SSV Corwith Cramer Blog
The SSV Corwith Cramer will depart Key West on January 31 with students in the Williams Mystic program. They will sail in the Straights of Florida and Gulf of Mexico and will return to Key West on February 10.
Position information is updated on a workday basis only. Audio updates from the ship are reported periodically throughout the voyage.
Corwith Cramer C232b - Williams Mystic
Position: 24.11.9’N x 81.31.2’W
Speed: 4 knots
Course: 270 degrees true
Weather: F4 SE, sunny, calm seas
Good Morning. This is Richard King, Literature Professor for The
Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, sailing aboard the Sailing School Vessel Corwith Cramer. It’s a sunny, clear morning with just the right amount of wind to allow us to continue sailing gently westward in the Straits of Florida, just the direction we want to go. Our current position is approximately 50 nautical miles southwest of Key West. We’re bound toward deeper water, hoping to do our first morning of significant science sampling tomorrow.
Ever since our arrival in Key West on Monday afternoon, we’ve been
working hard. We remained at the dock for the first evening, gettingoriented to the ship’s routines and going through collective andindividual responsibilities in case of any emergency. We sailed out ofbusy Key West bight yesterday afternoon, just behind a huge cruise shipand a Coast Guard cutter. As we exited the channel we were escorted out by a small pod of dolphins. We also saw a huge sea turtle swim right alongside our hull; it was as long as a person and three times as wide. Anna Szymanski was the first student to take the wheel and steered the ship very well as we began to make our way southwest. Elsa Sebastian, her fellow Alaskan, got excited by the sea jellies floating by: the Portuguese Man o’ Wars and the By-the-Wind Sailors. As the sun began to set, students such as Dan Gross and Philip Parnell, worked on, quite literally, ‘learning the ropes’, while some students paused as they
began to feel the motion of the sea, and all began to learn the routine of standing watches. Our ship will sail around the clock, and students are continually learning how to steer, navigate, and manage the vessel
as well as keeping our regular examination of the waters
of this area, sampling the region’s biology, the makeup of the oceanbottom, the water chemistry, water temperature, and the local currents.
We are meanwhile reading and will soon be talking in class here at seaabout two authors, James Fenimore Cooper and Ernest Hemingway, both ofwhom wrote significant novels about this part of the watery world—yetalmost exactly a century apart.
Each night, half of a student watch is in the ship’s laboratory and eachevening around midnight and each day around noon, we tow across thesurface of the ocean. Last night we caught a huge collection of
jellies, as well as a diverse sample of small fish, halobates, otherwise known as ‘the water strider’, and a variety of other zooplankton, identified in part by Pete Lauro from Hamilton College on his watch in the lab. The bioluminesce last night was glitteringly spectacular, and
a few students identified in the night sky the Southern Cross. For seabirds, we’ve seen so far shearwaters,
magnificent frigatebirds, cormorants, terns, skimmers, and gulls.
There are 24 Williams-Mystic student crewmembers on board—one of ourshipmates, Justina Khuu, couldn’t come on this trip-and there are 11professional crew and 3 Williams-Mystic staff here on this 135’ ship.Since there are a lot of people in a small space, we regularly work tokeep the ship clean and tidy. Last night, Allan Gonzalez, with aseemingly iron stomach, did the heroic work of completing the cleaning
of the galley. We’ve been very well fed already by our two stewards.
Now that all students have their first night of sailing under their
belts, we’re looking forward to an exceptional voyage.