SEA Currents: sailing
Sailing for Science!
Our first full day at sea! Waking up to a gorgeous sunrise at anchor this morning, we set the sails and continued towards Russell. Throughout the day, we’ve been rotating watches focusing on applying all of our newfound skills in navigating, plotting courses, and catnaps. Around 1400, all hands gathered for our first actual class of the voyage. We discussed our current position (roughly 60 nautical miles North of Auckland), sail plan, and weather forecast before diving into sail handling 2.0.
So Here We Are
“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.
A Life Changing Adventure Coming to a Close
“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.
Change is in the air
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!
Setting most of the sails on the Cramer
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.
Welcome to the tropics! On this fifth of November the Cramer and her crew crossed the Tropic of Cancer, this invisible line circling the globe at 23° 30’ N. This event (celebrated by as many aloha shirts as I could encourage people to wear) was one I was looking forward to for some time, and this for a few reasons.
I welcomed in the month of November from the floor of the lab where we were busy organizing nitrate bottles. Not only were the samples rolling about, but so were we in the red lights of our headlamps. The 12-foot swells made me feel as though I was in a Pilates class trying to keep from uncontrollably slamming into the people, tables, poles and walls around me. By the time we were relieved by A-watch at 0100, I was ready to sleep.
We have once again lost sight of land and are somewhere sailing in the South Pacific ocean. The only thing that we can see are the clouds passing by with an occasional whale tail flopping out of the water during the day, and countless shooting stars at night. We are underway, heading south to our second destination in Tonga, Nuku’alofa where we will dock for a few days.