SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
Williams-Mystic S17 Heads Offshore
18° 27’N x 66°04’W
7 nautical miles north of San Juan
Good afternoon from the SSV Corwith Cramer. I'm Lisa Gilbert, Chief Scientist and Williams-Mystic professor, here with my colleagues Prof. Mike Nishizaki and Teaching Assistant Hannah Whalen, the Spring 2017 Williams-Mystic students, and Cramer's professional crew. The S17 Williams-Mystic students arrived Mystic Seaport just one week ago from colleges and universities all over the country, and now here we are 7 nautical miles off the coast of Puerto Rico.
We arrived San Juan yesterday and students were split into three watches, each with a mate and an assistant scientist. The watches have to work together closely throughout our 10 day field seminar, so they immediately began getting to know each other and learning ship routines and safety. This morning Captain Sarah led safety drills and Assistant Scientists Abby, Farley, and Marissa trained students in proper protocols for water and sediment sampling from the ship. After lunch, we got underway with Maggie (St. Lawrence) and Muriel (UPenn) from C watch at the helm and on lookout, respectively. All other students helped to set sail. Within an hour we had set the main staysail, the fore staysail, the jib, and the jib topsail.
Although everyone helped get underway, this afternoon we began rotating in 6 hour shifts with just one watch "on," taking their turn sailing the ship and collecting data in the lab. The other watches stand down to relax or sleep. Right now C watch is on. A few members of A and B are scattered around the ship, some reading or writing in their journals, but many of them are gathered on the quarter deck to talk and listen to Jason S (McDaniel) play the ukulele.
In the main salon, where we eat our meals, Nickie (Bowdoin) was pouring out a fruit smoothie for afternoon snack when we heard the call "whales on the port side!" Kathryn (Millersville) and Ellie (Yale) and a few other students had just gone to their bunks for a nap, but heard the excitement and quickly joined the crowd on deck. Four pilot whales crossed astern of us, coming within 10 meters. We watched in awe as these small black whales kept surfacing to breath and then disappeared from view.
What a great start to our trip!
Until next time,