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SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

The Corwith Cramer departed from Woods Hole on Friday, July 22nd with students participating in the Science at SEA. They will spend time sailing and collecting data, and will disembark in Woods Hole Saturday, July 30th.

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C235c - Science at SEA I


Greetings from the Corwith Cramer, the past two days have been very busy onboard with the students processing data to present research to their peers.  Our last station was conducted 100 miles south of New England in nearly 1300 fathoms of water and we sailed back up to Rhode Island Sound Thursday morning, to anchor in the protected waters of the Sakonnet River. The entire ships company then gathered and listened to our shipmates present the results of all the data we collected.  After the presentations we did some cleaning of the bunks and the ships crew by having a swim call.  After a delicious dinner we sailed off the anchor in light winds and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset.  Throughout Thursday night we sailed between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island continuing to fine tune our shiphandling skills. On Friday afternoon we sailed into an anchorage in Martha’s Vineyard.  We then cleaned the rest of the ship from stem to stern and now have a little time together to reflect on the hundreds of miles we sailed together.  Our last night together will be a time for reflection and sea stories from the Corwith Cramer’s most recent shipmates.

All the best,
Tom Sullivan



C235c - Science at SEA I


GPS Coordinate: 40 degrees 29.72 minutes N by 070 degrees 35.25 minutes W
Heading: North
Speed: 3.5 knots
Weather: hot, sunny, with no clouds with a slight breeze

Today was a beautiful day on the Corwith Cramer.  We’re headed back North now and are back on the continental shelf.  During dawn watch (0300-0700) we finished processing data in the lab.  The half of the watch on deck tried to complete most of the check list of safety items required to know before we can go aloft.  The rest of us will try and complete the list tonight, which includes knowing the lines, emergency procedures, and compass bearings. Because our watch (B watch) ended at 7am we had the rest of the day to relax under the sun.  Early in the morning we saw a pod of dolphins that stayed with the boat for about 15 minutes.  Later in the morning we hung out on the bow sprit and played guitar.  In the afternoon we began to work on our research projects.  Each group has a different topic and we are using the data we collected from the super stations to create a conclusion.  We will be presenting our projects tomorrow afternoon after we spend the morning finishing them.

The days are going by faster now, they used to drag on, but now when it gets dark you wonder where the day went.  It’s sad to think we only have a few more days left on the boat, but we have learned so much in the short time we have been onboard.

Darling its better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me!
B Watch (Boss Watch!)



C235c - Science at SEA I


GPS Location 30deg 29.3’ N x 070 deg 37.2’ W
Head 270 degrees
Cloud Cover 5/8
Air Tempature 25.4C

Today we had dawn watch.  This is the watch in which we are on deck or in the lab from 0300 to 0700. The weather was cool and the wind was light. We sailed under the four lowers, otherwise known as the Mains’l, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l, and Jib. This morning we had a “super station”  B watch deployed the Neuston net, phytoplankton net, the secchi disk, and did a “Styrocast” For the “Styrocast” we all decorated Styrofoam cups and then lowered them 100 meters in to the ocean. When we hauled the cups back aboard they were about half of the original size, this showed the pressure of the ocean and how things are compressed.

We are all learning a lot about both ourselves and the ocean surrounding us. We are about 105 nautical miles south of the island of Nantucket, the closest land to us. Today while sitting out on the bow sprit we really thought about how unique this program truly is. How many high school students can say that they have been on bow lookout at 0300 and seen dolphins with bioluminescence surrounding them? The answer is not many. We have truly learned so much about our surroundings. To truly realize how amazing the ocean is, living on it gives you a pretty good understanding. The students are all looking forward to what we can learn next.



C235c - Science at SEA I

24th July, 2011
GPS 41 05n 070 42w
Heading: 160 magnetic degrees
Weather: Wind: NW-SW
Cloud cover: 7/8ths Altocumulous clouds
Barometric Pressure 1012

Today is our second day on the boat, which means that we are out of sight of land and the swells are larger. Many of us are feeling the effects of the sea, so we look forward to getting our sea legs!

We, (B watch,) had the dawn watch (3 to 7 am,) and got to see the first sunrise aboard the Cramer. It was very beautiful! As the sun came up, the sky was painted with pinks and oranges. We noticed a brilliant contrast between the stars still in the twilight sky and the sun rising over the crests of the waves.

