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SSV Corwith Cramer Blog

Position information is updated on a workday basis only. Use the controls on the map to zoom out if map is too close for imagery to be shown.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Monday 23 December 2013
Location: Safely alongside Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

0752 – moments before we all clear customs. 

Image caption: One crew, one body - C250

Yvon Chouinard says “it’s not the destination, but the adventure on the way” that makes trips worth taking. Although our destination of San Juan is a great place, the reason we journeyed was for all that happened in Woods Hole, on the high seas, and during our island port stops along the way. And even though we’ve reached our destination that does not mean our learning will stop. For me, this trip will continue to teach me for years to come. –Brent

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by”
I love you C-250

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later….
Love & going to miss you C-250!

Time is not that hard to understand. It is a tool that the universe may resort to in order to achieve a desired degree of complexity. When viewed against the myriad possibilities of an entire universe of experience, what meaning has a single moment of goodbye?

Looking back 12 weeks ago in Woods Hole, I never would have predicted how much this trip would change me, or how much I would grow to love these people around me. We started as a small group of strangers and eventually became a Cramer family. I am so grateful for all of my new friends and the experiences we have been able to have together. One Crew, One Body.


“I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it is beautiful.” – Fritz

C250 may we carry each other throughout our journeys … can’t wait til you all turn 26. So much love and gratitude. One Six Body… NINE
-Sarah Z Salem

3 months ago when we started out this journey in Woods Hole the task of sailing 1,000 miles through the Caribbean seemed daunting. It is amazing how time has shaped us, our trust in each other, and our abilities aboard the Cramer.

This has truly been an eye opening experience. I could not have thought of a better way to end my college career than spending it with an amazing crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. I now have a new set of skills and relationships that will last a life time and help me start the next step on this journey we call life. Thank you all for your love and support throughout the past few months, it has truly been blessed. See you all again soon!
-Tess Hooper

I’ll miss the roll of the ship in the swells and the open night winds, but I’ll be coming back to the sea in due time. Maybe not on Cramer, but she’s the start of something new. Recognition is due to everyone on C-250 for making our vessel live for the last month, and it wouldn’t have been the same without you.
-Sarah Skinner

This was one of the most amazing adventures that I have ever been a part of and I am so happy that I could experience it with the most amazing people.  A life changing trip that I will never forget.  I am so glad that I could be a part of SEA.  Thank you all!
-Allison Price

It has been proven to me time and time again that life takes you where you need to go and brings you the people you need to help you grow. I could not have asked for a better crew with whom to share this spectacular adventure. Thank you to C-250 and Mama Cramer for taking me on this journey and helping me to grow in ways I never thought I would. May we meet again on another sea.
Love and gratitude to you all. We will always be one crew, one body.
-Emily Goddard

I had pretty much no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for this program but now that it’s all over I can’t imagine a better way to have spent this semester. C-250, thank you for all the love and support you’ve shown me throughout this trip. I couldn’t have made it to the end without each and every one of you.
-Tess Matthews

World expanding fun. Had a great time, and can’t wait for the reunions!

Classmates and crew, you were a shining example of unity and growth. It was a pleasure to know all of you, hope we may meet again. God speed and good luck.
-Brynner Honorato Batista

Unbelievably, this amazing journey on the SSV Corwith Cramer is already at an end.  The last month of adventure, laughter, and hard work has fostered a community between C250 students and crew that won’t be forgotten in the years to come.  I will miss each and every one of you and truly don’t want to say goodbye.  During our Swizzle (celebration on the final night), Captain Tom introduced us to a sea shanty that fits perfectly with our final departure from the ship.  It’s included in this blog post so we can always remember the times we spent together and the friendships we’ve found.

Oh the times was hard and the wages low,
Leave her, Johnny, leave her
But now once more ashore we’ll go.
And it’s time for us to leave her.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her,
Oooh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.
For the voyage is done and the winds don’t blow,
And it’s time for us to leave her.

I thought I heard the Old Man say,
Tomorrow you will get your pay.

We’ll make her fast and pack our gear,
We’ll leave her moored ‘longside the pier.

She’d neither stay, nor steer, nor wear,
She shipped it green and made us swear.

The work was hard and the passage long,
The seas were high and the gales were strong.

The bunks were hard and watches cold,
The meat was green and the biscuit old.

But the sails are furled and the work is done,
And now onshore we’ll find our fun.

Now it’s time for us to say goodbye,
The old pier-head is drawing nigh.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Saturday 21 December 2013, 1229 AM
Location: 18° 30.1’N x 065° 36.5’W

Image Caption: A Watch getting prepared for the upcoming styrocast!

Howdy folks,
A Watch (Molly) here from our very last night sailing on the Cramer! We are currently sailing under the mainstays’l, maintaining a speed of about 4.5 knots, and winds are coming from ENE. As a former Junior Watch Officer, and tonight, the acting Junior Lab Officer, I like to keep track of these things because I’’m in charge of the ship all by myself tonight (just kidding. But with my wealth of JWO knowledge I totally could if I had to. Possibly).  But I digress, let me catch you up on some highlights from the past few days. 

Two days ago we did a very exciting scientific deployment called the Styrocast, nicknamed the Stachecast by A Watch because we all put on fake mustaches to mark the occasion. Strict scientific protocol was followed, naturally. With our staches firmly in place, we deployed the CTD… along with 29 styrofoam cups, decorated beautifully by each crew member, stuffed into a pair of pantyhose (scientific equipment), and with yours truly as wire driver, we sent the deployment down 1200 meters. The pressure down at that depth compressed the air in the cups down to shot-glass-size and they are the most adorable little bits of styrofoam you ever did see.

Yesterday we had a lovely sail through the historic Drake Passage between the USVIs and BVIs and saw the island of St John from the sea.  We took our small boat into Cruz Bay past the old customs house we learned about over a month ago when we had stayed on island.  The entire ship’s company was cleared by US customs; it was pretty awesome to see the Grenadan and Dominican stamps in my brand spanking new passport, especially because they say “arrived by sea” and “Corwith Cramer” on them.  After customs we settled into a comfortable anchorage and tidied up Mama Cramer and ourselves in order to welcome aboard our fantastic dinner guests from VIERS: Heidi, Tony, and Carla. We had a delicious dinner made by A Watch’s own Tess Matthews and the best steward ever, Brian Middleton (who is also my date for Cramer prom, which may or may not be happening, I just need everyone to know that Brian agreed to go with me. Tentatively. He also thought I was joking. But still). Then A Watch was in charge of galley cleanup, so naturally everything was glistening by the time we made it to bed.

Today we had a pretty chill first half of morning watch, where we were permitted to go aloft, which was the second time for starboard watch and the first time for port watch. This time we got to go all the way up the foremast, which provided a spectacular view of the USVIs and BVIs and a birds-eye view of our lovely home the Corwith Cramer, looking nice and clean and shiny. After lunch it was time to get underway again for our last day at sea.  We set lots of sails and set off into the sunset…next stop Puerto Rico. 

To honor our last day of sailing I would like to share with everyone an old and sophisticated sailing joke:

Knock, knock
(here’’s where you say “who’’s there?”)
(okay now say “Panther who?”)
Disclaimer: we are all wearing pants right now.

I would like to conclude with an original poem:
Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Cramer
Goodnight friends and family reading this blog
Goodnight Molly
This is a haiku

Sarah Skinner – Much love to everyone at home and at Carleton, I can’‘t wait to see you in a few short days! Leaving Cramer will be hard, but I’‘m looking forward to the snow and a very special short dog. I’’ll call as soon as I can!

Brent “might overreact” Phillip—yeah, hey.

Janet – Sending love and light to all my friends and family back home or wherever you may be. Hope y’all are having a Merry Christmas!



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Wednesday-Thursday, 18-19 December 2013, 1321
Location: Anchored, Cruz Bay St. John

Image Caption: Class is in session as Tess explains the science of rainbows.

There is nothing more that Tess H and I, Brent, love then recapping events taken place in the empty space between blog entries. So here goes. JWO phase has captured all of us in a hysteric tizzy. Pressure is on and expectations are high. Just as you’d suspect we are rising to the challenge, maybe.sort of. It has been fun and insightful to have greater ownership of working the ship. For some, decisions were difficult and weather conditions were pressing. For lucky others, easy sailing was had and navigation was less stressful. Whoops, whoa there we heard a bell for all hands to the quarter deck, we’ll be back soon.

Well we’re back. We discussed customs procedures in St. John at our meeting. Tonight we will be anchored here and tomorrow we will begin the last leg of our Caribbean voyage to Puerto Rico.

Besides the JWO activities, we all have been working on data analysis projects from oceanographic samples we collected over the last 4 weeks. Together, we have been able to paint a picture of what is going on in the ocean and why it is happening. We’ve used all sorts of data including hourly temperature, salinity, chlorophyll-a, depth, and nutrient levels to understand patterns and trends. Our knowledge of the underwater world has grown immensely since the first day.

