SEA CurrentsCatch up on news, events, and daily posts from SEA Semester voyages in SEA Currents, the official blog of Sea Education Association.
Imagine a rainbow made of varying shades of silver extending completely across the night sky. I had no idea that this, to which we coined the term “moonbow,” existed before I saw it last night. We had just sailed through some squalls during our evening watch; it was raining, and the boat was getting knocked around in the waves, making lab work difficult to say the least. Suddenly, the storm passed and everything was calm until Gracie busted through the lab door shouting, “Guys! There’s a rainbow. AT NIGHT!”
Today was quite a fun, busy and educationally competitive day. ‘B watch’ began the day by relieving the dawn watch A at 0700. The morning was on the rough side as we began our day by sailing through 10-12 foot swells. Due to the fact that the ride was quite rocky it held challenging conditions for deploying science equipment off of the port side science deck. However, nothing holds a true scientist from researching and learning.
Today we continued sailing along the southern coast of Puerto Rico. We sailed southeast for most of the day, allowing for the deployment of all of the science gear, including the Secchi disk. The Secchi disk looks exactly like a white dinner plate, but instead of holding food, it is super science-y and awesome. The disk allows us to calculate light penetration into the water, which in turn gives us information about phytoplanktons’ preferred depth.
Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. We got to work a lot on sail handling, and on learning the names and locations of things in general. We started by putting the main’sl up and all the lines associated with this: the halyard, the downhaul, and the sheet. It’s very fun for me to see the different sail plans and names for things as I am a collegiate and much smaller boat sailor. My arms are a little tired today as there are no self-tailing winches or blocks with cleats, and the traveler takes at least three people to operate.
Today began at 0600 hours with a breakfast call for the majority of the SSV Corwith Cramer crew. However, a few unfortunate victims remained sleeping due to the placid San Juan Harbor, now a distant oasis. Breakfast consisted of waffles, eggs, bacon, vegan options for our animal lovers and a bucket full of Nutella that Bex had bewittingly hidden from us the day before. Following breakfast we received instructions for our Daily Cleanup (DC). The Corwith Cramer is decked out with environmentally friendly products, and swiffer sweepers named after pirates that we use to keep the soles, heads and showers in tip top shape.
Welcome to the SEA Miami of Ohio program. I’m happy to report that, after an arduous day of air travel yesterday, all 16 Miami of Ohio participants (14 students, their professor Rachael Morgan-Kiss, and TA Shasten Sherwell) all boarded the Corwith Cramer in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico at 1100 this morning. After a quick muster on the quarterdeck for introductions, we transited the ship to a nearby anchorage in San Juan Harbor, blissfully leaving hordes of noisy passing cruise ship tourists behind.
Sea Education Association will host a public lecture, “Rescue at Sea! History & Procedures of Coast Guard Search & Rescue Operations,” on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 2 p.m. Capt. Chris Nolan, an SEA Assistant Professor of Nautical Science, will deliver the lecture, the first of SEA’s Winter/Spring Lecture Series. The lecture will be held at James L. Madden Center Lecture Hall, Sea Education Center, 171 Woods Hole Road, Falmouth. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
A group of 14 invited colleagues from colleges and universities around the country arrived at the Corwith Cramer early this morning, and quickly stowed their gear in their bunks before mustering on the quarterdeck at 1000. Introductions of both the professional staff and the colleague participants followed, along with discussion of our general plan for the voyage. The colleagues, who are working members of the ship’s crew for the next five days, were assigned to their three watches. They held initial watch meetings and then rotated through orientation to hydrowire deployments and to sail handling.
Karen Merritt, public health educator, street photographer and SEA Semester alumna (W-98), has been selected to receive this year’s Armin E. Elsaesser Fellowship award. Karen plans to use the award to investigate and document the “invisible history” of 16th and 17th century mercury and silver mining in Spain and Mexico, which she describes as one of the “longest continuous maritime transport endeavors in history.”
About the Award
Established in 1987 in memory of Armin E. Elsaesser III, master mariner, educator and adventurer, who taught Maritime Studies at SEA Semester and sailed as crew aboard the SSV Westward, the fellowship provides an opportunity for recipients to follow a dream that has been elusive because of the demands of work or study. Fellowship winners actively investigate a marine or maritime subject of personal interest. Projects must be unrelated to their current professional activities and reflect a creative and independent approach to the pursuit of knowledge. SEA alumni, faculty, staff, former employees and crew are eligible. Awards range from $3,000 to $7,000.
It was another day in paradise on board the Robert C. Seamans. We were all gifted a little extra sleep last night. The watches rotated back to their original mate and scientist watch officers to stand our last rotations of 9 mile watches. We hauled back the anchor in Waiti Bay, motoring 27 miles over the 3 watches, to our current anchorage SSE of Stanley Point. The coastline was stunning along this transit. A pod of dolphins swam with us for some time.