SEA Currents: sailing
C253 Web Blog - 15 June 2014
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.
C253 Web Blog - 08 June 2014
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.
C253 Web Blog - 06 June 2014
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.
Flying to Hawaii
We’ve had quite the week aboard the Seamans! Six days ago we shut down the main engine and have been flying towards Hawaii (stopping here and there to do a little science, of course) on a starboard tack ever since. The trade winds picked up to a Force 7 (28-33 kts) for a few days and brought with them swells twice as tall as I am that surged higher than the quarterdeck at times. Apart from making any attempt at walking below decks quite comical, the winds and seas have made for an exciting (and nerve-wracking) JWO phase!
Trade Winds Sailing
We’re currently experiencing one of the epic days of sailing on this trip. The NE trade wind is blowing fresh and the Seamans is on a starboard tack close reach, heeling and making for some dynamic sailing. There is an occasional splash of spray over the windward side and even more occasionally a flying fish has been turning up on deck, having been carried aboard with the wind. Yesterday we made our best day’s run of the trip having logged 155.3 miles in 24 hours. This is the homeward stretch toward Hilo and the trade winds are expected for the duration.
Ahoy outside world!
We are back underway and remembering how this sailing thing works. It was an amazing extended stay in Nuku Hiva, full of lush tropical forests, waterfalls, and charismatic megafauna. Absolutely the highlight of my birthday was completing a boat check while on anchor watch around 4 AM, and being called up to the quarterdeck to watch one, then two, then three manta rays swimming up to our boat, floating dreamily around in our stern light, somersaulting and waving to us. It was breathtaking; I never imagined I would be seeing such a beautiful animal!
A Full Day on Board
It was a full day aboard the Seamans! We departed Nuku Hiva this afternoon after staying a little bit longer than originally planned. Next stop: Hilo, Hawai’i! We are all so excited to get underway again even though that meant leaving an amazing place. Fortunately for us, the transition was rather pleasant - one might even say magical - thanks to the gigantic pod of talented dolphins (a few hundred strong) that escorted us (they actually swam along with us for several miles) away from the island on the first leg of our journey.
Living Up the Sea Life
On the Robert C. Seamans we are living up the sea life! It’s very different from you landlubbers out there. Sleep is short, but very refreshing. I woke up at 0230 for my watch at 0300, Dawn Watch! This is my favorite watch time. Who guessed it? I’m turning into a morning person. Lily and I wake up at the same time since we are both on B Watch and live in Shellback Alley, aka The Turtles! We get dressed, grab our harnesses and catch a midnight snack.
Science + Sailing
As we continue on toward Nuku Hiva, is has become clear that science stops for no man. Just about every 12 hours we stop the ship’s forward progress, a process known as heaving to, and deploy gear to collect everything from water samples at 400 meters depth to phytoplankton at the surface level. Although we are working together in small groups on our research, we all do our part to help prepare data for other projects. Our duties include working during our on-watch lab hours to deploy the carousel, the neuston net, and the meter net, as well as processing the results.
S251 Weblog 11 February 2014
After being underway for two and a half days, and sailing for a good amount of time, we are gaining more and more knowledge on sail handling. Words like make fast the jib sheet and thats well seem a lot less intimidating. Making fast a line means to fasten it to a pin in a specific way. That‘s well means a line has been adjusted just perfectly, and to stop what you‘re doing to the line. There really could be a whole dictionary made of sailing terms, those are just two of them! Coiling lines clockwise and walking on the windward side are quickly becoming second nature. And trust me that was not the case a week ago. If one thing is true, sailing has a huge learning curve.