As we near the end of our voyage, our skills are at their peak. We’ve learned from the late author Harvey Oxenhorn who says everyone must adhere to “a code of service: of doing whatever you are doing well. Not because someone will check up or will reward you, but because the ship’s very functioning assumes that individual commitments be sustained in private for the public good.” The working of the ship requires commitment from all. A commitment that is selfless and concerned foremost with the rest of the ship. This perspective is refreshing as college life is so often more about finding paths that achieve personal success. May we translate the commitment to communal benefit that we’ve learned with us down the road?



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean



Saturday & Sunday, 14-15 December 2013, 2200
Position: 16° 32.8’N x 061° 59.3’W

Image caption 1: Tess H. showing off her new JWO digs… looking hot to trot

Image caption 2: From left to right: Kelton, Skye, Chris, Miranda, Sarah Z, Brynner, Emily, and Sarah M

CWATCH here with some exciting updates!

Wahoo where to start! Well, we’re back on the open seas, a little ahead of schedule. Why? You might ask. It all started with a little wind… that turned into A LOT of wind. Starboard watch was off the ship enjoying their final day in port exploring the beautiful nature island of Dominica. There was snorkeling, waterfalls, and hot springs just to name a few of the experiences we shared that day.  Later that evening, upon arrival for the evening small boat run back to Cramer, we were informed that Cramer was hove to in the harbor waiting for us.  The reason the ship got underway was due to strong winds (Gusting to F7) causing the anchor to drag along the bottom. Once we arrived back on the ship, C Watch took the deck and the “at sea” watch was set. That night the wind was strong and, while crossing the channel north of Dominica, we found the waves a bit bigger than we had seen so far. Many students, Miranda especially (who resides in the fo’c’sle), found that their bunks became momentary anti-gravity chambers.

The next morning C watch found themselves in much calmer waters in the lee of Guadeloupe. Kelton took the lead on deck and we continued to prepare for our JWO and JLO phase. (That stands for Junior Watch Officer – not the jersey shore—and Junior Lab Officer – not the actress from Selena). Seas remained calm as we got crazy on the quarter deck, with Brent Phillip, leading us in a hip shaking, booty rocking, pump-up the volume dance for field day—the thorough afternoon cleaning of the ship. (Note: there was a rainbow on the port beam… but no pictures… only memories) Post field day, we mustered on the quarter deck where we found out that we are going back to St John on the way to Puerto Rico.

At dinner we set our eyes for the first time on the JWO vest, a beautiful neon orange garment, to help easily identify our intrepid deck leader for the watch. Tess Hooper (C-250’s first JWO) wore the vest proudly, accompanied by a hot pink head band.  Legend says that the headband holds all the knowledge and strength of our C-250 Class.  Tess led her watch (under the watchful eye of the mate and captain) admirably, and she later shared in the old tradition of the JWO exchange with C Watch’s own Miranda STOKES! (Sarah Z here: Miranda was an amazing JWO, she had the support of her shipmates, including Kelton and Brynner who supported her throughout her command on deck).

It’s an exciting and nerve-wracking time onboard Cramer as we take all that we have learned over the past ten weeks and put it all together to take the lead in following orders from and reporting directly to Captain Sullivan to keep the Cramer running smoothly. Now, more than ever, we are digging deep within ourselves to unlock the knowledge and cool confidence we all share in order to make the right decisions to help keep our crew safe and our ship on track. In these final days of sailing we will lean on one another more than we ever have before.

It’s an amazing experience to hold so much trust in one another; which is equaled only by the absolutely incredible experience of having discovered a trust in ourselves. As the JWO phase continues on, we will undoubtedly draw
closer together as shipmates while we continue our work to bring Cramer safely home.

With lots of love,
C Watch

Hey, it’s me, Miranda. JOHNNY!! I can’’t believe that you are home already!! I can’t wait to see you and swap stories from the last two years. It’s gonna be THE best.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Friday 13 December 2013, 2200
Location: Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica

Image Caption:  A busy market in the capital of Roseau. 

Happy Friday the 13th! Hullo again from the beautiful mountaintops of Dominica! Or if you are part of Starboard Watch, comfortably at anchor a half mile off shore on the Corwith Cramer for our work day. Not only did we spend the morning busting all the rust off Cramer’s nooks, crannies and shackles, and crafting endless baggy wrinkles, but we also learned that Molly can eat an entire cupcake with Nutella frosting in one bite. We also had lots of sing-alongs to make the day merry, and later that afternoon had the privilege of being the first students to go aloft, meaning we carefully went over safety procedures, strapped on our harnesses, reviewed safety procedures again and then dug our feet into the rigging of Cramer’s foremast. To say the least the view was amazing.  There was also lots of homework to get done, lots of soles to be scrubbed, and lots of swim calls to be had.

While Starboard watch was scrubbing, climbing, and swimming, Port watch had their own adventures on land. The watch split into two groups, one going the boiling lakes and the other into the town of Roseau. The boiling lake hikers are all too tired to report on their day that began with leaving the Cramer at 0600, so we might hear from them tomorrow. The capital of Roseau was a perfect environment for some of our research projects, so we took the morning to meet some of the very friendly people who live and work in the capitol city and came away with some incredibly useful information. Afterwards, we walked around the market crowded with cruise ship passengers and local vendors. Sorrel juice was today’s drink of choice, a prickly flower that is boiled and made into a Christmas drink for the holidays. We thought we would get as much Christmas as we could, so we drank our sorrel juice and walked through the streets listening to Caribbean inspired carols. In the afternoon, we negotiated with a tour guide to take us up to Trafalgar Falls. We hiked over huge, slippery boulders to a beautiful 75 foot waterfall with a pool beneath it, perfect for swimming. Then our guide took us to a nearby hot spring where we rested our weary legs and relaxed.  Then a speedy bus back to Portsmouth to meet up with the rest of our crew to exchange stories of adventure and discovery. It was a long and fun day for everyone!

Love, fair winds, and cupcakes,
Mo, Emily & Allison

Mo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD!!!!! I love you so much mom! I wish I were able to call or give you biggest hug on your special day! I miss you SO much and I cannot wait to see you!!! Thanks for everything you do for me and Mx!! I LOVE YOU MOM!!! Hope you had the best birthday EVER!!!! XOXOX

Allison: Hello Aunt Shirley and Uncle Doug! Miss you two! To my Charleston people, hope you guys don’t miss me too much… Hannah, Pat, and Jessie better not be having too much fun without me! Miss you guys and can’t wait to see you guys in January! Mom and Dad, as always you are the greatest. Mitch, you better be keeping an eye on those two for me. Love you all!



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Thursday 12 December 2013
Anchored in Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica

Image caption: Hiking in the rainforest of Dominica.

Pop icon Kelly Clarkson’s words of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” have remained a foundation for inspiration for all of us. Challenges continue to come our way but triumph, glory, and fun come shortly after. The challenging journey filled with wind and waves to Dominica has rewarded us greatly. Today was our second glorious day here. We triumphantly hiked deep into the rain forest where we found coffee, bananas, grapefruit, yams, dasheen, and pineapple being grown for local and export markets.  Our knowledgeable guides spoke about various agricultural practices and its importance to the island economy.  As the hike continued we listened, and a few observed, distant parrots, an endangered species that is also an important symbol of Dominica appearing on their national flag.  All of our hiking was rewarded at the end by a welcome and refreshing waterfall.  And as Zac Brown sings “you can jump right in” we all followed suit by taking
advantage of a bathing opportunity below the falls.  As we drove back to Portsmouth we made a few detours to visit the towns of Bioche and Dublanc, both renowned for their fishing heritage.  Both lived up the their reputations:  in Bioche we interviewed one fisherman who elaborated on the spiny lobster fishery over the many years he has plied his trade and shortly thereafter convinced us (not much arm twisting required really) to purchase several pounds of lionfish; which happens to be an invasive species that have devastated Caribbean reef communities.  ‘Eat ‘em to beat ‘em’ as they say.  In Dublanc our timing was perfect, a yellow fin tuna had just been landed and was being prepared for sale to local hotels; we would soon learn it weighed in at 79 lbs.  We also spoke with a Fisheries Division Official who spoke about island regulations and monitoring. 

Most notable from today was a surprise visit from the Dominican Minister of Tourism on the Cramer. Ian Douglas was invited aboard and given a tour of the ship before he gave us an insightful history of Dominica. The Minister spoke of successes that Dominica has seen but also of hardships. His words, and the larger historical context of the Caribbean that we have learned, have made me consider the true stories of the island countries that we are privileged to visit. When travelling, it’s so easy to take a new place at face value, but what I am learning is the truth behind any place lies far more hidden that what is readily seen. Dominica is especially rich in history and influential happenings.

