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SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

A group of graduate students in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program are currently sailing on the SSV Corwith Cramer for the 2012 Jake Peirson Summer Cruise. Students are welcomed to the world of oceanography with a 10-day cruise in the North Atlantic from June 27th until July 6th

Position information is updated on a workday basis only.

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C241a - WHOI - MIT

July 4, 2012
Ship Position: anchored in Menemsha Bight (Martha’s Vineyard)
Weather: wind force 3, south-west

Picture caption: 2nd of July sunset. What a blissful sensation to enjoy such a nice view from a tall sailing ship!

Science, sailing and a lot of fun!

One week after our last anchoring, here we are, back in the islands, just in time to enjoy Independence Day fireworks! The weather has definitely been very clement during this cruise and we have been able to fill the vast majority of our scientific goals. We thus come back with handfuls of data, both about the dynamics and the biology of the region. Some of it has already been preliminarily processed and some interesting features have been pointed out. Let us mention for instance the presence of a filament of warmer and salty water surrounding colder and fresher water during the last part of our “U” sampling you have already read about.

Today has been a delightful sailing day under a warm summer sun and a nice breeze thanks to which we have been able to sail at around 5 to 7 kts on our way back north. What a glorious feeling to glide on the water with only the sound of the waves breaking around us!

Now, a quick word on the life on board. A scientific cruise is obviously very different from what is usually referred to as a “cruise”. The students take a full part in almost every part of the life aboard, from navigation to hourly checks of the boat, from the dishes to the soles (i.e. floors) cleaning. That’s also what makes life on board so pleasant: we really feel “at home” and it feels strange to think that we have been here for only seven days.

Let me conclude by emphasizing the fact that Mother Nature has definitely chosen to bless us this week with a succession of stunning sunrises and sunsets, close sightings of shearwaters, dolphins, turtles, sunfishes… Oh, did I mention the sharks? And the whales? Well, I guess everyone was a bit sad tonight to strike the sails but even more happy to have been part of this great team!




C241a - WHOI - MIT

2 July 2012
Ship Position: 40° 11.6’ N x 070° 01.7’ W
Motor-sailing under single reefed Main, Fore and Main Stays’ls
Weather: NW wind, Force 1; Seas 1 ft; 21.8°C

Picture by Robert Todd: Common Dolphin Under The Bow

Students’ Day 6 Top Ten Reasons to Sail on the Corwith Cramer, compiled by Dana and Erin:

1. Being Surrounded by Nothing But the Ocean
2. Homemade Bread and Pastries Everyday (yay Shelby and Mickey!)
3. Having Snack Time and Nap Time for the First Time Since Pre-school
4. Finally Getting Over the Seasickness and the Haze of Motion-sickness Drugs
5. Stars!!
6. Ukulele Chorus at Sunset (Singing Badly and Trying to Stay in Tune)
7. Sea Cinema: Evening Entertainment = Mola mola + Sea Turtle Sightings + Dolphins Swimming Through Bioluminescence Plankton
8. Cabinet o’ Hats
9. Having a Personal Wake-Up Call Every Morning
10. Man Hands



C241a - WHOI - MIT

June 30, 2012
Ship Position: 40° 12.7’ N x 070° 46.2’ W
Under sail and between stations, headed north
Weather: winds light, southwest

Picture caption: First-year JP Program student Jaap helps Chief Scientist
Chuck deploy a CTD carousel. Otherwise known as SCIENCE.


This is the second day in a row we’ve sighted a sunfish, or Mola mola, off the port bow. It was in general a great day for “charismatic megafauna.” We spotted, in addition to the fish and a ton of Sargassum (pulled North from the Sargasso Sea by the Gulf Stream, we think), a sea turtle (popped its head out to say hi! Or, more likely, “what the heck??”), and a Risso’s dolphin! It turns out that the surest way to get people on deck when they’‘re not on watch is to tell them there’s a dolphin in the water. Once they are out in the open air, of course, they can be roped in to…well, dealing with ropes (more technically, lines).

So, this is the first update even though we’ve been at sea now for four days. Our only excuse is that we’ve been busy; on station with SCIENCE, handling sails, making sure the vessel is clean, and the inevitable getting over seasickness. All of us are past that last mark, though, so expect more soon!

Julia and Laura