SEA Currents: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean
I am very proud of my shipmates.
Yesterday, we wrapped up our student “Final Mission” in which the students of C-271 took complete ownership of vessel operations in order to meet a divers set of scientific, cultural, and nautical goals. At 1430 yesterday, we heard the final mission report from each watch’s delegate, and I speak for all of the faculty when I say we found that the students did a terrific job operating the vessel and articulating their achievements. Not only did they meet their objectives, but they worked together across all watches to complete the mission as one team. It was great.
Always, always, always I find myself struggling to find the right words to wrap up a voyage. Inherently it is an unsolvable problem, a hopeless effort to address a seemingly simple question - ‘So, how was the trip?’, which in truth is a prelude to an overwhelming sense of confusion.
As I write this, the students of C-271 are breaking down the posters they created to reflect on-site observations they made and the conversations they had with people regarding their individual projects in our four port stops. The “ground truthing” of the research they did ashore, while not necessarily contradicting what they learned from published sources available to them in Woods Hole, has certainly given each of them more to think about in terms of issues ranging from cultural preservation and marine resource management to diversification of island economies and human impacts on humpback whales.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank my parents. I know I am definitely prone letting all the things they do for me go unacknowledged. When I told them that I was thinking about applying for a semester on a boat that sailed around the Caribbean it was easy to hear the reservation in their voices. What type of boat? A sailing type I assured them. Where would it go? A few islands, definitely Cuba and Jamaica. These were the types of questions they asked and the types of answers I gave. Having now been on the boat, having sailed around the Caribbean I am acutely aware that I didn’t really know what I was going into.
Hello from the other side… of the Gulf Stream
We are extremely close to Florida, just about 100 miles away. We spent last night anchored in Bahamian waters, but this morning the anchor started dragging as a cold front passed our location so we got underway and then we heaved to in order to drift for the remainder of the afternoon so we could comfortably focus on our oceanography presentations.
Greeting from the Bahamas once again loyal readers!
Today was a day aboard the Cramer that one dreams about. It started with me and the rest of C Watch at 11:30 with a watch meeting on the doghouse top amidst a beautiful sunny Caribbean morning. We all shared our high tide and low tides for the past week, gave out beads as special acknowledgements of good deeds, and then had time for reflection.
Hello and Good Evening Family, Friends, and Readers!
I first want to start today’s blog to tell all of you that we are all well and having the times of our lives! We had a small change of plans with our second port stop in Cuba, but turned out ok because we got to go to this gorgeous little island called Great Inagua. We did some beachcombing, some snorkeling, and some much needed relaxing. Since Great Inagua, we have consistently been going 6-8kts (except for times where we are deploying science).
Hello from the Corwith Cramer! We are well and busy here – let me catch you up on the last couple of days aboard the ship.
Only a short time after our excellent port stop in Santiago, we reached a quiet, peaceful island called Great Inagua on the southern side of the Bahamas. Rather than the white sand and coral rubble it is made of, the cool waters surrounding the island is where we spent most of our short stop.
What an eye-opening, colorful, vibrant few days we have had exploring Santiago de Cuba. Yesterday evening, I spent several hours on anchor watch, staring out at the full moon rising over the Sierra Maestra Mountains that surround the city. My mind was full of the smells, sounds, images, and interactions of the day and I found myself reflecting on just how fortunate we are to have spent time in Cuba.
This morning, both students and crew were dragged out of bed for what felt like an even earlier wakeup than usual (thanks a lot daylight savings time) in order to head out for our second day of adventures in Santiago de Cuba.
Many of us stayed out later than usual last night since liberty didn’t expire until 0000 (although I was snug in my bunk well before that), but despite being sleep deprived, we were all eager for another day in this strange, intriguing place.