Dominica has been fun and eye opening. As Miley Cyrus says “we can’t stop, and we won’t stop,” having a good time on our SEA semester. For me, Brent Phillip, I can’t help but think of Ricky Martin and his lasting words of “livin la vida loca,” because we for sure are.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Wednesday 11 December 2013
Anchored in Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica

Image caption:  Rocks such as these are believed to turn into canoes at night and ferry the souls of dead Kalinago into the next world.

Our Dominica Adventure:

My day began at 0140, as we drew closer to our anchorage in Prince Rupert Bay and made preparations for our first landfall on the island of Dominica. A quick primer: Dominica (pronounced Do-min-EE-ca-do not get this wrong, it is perhaps a larger bone of contention than the perennial Austria vs. Australia mix-up) is an independent island nation sandwiched between the two overseas French provinces of Guadeloupe to the north and Martinique to the south. Mountainous and verdant with contrasting black-sand beaches, its character seems quite different anywhere we’ve yet been.

Straight off the dock, we met with our two drivers and guides, Paul and Winston. Paul is a construction worker who, I learned over the course of my day with him, spent thirty years moonlighting as a martial arts master on Guadeloupe. I spent less time with Winston, whose knowledge of Dominica and its resources were reported by my peers to be extraordinary. After introductions, we set off along the coast, destined for the Kalinago reserve on the Carib side of the island.

Along the way, we stopped at viewpoints overlooking the dramatic rock outcroppings of Dominica’s northern and western coasts. Both guides proved extremely knowledgeable about everybody’s chosen areas-which, if it hasn’t come up before now, range from alternative energy to sea turtles to hurricanes to voodoo. I noticed several landmarks straight out of the folktales I studied during the shore component.

The Kalinago side of the island became the Kalinago side through the kind of blunder that provides scant comic relief amid the dark history of imperialism. In the 16th century, the few remaining Caribbean natives converged on Dominica, whose rough terrain made it easier for them to live their lives unhindered. Once the French, and later the British, colonized Dominica, they spent the next centuries corralling the Caribs into the corner of the island with the worst conditions for the things Europeans liked to do-monoculture planting, and probably fox hunting and wearing impractical hats. Until the modern day, they failed to realize this side was in fact ideal for a lifestyle that made better use of nature’s bounty. The exhibit in the cultural interpretation center, maintained by a younger generation of Kalinago who are rediscovering their heritage, pays tribute to their persistence.

Our afternoon involved an immersive experience. We helped bake cassava bread, cassava being the Carib word for a liberal amount of brown sugar held together by flour made from fibrous roots. We witnessed and participated in the traditional dances that the Kalinago performed to celebrate all occasions. We walked among reproductions of their homes of old, and heard the echoes of their lives in their stories: a pool by the sea where a man beheld a shy but determined mermaid; the Pagua Rock, atop whose sheer face grows a flower that gives one the power to command anybody they wish; the wish-granting tobacco snake of L’Escalier Tete-Chien.

After our tour, we were honored with the chance to interview a former chief of the tribe. Kalinago Chief is an elected position, voted on by all adults in the territory, whose power comes directly from Queen Elizabeth II. Masclem Frederick was beyond knowledgeable about the past and future of his people, and we gained even more useful information before starting our trip home.

That was the sum of our first day of adventure in Dominica. Stay tuned for day two. I have a suspicion that during the following entry, my co-blogger Brent Philip will claim that the phrase “that which does not kill us can only make us stronger” was first uttered by pop icon Kelly Clarkson, and not pop icon Friedrich Neitzsche. This is wrong. If you see him, please inform him how wrong he is. Much appreciated.

Sam C.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Tuesday 10 December 2013
Location: Anchored in Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica!

Image caption:  Setting the Mains’l.  Sam, Gina, Allison and Bailey work together and haul on the halyard. 

Here we are. Dominica. Self-proclaimed “nature island”  Larger than Grenada, yet significantly less inhabited, we sit at anchor and watch the squalls roll over the steep forested mountains, and sigh sighs of relief that for the time being, we no longer have to rush out into the bow net and furl the jib at 3 am.  The 24 hours prior to anchoring, we found ourselves pounding relentlessly into 6-8ft. waves, the good ol’ Corwith C. rolling and pitching like those old carnival pirate ship rides.

Us sailing interns, Chris, Jess, and Orion, found ourselves tending to a few students, whose stomachs were not aligned correctly with their inner ears.  We patted some backs, enjoyed some zero gravity forward look-out shifts, and did plenty-o-boat checks, while the students worked hard on running fixes, celestial navigation, sail handling and SCIENCE!
They’ve come so far. Since Grenada, they have been bustling about, furling the main staysail, tracking squalls on radar, deploying the Neuston net all by themselves, and filling all the in-between cracks with studying and projects.  Each day that passes, we step back and put more responsibility into their capable hands.  We’re so proud of them!

Written by your friendly shipboard sailing interns: Chris (SEA alum S240),
Jess and Orion.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Monday 09 December 2013, 1700
Position: 14° 43’’N x 061° 57’’W

Image caption:  Our tour and discussion of slavery with our captain and our Maritime Studies instructor, Crag Marin, back at the sugar mill ruins at Anneberg Plantation in St. John.

C watch RETURNS!!!

We started off another beautiful day with French Toast Friday here on the Corwith Cramer. Winds and seas were rough (but not in a scary way) as C Watch took control of the deck this morning at 0640 sharp for our 0700 watch.  We mustered on the quarter deck for the official maritime studies meeting at 0830 with Craig Marin (our Maritime Studies professor) to discuss slavery in the Caribbean Islands and any evidence we observed during our port stop visits of this tragic legacy. 

The remainder of Watch was occupied by our morning science deployments… and while preparing the ship for station …suddenly, we spotted a wave that was unlike any other wave.  This wave rose up out of the blue two points abaft the starboard beam. The water, which peaked at least three feet above the quarter deck, captured the essence of the sun’s rays, projecting a spectrum of rainbow goodness across the Corwith Cramer. It was beautiful. (As described by Kelton J Nut). 

Kelton KILLED science shadow, leading the way through our final science super-station. We found 3 Portuguese Man o’ Wars in our neuston tow, and Kelton is really excited about it! Brent, Brent Small, Dry Hands Phillip freakin’ owned at dish duty all watch long. If you need clean dishes, he is your man.

Later that afternoon, C watch led class presentations, Miranda told us about diesel engines (I also checked the oil, Dad, you should be proud). Emily presented the ‘what’s what’ with the weather and navigation. The science report came to us via the B Watch crew.

Also of note, we saw a whale today. Just kidding, it was a wave. There are a lot of waves out here, and some of them look like whales.

In other news, Miranda finally whipped herself into shape and finished her aloft checklist. Last, but not least. Now the whole crew can go aloft!

-C Watch Out!

Shoutout to my family: guess who? Yep, it’s me. Miranda. I love all of you guys SO MUCH! I can’t wait to see you all soon!

Mommy, Daddy, and Salma… I carry you guys with me every second… especially during night watches when sitting on the bow during look out… every shooting star reminds me of you three… elhamdulah love you and can’‘t wait to see you is masr iA… Sarsoora



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Sunday 08 December 2013
0300 (actually the next morning - 09 December)

Position: 14° 36’N x 61° 49’W
Location: 43 Nautical Miles West of Martinique

Image caption:  Take it to the pin and sweat it!  Sarah, Tess, and Janet hauling on the forestaysail halyard.

It’s Mo and Tess M…. making a habit out of 3am blogging here. Reporting live from SSV: Corwith Cramer to inform you that we are currently experiencing squallage and are busy keeping track of other sailing vessels in the area using our AIS (Automatic Identification System), the RADAR, and confirming each target with visual bearings.  Today was a big day for A watch. We gybed the ship about 200 times (at least it felt like it). Mo shadowed our first mate, Will, and learned a lot on how to run the Watch on deck, while Tess got super drenched standing forward lookout for two hours. No worries, the shooting stars (and bioluminescence…yay science!) made it all worth it. Mo and Jess (our sailing intern) experienced making coffee on Mama Cramer for the first time in the wee hours of the morning, waking many up in the process… - whoops!

All the students on the Cramer are taking on more and more responsibilities as we make our way to Dominica – What a scary thought. Luckily we’re all up to the challenge- Stay tuned!

Mo: shoutout to my big sis! - Just realized I am living in your old bunk in the saloon! (I think) Love you miss you!!!!

Tess: Maria and Shelley, I told you both I’d give you a shout out on the blog and I’’m keeping my promise. Hope all is well in Blue Hill and Roslindale, please give Cal a pat for me! Love and miss you guys!

