SEA Currents: Ocean Exploration
What a different way to wake up for the crew of the Corwith Cramer this morning. Drawn from its slumber by Rachel’s singing voice, the entire ship’s company got a wake up at once - something unheard of underway when an entire watch is awake and working at any given time. New sights and sounds greeted the early risers as they stepped onto deck: a risen sun behind a verdant hill dotted with houses, high frigates already soaring in the air, a barking dog, stately pelicans grazing the flat water surface with their wingtips.
In the words of Anna yesterday, “Here we are.” This evening, however, that phrase has a whole new meaning, and we aboard have the firmest sense of where we are yet. Land! Sighted early this morning as distant flickering lights 38 nm away, then rising out of the gloaming as the sun comes up and gives us colors to behold; then we are between two islands and in the lee and the smell of the land is overwhelming. Wet dirt, fresh wood smoke and an entirely new array of ocean smells not encountered in the open ocean.
“SO, here we are, running before the wind under the topsail and course…” Jesse, sailing intern and current C watch J-WO says to A watch clustered around him on the quarterdeck. His voice comes from a silhouette plastered against a backdrop of stars. “The wind is from the East, force 4. Course ordered is 300 degrees….” he continues. And so began last night’s evening watch.
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon for each day to have a new and different sun.” –Jon Krakauer
Where do I even begin? It’s crazy to think that this is our last week aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. It is truly bittersweet.
To set the scene of a dawn watch not long ago: Still foggy from my 00:30 wakeup, I rolled out of my bunk, made a mug of tea, and ascended the ladder through the dog house to read night orders, familiarize myself with the deck, and receive turnover information from the off-going watch. Directed to take the lookout position, I walked forward to the bow to relieve Mercer, who was looking out and singing “Lean on Me.” I joined him for a chorus, then as he left I situated myself between the rail and the forestay, and I began to watch.
Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Domino’s pizza delivery does not exist. Thinking of civilization back on land is weird. The concept of green pine trees lurk into my mind and then the reminder that I very well may be greeted with snow when I return stuns me, forgetting that was still a thing. As I stand bow-watch and gaze into the dark twilight of the night, I try to recall my life before this. No routine, no set schedule, no meal times, no daily clean/field days and no wake ups.
I could tell you your life is fine the way it is. I could tell you the niche you’ve found for yourself within society is all you need. The sounds of the city, suburbia, and the chatter you hear at work every day is enough. I could tell you these things but then I would be a liar. It is a fool’s errand to attempt a description worthy of life at sea.
Change is in the air. Whether our crew knows it or not, they have come a long way from Woods Hole and I am not counting the sea miles. I see it in our crew everyday as they begin stepping up to the plate. I remember their green faces as we set out around Martha’s Vineyard and powered south to get past the Gulf Stream. Every face expressed the same perplexed look during those first few days of remaining hove-to; “is it ALWAYS like this” as the ship pitched to and fro!
Hello everyone! Today was a special day. During the night while most of the ship was sleeping and only the dawn watch was up we moved from the south Sargasso Sea to the transition zone. The transition zone is in between the south Sargasso sea and the Tropics. That means that we moved one step closer to our destination, Grenada. As we are moving south the weather is getting hotter and hotter. On deck the sun is burning especially for morning and afternoon watch but when it’s windy you can’t feel the heat.
Greetings! Today was another beautiful day aboard the Corwith Cramer, it was partly cloudy but you could still feel the effects of the powerful sun, a sun hat and sunscreen were a good precaution to take. Today is a day that makes you happy to be alive and incredibly grateful to be doing what we are. You can’t help but marvel at the vastness of the ocean and the magnitude of creatures and critters small and large that lurk beneath the surface.