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SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

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Williams - Mystic

Our final night aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer

Position:  44.0 N x 068.9 W, near Vinalhaven, Maine
Heading:  N
Speed: 2 Knots
Weather: cloudy, light winds
Photo caption:  Svati Narula (Dartmouth) and Greg Conyers (Brown) presenting their poster on seafloor sediment composition.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Good morning!  We’re heading towards Rockland Harbor, enjoying views of Vinalhaven to starboard, and dodging lobster pots. C watch has the deck.Most of the other students are grabbing a few more winks after an invigorating night of sailing in 4 foot swells and 15-20 kt winds. It’s quiet down below, except for the occasional opening and closing of the engine room door.

Yesterday we awoke to more whales, this time a group of 6 pilot whales only a few feet off our port quarter.  Later in the morning, students had one final chance to climb aloft underway. Then, all hands gathered for a poster session. Students presented the results of our data collection over our 600+mile cruise track, including our brief time in warmer Gulf Stream waters.

We’ll soon begin cleaning the ship in preparation for a swizzle to celebrate our last night aboard. Then, it’s back to Connecticut for the Williams-Mystic F11 class, where we’ll enjoy the last few weeks of summer before heading to California for our second field seminar.  We are grateful to Capt. Beth, the mates, the assistant scientists, the stewards, and the engineer for helping to make this a great experience.

Until next time,
Lisa Gilbert



Williams - Mystic

Position:  43.1 N x 070.5 W, near Platts Bank, Gulf of Maine
Heading:  NW
Speed: 5 Knots
Weather: SSE winds, 15 knots
Photo caption:  Gretchen, Zara, Charu, Chris, Becky, and Matt (all from B watch) learn to splice during class.

Williams-Mystic F11 enjoys Labor Day

It’s Monday afternoon and we’re making great speed with the wind on our starboard quarter.  Everyone has their sea legs now and the Williams-MysticF11 students not on watch are enjoying some time to draw, read, sing, and socialize.

For the past two days we have been sailing north.  Today we passed through Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary and continued into the Gulf of Maine with finback whales at our side.

Every afternoon we have formal classes on deck.  Thus far, class topics have included maritime language, geologic formation of the Gulf of Maine, right of way at sea, and marlinspike seamanship.  Today we discussed territorial seas, marine sanctuaries, and had a line chase, where students showed their knowledge of the dozens of lines we use to adjust the sails from the deck.

Tonight, students begin work on their marine science projects.  Each student is in charge of presenting a subset of the data we have collected during the last week.  In addition to sampling the surface waters every hour, we completed three oceanographic Super Stations: on the continental shelf, the edge of the continental slope, and a submarine canyon. At our most distant station, we were nearly 100 miles offshore and collected water samples from2000 meters below the surface (1.25 miles).

Dinner smells good!  We’ve been very well fed by our stewards and enjoy healthy, energizing meals through the days and nights.

Until next time from the SSV Corwith Cramer,
Lisa Gilbert, Chief Scientist



Williams - Mystic

Position:  Courthouse Pier, Boston Harbor
Heading:  N/A
Speed: 0 Knots
Weather: calm, clear, 68F
Photo caption:  Quinn Bernegger from Middlebury College and Vera Cecelski from Williams College enjoy cold cantaloupe for morning snack.  C235G_31Aug11.jpg

August 31, 2011.  0600 on the quarterdeck.  The stars are fading from view and students are just waking up after their first night aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. It’s a calm morning at the dock in Boston Harbor, with light wind out of the southwest and gulls flying overhead.  Yesterday, we (the Williams-Mystic Fall 2011 class, plus a teaching assistant and oceanography professor), boarded a bus from Mystic, CT to Boston, where we met the ship and joined her crew. 

We had a busy first day of safety orientation from Captain Beth and the engineer, mates, stewards, and assistant scientists.  Students are starting to learn their way around and getting accustomed to being on the ship.  They are learning lines, learning the daily routines and procedures, and practicing use of the oceanographic equipment.

As students arrive up on deck from their full night’s sleep, they look rested and excited for the next ten days.  We look forward leaving the dock after lunch and heading south toward the Cape Cod Canal.

-Lisa Gilbert, Chief Scientist