Molly: shoutout to Ruthie— - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love you, miss you, see you in NYC soon! Have a fantastic day, thinking of you. xoxo



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Friday, 06 December 2013
Position: 12°5.5’N x 061° 47.0’W
Location: Sailing 010° per ship’s compass just west of Grenada, with a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins and a flock of feeding brown boobies as company. 

Image caption:  C Watch checking out a successful shipek grab near St Georges, Grenada. 


Do I have an entry for you today!… This fine feathered morning, the ship and her interdisciplinary crew set sail away from the beautiful island of Grenada. After clearing customs, C watch took over morning watch for the resumption of life underway. Just after hauling in the anchor, the ever plucky SCIENCE SQUAD deployed our first SHIPEK ‘grab’. This device is a spring loaded mechanism that springs shut, hauling up a bucket of “STUFF” from where it landed. We secured the device, and sailed away with a little piece of Grenada that we can study for biomass, sedimentation deposits, and other good stuff.

Our sail plan was another ‘first,’ as the fisherman sail was set for the first time on this trip. Despite gentle winds, with 6 sails set we were able to make good progress over the calm Caribbean Sea. The crew was in good spirits as we got back into the swing of things, and familiar patterns became reinforced. Unfortunately, for some, this swing was too literal, and seasickness re-reared its ugly head. Sea legs are quickly returning, never fear.

We are entering new phases of responsibility while on watch, and learning more and more material daily. The challenge has been invigorating and I welcome what is to come.

Thanks for checking in!

S/O to: all the folks back home. Peace unto you and yours.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Thursday 5 December 2013, 2109
Location: At anchor in St. George’s Harbor, Grenada

Image caption: Bob the Lobster hangs out on deck

Sarah Skinner of Carleton College here, reporting for Port Watch on our last day at anchor here in Grenada. We’ll be setting sail early in the morning tomorrow to begin our way to Dominica, but few people feel ready to leave Grenada just yet: there’s so much more to explore on the island and to delve into with our research projects, but we won’t have a chance to on this trip.

Port Watch made the most of our shore time today, and we were all in the rescue boat/dingy/orange speed machine to shore bright and early at 0730. We began the morning by wandering in downtown St. George’s, investigating the spice market, fish market, bus station, and cruise ship terminal. Today’s cruise ship was intimidating: a towering 800-foot German cruise liner whose passengers we kept running into wherever we went. After finishing in town, we stuffed into a taxi up to the Seven Sister’s waterfall, a beautiful hike-in area with seven sequential falls, deep pools, and great swimming. On our way back, Allison and I had a great conversation with one of the many taxi drivers before the rest of the group caught up and we all headed up the road to Grand Etang National Park to do some research. Once we’d spoken with people, done some Christmas shopping, and enjoyed the company of some very cute kittens, we caught the Number 6 bus back down into St. George’s.

The midafternoon heat and our stomachs found us drinking smoothies, resting in the wonderfully strange thing called “air conditioning,” and planning the rest of our day. Brent, Miranda and I headed back into the southern part of St. George’s to look for Grenada’s fishery office, while the other five members of our watch headed north to snorkel the famous underwater reef sculptures that had been recommended to us by Starboard Watch. Although we didn’t manage to find the office, the three of us did have a very interesting time speaking with the managers of two industrial fishing supply stores about lobster fisheries (me) sport fishing (Brent) and sea turtle conservation (Miranda). Because most places in Grenada close around 1600 and I had forgotten my swimming gear on the Cramer, I headed back to the ship in time for dinner while Brent and Miranda went to join the other snorkelers.

Back aboard Cramer I joined Starboard Watch, whose turn it had been to stay on the ship and do housekeeping for most of the day: painting, sanding, and replacing old lines in the sun. The day’s hard work was capped off with a swim call enjoyed by all onboard. Also on board was Bob the Lobster, an enormous Caribbean spiny lobster delivered to us along with eight others for dinner by a local fisherman. Starboard Watch had saved him for me (aka the one who won’t shut up about how cool arthropods are) after he wouldn’t fit into Captain Sully’s pot. I had a fantastic time weighing and measuring him with Gina and 2nd scientist Abby (6.4 pounds!), and got a good sense of what lobster size data really means before we released him back into the sea.

Later that evening the Cramer welcomed aboard two visitors:  Claire a marine science professor at University of St George’s and Xola a university student, and both alums of SEA!  Claire and Xola joined us for an artfully cooked crustacean dinner courtesy of Captain Sully and Sarah Salem; and afterwards they both answered our many questions about Grenada. Claire in particular provided great insight about the effects of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, present status of Grenadian politics, and details on numerous conservation and energy initiatives on island.

It was a long, full day, but absolutely worth it because tomorrow we jump right back into our busy at-sea watch schedules. The hours may be long and the angle of the soles (i.e. floor) unreliable, but open ocean, here we come!


Mo Howard: Big Sis- Remember when we met Xola in the NYC on Cramer!?!?! She remembered us & she is awesome!

Dad & Patricia- The lobsters were not the same as Brewsters haha! SO much to tell you! Love you miss you! Xoxo

Mom- I learned how to sand & paint today. Can I paint my bedroom door now?! Love you miss you!

The Pitts- Many people are now saying “pass the AL” at dinner. Hope the first GA winter is well! Miss you guys Xoxo

Rein- The tall palm trees here make me think of you. Hope all is well! Miss talking



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Wednesday 04 December 2013, 2023
Location: Anchored 0.4 miles off of Fort George, Grenada

Image caption: Orion serenading us with the sweet, sweet sounds of his guitar playing during sunset tea time.

Howdy from Miranda and Tess H.!
Yesterday, we were treated to an all-student tour of Grenada by the ever-friendly Mandoo; who showed us the national park, the rum mill, and a spice plantation to get a full taste of the island. The locals are friendly, the island is beautiful, and we are excited to spend the next couple days getting to know Grenada a little bit better.

We are coming to the close of our third night here in Grenada port stop. However, the work never stops! While Starboard Watch (half the group) headed onto Terra Firma in Port George to gather some research, Port Watch, including yours trulies Miranda and Tess, mustered together to give Momma Cramer a Premium Spa Package deal all morning. This included, but was not limited to, a full body scrub to de-rust and a mani/pedi to re-paint. Soon after, the watch was rewarded by a spontaneous Swim Call! We were able to jump off the bow sprit into the glorious South East Caribbean Sea. We used the opportunity for some salt/freshwater showers on deck, much to the crew’s benefit! (Cuz we smell.) Bad. Afterward, we cleaned the galley (we’ll skip over the details) and THEN we had SUNSET TEA TIME!!! (For Miranda and Tess.. then others joined later on..) It was one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen, from the deck of THE most beautiful boat, Momma Cramer, whilst Orion, one of the sailing interns, strummed away a romantic lullaby on the guitar. We had time to work on our sheet anchors and field journals and enjoy one another’s company, which was nice…

It’s gonna be a hot one…  on the Cramer.. tonight….(there’s not much wind..) (It makes ventilation close to nil..)

shout OUTs to
RICKY LEE! We miss you ever so much and we were thinking about you during sunset tea time. Because you would’ve had the perfect pallet of colors to capture the beautiful moment. Hope everything is going well on the mainland. We are all keeping your advice in mind while working arduously on our field journals. P.S. It’s not too late to meet us in Dominica.

Tess H. – HEY MOM! I miss you so, hope all is well at home! It’s been a lot of fun in port the past few days, it’s been a nice break and a chance to relax a bit. I can’t wait to see you soon! I can’t believe its December already. Say hi to the boys for me, and I miss them! I’ll try to get in touch with you soon at our next port stop in Dominica. Love you so much! xoxo

To my Utah family and friends. I love you all, I miss you all, I can’t wait to see you guys! It was the best to be able to talk to you all during my time in Grenada, and I hope to have another chance to talk to you soon! To Erin in Paris, I love you, miss you, and hope you are eating delicious French foods all the time. Nunyat- Miranda Roo



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Tuesday 03 December 2013
Location: Anchored 0.4 miles off of Fort George, Grenada

Image caption:  A rare view, the Cramer as we take the small boat into harbor. 

Our morning began early today as we mustered on the quarter deck at 0700 to be briefed about our port stop. The crew was split into two Watches - Port and Starboard - while one Watch is ashore the other is taking care of the Corwith Cramer.  Port Watch had the first day working on Cramer.  Our first challenge: to sort through all our trash in order to comply with new Coast Guard regulations for the Caribbean region. We had to make sure that plastics, paper, and food waste were all separated, so we dumped all the trash we had been saving since St. Croix on the deck, and began wading
through it.

