roatan in about 8 days which is pretty exciting. We will each get two days off on the Island which sounds pretty nice. I can’t wait!

Krysten Rybyzynske
Graduated University of Maryland Eastern Shore
A Watch

Sending a special hello, and love to Alex (in Maryland) and my Family. Reid sends happy birthday wishes to his dad.

Feb

27

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Wednesday 27 February 2013, 0900
Position: 19°57.0’N x 073° 31.7W
Temperature: 30°C
Barometer reads: 1016.12
Winds: SE x E

Image Caption: C watch poses for a mustached family photo after a long watch of science deployments.

Hello hello, from the Corwith Cramer! Today the sky is clear and the light breeze feels fantastic.  For the past few days, the weather has been constantly beautiful. We are working hard on the Cramer. It is amazing how long and productive every single day is. Between the science stations, sail handling, classes, engine room work, cooking, cleaning, time managing, communal living and salt water showers we continue to work and learn together every day. 

Today we begin phase two of the cruise track. This calls for more responsibility given to the students. Phase one allowed us to learn the basic concepts necessary in order to live and work on the Cramer. With phase two, students will be given more responsibilities and be expected to make our own decisions.

Highlight: During watch two nights ago we experienced the first full moon at sea. It projected over the water and highlighted the clouds beautifully. The night also consisted of a shooting star, and my watch mate (Julia) seeing dolphins while on lookout.

Jeremy Orenstein
Lesley University, C Watch
Shout out to my family! Love and miss you guys!

Feb

26

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Tuesday 26 February 2013; 1717
Position: 20° 41.5’N x 073° 00.9’W
Location: 18nm SE of Great Inagua, 46nm North of Haiti

Sail plan: Jib, Forestays’l, Mainstays’l, full Mainsail, Fisherman, and JT
Heading: 223°

Image caption: Students listen in as the chief mate teaches a few finer points of celestial navigation.

Weather-wise things are looking up; last night the wind picked up to between 16-21 knots (15-25mph) and we were screaming along at 8 knots through the Caicos passage.  It was great to hear the rush of the water over the hull after having motorsailed a little every day since we left.  We hit 82°F today at noon and have travelled far in the last 24 hours (from noon yesterday till noon today) covering 133.3nm through the water.

C watch had the 7pm to 11pm watch and we had to take in the JT and the Fisherman staysail (a high sail set between the foremast and the mainmast that sits above the main staysail) before A watch took the deck to help get the boat ready for the midnight neuston tow.  Taking in sail in that amount of wind, at night, was challenging, but showed off all the skills the students have acquired.  Striking the JT went smoothly but the Fisherman Staysail had small problems.  The wind fouled the downhaul aloft on the spreaders and Maia (our scientist) climbed aloft to unfoul.  After that, it came to deck fine but as we were getting the sail ready to furl we ripped a small hole in it as it got caught on a sharp edge.  A patch has been put on by our second mate/bosun Sarah and the Fisherman is now set once again!

Today was the lab practical test for the students which tested their knowledge of the different science equipment that we use on board. Hopefully the wind will keep being favorable as we pass through the windward passage between Haiti and Cuba sometime in the next 2 days.

Cassie Sleeper
Third Mate/C Watch

P.S. Emily, your sister Julia says happy 27th birthday.  I miss you Jason!!

Feb

25

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Monday 25 February 2013 19:22
Position: 22° 11.2’’ N x 072° 16.7’ ’W

Image Caption: Paul, Don, and Zoey jamming out

Greetings from the Corwith Cramer! Over the weekend we didn’t have any class, but we were all kept busy. The watch cycle continued as always (two 6 hour watches during the day and three 4 hour watches at night). We also had what those aboard Mama Cramer call a “field day” on Saturday. The goal of field day is to get the ship as clean as possible. Every nook and cranny down below is cleaned with sponges, toothbrushes, and knives to remove as much “mung” (dirt between its solid and liquid phase) as possible over a span of two hours. To do this, each watch is responsible for a different part of the ship. A watch is responsible for cleaning the galley, B watch ocean bros, like me, are responsible for cleaning the main saloon and forward, and C watch is responsible for cleaning the areas aft of the main saloon. It sounds like hard work. And it is. But it’s also fun. As we’re scrubbing away, we’re cracking jokes and the boom boxes come out. It’s the two hours a week we can listen to music not made by our own talents (or in my case lack thereof).

