SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
A Good Swim and a New Phase
21° 08.4’ N x 074° 09.0’ W
29nm ENE of Great Inagua
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Steering 330 psc, making 6 knots
Sailing on a starboard tack under the jib, staysl’s and single-reefed main
NExN winds force 6, northerly swell 6-8ft. Overcast skies with Stratus and Stratocumulus
Hello from the Corwith Cramer! We are well and busy here – let me catch you up on the last couple of days aboard the ship.
Only a short time after our excellent port stop in Santiago, we reached a quiet, peaceful island called Great Inagua on the southern side of the Bahamas. Rather than the white sand and coral rubble it is made of, the cool waters surrounding the island is where we spent most of our short stop. A source of pride for the Bahamas, the crystalline waters we encountered at our anchorage were so clear that we could, from the deck of the ship, see the ripples in the sand on the sea floor more than thirty feet below the surface. Awe-inspired artists took to their watercolors to try to capture the brilliant hues of turquoise and blue stretching to the horizon, myself included. Besides the truly extraordinary clarity of its waters, Great Inagua boasts a salt production facility from the Morton salt company and a flamingo to human ratio of 61:1!
Man of War Bay on the western side of the island is where we chose to stop for the afternoon and overnight with the intention of going snorkeling and spending a quiet night at anchor. While staff members got a chance to spend time ashore as well, we rotated to help shuttle students ashore, be a point person on the island and provide backup to snorkelers using a life ring – all necessary positions to make an exploratory afternoon in this new place a safe one. For me, it was a fun opportunity to drive around shallow coral heads and practice beach landings with the rescue boat!
After a lovely day spent underwater, today was time to once again turn our attention to activities above the surface. Soon after a gray breaking of dawn B watch got the ship underway towards Key West, marking not only an end to our final port stop but an important new beginning as well. Phase III, also known as the JWO/JLO phase (for Junior Watch Officer and Junior Lab Officer) began this morning at 0700 and entrusted the students with a significant amount of new responsibility for deck and lab operations.
Calling a sail evolution, running rotations within a watch, conducting a seamless deployment and processing samples independently are all things JWOs, JLOs and their teams will be required to do with minimum intervention from the professional crew. B watch kicked it off with a strong start this morning by getting us sailing off the anchor and completing our first morning science station in a while! While it may seem daunting for many students, Phase III is the most gratifying for a watch officer – it is the moment they get to admire just how much their students have learned over the course of the trip. Evidently this phase isn’t without its occasional struggles (it is no small thing to run a science-conducting tall ship!), but if it is successful the students will discover how powerful they are as a team and step away with a well-deserved sense of pride over their accomplishments.
Personally, I rejoice over our reentry into the rhythm of life at sea with its watches, gatherings and deployments. Various factors like weather, port stops and scientific research clearances have prevented us from fully immersing ourselves in it lately, but I couldn’t be happier at the prospect of spending the next week doing what we do best: sailing and learning on the open ocean. I hope your various activities can give you similar contentment and fulfillment whether on shore or at sea, at home or abroad.
PS: Joyeux anniversaire Mutti! Je te fais d’énormes bisoux. Hi to everyone back home!