Upon the captain’s return from the customs office we were told that all students would be able to participate in an organized field trip on Grenada. So, we wiped ourselves off and hopped in the small boat with most of the crew and headed to shore. Mandoo, our tour guide, loaded us up in a van-which was good because we hadn’t gotten our land legs back yet-and drove us around the winding curves of Grenada.  While enjoying some rare air conditioning, we learned about the history and culture of Grenada and took in the lush green forests.  Our first stop was a 17th century farm that still produces the spices commonly grown on the “Spice Island” like nutmeg, cloves, cacao, cinnamon, turmeric, and bay.  The manager of the farm explained the process of cultivating cacao from its raw form and we were able to smell every delicious spice.

After a wonderful lunch of local meat, fish and produce cooked on all the spices, we were able to explore a rum mill that has been in production for centuries. This factory still used the original distillation techniques and uses locally grown sugarcane to begin the process.  A majority of the process is powered by on old water wheel, hence the name - River Rum distilleries. Next, we drove to a national park - Grand Etang, where we met two friendly Mona monkeys who ate bananas from our hands and climbed across our shoulders.  We’re planning on adopting them as official Corwith Cramer pets.

As the sun set, half the crew headed back to the ship to eat dinner and stand watch while others stayed to explore Grenada for a few more hours. Everyone is excited to see land again for a short time and we’re all looking forward to the next few days working on the ship and interacting with the Grenadian culture.

Ricky Lee-If you’re reading this blog, know that we all miss you!  We were hoping you’d come to your senses and fly to Grenada to join us. We’re still waiting.

Sarah Salem-Miss you all and can’t wait to see you in Egypt for New Year’s!

Gina Giorgi-Love to Mom, Dad, Tony, Allison, Terri, and Al (and any friends who happen to be reading this).  Looking forward to seeing you in a month!

Bailey - Continuing to think about everyone back at home, and hope all continues to be well.

Mo -Mom, Margaux & Justin: Love & Miss you SO MUCH. Can’t wait to see you guys

Sailor: I miss you little buddy!! I hope your cast is off & the 6th grade is treating you well!! Miss you little one!!

Dr. Ngo: Hope you are feeling better!! Thinking of you all the time & sending good thoughts!!



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Monday 02 December 2013 1640
Position: 12° 04’’N x 061°45’’W
Location: Anchored less than 1 mile off Fort George, Grenada

Image caption:  From the left-Brynner, Sarah Z, Miranda, Brent. 4 homies watching the sunset with Grenada in the background. *The massive tall ship is not the Cramer*

Brent here reporting for A watch representing the University of Denver. I caught sight of the glow of Grenada lights standing forward lookout around 2200 last night. We were 20 miles northwest of the island at the time and are now less than 1 mile off the west coast finding a place to anchor. Our morning watch was filled with science deployments. We collected water samples from 5 meters all the way down to 900 meters to test for Chlorophyll-a, Oxygen, and Phosphate levels. We also did some phytoplankton processing and surface collections. Deck hands were also busy keeping us safe by keeping track of small boat traffic and depth changes.

We have been underway for a little over a week and at this time we are far more comfortable with ship life. Sea sickness is no longer existent, tripping and stumbling occurs less often, and knowing our responsibilities is quickly developing. For me, it has been a humbling experience. Our crew walked on with nearly no sailing knowledge. Since then, we have been instructed, corrected, redirected, and reinstructed too many times to count. I wish I could be fully knowledgeable and able to operate without direction and coaching, but the reality is I am not an expert. For me, I am humbled every time I am reinstructed on tasks that I thought I understood how to execute. I have learned to take criticism and instruction constructively.

Our time in Grenada will begin very soon. Over the next few days, all of us will be able to explore the island and experience a new adventure. I have decided recently that adventures are only as good as the people that they are spent with. I am thankful to be able to say that this has been a great adventure. Our crew, although tough at times, has been helpful and instructive. Captain Sully has kept a sharp eye out for our safety and has taught us all to consider larger pictures than include more than just ourselves. The scientists have helped greatly with research, and the galley chef and engineer keep us and the ship running daily. Lastly, the classmates have supported and encouraged one another. We are all in the same boat…keep it up shipmates.

University of Denver



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Sunday - 01 December 2013
Position: 12° 52’ 04.80” N x 61° 54’ 57.60” W

Image caption: Science Report! Allison and Tess reporting live on the changes in sea surface salinity over the past 3 days and answering the pernicious question on whether or not we are in the SE Caribbean Sea. Answer: Affirmative!  Featuring Captain Sully as easel. 

1145 (Sorry we’re late, we were preoccupied with getting a giant hunk of steel called the Cramer to point towards Grenada using not much more than canvas and a prayer-B Watch)

We had morning watch today, and after the usual double-jibe and heave-to, we deployed all sorts of crazy science equipment: the Secchi Disk (which measures light attenuation by the simple method of having a lot of shipmates lean over a rail and shout at it), the Neuston Tow (a meter-wide net hung off the side of the ship by a special boom, used to measure the diversity of zooplankton), and a Phytonet (the same thing, but for photosynthetic phytoplankton, and hung off the taffrail, and generally less fussy). The centerpiece of the morning was a deployment of the heavy Carousel, which consists of twelve bottles that collect water samples and retrieve them to the surface. We sent it a kilometer down into the ocean, and each bottle activated and closed off at a different depth, capturing its sample.

Down in engineering, Tess H and Ben rigged us up a shower head we can use for our saltwater showers on deck. This was necessary, apparently, because some intrepid sailors consider it a challenge to see how many days they can go without a shower.  We hope to encourage a different behavior while still conserving water usage onboard.  Speaking of water conservation, up on deck, we had a fine taste of squallage during our science station which allowed a free fresh water rinse of the decks, equipment, and laundry. 

Returning to the deck later that night, we caught our first glimpse of Grenada, our destination for tomorrow (or today-I said we were sorry!). We see little more than an expanse of lights right now, but it has captured everyone’s imagination. Our forward lookouts were ordered to remain especially vigilant for unlit fishing boats. At the time of this writing, we’re waiting for Grenadan customs to clear us for entry. Everybody is excited to return to Terra Firma, where the range of motion will significantly increase:

We can run if we want to
We can leave your crew behind
‘Cause your crew don’t run
And if they don’t run
Well they’re no crew of mine

C B Watch, 2013

—Sam C., Tess H., Allison P.

Shout-out from Sam: To Mom, Thomas, and the Concord family: I love you all, and I hope you ate all the tons of food I could not. See you at Christmas!

Shout out from Allison!  Mom, Dad, miss you! Having a blast and hope all is well back home! I can’t wait to see you guys at Christmas. Love you!

Shout out to my Mac softball family! I love you guys, I miss you guys, and I am sad I am missing the Christmas party at Heather’s Space House. See you all soon?



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Saturday, 30 November 2013, 1900

Position: 13° 48.7’N x 062° 03.2’ W

Image Caption: Our wonderfully neon sailing interns pumping us up for Field Day with their Party Song and corresponding dance.

C Watch reporting for blog duty:

Science, Science, Science! We sure did a lot of science today, and man, are we excited to share it with you all!! We started off at 0600 and there was a beautiful sunrise which most of us did not get to see because we were eating breakfast with Cap’n Tom (cereal and milk, anyone?) We then headed up to the deck to begin our day. Skye and Jeff were especially excited because we were deploying our first-wait for iiiit- hydrocast (aka carousel) which holds twelve (count ‘em, twelve) Niskin bottles. These bottles collect water samples from different depths to provide data on temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll-a. We also conducted a Neuston Tow, several surface stations, deployed a Phytoplankton Net, and made some great discoveries. We caught a couple little jellyfish, including a baby Portuguese Man O’War, along with some other adorable fish and copepods.

Brynner took the helm for a double-gybe to slow the boat for science, while Kelton, Emily, and Sarah spent a lot of time up on the bowsprit reefin’ sails. Instead of having normal class today, we all participated in a Field Day. This Field Day is not the type you grew up with in elementary school. In fact, we cleaned Mama Cramer from head to toe (It’s just a metaphor, there are no toes on Cramer. There are, however, a lot of heads.) We listened to some music during Field Day, which was a real treat.

The dinner bells, a’ringin, so we best be on our way.
Another Happy Birthday to our Bengineer on his 30/30 Golden Birthday!
Everything’s bigger in Texas,
Love, C-Watch. 

Miranda here! Great news: we all have pretty much gotten over our seasickness, I finally changed my clothes, and Kelton changed his shirt. Big shout out to Kelton’s family. I haven’t met you, but I am sure you are wonderful people. Never fear, we here in the C Watch family are taking great care of him, although he has been wearing the same shorts the entire time. To Sarah’s family, I have not met you either, but I adore Sarah. Heya habibti. She is teaching me a little bit of Arabic. I love gibna.

