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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Apr 2017

Turi Abbott, B Watch, The George Washington University
Ocean Exploration

It was the beginning of dawn watch. And everyone knows that dawn watch is the birth place of deep and somewhat ridiculous thoughts. But on this dawn watch, I was on the struggle bus. I was at the helm, staring intently at the red light on the compass, trying to keep the ship I was trusted with on course. Scott was giving us an evening star lesson, where all of us gaped at the expansive and wondrous celestial sphere. No light pollution, no limits in how long our horizon could run. We were discussing the naming of stars and who figured out what is where in our galaxy when Scott mentioned that plankton and planets have the same root word- meaning wanderer.



Matt Glasenapp, B Watch, Macalester College
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Another day has come and gone aboard the Cramer.  I can’t believe we’ve been at sea for almost two weeks already!  It was a warm and beautiful sunny day, although a strong twenty knot wind producing six to eight foot waves had some feeling unwell.  Our watch group (B) was supposed to undergo a training for going aloft onto the fore mast today, but the rough sea state prevented us from doing so. I spent the afternoon in lab with Maggie and Grayson, our assistant scientist, counting microplastics and identifying zooplankton and Sargassum fauna from our morning station Neuston tow.



Carina Spiro, C Watch, Bowdoin College
Ocean Exploration

I knew something extraordinary was going to happen today. After five weeks, we’ve gotten into a definite rhythm of life on the ship. There’s the 18 hour cycle of being on and off watch, there’s the three day rotation of different watches, and there are all the tasks that need to be done every hour, on the hour, every hour of the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle, and time has seemed to pass quicker and quicker the longer we’ve been on this ship.  But then, there are afternoons like this one that break the rhythm, bring us all together, and remind us how precious our time aboard the ship is.



Shannon Cellan, C Watch, SUNY ESF
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

We have now entered stage two: The Shadow Phase. After nearly two weeks of sea life immersion aboard the Corwith Cramer we are finally beginning to learn the behind the scenes details that our Watch Officers and Assistant Scientists do every day. On deck this morning from the start of my 0700 watch, I followed around our mate Finn, who began to show me what was needed to keep the CC running safe and smooth.

Jay Amster, Captain
Ocean Exploration

It’s been 30 days since we left New Zealand, and with the ocean all around, we are alone.

We’ve seen 2 ships in that time, and spoken to only one, in Chinese no less (nice work Jaquelyn and Marcia!). The isolation of our long ocean passage has allowed us to focus inward; the rhythm of the ship’s routine has become, perhaps unnoticed, the new normal for all hands on board.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: s272  life at sea • (2) CommentsPermalink

Sarah Speroff, C watch, Kenyon College
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Greetings land dwellers!

Today has been a historic day on the Corwith Cramer. Today, during our designated class time, 16 students competed to prove their seaworthiness in the famous challenge appropriately deemed the Line Chase. After weeks of fumbling with ropes, afraid to meet the disappointing gazes of our mates and scientists as we attempted to strike the mains’l with the forestays’l downhaul, one watch was crowned victorious.

Karrin Leazer, B Watch, University of Washington
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Hello everyone!

We have officially left the coastal waters of the Bahamas, and have entered the high seas, en route to Bermuda.  Today was another eventful day onboard the Cramer; standing watch, collecting samples, conducting genetic extractions/analyses, and setting sails.  During the allocated “class time,” the crew divided into watch teams (A, B, and C) and set all nine of the Cramer’s sails.

Take Numata, A watch, Rowan University

“STRIKE EVERYTHING!!! SET THE RAFFEEE!! DEPLOY THAT NEUSTON BOOM AND GET THAT NET IN THE WATER!!” The mutiny on the Seamans unfolded. Every sail came down at once and Captain Jay watched in horror as the magnificent sail was hoisted way up like a magical pair of underwear before being flipped up into “party hat mode.” With just this small triangular “square sail” we would sail a perfect 2 knots required for the neuston net tow.

Julian Pedraza, C Watch, Universidad de los Andes
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Every day since we boarded the Cramer it has been a process of learning, overcoming and achieving. Today, while every team works on their research projects with a different organism, I’m sure I speak for most of my shipmates when I say that this experience has been an opportunity to appreciate the world in a different way, conceive the ocean as a vast and living organism hiding life in every droplet of water, where everything is tightly related. For us, this has revealed a new vision of the ocean.

Beth Martin, A Watch, Sailing Intern
Ocean Exploration

Just one of the things I never imagined I would truthfully say: This morning around 0330 Sammi and I spotted land for the first time in twenty-seven days.  We were standing on the science deck after deploying the Neuston net at 0121 (later than usual but science never sleeps).  I noticed an amorphous darkness on the horizon directly in front of where we were looking and questioned my own eyesight.  Although it was dark outside, the mass appeared too dark to be a cloud and definitely not part of the ocean that we’ve become so accustomed to looking at.

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