For B watch we had a playlist that had every single song from every single NOW That’s What I Call Music cd ever. After we take care of Mama Cramer, we get the chance to clean ourselves up by lining up under the salt water fire hose. It’s not quite your typical shower, but it does the job for the most part. Somehow out here everything will get dirty once again (I’m not quite sure where the dirt comes from exactly), but we’ll be back at it again on Saturday. In the meantime we’ll be on watch, in class, and enjoying the absolutely gorgeous weather out here in the Southern Sargasso Sea.

Casey Dannhauser
College of the Holy Cross/B Watch

Feb

22

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Friday 22 February 2013, 1600
Position: 26° 09.9N x 074° 16.9W
Motor Sailing in the Southern Sargasso Sea

Image Caption: Jeremy laying aloft with C Watch

Today marks one week since students boarded the Corwith Cramer in Key West, and what a week it has been! Thanks to a few days of intensive training as well as intense focus and enthusiasm, students are truly becoming sailors and scientists – setting and striking sails ever faster, calculating our position from celestial sights, deploying our oceanographic equipment, and present information from deck and lab to class on a regular basis. Several students have taken it upon themselves to shadow Don, our engineer, in some of his shipboard work. And, at this very moment of writing, a group is tending the fishing line from the quarterdeck.

For C Watch, this was a big day as the watch was the first climb aloft, thanks to speedy completion of the deck checklist (A and B Watches finished just a tad later!). Going aloft is a highlight of the SEA experience for many students, as being high up in the rigging gives a different perspective of both ship and ocean. It can be a great way to get up close and personal with sails that are set, and is also great for observing our surroundings (you can see so much further from high up). Spending time up in the rigging is also nice for reflection on the experience of living and working on Mama Cramer.

A and B Watches have had their share of excitement today as well, in the form of a Neuston tow full of Sargassum! When A Watch brought in the net, it resembled an oddly shaped mattress, which the watch had been observing with bewilderment and amusement as it filled in. It’s not every day when we find ourselves pulling in that mass of Sargassum! B Watch currently has deck and is processing the net to their best abilities, and is hopefully having a ton of fun and finding a ton of cool things in the process. All in all, this was a lovely day for the full ship’s crew of the Corwith Cramer, and we’re having a blast on our way through the Southern Sargasso Sea!

Cara Murray
Sailing Intern

Feb

21

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Thursday 21 February 2013, 1915EST
Position: 27° 15.1 N x 75° 34.0W
Location: Northeast of the Bahamas Bank
Heading: 130°
Sail Plan: Four Lowers
Speed: 5.6 knots
Weather: Clear and comfortably cool; Winds Beaufort 3

Image caption: The victors of the line chase (B-watch) celebrate with a conga line across the CC deck.

Today was a busy day for me. I had the honor of being the assistant steward of the ship.  The assistant steward’s job is to help the steward in the preparations of all meals aboard the Cramer throughout the day.  My day started at 5:30, which was late compared to my fellow A watcher’s who woke at 2:30 for dawn watch.  I began the preparations for breakfast.  We had cereal and sausage.  For lunch, I helped make vegetarian and meat stuffed red bell peppers, which were amazing and had some spice to them.  For dinner we prepared lasagna, which was phenomenal.  You can never add too much garlic.  I also participated in preparing our snacks.  Though my day was long, I enjoyed every moment of it. Shelby, the steward, is a genius in the galley, and her ability to plan and organize meals for 29 hungry crew-members is just incredible.