Kelton here big shout out to the Stokes’s - Miranda had a great day today and would like you guys to know that she is having fun and getting lots of sleep.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Saturday 30 November 2013
0300 (yes, it is 0300 AM as we write this report)
Position: 14° 58’ 38.40” N x 62° 21’ 24.00” W
Location: Caribbean? Possibly 60 nm West of Martinique
Wind: East, Beafort Force 5, scattered cumulous clouds

Image Caption: Just casually tying down the jib.  (left to right - Molly, Mo, and sailing intern Jess) 

Hey all,
A Watch here reporting live from the library of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Today’s correspondents are professional bloggers Molly, Mo, and Tess M. Yesterday was another eventful day on the Corwith Cramer in the middle of nowhere! Based on celestial navigation and dead reckoning and stuff, we are actually not in the middle of nowhere but it sure looks like it. Given the position of the sun at noon through the sextant, we would guess that we’re somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. Just a hunch though.

We were given about 48 hours to learn all the lines (not ropes) on the ship by class yesterday so we were tested on them in relay race form. It got pretty intense but B Watch won out with A watch at a close-ish second (to be fair, B Watch needs to know the lines the best because they’re the emergency response sail handling team so they had an advantage but whatever we’re not bitter at all). After scavenging around for all the lines-downhauls, sheets, outhauls, jiggers, halyards, braces-we were faced with the final challenge of a pickup LINE and then a conga LINE.

We’re all getting our sea legs but there’s definitely some lurching action still going on, and every time the ship rolls we get a new bruise (one crew one body). People are generally feeling better and there hasn’t been any seasickness for at least 18 hours. Mo is back and won’t stop talking so it’s just like old times! Molly kind of misses sick Mo (just kidding guys, I sure love her chipper little voice in my ear 24/7). Today is Bengineer’s birthday so we’re all pretty excited for his birthday present: we’re going to break everything on the ship so he can fix it for us! What more could a guy ask for, am I right?

Hope y’all bought us some nice presents during the Black Friday SAILs (haha get it because we’re on a boat)! We sure love surprises!

You know you love us,
Gossip girls (Molly, Mo and Tess)



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Thursday 28 November 2013 - Happy Thanksgiving!!
Position: 15° 52.5’N x 062° 45.0’W
Location: South of Saba Bank, east of Aves Island and west of Dominica

Image Caption: B Watch hauling on the main sheet for a double gybe while preparing for a science deployment.

We began the day of thanks with a 0600 wake up from A watch. Breakfast was followed by six joyful hours of Morning Watch. Allison was assistant engineer for the day, and became intimately familiar with the grey water and fire hoses aboard. Tess H. took the helm (what?) and Sam reported to the low side (sea sickness on the upswing). Gina hunkered down in the galley for some extreme dish washing, before Tess H. swooped in and decided to let Gina turn the wheel instead of turning dishes. Bailey and Sam were in the lab deploying every science instrument aboard.

It was during the Neuston tow we spotted some Atlantic spotted dolphins!!! They frolicked in the waves around us for several hours. Additionally, we caught two juvenile sword fish and a trigger fish in our neuston tows.  We kept the trigger fish as a pet (name still in contention). After a glorious N.E.W.S presentation (Navigation, Engineering, Weather, and Science) from Gina, Tess H., Allison, and A watch, we all plugged away at familiarizing ourselves with all the lines on deck to ready ourselves for the Pin Rail Test tomorrow. We from B watch then took a well-deserved nap, until around 1830 when we were woken up for THANKSGIVING DINNER!!! This consisted of turkey (obviously!), candied yams with marshmallow fluff, cream of mushroom with green beans, cranberry sauce (NOT from the can!), cheesy potatoes, gravy, salad, quinoa and mushrooms, and the BEST peach cobbler and pumpkin pie you could get, ALL THANKS to our wonderful steward Brian, and assistant student steward, Brent Phillip. While we ate dinner, we watched the Thanksgiving Football Game featuring the Lions and the Cowboys, the score has been 17-24 all day, with seconds to go in the third quarter, and no apparent movement on the piece of paper it was drawn on. We are now awaiting our next four hour watch starting at 2300, ending at 0300.

Bay Watch, over and out!

Thanksgiving Shout-outs to family and friends from C250:

Tess H. - Hey Mom! Happy Thanksgiving! Hope it was wonderful, I miss you so much! Tell Patrick, Trevor, and Kirsten I say hello and send them my love, and give Samwise a hug for me! I’m having so much fun, slowly but surely becoming a sailor! Love you so much, Mom! xoxo (Shout out to any other friends and family reading this! Thanks for all your support)

Bailey - Happy Thanksgiving family! I trust that you all participated in the turkey trot, and grabbed me a shirt, unless they were that ugly color again. Wish Mumsie a happy birthday for me, and give Mongo two scoops for Thanksgiving. Hope all is well!

Allison-Family! Happy thanksgiving! Hope you guys are having a blast up in da U.P. eh. I’m having so much fun and learning so much. Thanks for everything you do because I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t so amazing! Miss you guys so much! Love you to the moon and back.

Gina-Happy Thanksgiving to the Giorgi/Appel and Arling families (I think you’re congregating in Chicago without me.).  Hope you have a wonderful day and I miss you all so much. Can’t wait to see you at Christmas and make sure you give Cookie and Martha a kiss for me!  Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah to the Schwartz family, and I’m sending all my love to family and friends in MN and at Brandeis.  It’s 85 here, so I hope you’re enjoying the cold (and snow??).

Brent-family and friends, I am blessed and thankful for you. In all we do may we give thanks.

Sarah Skinner - Happy Thanksgiving and much love to all the family back home, especially Pat, Wendy, Ryan, and Caroline!

Mo- Family, Friends & everyone else at our house - Hope you are having fun! Love you all!Miss you all! xoxo ps. I’m extremely sea sick. ugh

Emily- Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family! I love and miss you all so much and I hope you’re having a wonderful day together. I miss mom’s sweet potatoes and of course the apple pies, but dinner here with my SEA family was amazing. I love you all and am excited to see you all in December.

Sarah Z Salem - Happy thanksgiving to Mom, Salma, Maha, Mariam and Ahmed, and Nadia. I miss you all and miss our nomad thanksgiving. sending you all love and kisses - also I have a surprise for you wink

Sara M - Happy Thanksgiving to all the Martins, Murpheys, and Monteiths. Miss every one of you!

Chris Mangieri - Happy Thanksgiving Mom! I wish I could be home with everyone but am having a blast with my new family here at SEA. See you in December!

Miranda- Huge Thanksgiving shout-out to my wonderful family! I miss all of you and can’t wait to see you! I am counting my blessings all the time, and today I am thankful that in the battle between Thanksgiving dinner and seasickness, dinner won and I’m keeping it down. Singing Christmas carols already! Love you all and see you soon!:)

Molly: Happy Thanksgivikkah to the fam at home, wish I could be with y’all to celebrate my two favorite holidays with my favorite family! Nick, I hope you remembered Thanksgiving this year (it was today) and a happy Thanksgiving to your family, too. I love and miss you all. xoxo

Janet - Hi Mom! Helped make pumpkin pie in the galley today. Obviously we used canned pumpkin - thought of your tradition! Missed y’all today, hug our pug for me. Also, hi Dan Miller. Know you are reading and missing you so much! And Marissa/Laura Page/Phoebro/Bydja/Anna: wish y’all were here, esp. because tomorrow is Fluorescent Friday.

Tess M-Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends! I love and miss you all and am thinking of you all the time. Please don’t worry about me, you’ll be happy to know that I didn’t get seasick and I’m having a great time so far. See you all soon! Xo

Skye - I’m thankful for an amazing family and loving friends. I miss you!



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean



Wednesday 27 November 2013, 1844
Position: 17° 23.7’N x 064° 04.8’W

Image 1: Setting Sail ( Left: Sarah ZS, Sara, Miranda, Emily, and Kelton)
Image 2: Neuston Net Retrieval: (left: Skye, Brynner, Miranda, Kelton, and Emily

Hello! Anyone out there?
It’s Sarah reporting for C Watch:
*(note: # are our crew # and help identify our roles during our watch)

11. Bynner B.
12. Sarah ZS
13. Kelton J.
14. Emily G.
15. Miranda S.
3rd Mate : Sara
1st Scientist: Skye
Sailing Intern: Chris

And so it starts. I’m not sure if we’ve been sailing for 1 or 2 days, at sea days tend to blend.  I do know that we have left St. Croix and with that all of our familiar technologies and social media outlets (aka iPhones, SnapChats, etc.). We left dock at 1500 hours on November 25, and were greeted by what we believe to be two good omens, DOLPHINS and RAINBOWS.  We set sail, engine running and watches ready themselves for work. C Watch had the first evening watch from 1900 to 2300. We quickly scurried to the quarterdeck, where we were asked to strike the Main by Captain Tom. Exciting? YES. Were received orders for positions from our 3rd mate Sara, and after pulling the downhaul and securing the halyard we all climbed onto the dog house and furled the sail. Now, I know this makes no sense to any of you but, you’ll understand when you’re. a sailor. We continued the night with some science and boat checks and headed to bed at 2300. 

