SEA Currents: Nov 2015
The past two weeks have been a magic carpet ride on a magic boat. Perfect conditions, broad reaching to running in 20-25 kt trades, blue skies and seas, bright moon which is now waning allowing us to view an amazing sky full of stars. Last night we took a star tour led by First Mate Scott, with a spectacular view of the Andromeda Galaxy- the farthest object visible to the naked eye , 2.5 million light years away.
Hello to friends & family of all aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer! How is life on land? Do you miss us, because we miss YOU! For everyone north of us, I’m sorry! It must be so cold! As you keep adding layers to your wardrobe, we are soaking up the sun day after day. Don’t be too sad though-maybe our tans will radiate heat to you when you see us next.
I’ve decided to write about a few things you may or may not know about life aboard the Cramer:
Hope everyone at home had an amazing Thanksgiving! We definitely did, and today (3 days later) we are finally able to move again after being full for a couple of days. We picked up anchor in Russell and we’re heading back out to the open ocean after depleting the local sources of Tim Tams (NZ chocolate biscuits). Just kidding sort of.
Land Ho! After a week sailing we finally arrived in the Bay of Islands two days ago! The ocean has been treating us well, for the last few days the wind and sea had calmed down a lot compare to when we left Auckland. Everybody is now more used to the rock n’ rolling of the ship and has learned to walk not quite vertically. We anchored in the harbor of Russell and had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner on board on Thursday.
We’re sailing along and I think everyone is finally used to the rhythm of life at sea - the strange sleep schedule and frequent snacks. However, there have been some changes this week. We’ve transitioned into phase two of the program, in which one student shadows the mate and scientist each watch. Each watch also is working with a different mate and scientist now. I think we’re all sad to leave our original watch officers, but as we start taking the lead, it’s good to see different styles and learn new things from another person.
Yesterday class S-263 and crew arrived to the Bay of Islands and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner aboard the Seamans with a few locals. Today we visited a town named Pahia (or “Heaven”, so called for its historic church presence), and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where New Zealand’s historic land and power treaty with the British crown was signed. In order to get to Pahia and the Waitangi Treaty grounds, our class and crew first lowered and boarded a motorized dinghy from the Seamans to Russel (or “Hell”, so called for its brothel, bar, and tattoo parlor presence in the 18th - 19th century). We then rode a ferry to the small dock at Pahia.
Today is a momentous day for us. After all of this time at sea I can now say that we are solidly about a week from land in any direction, and even more importantly we have reached our fabled Checkpoint A. At about 1700 (5:00pm for you landlubbers) we turned the wheel away from the comfortable ~230os true we have been steering these last many days, as we have reached our golden latitude. From this point on we will be steering nearly straight west, towards our next checkpoint in the Caribbean.
Ahhh, Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday in which we overindulge with the ones we (hopefully) love. Just kidding (maybe not). For me, Thanksgiving is a holiday that I feel very specific about. My family and I have many traditions surrounding Thanksgiving that I hold very near and dear to my heart. So, as you can imagine, the idea of celebrating this special holiday abroad was quite a daunting one.
Today is American Thanksgiving, and festivities have been ongoing aboard the Cramer all day! From making hand turkeys during morning watch (don’t worry, we also did science and sail handling) to a big, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we definitely did Thanksgiving despite being on the high seas. In fact, we also had a special Thanksgiving swizzle. A swizzle is a little party onboard for which everyone dresses up or wears special/crazy clothes.
At this point, as you all know if you’ve been good little home dwellers and reading the blog posts daily, the movement of time on mama Seamans is a funky thing. So for the past few days (or so, but who can say for sure how long it’s been, really) we have been blessed by Neptune and the wind blowers with beautiful warm sun filled days and calm seas. Spirits are high and smiles are abundant. The ship is growing into that happy place we all hoped it would reach.