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
July 26, 2015
Across the wide ocean
40°32.94’N x 10°52.58’W
Approximately 150 nm west of Lisbon.
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Partly cloudy to overcast, 22°C, Force 2 breeze from the North-Northwest. All fore and aft sail plus topsail and raffee.
We personify the ocean, call her moody, call her “she” for that matter. In our classes we talk about changing cultural views about the sea. What was once boundless and unconquerable has become a place of limited resources, filled with the devices of human endeavor. While I stand my hour in the bow during a 23:00 to 3:00 dawn watch, as I did last night, I watch the sky change from a basket of stars to a cloud of overhanging gloom, and maybe back again. The waters ahead and below me appear vacant, and our twice-daily science tows come up with far fewer organisms, and far less variety, than we found farther north. The phosphorescence, that outlined bow-chasing dolphins just a few days ago, appears to be far behind.
On an overcast night the compass is my guide across the vast sea. I, too, am moody. I find my moods tied to physical conditions; how much have I slept in the last 24 hours, when did I last eat? Because I am the oldest person on board, I feel some separation from the rest of the ship’s company. The other students are a third my age and I miss most of the cultural references that make up casual conversation. The hierarchy of the ship and of our academic program keep me distant from those referred to as “others” on the watch list – faculty, captain, engineer - although many of the professional crew converse with me as we stand on the quarterdeck during watches.
When I came on deck after lunch today, our Chief Mate Sarah Rusche was playing “Fiddler’s Green.” I sat on a deck box and sang along, letting my mind empty as the blue sea rolled by. Some say we come to sea to learn our strengths. For me, this trip has exposed many weaknesses. I am not the romantic hero I hoped to be. I am timid in the face of the ocean’s power and my complete dependence on the knowledge and physical strength of others. I have yet to find that quality, special to me, that is vital to the smooth running of this ship or the pleasant passage of time for its company.
While I have been on the Corwith Cramer, my older daughter had her 30th birthday. My younger daughter had minor surgery, and the house where we raised them may have been sold. My husband holds together the strands of our life while I learn the lines of this ship.
Speaking of lines, today at the start of class we were divided into watches for a pin rail chase. This was a contest, relay fashion, to find various lines at the points where they are made fast along the rail. Our watch did not win but we all knew most of what we were asked and we helped one another as best we could with the rest. Perhaps my only triumph, at the end of this journey, will be that I did my best, as little as it may be. That I got up when called to watch, dressed in the dark, or the cold, or the wet, and stood as I could and where I was needed.