Woken by the gentle whispered wake up of B watch mate, Allison P. we were privilege to the cooking styles of Brian, the Ships Steward.  At 0700 we reported to the quarterdeck, where we were given our orders. Brynner and Kelton went to lab, where they conducted our first science deployment with the secchi disc, CTD and neuston net. Skye our 1st scientist was pleased. Emily, Chris, and I set and struck the Jib sail a few times; this afforded us the chance to lay out onto the bowsprit. (That’s the long boom at the front of the ship with a net beneath it). Excitement was had by all and at 1300 we were relieved of our duties, ate lunch, and napped until 1430 the ship’s triangle was rung for class. Captain Tom, Engineer Ben, and Chief Scientist Jeff each took it old school (white board and marker?) and demonstrated the daily NEWS report (navigation, Engineroom, Weather and Science), which we the students will be responsible for presenting for the remainder of the cruise.  The rest of the afternoon we spent setting, striking and furling sails with our watches, but the lesson was cut short as we responded to some real life squalls.

I’m exhausted. My watch mates are sleeping and so I must do the same.  To all parents and friends - we’re doing great; we’re having fun, and learning a lot.

Mom, Salma, and Dad. miss you all and see you in Masr, iA.

Sarah Z Salem



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Monday 25 November 2013, 0900
Position: 17° 44.8’N x 064° 41.9’W
Location: SSV Corwith Cramer alongside Gallows Bay St Croix USVI
Weather: Wind E F3. Mostly Sunny

Image caption:  Safety training for our new crew.  C Watch staff and students pose for a picture at the helm with their captain - in the fashionable hat!

The Caribbean shore component of C-250 drew to a close Monday afternoon with the long awaited arrival of all the students to Corwith Cramer.  The anticipation was high for both students and staff.  The students have been
patiently waiting since October to become the next crew of the ship, and the staff knows that the ship never feels quite right without a crew of students aboard.

Our next 24hrs will be spent learning the ship and the ships routines and each other prior to sailing.  The students will be learning anything from how to set the Fore Staysail to how to properly clean the soles (floor) to
how to don an Immersion suit in event of an emergency. The learning curve is steep and the amount of knowledge being passed is very high but the entire crew is up to the challenge and all is going well. 

If all goes as planned we will set sail around lunch time Tuesday and get C-250 out into the Trade Winds where we belong.  Please continue to check in on the progress of our sailing adventures here.  On behalf of the entire
ships company,

Tom ‘Sully” Sullivan

(To my wife and daughter, I send all of my love.  Procyon!)



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean



Wednesday - Thursday, 20-21 November 2013
Location:  Travel day from St John to St Croix and our first island exploration.

Image caption:  Saying goodbye to ‘Betsy’ our intrepid minvan!

Image caption:  A wet, yet proud class following our hike with Veronica Gordon.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS: don’t WORRY… we’re alive….

It’s been an action packed couple of days as we arrive at our third shore component in St. Croix. We’ve taken trains, boats, planes, and cars… except not really trains… Which we have come to find are not very common in the Caribbean.

After an early 4:30 AM wake up call to “All You Need Is Love” (Across the Universe version) on Thursday, we said our goodbyes to Uncle Tony, Aunt Carla, and Grandpa Randy. We ate breakfast and jumped into our caravan of minivans, with loyal Betsy (Jeff’s intrepid minivan) leading the way. At 7:00 AM we boarded the ferry to St. Thomas, where our three private chartered planes awaited our arrival.  Sarah Z. and Molly copiloted a smooth landing as we arrived at St. Croix, where Captain My Captain Tom departed to make the arrangements for our arrival on the *Cramer*. We climbed into a new set of vans (while missing Betsy) and made our way to Discovery Grove (education eco-retreat). Upon arrival, we were treated to a delicious meal and privileged to a grand tour of our new semi-permanent community, which ended atop a sugar windmill overlooking the majestic Blue Mountain of St. Croix. As our brave professors went salvaging for food, we were given the chance to further explore our surroundings; some played basketball while others searched for chaney in the gut (more about that in a future blog).

We ate late and went to bed.

Eventually, we woke to a cold front ‘abrewin, which began to dump gallons of water on us, completely annihilating any last chance of us having dry clothes… at all.  We hurried to the pavilion as the breakfast bell chimed, and were treated to a lovely meal of scrambled eggs and bacon. (Veggie sausage was made available as an alternative. Nobody was forced to eat bacon).

We put on our hiking boots (some of us wore sandals) and braved the stormy weather as we headed to meet Veronica Gordon, AKA “the Bush Lady,” to hike a gut in Caldonia and learn about the medicinal properties of plants. While Veronica chose a safe and informative path, to call this an easy hike… would be a lie.

Upon completion of the hike, we said our goodbyes with new native recipes in hand. (Please note the following took place: We cut trees, climbed waterfalls, ate passion fruit and coconut, avoided the dreaded Cow Itch plant, and viewed a Banana Spider from a safe distance). We immediately returned to base camp, as our stomachs were singing songs of hunger, whipped up some sandwiches, and stuffed our faces. We returned to the caravan of vans ten pounds heavier and made our way to the Whim Plantation Museum. After a quick tour of the master’s house, we quickly realized that the real story to be told lay in the remains of the plantation fields.

There, we discussed slavery, and the impact that it has had on the Crucian culture. It was a sobering experience, but one that needed to be had.

We headed home, and attempted to watch “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” We failed. Sam, Molly, and Tess M. made a spectacular dinner, with the dressings of grilled chicken, pesto pasta, and some sautéed veggies. After dinner, Paul Chakroff, the founder of St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA, but a different SEA, don’t get the too confused here) enlightened us with knowledge about business, economics, and environmental impacts on island. Exhausted, we stumbled from the tables and into our beds, ready to be awakened by the next day’s events. (Bailey will elaborate).

Since this blog was so dang long, the shout out will be short. Family.  I love you all. I can’t wait to see you, and I am totally there in spirit for Thanksgiving. Jessica JoJo Head, I promised I would shout out, so here it is. (Okay? Okay hahahaha).

Salam, Yo Mama Manuel, Papa Z, and Slamers I’m alive… and staying fresh… but on the realz missing your faces… much love – Lil Salem out – Also Maha HI and other Maha HI too.

Mirs and Sars



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Tuesday 19 November 2013

Location:  Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, St John.

Image Caption:  Class C250 thanks our wonderful hosts at VIERS:  managers Tony and Carla Blackwell (managers) show-off their new SEA shirts, and Randy Brown (director – not shown) sports a new SEA hat.

Good evening to you from Mo, Miranda, and Allison, this evenings’ dish crew and blog reporters.

Today was our last day in St. John! Sunburns have run rampant after our 2 hour snorkel in Salt Pond Bay! Many of us saw sting rays, squids, scrawled file fish, barracudas, conchs, and lobsters.  Miranda’s dreams of sea turtles came true today as we saw 4 sea turtles including a BABY SEA TURTLE!! By far the best snorkel day yet!! Earlier in the day we had a tour of an Eco- friendly resort just up the street where we got to experience first-hand environmentally friendly vacation housing! Later, we split up into two groups.  One group went on a hike to Rams Head, a little peninsula near Salt Pond Bay and the rest of us went to Tall Ships Trading Company.

The hike took us to the edge of a huge cliff going straight down to the ocean.  We learned that after a slave revolt, a large number of free slaves jumped off this cliff rather than be put back into slavery.  Rain came and went quickly, but we loved every minute of it!  We walked by hundreds of cacti and ate the berries for a snack on top of the cliff.  It was the most beautiful view and worth the effort of hiking after a long day. Others at the Trading Company got their fix for shopping while learning about the shipwrecks and water runoff, retention ponds where we also saw two HUGE iguanas, not to mention the local experience of watching (and avoiding) roosters, goats, sheep, and donkeys on the winding roads.

We ended this wonderful day with a flurry of packing for the rest of the journey. This took a while for some of us who bought too much at the Tall Ship Trading Company (cough) Mo (cough) and needed extra hands for squishing nick-knacks (cough) Emily (cough)!!!

We are sad to leave VIERs tomorrow but looking forward to continuing our adventure in St. Croix!!! Onward and upward!!!

-Mo, Miranda, Allison


To Mombones, Big Sis, Gamma & The Ginge!!!
Thinking of you all and grandma and Dr. Ngo! Hope you are feeling better MX! FTM!! Love you miss you xoxox

To Dad & Trich!! – Hope all is well and the boyz boyz are well! Big hug! Xoxo Miss you!!

