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Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the layer tools, top right, to change the map style or to view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

May 11, 2015

A Hunt for Sargassum!

Grayson P. Huston, C Watch, University of California, Berkeley

Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

There Be Sargassum! (Grayson spotting Sargassum)

Ship's Log

Noon Position
32° 49.2’ N x 065° 15.2’

Description of location
135nm NW of Bermuda

Ship Heading
310 degrees

Ship Speed
~2 kts

Taffrail Log

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
clear, sunny skies; SSW winds (BF 2); all fore & aft sail set

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs
Clumps around the ship that we hunted/quested for!

Souls on Board

Good morning, good morning, everybody reading the blog this morning, good morning!

Today was our first official day at sea during the second leg of our journey, and boy I have to say that it feels good to be back at sea. I love and will miss land, but few things truly rival the sight of deep blue all around you, the ships sails full of wind, sunrises over the water, and (for the time being) the gentle rocking of the ship to lull you to sleep – even if you are supposed to be on watch and being attentive.

After a breakfast of gruel, aka oatmeal, made better with the addition of chocolate chips, brown sugar, sweetened coconut, and almonds, I had sufficiently reached a sugar high and was ready to start my watch.

Speaking of watches, I realized that I truly missed my watch team during my time on shore in Bermuda (C-watch, aka the best watch there is because we are “clutch” and “choice”). There is nothing that creates bonds and strong friendships better than being forced to spend every waking moment together, and at most, only 100 feet away from one another. Rereading this, I realize I sound sarcastic, but I assure you that I am being truly genuine and sincere. I’ve come to think of my watch as my family, individuals I trust and love being around.

Our morning watch began rather slow…that is until Mother Amy (the Chief Scientist who loves and cares for us all) and Captain Jason decided it was a great morning to deploy the small boat for Sargassum collection. At the
mention of the small boat I immediately asked to volunteer as tribute and be one of the students that got to go out and gather Sargassum. Unfortunately however, my request was denied because I had already gone out on the small boat and gathered samples at an earlier date – I guess sharing is caring. Not being discouraged, I immediately requested the next best option, going aloft and acting as lookout/spotter for Sargassum.

To my delight, my mate, the captain, and chief scientist approved this and I rushed to don a harness. Once ready, I quickly (but safely) rushed to go aloft before anyone could change their minds about sending me up.

Going aloft is SO fun and awesome. The view is spectacular and I wish I could spend more time up there.  While aloft I acted as lookout for Sargassum and communicated with the chief scientist and captain where the clumps were in relation to the boat. Through the combined effort of myself, Mother Amy, Captain Jason, and the small boat crew (Ashley, Liz, and Sabrina), we were able to obtain about 15 clumps of Sargassum which will be analyzed and used by several research groups. Once the small boat was brought back on board and I descended from being aloft, the day continued as usual. Lines and sails were handled, science gear was deployed, delicious food was consumed, and my watch came to an end.

Between watch and class, there were two more highlights to my day. The first was that I saw several “By-the-Wind Sailors” (Vellela vellela), as well as several Portuguese Man ‘O’ War float past our ship. One of the Man ‘O’ War’s even had a fish swimming through its tentacles, and I learned that some fish have a symbiotic relationship with this organism, much like Clown Fish and Anemones. The second highlight was that I got the chance to go aloft again and relax. This time I climbed higher up to the second platform which made the view more stunning. If time and weather permit, I hope to spend more time aloft.

Now, it is time for me to catch up on some sleep before mid-watch. Thanks to the time change, my watch will be gaining an extra hour, making it 5 hours instead of 4. But, at least we get the sleep of kings afterwards!

Cheers and much love to those on land,

P.S. A quick shout out to my mom and dad, I love and miss you both so much!

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c259  sargassum • (2) Comments
Previous entry: Underway! (once again)    Next entry: Finding our sea legs again


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Patsy Ward on May 12, 2015

Grayson, you have a great sense of humor and you made me smile.  Safe travels to New York and a special “hi” to Kata.

#2. Posted by Kevin Huston on May 13, 2015

Hello Gray,
I’m glad you didn’t fall off the bird’s nest.
What a view you have. Travel safely!
With all my love, your pa.



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