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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

November 24, 2015

A Whole New World

Siya Qiu, B Watch, Boston University

Oceans & Climate

Shooting the sun line. Photo credit: Kirsten

Ship's Log

18° 33.5’N x 030° 17.6’W

Souls on Board

Hello my family and friends, this is Siya. It is hard to write this blog because so many things happened in the past two weeks and I do not know where to begin. Life at sea is much different than life on shore, and one thing I notice is that people on Cramer treat each other as family. We do a lot of school work, but even more time is spent learning how to live on the ship. There is a whole new language to learn. In the past, sailors learned sailing by oral traditions and working on the ship, and now we are learning in the same way. This is especially hard for me since English is the second language for me. There are about 78 lines that we need to know on Cramer, and each of those have different names, functions, and locations. At first I was the slowest leaner and I thought I would never learn them straight, and could not imagine that finally our watch would name all the lines faster than the others. We won the line chase on Monday!

Now I will switch to Chinese and say hello to my family in China so that they can know what is going on on the ship.

Zai chua shang de sheng huo hen xin ku, dan shi wo zai zhe li guo de hen kai xin. bu zhi dao shi bu shi yin wei wo shi wei yi yi ge wai guo ren de yuan yin, da jia dui wo ge wai guan zhao. jiu suan yi kai de shi hou jiao wo de dong xi wo zong shi wang ji, ta men de  nai xin cong mei jian duan guo, zhi dao zui hou bang wo men xiao zu na li di yi ming. Zai chuan shang gao wei sheng shi jia chang bian fan, jing chang yao gui zai di shang ca di ban. Yi qian zai jia li wo cong lai bu zuo jia wu, jue de zhe xie dou shi xiao shi, bu zhi de zuo. Dan shi xian zai cai ming bai yi ge zhen zheng li hai de ren shi ji neng ca de liao di ban, you neng gao de liao ke yan, you dian yi wu bu sao, he yi sao tian xia de gan jue. Zai chua shang ling yi ge rang wo gan dao hen tou teng de shi qing jiu shi che lan sheng. zai yang fan gen shou fan de shi hou, yao si wu ge ren si ming de che lan sheng cai neng wan cheng. Mei yi zhang fan dou you hen duo sheng zi yao chu li, mei ci jie shu yi hou dou gan jue shou huo la la de teng. Dan shi jiu shi zhe yang, wo xue dao le bu shao dong xi, he tong xue zhi jian de gua xi bian de jin mi qi lai. Zhe zhong hu xiang xin ren, hu xiang fu chi de guan xi, shen zhi gen wo de shi you dou mei you guo, wo jue de hen xing fu.

Rough translation: Life at sea is very hard, but I feel very happy. I don’t know if it’s because I’m the only foreigner here, but everybody takes very good care of me. Even though at first I always forgot the things they taught me, they never stop being patient with me. Finally, I helped my watch to win the line chase! Cleaning here is like eating…you have to do it every day. I never did house work before, because I think it is a small thing that is not worth doing. Now I understand that to be a complete or great person, one must do both small and awesome things, everything from housework to science. Here is a traditional Chinese saying: “if you cannot sweep your own home, how can you sweep the world?” Another challenge for me on the ship is how to handle the sails.When we strike the sails and set the sails, sometimes we need four or five people holding the line pretty hard.

Every time I finish handling the sail, I feel like my palms are burning. But even with this, I learn a lot of things, and my relationship with my classmates becomes closer. This feeling is really good. In this relationship, you trust each other and you help each other. I don’t even have that kind of feeling with my roommate at college! I feel happy and honored.

- Siya

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: c263  celestial navigation  life at sea • (5) Comments
Previous entry: Rocking and Rolling in the Trade Winds    Next entry: Haiku for You


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 Ivan Duong on November 26, 2015

Hey Siya,

As a fellow Chinese (Hong Kong) SEA student, good for you! It was fun reading your post in Chinese, although without tones it did take me awhile to figure some parts out, only to discover that you had a translation right after!

I’ve been in your shoes and I understand having to navigate not only the language barrier that is English BUT the additional challenge of having to learn the whole different set of rules and languages on board. It sounds like you’re doing a great job. I’m happy to see more Chinese students getting exposed to SEA, I think we’re actually minorities in the SEA program. You’ll be great PR as after the trip you won’t be able to stop talking about it! Best of luck out there and enjoy it. There’s really nothing quite like it. (And assuming you’re on a F1 foreigner visa, sadly it’ll be almost impossible for you to get back on the ship again. SEA is not very good at that. I tried, they wouldn’t let me [due to federal law] and it bugs me almost every single day. It’s a shame.)

Welcome to the SEA family.

Ivan Duong

#2. Posted by Maria Libby on November 26, 2015

Hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving on board Mama Cramer and glad to hear she is taking good care of you! I love reading these posts and would encourage you to include references to one another in the posts when appropriate (hard to beat the flying fish, I know!) so parents get more frequent “glimpses” of your interactions and by chance maybe even read something about their own children. Savor this time truly being in the middle of the ocean - you may never be there again!

#3. Posted by QY on November 27, 2015


Good to hear that you are doing well.
Hope you enjoy the rest of the journey.
I miss you.

See you at the shore?


#4. Posted by QY on November 30, 2015


Glad to hear that you are doing well.

I miss you.


#5. Posted by Amy Thornton on November 30, 2015

Thinking of all of you brave, climate scientist-sailors as the Paris climate talks commence. Nothing substantial yet but, in the New York Times coverage of it, the third article from the top is about ocean acidification (Colette! Jennifer! Thinking of you in particular here.)

It’s a bit disappointing since they are only concerned about carbon. What about methane and nitrous oxide? Agriculture is not going to be considered at all. It feels a bit last century.

Peter’s post had me laughing. Thank you, Peter. And keep singing your soul songs. Between yours and Colette’s Au Clair De La Lune and Dona Nobis, you’ll keep the ocean tamed.

Siyu, I like your attitude about cleaning and the saying, If we can’t sweep our own home, how can we sweep the world? I’ve been doing some extra “sweeping.”

And thanks to all of you who are writing such informative posts. I love the descriptions.

We have only a dusting of snow in Vermont but the wood stove is going strong and hot. The evenings are dark and cozy, not reflective and bright as you have out on the ocean.

Colette, Bianca and JoJo really look forward to your return. It’s just not the same without you - in Tuscany or NYC. I can’t wait to have you back here. And Theo has buried a special bone for you when you return. It’s fermenting. 

Keep laughing!

With hugs and love for all of you,




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