Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.
SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
Hello from Antigua!
We arrived here early this morning, around 0800, after one day’s sail from Montserrat. As we steered into this bay, four ridiculously huge cruise ships pulled in as well, making our 134ft tall-ship look like a toy boat. While we waited for Captian Chris to clear us into customs, we watched these gargantuan boats pass us by, each carrying thousands of people.
We left Montserrat this morning after a few days of meetings, an adventurous hike, and a quick tour of Soufriere Hills and the active volcano. Right now we are headed north to Antigua, with just a few watch rotations and a couple of scientific deployments, we will be there soon to pick up another shipmate and head to Barbuda. This voyage has been nothing short of exciting, humbling, adventurous, academic, and all-consuming in every aspect.
Bryan Jew, of University of California, San Diego, describes his research in the Tobago Cays as part of SEA Semester’s Caribbean Reef Expedition.
Way back in early November (while we were in Woods Hole) I had no idea that I was signing up to write the blog post for one of the coolest days of this trip. That’s right: today, our class got to visit the Soufriere Hills Volcano and its observatory! We picked a great day to visit, too. The wind was blowing all the smoke that continuously flows out of the top of the volcano towards the opposite side of the island. We were presented with a beautiful, clear view of the lava dome that has been building up since the most recent eruption in 2010.
So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda.
So there I was, in 10 ft. waves sailing North in the surprisingly rough waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Cramer was performing all sorts of acrobatics and the gimbled tables in the salon were swinging wildly from side to side. Having just left our 4-day port stop in St. Vincent, most of us hadn’t regained our sea legs yet. We were having a hard enough time focusing on standing watch when, suddenly, a squall hit. Rain, wind, waves – it was chaos.
At 0600 I woke up to the strange feeling of not rolling back and forth in my bunk, the sure sign of anchorage. I sleepily crawled up the salon ladder, bright sunlight briefly obscured my vision of our second anchor point, Montserrat. Known affectionately as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat is characterized by swooping, green mountain lines; an almost Jurassic view complemented by a looming, active volcano.
Today, well the part of today that was spent awake, has been nothing short of beautiful. A late night on watch calls for sleeping in past breakfast. As I write this blog, I’m sitting on the quarter deck with one rain boot on and one sneaker staring at the mountainous island of Montserrat. The skies are blue and the Caribbean Sea, even bluer. As we approached it earlier this morning, the volcano touching the clouds became detailed hills, hillier, and the bluffs, steeper.
Today we continued our sail to the volcanic island of Montserrat, hopefully arriving tonight to deploy our science equipment off the coast. While waking up at 6 has never been something I’d plan for back home, such is life on the Cramer.
Snorkeling in the Cays has been the highlight of the trip so far. It had by far the greatest variety of fish, and the urchins I’m looking at for my project are almost carpeting some areas.
Yesterday was the Cramer’s self-care day, aka Field Day. On Field Day we clean the ship from top to bottom and my watch was responsible for the galley. Though my shipmates from A house and my friends at home know I love to tidy up, cleaning while the Cramer is underway is a whole different story. After we cleared out all the foodstuffs, pots, dishes, etc. using a fire line of about 15 people up the forward ladder, we got to the good part. The next hour involved Joe, Cassie, Timesha, and I sliding around countertops, across walls, and along floors.