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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
October 12, 2020
A Tale of Two Watches
41° 32’ N x 071° 12’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail plan
Overnight, gybing around Rhode Island Sound with east winds gusting to 25knots. Presently, we are comfortably anchored in Sakonnet River.
Blustery, east winds when out in the open. Calm conditions now.
What a difference a day can make. That saying comes to mind as I reflect upon the past 24 hrs while comfortably sipping my afternoon tea as students prepare for a swim call. That most certainly was not the scene onboard Cramer just 12 hours ago when salt spray was lashing across the deck in the middle of the night and students were bundled up in their foul weather gear!
Our mission was to spend the night in search of plankton with a pair of Neuston Tows (NTs), one each, for A Watch and B Watch. A good training opportunity for students to handle sails with some wind in them, see the Cramer lab in full operational mode, and test their sea legs. In truth, it was a dark and stormy night - challenging conditions for our first night underway. There was a fair bit of seasickness, but in greater supply we had high spirits and supportive shipmates. This was the experience we had all been waiting for. Better seasickness at sea than being isolated on campus with nothing to do!
By night’s end we had plenty of scientific samples to keep the lab busy; and given that sea conditions continued to build Captain Sean prudently decided to tuck into Sakonnet River and allow the crew to catch their breath. The Captain was also keeping an eye on the weather forecast which showed the remnants of Hurricane Delta coming our way. While the night Watches caught up on their sleep, C Watch had the deck for the morning. The ship’s routine was now in full swing so hourly boat checks and anchor bearings made sure Cramer stayed put, the galley continued to feed us and engineering kept the lights on and the water running, and the lab started to process all the samples collected through the night.
And here we are now...having just concluded our first all-hands Ship’s Meeting; an opportunity to share news, make announcements, and learn from each other. The main topic today came from the faculty sharing details of the academic program at sea, assignments, etc., etc., etc. More important however, is the celebratory swim call that marks our first full day underway!
Congratulations to the students and crew for an eventful, successful, first day at sea!
- Jeff Schell, Chief Scientist
Editor's Note: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, all SEA Semester students, faculty, and crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer boarded the ship after strictly isolating on our Woods Hole campus for a minimum of two weeks, and after repeated negative tests for COVID-19. To ensure the health and safety of those onboard, the ship will not conduct any port stops and will remain in coastal waters so that any unlikely medical situations may be resolved quickly.