SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
These are the voyages of the science ship Corwith Cramer; her mission: to explore new depths of the North Atlantic, and act as an ambassador on the high seas.
Today was another rousing Field Day aboard the Cramer! Our weather at dawn was a bit dark and damp, but with calming seas and less rain than late, and by afternoon watch and class time at 1600, the cloud layers had lifted into puffy cumulous clouds, the seas calmed to a nice lapping swell, and the sun came out.
Life on board the Cramer has been an experience that I am so happy that I have been able to participate in. Being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 34 other people, who are truly intriguing and inspiring is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. So far, my watch officers have helped me through a lot of unusual issues on this ship and I appreciate all their help and the help of all other watch officers as well. Starting tomorrow, we will be switching watch officers, so that will be a good way to experience new teaching techniques and get to know people on board better.
What an interesting few days it has been. The weather got kind of rough last night so mid watch from 2300 until 0300 wasn’t allowed on deck. Three other watch mates and myself were in the lab writing down hourlies, conducting boat checks and engine room checks while the other three members were in the dog house filling in the log book, plotting on the chart, hourly weather, helping with boat checks and trying to feel better. Gabby was doing an excellent job of keeping everyone on task as she ran back and forth from the dog house to the lab.
Today began interestingly during the early hours of last night. A lot of sail handling occurred at the watch turnover of 2300, which included striking the main sail and passing the fore and main staysails. Both B and C watch joined forces to accomplish this task, and everyone put to good use all the line handling they have learned up to this point. The rest of the morning was a bit rocky for those folks trying to sleep, and many junior sailors have taken to different ways of preventing this rack rolling.
So we have been at sea for a little over a week now and we are slowly getting more and more responsibilities (for better or for worse). Yesterday instead of class, we did the line chase. Meaning we split up into our watches and in relay form each person was given a line one at a time that they had to go find. A watch (consisting of me, Mo, Jackie, Hunter, Anna, Ben, Beckett, David, and Arianne) won the line chase but it was a good race and everyone did a phenomenal job. Supposedly, this means that we actually know all the lines on the boat now (although maybe we arent quite there yet).
It is incredible to stop and think that I am sitting in a sailing vessel tracking across the Atlantic. This isn’t only an experience anymore, but a way of life. Living at sea gets better and better as waking up for dawn watch becomes an occasion to look forward to, and our steward Sayzie somehow makes every meal better than the last. Cramer is really starting to become home.
June 8th at approximately 2200: I was on cloud 9, singing to myself (as we all usual do) when assigned forward watch at night cause uhh hello? Who doesn’t love hanging with some dolphins creating trails of bioluminescence, on the bow of a sailboat with a starlit sky overhead. So unbelievably cool. But today, aye caramba. Today started out a bit more chaotic than expected. Let’s face it, waking up to a siren for an alarm is never ideal and not knowing whether it’s a drill or real life on a boat you’ve been on for approximately a week and a day is even worse.
Its hard to believe that it has already been a week since we all first stepped on the Cramer. In some ways it feels like it has been far more than a week, given the challenges of adjusting to the watch schedule, seasickness, and learning a new language and new skills. But things have started to fall into a rhythm on the boat. Pretty much everyone has overcome their seasickness either through time or better living through chemistry.
The last 24 hours have been rocky. The tables in the saloon tilt against the rocking of the boat so that our food stays on them. Without this we would have been wearing our dinner. The wind and waves have been strong and high with a peak of about 35 knots and seas 6 to 8 feet high. We spent the whole day under sail power which is nice because the noise from the engine is no longer depriving people of sleep. For the first time on this trip we have seen water over the beams when big waves come by and rock the ship.
To all on shore, we have spent a whole day with the engine off and the sails up! A low pressure system just passed over us at the beginning of Afternoon Watch and has left behind it clear and sunny skies. We have been able to exercise most of the sails today, which was a great change from the motor sailing we had been doing with just the lowers up. Currently, we are flying the storm trysl (still up from the low pressure system), the mainstaysl, the forestaysl, the jib, the topsl and the rafee sail.