SEA Currents: Ocean Exploration
After a night of motorsailing, the silence of simply sailing is refreshing. We are under the four lowers with the JT, but there is a new sail set, called the fisherman! It is difficult to set up and only used in light winds. The excitement has been high because it is the first new sail that we have set. Also, today Chuck made the announcement that we have entered tropical waters! Woot!
Greetings from the engineering department aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer! Its almost 2300 and the ship is as alive as ever. A Watch is in the process of taking the deck from C watch, and the entire ship is humming in tune with our throaty Cummins diesel. You can feel the rumble in your feet, your ears, your chest: motorsailing! We‘d probably all prefer to straight sail whenever possible, but it sure is pleasant to fall asleep to the deep vibrations of the main engine.
Hello from the SSV Corwith Cramer, currently in the Eastern Caribbean!
On this lovely first day of March, 2014, we find ourselves about two day out of our first port-stop, and the ship’s company has quickly adjusted back into life at sea. The sun is high and bright and the waves are rolling past the port-hole in front of me as I write this. I’m hot and tired, but in a satisfactory kind of way.
After spending about two days ashore in beautiful Antigua it is sad to say goodbye but it is good to get back to the routine of watch schedules, class, meals, etc. My time spent in Antigua was filled with exploration of Falmouth Harbor and St. Johns and much time spent at Pigeon Beach. This peaceful beach was pretty unpopulated and overlooked the harbor where many incredible yachts were anchored. Some of these boats just finishing up a 600 mile race. I met many wonderful people from places such as New Zealand, England, Brazil and more.
In Antigua, the busy season is from the beginning of January to the first week of May. Sailing races and the arrival of yachts of all sizes keep the harbors full while cruise ships bring thousands of tourists to see everything from the scenic beaches to historic sites left over from the British Colonial era. The resident population doubles, triples or quadruples in size as people from Antigua or other Caribbean islands hope to find work in the services sector of Antiguas economy. However, a combination of inflated prices and the seasonality of work make life very complicated for many Antiguans.
Today was adventure day! The wonderful crew of the Corwith Cramer cared for her while the students took a trip to the other side of the Antigua from Falmouth Harbor to the port town of St. John, where the massive cruise ships dock, and tourists are plentiful. There was a juxtaposition of deteriorating buildings with small market shops and the area immediately available to cruise ship patrons, a brick street lined with common brands such as Sunglass Hut and Timberland shoes.
We motored under staysails all night to arrive this morning at 0700 at a waypoint three miles off of the entrance to Falmouth Harbor. We had adjusted our course and speed to arrive at first light to a place so few of us have been. We stood in for the anchorage and let go the starboard hook at 0756. Ever since then we have been on anchor watches which are shorter and less strenuous than regular sea watches but are very important never the less. Anchors are funny things and they can grab hold or not as they choose.
To say this trip is anything less than extraordinary would be a huge understatement. When I think ahead to the unfortunate time when this is all over, and how I could even possibly begin to describe this experience to anyone, I cannot come up with words to express it. From day one, we wasted no time getting right into the swing of things, having to not only learn, but also get 100% acquainted with a completely newest of nautical vocabulary. However, as time went on, the daily tasks and chores, which there is no shortage of, no longer seemed like a to-do list.
Good morning everyone! A watch was just stood down from a quiet dawn watch, followed by a quick breakfast and dawn clean-up. Dawn watch is from 0300 to 0700. It is generally a fairly calm watch,
because most of the rest of the ship is asleep and there are no science deployments. The watch on duty is therefore able to focus on running the ship and completing processing in the lab. In the lab this morning, we completed a 100 count of zooplankton from the midnight Neuston tow.
I cannot believe only a week has passed since I hopped aboard one of the largest sensory overloads in which I could ever conceive of, a new world of teak, lines, sails, and science, most of which was Greek to me prior to the commencement of this voyage aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. Wake up calls pierced through odd hours of day and night, commands were given in a language that I could not yet comprehend, and many new faces revealed themselves upon arrival, extending two helping hands while seeking in return both our unwavering friendship and cooperation.