SEA CurrentsCatch up on news, events, and daily posts from SEA Semester voyages in SEA Currents, the official blog of Sea Education Association.
If you’re in the West Palm Beach area on Sunday, April 2, please visit the SSV Corwith Cramer at our Open Ship Event, from 1 - 5 pm. The location is Rybovich Marine, 4200 N. Flagler Dr. West Palm Beach, FL. (Parking is limited.)
You enter Lyttleton Harbor through a deep slot in the tan brushy hills of the Banks Peninsula, on New Zealand’s South Island. This was all a volcano once, and now the flooded crater reaches inland as a series of long sheltered bays. We’re just short of halfway to the south pole. That’s a latitude similar to Boston, but with no continents nearby, the feeling is different. There’s a lot of motion in the sky here, with the hilltops alternately visible and obscured by folding patches of cloud. It’s possible to feel several seasons’ worth of weather roll by in an hour-bolts of warm sunshine, blasts of sharp wind, sudden sprinkles of rain from some non-vertical direction.
As I write this, the students of C-271 are breaking down the posters they created to reflect on-site observations they made and the conversations they had with people regarding their individual projects in our four port stops. The “ground truthing” of the research they did ashore, while not necessarily contradicting what they learned from published sources available to them in Woods Hole, has certainly given each of them more to think about in terms of issues ranging from cultural preservation and marine resource management to diversification of island economies and human impacts on humpback whales.
After arriving on deck to begin afternoon watch I learned, from a reliable source, that we were sailing in a whale sanctuary. To some this fact would be described as “cool” or “exciting”, but to me this information was life altering. I love whales. I admit it. Maybe a little too much, but I have dreamed of one day seeing these majestic creatures up close and personal. Yet the sea, at least what was visible on the surface, was absent of whales.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank my parents. I know I am definitely prone letting all the things they do for me go unacknowledged. When I told them that I was thinking about applying for a semester on a boat that sailed around the Caribbean it was easy to hear the reservation in their voices. What type of boat? A sailing type I assured them. Where would it go? A few islands, definitely Cuba and Jamaica. These were the types of questions they asked and the types of answers I gave. Having now been on the boat, having sailed around the Caribbean I am acutely aware that I didn’t really know what I was going into.
Hello from the other side… of the Gulf Stream
We are extremely close to Florida, just about 100 miles away. We spent last night anchored in Bahamian waters, but this morning the anchor started dragging as a cold front passed our location so we got underway and then we heaved to in order to drift for the remainder of the afternoon so we could comfortably focus on our oceanography presentations.
Mattias, the Chief Scientist, and I were sitting in lab the other day idly chatting and, after a lull in the conversation, Mattias turns to me and asks what I think the theme song for the Neuston should be. With some thought and discussion, we decided it should be some kind of power ballad from the 80s. Perhaps Styx’s “Come Sail Away” or Journey or something like that.
Since we’ve left Wellington, reminiscence that starts like “I’m really going to miss.” has begun to filter into our everyday conversations. The other day, sitting on a port-side deck box, Elsbeth and I couldn’t stop talking about how much we’re going to miss good old steady Bob, our uncreative yet endearing nickname for the Robert C. Seamans. When you live on a 135-foot boat and it’s your job to attend to the details it’s easy to become hyper-familiar with every nook and cranny.
Greeting from the Bahamas once again loyal readers!
Today was a day aboard the Cramer that one dreams about. It started with me and the rest of C Watch at 11:30 with a watch meeting on the doghouse top amidst a beautiful sunny Caribbean morning. We all shared our high tide and low tides for the past week, gave out beads as special acknowledgements of good deeds, and then had time for reflection.
Reporting live from the Robert C. Seamans! Guess who is leading the troops this dawn watch as J-WO (Junior Watch Officer)? THE SAVAGE as my fellow teammates like to call me (it is also my last name). This entails overseeing the deck and wellbeing of the ship along with making sure hourly checks (boat checks, engine check, navigation) are being done. Who knew that this would be the most challenging part of this program for me personally?