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
Here we are at anchor in St. Georges, Grenada, our final destination. It’s quite amazing how far we’ve come in the 29 days since leaving the dock in Woods Hole. There is excitement in the air as the students are getting ready to go ashore and maybe a little unwilling recognition that the trip is almost over. The final port call is a bittersweet moment as one has spent the whole trip heading to this point (storms and dolphins, rain and rainbows, crepuscular rays and beautiful sunsets) and yet this community and home we have built is almost over.
What a different way to wake up for the crew of the Corwith Cramer this morning. Drawn from its slumber by Rachel’s singing voice, the entire ship’s company got a wake up at once - something unheard of underway when an entire watch is awake and working at any given time. New sights and sounds greeted the early risers as they stepped onto deck: a risen sun behind a verdant hill dotted with houses, high frigates already soaring in the air, a barking dog, stately pelicans grazing the flat water surface with their wingtips.
SEA Alum Meghan Jeans Brings Multidisciplinary Approach to SEA
As a biology major turned lawyer, Meghan Jeans (W-144) has been working across disciplines, geographies and issues areas to build bridges throughout her career. She brings that approach to SEA this fall as a visiting faculty member for Class C-276, Caribbean Reef Expedition.
According to Meghan, a multi-disciplinary approach is critical to both solving problems and preparing students for the real world. She says it’s an approach that’s been critical in her own work. “I use my science training to inform and inspire the implementation of market-based and policy solutions to marine conservation challenges.” Whether stimulating public-private partnerships in support of conservation, building capacity within communities to manage resources sustainably, collaborating with researchers and resource managers to translate science into action, or working with decision makers to enact meaningful policy reforms, her multidisciplinary background has proven to be an asset.
After a brief five-day break, the Caribbean Reef Expedition students are back together! The next chapter of our voyage has just barely begun as we gathered at our new island home, the True Blue Bay Resort in True Blue, Grenada. This will be our base as we set about exploring the reefs and the landscapes of this beautiful island in a series of field trips in buses, and in boats, in shoes, and in fins.
In the words of Anna yesterday, “Here we are.” This evening, however, that phrase has a whole new meaning, and we aboard have the firmest sense of where we are yet. Land! Sighted early this morning as distant flickering lights 38 nm away, then rising out of the gloaming as the sun comes up and gives us colors to behold; then we are between two islands and in the lee and the smell of the land is overwhelming. Wet dirt, fresh wood smoke and an entirely new array of ocean smells not encountered in the open ocean.
“SO, here we are, running before the wind under the topsail and course…” Jesse, sailing intern and current C watch J-WO says to A watch clustered around him on the quarterdeck. His voice comes from a silhouette plastered against a backdrop of stars. “The wind is from the East, force 4. Course ordered is 300 degrees….” he continues. And so began last night’s evening watch.
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon for each day to have a new and different sun.” –Jon Krakauer
Where do I even begin? It’s crazy to think that this is our last week aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. It is truly bittersweet.
To set the scene of a dawn watch not long ago: Still foggy from my 00:30 wakeup, I rolled out of my bunk, made a mug of tea, and ascended the ladder through the dog house to read night orders, familiarize myself with the deck, and receive turnover information from the off-going watch. Directed to take the lookout position, I walked forward to the bow to relieve Mercer, who was looking out and singing “Lean on Me.” I joined him for a chorus, then as he left I situated myself between the rail and the forestay, and I began to watch.
Out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Domino’s pizza delivery does not exist. Thinking of civilization back on land is weird. The concept of green pine trees lurk into my mind and then the reminder that I very well may be greeted with snow when I return stuns me, forgetting that was still a thing. As I stand bow-watch and gaze into the dark twilight of the night, I try to recall my life before this. No routine, no set schedule, no meal times, no daily clean/field days and no wake ups.
I could tell you your life is fine the way it is. I could tell you the niche you’ve found for yourself within society is all you need. The sounds of the city, suburbia, and the chatter you hear at work every day is enough. I could tell you these things but then I would be a liar. It is a fool’s errand to attempt a description worthy of life at sea.