Today in class we had our normal navigation, weather, and science reports. We also had two wonderful Creature Feature presentations; the first was on hyperiid amphipods and the other on ctenophores.  The Amphipod group gave us a fantastic poem and short rap on the life of the amphipod and the ctenophores group acted out The Daily Show with guest Tina the ctenophore. How’s that for infotainment Chuck?  After the presentations, the watch groups prepared for THE GREAT PIN CHASE.  The purpose of the chase was to challenge us to find the lines of the Cramer as quickly as possible.  Each watch competed in the relay and after much speed walking, crab walking, and some confusion, C Watch became the victor (followed closely by B then A, and I do mean closely).  After that we had our final announced Man-over-board drill which was very successful.  We rescued Oscar (the life ring) successfully, but there is always room to improve.  The next emergency drills will not be announced meaning that at any moment we could be called in to action by the various alarm signals of the Corwith Cramer.  As members of the crew, the students have come so far in such a short amount of time.

We learn 24/7 and there is only little exaggeration when you call this a “crash course” to sailing a tall ship.  Every day we get smarter and more skilled.  Well that’s all for today.  I am going to bed.

Fair winds,
Eric Kretsch
University of Rhode Island/A watch

P.S.  Allison your sister Molly says happy birthday! Oh, and happy birthday from everyone here as well! Mom, Dad, Kris, Cal, love you all.

Feb

20

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Wednesday 20 February 2013, 1930EST
Position: 28° 01’ ’N x 077° 09’ ’W
Sail Plan: Mains’l, main stays’l, fore stays’l, and jib (A.K.A “The four lowers”).
Heading: 115°
Speed: 6.2 knots
Weather: Partly cloudy and cool; winds NxE, Beaufort force 3
Location: North of the Bahamas (Blake’s Plateau)

Image Caption:  B Watch sets the tops’l!

After mid-watch last night (2300-0300), A Watch got to rest up during the sleep of kings!  That’s a full, uninterrupted night of sleep that only comes once every 3 days.  When we woke late in the morning, we were pleasantly surprised to find a warm, sunny, and calm day.  The seas have calmed a lot since we got out of the Gulf Stream, and the cold front has passed.  We did quite a bit of sail handling today, getting “hove to” for science deployments, setting (and later striking) the jib tops’l and the fisherman sails, and doing some extra gybes so that students could get more practice with sail handling.  It seems like everyone is getting their sea legs by now, and the students are all learning really quickly!

During class time, students began their “Creature Feature” presentations, which included haikus about nudibranchs and a student dressed in a banana costume and a grass skirt, or should I say the mantle and tentacles of a squid.  Believe it or not, they were quite informative and we all learned a lot.  Science deployments are in full swing, and analysis on samples has begun.  We have sixteen more days of sailing before we get to Roatan, and so much to get done before that!  All in all, it’s been an exciting and busy time aboard the Corwith Cramer.
 
Amanda Chirlin
Sailing intern

Feb

19

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Tuesday 19 February 2013, 1700EST
Position: 27° 52’ 14.40” N x 79° 10’ 57.60” W
Location: Sailing northeast about 70nm north of Grand Bahama

The ship’s company began the morning in strong winds and seas at around 5 feet.  The favorable winds and the mighty Gulf Stream pushed us along our cruise track at speeds up to 11 knots.  In preparation for the science deployments, some sail was taken down. Battling the wind and the waves from out in the head rig, A-watch was able to get the jib tops’l subdued and furled onto the bow sprit.  The effort paid off, and made way for a great set of science deployments.  While hove-to, the carousel and drift nets were deployed along with other sampling and visual observations that are quickly becoming part of the familiar routine on board the ship.

During science, the wind and waves calmed.  In class we took advantage of this, and practiced setting and striking some of the higher up sails on board; the fisherman and the Raffee.  It was another beautiful day of learning, hard work, and fun out on the Corwith Cramer, under blue skies and on bluer water.

Paul Marsala
Sailing Intern

Feb

18

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Monday 18 February 2013
Position: 25° 06’ 00.00” N x 79° 40’ 31.20” W
Description of Location: Sailing north about 40nm south east of Miami, FL

Image caption: Some of A-watch giving the weather report in class today.

