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

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer

April 19, 2014

C252 Web Blog - 19 April 2014

Dr. Robbie Smith, Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo


Deploying our morning nets.

Ship's Log

23° 08.2’‘N X 066° 07.83’‘W
Sunny, some low clouds. Wind Beaufort force of 5 from the SE. Swells up to 8 feet, passing squall line in the AM and slight wind shift. Balmy 28° C

The dawn found us sailing steadily north, after a bumpy night again. But the skies brightened quickly and another busy day began. I had to look forward to the “pleasure” of trying to teach another class at 8 AM on the

quarterdeck with rolling seas and 25 knots of steady breeze. I was leading another discussion on Bermuda’s geology and the significant sea level studies that have been done there. Pretty hard to concentrate on your

discussion while being heaved around and also trying to hold up flapping papers with images relevant to the lecture topic. I hope the students got my drift!

I have been trying to learn my ocean seabirds on this trip and so far we have seen about six different species since we left San Juan. Solvin has been a great bird spotter! They are usually pretty active at dawn so I try to be on deck by 6 AM to watch for them. These birds are incredibly graceful and acrobatic, skimming over the roiling ocean surface.

But the big deal today was the fact that we finally began to encounter significant windrows of the Sargassum weed. The floating plant had been so scarce in the previous days that there doubts we would ever find any! Being a native Bermudian with a lot of time at sea I was sure that we would find it today, we just had to move far enough northwards to finally enter the Sargasso Sea.

We stopped for our sampling work at 10 AM and within 15 minutes I had collected three large samples of Sargassum for the students to work on. Solvin was so excited because we finally had caught some animals for him to photograph and he spent a good part of the day capturing some great images of the Sargassum fish, several shrimps and a swimming crab. His custom made aquarium with a built-in camera port worked great!

We had a small squall line come through in the morning and the wind shifted to the south and began to diminish a bit. With the wind further aft we were able to set our topsail and had a pretty easy day of sailing thereafter.

Saturday is quite special on Mama Cramer, as we gathered on the quarterdeck to be given our instructions for FIELD DAY! After we performed an invigorating Jelly Fish Dance, led by Becky and Chrissy, the watches broke out to clean our ship below decks. Every nook and cranny, wall or floor (bulkhead or sole, for you nautical types…), toilet or shower, ceiling or shelf was scrubbed and scoured, all the galley contents, floor mats, floor boards and saloon cushions went up on deck, so we could get a deep clean going on down below! After two hours of hot and sweaty work we were busted and the best solution was a cold deck shower with the fire hose with a fresh water rinse to get the soap and grime off! What a day and we look forward to next Saturday!

But science never sleeps or takes a day off!  We were all back to work on the projects late in the day and I enjoyed helping Kiah, Alison and Mika process the Sargassum samples before dinner. After a tasty supper of scrumptious left-overs (the “Week in Review” menu), I think we will have a gentler night out here in the Sargasso Sea.

Dr. Robbie Smith

Special shout out to my family in Decatur, Georgia and all my Bermuda family and friends, too!

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c252  science • (0) Comments


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