Although it seems bizarre to stay up so late and wake so early for watch, all of the S.E.A. students and crew take equal turns maintaining the ship. Each member on board feels both the struggles and exhaustion of the dawn watch but we are able to enjoy the beauty of a sunrise at sea and the stillness of the water. After working diligently setting sails or collecting data, we feel accomplished and can get some rest in our bunks.

Time aboard the Cramer can pass quickly or drag on. Sometimes when you are on watch it can feel like time is slipping through your fingers and other times every minute feels like an hour.

Life at sea also has some surprises. Today we saw two groups of dolphins and a shark fin! It is crazy to think about how much we have learned and achieved in such a short period of time aboard the ship.

We look forward to the surprises and challenges tomorrow will bring!

May you paint with all the colors of the wind!
Love,B Watch (Becky, Tricia, Rachel, Louis, Alissa, Jenny, Emma Jean, Jason, Steph, Jane, Annie)
p.s. Everybody smells like fish!

Monday, July 25, 2011
GPS Coordinates: 40º 04.0’N x 70º 27.9’W
Heading: 160º
Weather: Wind: East, Beaufort Force 4
Air Temperature: 21.5 º C
Clouds Coverage: 6/8 by Altocumulus (Ac) and Stratus Fractus (St) Clouds
Pressure: 1013.0 mb

Today started for us (A Watch aka Awesome Watch) at 0300 when we took over the ship from a very grateful and tired C Watch.  We were immediately greeted by dolphins surfing Cramer’s bow waves and lightning flashes in the Southern sky a result of a passing cold front that had dumped rain on us the previous afternoon. Around 0430 red and orange glows began to fill the Eastern sky as we watched the giant orange sun rise up over the horizon. Shortly after we were relieved by B Watch (Boss Watch) to head down to a delicious breakfast of banana oatmeal, sausages, and fruit. Later in the day the same cold front that had passed over us the previous day and the accompanying low pressure system brought with it wind enough for us to shut off our engine as of yesterday afternoon. We have kept our engine off since then and have been sailing primarily under the power of the 4 Lowers (mains’l, main stays’l, fore stays’l and jib). We also have gotten in a fair amount of gybe practice and have the chafed hands to show for it.

We completed our second of three deployments today that included 2 Neuston tows, a Phytoplankton Net, a Hydrocast, a Secchi Disk, and a Shipek Grab. We also deployed our drifter at 40º  and 4.099’ N by 070º 27.981’ W. Our drifter will send its location to The National Marine Fisheries Service via satellite and will be used to track ocean currents and refine charts depicting them. We all watched it float off as if we were watching our first child head off to college. (That line is evidence enough that we (A Watch) have obviously not received enough sleep yet today and will be heading to our bunks immediately).

Smooth Sailing,
Griffin Hill and Margot Hughan repping AWESOME WATCH (Eric, Maggi, Mackenzie, Clare, Maya, Julia, Will, Nicole, Mia, Griffin, and Margot)



C235c - Science at SEA I

It’s our first day at sea on the Corwith Cramer! Yesterday we motor-sailed 11.4 nautical miles south west to Menemsha Bight, a part of Martha’s Vineyard. We anchored at around 1800 (6 p.m.), and are getting ready to set sail today. Since then we have practiced our line and sail handling, finding everything in its place on the ship, and our safety drills. We practiced what we would do if there was a man overboard, a fire or flood, or even if we had to abandon ship. A lot of information has been thrown at us, but I know it’s important so we can have the best trip possible!

The rest of the crew has been fantastic, helping us to learn everything and making us feel like real crew members. Everyone is wicked friendly, and it’s a great community that we have started to build on board.

This morning was extremely hot and humid as we went through more safety orientations. At just around lunch time while we were still safely at anchor, a squall line passed over us. The clouds that came with it were amazing. We could tell the direction of the rain and how fast it was moving just by looking at the clouds. That’s not something you can see from your house everyday!

I’ve only been on the Cramer for a day, but I already love it. I’m really excited to start sailing soon, and get on the open ocean!
~Miranda Doutch

This afternoon after the ship went through the remainder of our safety training and watched the spectacular weather show, Corwith Cramer sailed away from our protected anchorage without using the engine, no small feat for a new crew, the evolution went flawlessly and ship and crew are currently sailing for deeper water.

-Tom Sullivan, Master