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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean



Michaela Squier, C-Watch, Oberlin College
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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.

Marissa Shaw, 3rd Assistant Scientist
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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.



Maddy Ouellette, C Watch, University of New England
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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).

Gabrielle Page, 2nd assistant scientist
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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.

Sophie Davis, Sailing Intern, S-258 alum
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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.

Michaela J. Kenward, A Watch, University of New England
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

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.

Justin Bongi, A Watch, Oberlin College
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

“Bienvenidos a Cuba,” - Welcome to Cuba - says a man in olive green as he searches my bunk. “Bienvenidos a Cuba,” says a man in a red-starred hat as he searches my backpack and pockets. I’m wearing my best shirt for the arrival in Cuba. We all are. Polo shirts and modest skirts are pulled from bags as the few articles of clothing that don’t smell like sweaty sailors. We’re also all on our best behavior as we welcome a myriad of officials onto our boat, being quite unsure of our relation with this country and it’s citizens.

Elizabeth Phillips, A Watch, Whitman College
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Hello!  I write to you after just finishing up class as we are entering the port of Santiago de Cuba-so excited to be here!  I think many of us are. But getting here, and the exact plan, has been ever-changing.  As Chris, Jeff and Craig keep saying, interacting with Cuba means being flexible and adaptable to the circumstances and permissions they give us.  For example, our scientific sampling has come to a halt as Cuba has not given us research clearance, which is something Cramer and SEA Semester was granted last year.  But all is still well. We are going to Cuba after all!

Lukas Stocker, Whitman College
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Going where the wind takes you took on new meaning this week. 15-20 ft swells aided by force 9 winds made docking in Port Antonio more difficult than docking with the ISS. Captain cited something about trajectories, momentum and wind making entering the harbor too dangerous. I wasn’t about to argue as I clung to the railing and looked up at waves.

Molly Pollak, B Watch, Barnard College
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Today was our second full day of gale force winds, with rolls as steep as forty-two degrees (that’s almost half of a right angle!).  Below decks it was sometimes chaotic - clattering pots and pans from the galley, snacks and cups flying off of tables, etc. - but manageable. I finally understand why every object has a specific and secure place because things aboard were nicely stowed and barely shifted with the steep rolls. On deck the ocean was mesmerizing.

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