Our first full day underway! The crew of C245 stood watches throughout the night and the wee hours of the morning motor-sailing trying to make miles to the east. We gybed to heave-to (get the boat as close as we can to stopped) on a port tack for our first oceanographic station. The members of B-watch deployed a phytoplankton net, a secchi disc, a meternet, the CTD and the neuston. After the station we got underway sailing! C-watch came onto afternoon watch and set the jib, and the jibtops’l. Also on afternoon watch we had our first class on the quarterdeck. We started with the count off to make sure that everyone was awake, followed by announcements and reports from science, navigation and weather. Today was a short class, but in the
future we can expect either a class on an oceanography topic or a nautical science topic. 

The entire C245 crew is starting to get their sea legs and beginning to master the routines of the ship. Between boat checks, weather observations, science hourlies, science observations, wake ups, deployments, and sail handling there is never a dull moment!

Wishing all of our family and friends well at home,
Maia

Feb

17

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic

Sunday, February 17, 2013 20:00
Position: 24° 28’ 09.60” N x 81° 27’ 21.60” W
Sailing east south of Florida Keys

Image caption: Haul away main halyard! The crew of class C245 haul on the main halyard to set the mains’l for the first time!

Setting Sails for the Southern Sargasso

We have spent the last 2 days anchored south of Key West.  Delayed by a storm, we were given some extra time to learn about our new home, the Corwith Cramer.  We learned the lines and sails of the ship (which is a lot of info to take in), as well as the operation of the J-frame for science deployments, emergency situation drills, boat check procedures, and a scavenger hunt in order to make the ship more familiar to us.  Because of the weather we stayed anchored and experienced our first night watch at anchor.  Although it was only 1 hour and 20 minutes, we still had to wake up in the middle of the night which was new to a lot of us. In the morning, we mustered at 07:00 to go through more orientation stations focusing on navigation, line handling, deploying scientific gear, and what we all have been looking forward to the most-the requirements for going aloft.  Before we can climb the mast of the CC we need to know the points on the compass, the relative point system, the location of all of the fire
extinguishers, and the responsibilities in cases of emergency and man over board.  At 14:00, all hands mustered to the quarter deck in ordered to prepare to set sails.  We learned how to set the jib, forestays’l, tops’l, mainstays’l, and mains’l. 

With a lot of heaving, ho-ing and sweating the lines, the sails were set and we were off towards Roatan!  On our watch we got to do the first hourly science operations, conduct boat checks, and steer at the helm. We are now tired, but we are excited to be underway. Stay tuned.

Fair winds,
Eric Kretsch and Natalie Wall
University of Rhode Island and St. Lawrence University/ A Watch

P.S. We saw a flying fish.
P.P.S. Hi Jane!!

Feb

15

C245 - Ocean Exploration

pic


Friday 15 February 2013, 20:30
Position: 24° 32.1’ ’N x 81° 48.7’’ W
Location: Anchored south of Key West

Image caption: The SSV Corwith Cramer exits the city dock after casting off dock lines, headed for the lee of the island for its first night anchored at sea.

Welcome to the students of C245!
After a week in preparation, the staff of the SSV Corwith Cramer welcomed aboard the students of C245 —by testing them on knots, stowing electronics, and leading them to their bunks to unpack for the upcoming trip.  After a few short greetings, the crew cast off docklines, pulled up fenders and exited the breakwater of the city dock to tuck in just south of Key West. The anchor was dropped, the first (of many) delicious meal(s) was consumed and final introductions were made between students and staff. The students were then led throughout the ship for a few orientation stations, before following in the Cramer’s footsteps and tucking in for the night. As always, there is much more to learn, and orientation continues at daybreak!
Tom Wootton
2nd Assistant Scientist

Feb

15

C245 - Ocean Exploration

Friday 15 February 2013
Position: 24° 33’ 52.80” N x 81° 47’ 57.60” W
Location: Dockside in Key West

With the exception of one person whose flight has been delayed, all students have arrived safely aboard the Corwith Cramer and begun orientation to the ship.