To TEMPLE WOMENS ROWING!! Kick training hard!! Pumped to get back to training with you guys!! Xoxo

To mi familia back in the super land-locked state of Utah. Surprisingly, Utah is a popular state among the crew. No worries, I have been singing Muppet Treasure Island enough that my shipmates will surely soon know all the words. To Mom: I love you and I’ll try to call again if I get the chance. Cierra, you would absolutely love this place! Kaysen: I can’t wait to tell you about all my adventures! Dad: Your voice is always in my mind reminding me to keep moving onwards and upwards. And finally, to the Perrys: I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU. See you soon!

To my Mom and Dad back in the great state of Michigan! Love you and miss you both! P.S. I’m alive.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Monday 18 November 2013

Location:  Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, St John.

Image Caption:  Preparing for our second snorkel survey of the day.  *Left to right – Allison, Sarah S., Bailey, Tess M., Emily (today’s author), and Molly. *

Golly gee, what a time we’ve had! It’s already day four (I mean day five) and we only have somewhere between 2 and 18,000 mosquito bites (we couldn’t agree on the number)!  Today, we woke up early (to that opening song from the lion king) and had an amazing Mexican themed breakfast (egg burritos, oh baby).  This was followed by a rundown of the day ahead of us, and creature feature on our favorite insect, the mosquito. We met a modern day Indiana Jones names, Ken Wild! - who showed us historic Taino artifacts. Whoa! We were in an open classroom overlooking beautiful Cinnamon Bay, where lots of tourists were wandering the beach, and the SSV Cramer was anchored off in the distance, as the current class C249, was cleaning the ship as their program draws to a close.  Soon the Cramer will be our home!

Later that afternoon we snorkeled in Leinster Bay, and then Water Lemon Cay, two protected areas on the north shore of St John. We saw trunkfish, rays, eels, live coral (elkhorn!), and unfortunately, dead coral, and still no sharks or turtles.  But more impressive than the coral was the surrounding island peaks of Tortola and St. John. After a short hike back and a delicious dinner, we got to hear VIERs volunteer and University of San Diego research, Heidi Hirsh, tell us about her research on sedimentation in St. John. Overall, it was a drama-free day (Sarah Z didn’t wander off the trail). We are trying to appreciate every moment that we are here; so far it’s been an amazing time!

One crew, one body,
Sarah Z, Brent & Emily



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Saturday 16 November 2013: Charting the island
Location:  Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, St John.

Image Caption:  The bathymetry team after a successful transect.  *Viewed left to right Sarah, Miranda, Heidi (SEA reef expert), Gina, Kelton, and Brynner. *

Good evening to you from Sam, Molly and Tess, this evenings’ dish crew and blog reporters. Today was the C-250 crew’s second full day on St. John, USVI, also known as the day the novelty wore off the idea of showering outdoors at 6:45 AM.
After a quick breakfast and dish duty, we convened in the VIERS classroom to discuss the day. We learned we were to spend the entire day on the nearby twin bays of Little and Great Lameshur, conducting a snorkel survey in the morning, then using the afternoon to lay the groundwork for a shore chart.

The survey at Little Lameshur went off without a hitch, excepting a leaky seal around the author’s mask. I found too many yellowtail snapper to count, two dozen red-eyed, ebulliently dorsal-finned squirrelfish, and a lurking barracuda, with a confirmed secondhand sighting of another. Others counted sea fans, brain coral, urchins (a job I didn’t envy as those buggers were *everywhere*), angelfish, doctorfish, and dozens of other targets.

A sudden squall sent us running to the VIERS dock on Great Lameshur with a storm of awful puns at our heels—squallor, Squall-Mart, etc. The dishwashing team kept this going after lunch on a condiment theme: “I don’t relish the prospect of these dishes.” “It’ll be hard to ketchup, but we have to mustard the strength.”

In the afternoon we split into three teams, two of which covered a half each of the coastline, while the third swam transects across the bay to take depth soundings. With a land group, I used a 102-foot rope to measure more than 1000 feet of beach, until it vanished into an impenetrable wall of mangroves. Once the three teams combine their data, we hope to have a working chart that sailors can use to safely enter and exit the bay. Charting the uncharted is our way of giving back to the Virgin Islands.

It’s hard to forget that we’re no longer in temperate latitudes. Hours in camp are filled with the mingling scents of coffee, insect repellent, and the hard work of twenty or so young, fit, and exceedingly sweaty people. The sunburns and mosquito bites don’t weigh too heavily on me, because I grew up reading stories of Percy Fawcett and Hiram Bingham—the more I suffer in a tropical climate, the more I feel like I’m doing it right. *Corwith Cramer,* just over the horizon, remains on everyone’s mind.



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Friday 15 November 2013
Location: VIERS, Saint John, USVI’s

Image Caption:  Delroy ‘ Ital’ Anthony leads the class in some traditional song and dance.

Hello from Bailey, Gina, and Sarah Skinner, today’s dish team and blog reporters.

After bathing ourselves in sunscreen and bug spray, we were introduced to the VIERS facility and toured the Tektite museum where we spent some time with Sylvia Earle and the other Aquanauts (who some of you parents may remember).  Afterward we met Eleanor Gibney, a member of the Saint John’s Historical Society and an avid botanist, who brought us to see a bay rum distillery and cotton plantation overlooking Lameshur Bay.  These ruins are
apparently rumored to be haunted by the soul of Duchess Daisy, a well-known and respected Danish nudist.  Our morning adventures ended with a hearty lunch cooked by the VIERS managers, Tony and Carla.

In the afternoon we all hopped into the class mini vans and Craig and Tom braved the steep, winding, cliff-side roads of Saint John to reach our next location, the trailhead to Reef Bay plantation. For most of the hike we scrambled down a trail littered with roots and loose stones and were introduced to the various flora of the region and their traditional uses thanks to National Park Service signs.  Along the way we had to carefully avoid the ‘deadly’ spiders (banana spiders?) which were easy large enough to take down a small deer (or large moth, if we’re being totally honest).  Our destination was a cluster of Taino petroglyphs dating back to 900-1400 A.D.  On the way, we passed the remains of a sugar mill plantation and massive termite colonies.  Upon reaching the petroglyphs, we pulled out our sketchbooks and enjoyed a brief rest beside a tumbling waterfall.  The most studious of us (including the authors of this blog) did our best to capture the beautiful surroundings with pencil and watercolor.

Our final stop was the Reef Bay sugar mill, which was originally powered by horses but converted to steam power in 1861.  Inside the ruins, we were able to explore the process of sugar production—beginning with the sugar juice flowing from the mill to the boiling coppers (large copper or iron bowls).  Rum was also distilled from molasses here in days gone by, but today the mill was populated by a cabal of hermit crabs crawling along the floors.  From the plantation, we hiked back to VIERS and completed our afternoon with a dip in the tropical waters of Lameshur Bay.

The evening activities included an African-Caribbean music and medicinal plants lesson with our guest speaker, Delroy “Ital” Anthony. Even though we were all exhausted from the day’s hikes, our energy was high and we had a great time singing and dancing.

We had an amazing first day in the Caribbean and can’t wait for our week of snorkeling to begin!

Bailey Stockdale
Gina Giorgi
Sarah Skinner



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean


Thursday 14 November 2013 – C250 Travel Day to the Islands!
Depart:  Sea Education Association (SEA) campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Destination:  Virgin Island Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) on St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Image Caption:  Class C250 in the islands.

Hello and good day to you from Jeff Schell, Chief Scientist for class C250.

What a day it has been.  It began auspiciously with an early arrival of our bus and on-time departure at the lovely hour of 0300 – AM.  Our airline out of Boston-Logan airport was more than ready to check us in at 0420.  There
was a need to switch planes and gates early on, but we successfully made our connecting flight through Newark, NJ and breathed in the warm, humid air of the islands by 2:30pm (1430 ship time).  Next in line was a cab ride
to Red Hook, St. Thomas, then a ferry ride to Cruz Bay, St John, and then piling ourselves and luggage into rental vans.  Fortunately we still had a bit of sunlight to enjoy the scenery of St John as we traveled the steep, windy roads of the interior and the rugged roads along the shoreline.  We watched as the sun set behind one mountain peak while the moon rose over the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

No surprise with this class, at the first opportunity to see, hear, smell the islands they began their academic explorations and inquiries.  What does this all mean?  What can we learn from these observations?  The architecture, the people, the music, the land use… can we understand the patterns?  Well, for the answers to these and many more questions, please keep an eye on our somewhat ‘Daily Blog’ for class C250.  In future posts expect to hear from the students and the rest of our faculty.

Jeffrey M. Schell
Chief Scientist



C-250 Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Thursday 14 November 2013

Class C250, Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, has left campus for part two of their shore component in the Virgin Islands. The faculty and students will spend the next ten days at various field stations on St. John & St. Croix before joining the SSV Corwith Cramer on November 25th.