SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
Something I want you to know about living on a ship is that it never. stops. moving.
I used to think the ocean was a peaceful place. From above, the ocean looks serene right? It looks like a giant expanse of flat blue and black sandwiched in-between chunks of bumpy land. It looks predictable and it looks secure, but trust me, that image is just an illusion of oversimplified romantic ideals.
Our day began like any other day in port with a 0630 wakeup. What followed the 0630 wakeup was not like any other day we’ve had on this trip. After a two hour bus ride, we were on the border of Spain and Gibraltar. With a smile, foulie gear, and an open passport, we walked right into the autonomous territory of Gibraltar.
Midmorning today I woke up, tumbled with the rocking of the ship into the library in my banana boxers like I usually do when I have the morning off, and poured all kinds of ideas for weird themed blog entries, and lists of quotes and anecdotes onto the ships network. They framed my state of mind at sea.
As some or most of the blog readers may know by now, the Cramer and her crew are no longer on course for the island of Madeira, but have turned back towards Cádiz, Spain, for another three days in port. The news came to us today by way of our captain, explaining that there was a large storm in our cruise track that was unavoidable, and it was a bad one. He explained that although he trusted us students and the rest of the crew, you don’t sail yourself into a storm of this magnitude if you don’t have to – and even if we did make it to Madeira without incident, the port may be closed completely due to the swells.
(We’re working on it, Jack Tar)
When I was growing up I would always ask my family questions. Favorites were, “If you were a Harry Potter character who would you be?”, or “If you had to live in a book what would it be?” These questions bordered on the thin line between childhood curiosity and the determination to never have a moment of silence I could not fill.
Life on land has been great, but it is time to say goodbye for a little while. Cádiz came at the perfect moment. I watched as my shipmates recharged, and experienced all that Cádiz had to offer. When you have not been on a journey such as this before a little relief at a port stop is great to have. You get a chance to explore and think about all the things you experienced on the boat. It is often hard to reflect underway because of the busy schedule.
The sun rises late in Cadiz, but the crew on the Cramer rises early.
By the time the sunlight started streaming onto the ship, we had been up and busy for 3 hours, finally ready to go out and explore! Ida has talked of almost nothing else but the watch towers in Cadiz for the last few days. I completely understand why she is obsessed with them; they are beautifully decorated, unique towers that are scattered throughout the city providing breathtaking views from the top.
When I was 18, I received my first cell phone. It was a fairly basic flip phone, but it had the essentials - you could actually call someone (lame), or text them (cool), which meant mashing at least a thousand buttons to spell out one medium-sized and predominantly misspelled sentence. “C u l8er” became a perfectly acceptable thing to say, and every self respecting purveyor of the English language collectively threw up. These were dark days.
There’s nothing like a full ship.
Although, I suppose I should note that Corwith Cramer, currently, is not actually full - we have two unoccupied bunks in the main salon, two unoccupied bunks in “squalor”, two bunks soon-to-be-occupied by our scientific observers from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and two fold-out bunks that we’re not currently using in “Jake’s corner”.
So I’ll rephrase.
Well we made it – sort of. The boat remained in the water and the water remained out of the boat through a few days of rougher weather and waters. We woke up this morning to a sunny sky and water calm enough for science deployments in the Gulf of Cadiz! We will be officially docking in Cadiz at 1400-tomorrow afternoon. A palpable calm came over the boat as the realization set in that we will once again be on land (particularly among those who have been seasick).