Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs

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 27, 2020

Dolphin Day!

Caroline O’Connor & Katie McKenna, Columbia University & Williams College


Above: A view of the bow sprit; Below: Ceilidh and Lena relaxing on the Elephant Table above deck.

Ship's Log

Present Position
24°04.18’N x 081°10.12’W

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
5.6 knots

Taffrail Log
145.8 nm

Sail Plan
Jib, Fore Stay Sail, Main Stay Sail, and Main Sail

Mostly sunny, with a few clouds. Winds are ESE and a 4 on the Beaufort scale.

Description of Location
40 nm ESE of Key West

Estimate of marine mammals seen in the last 24 hours
4 dolphins

Estimate of sargassum seen in the last 24 hours
Benthic and S. fluitans III

Souls on board

As Katie was fast asleep at 0030, Caroline woke up for the first dawn watch of the trip.

After a few hours of rest, I slung myself out of my top bunk and grabbed some coffee before heading up to the deck. The weather was agreeable at first, but after a few hours some squalls passed through so we had to grab our foul weather gear from the saloon. C watch spent the night rotating positions on deck every hour. As I stood lookout from 0100 to 0200, I was pleasantly surprised to see a few shooting stars, as well as some bioluminescence in the water below. I had some trouble operating the helm with the rain falling so heavily, so my mate (Sara) had to help me out a lot. Unlike some other members of the crew, I didn’t struggle with nausea during my watch. At dawn, I was relieved of the helm to wake up the next watch.

As Caroline neared the end of her six hour watch, still donned in her foulies, she gently woke me up, which marked the beginning of my day. Much to my surprise, my wave of seasickness had started to subside, but as I joined the rest of my watch on the quarter deck, I began to realize that wasn’t the case for many of my peers. Most of watch A started our duties, pausing momentarily to bring saltines, ginger chews, and water to our shipmates doubled over the side of the boat. I relieved the prior watch’s helmsman and began to steer the boat, riding the swells. After several minutes, my watch officer, Rocky, informed me that we would need to gybe soon in order to stay out of Cuban waters. We followed the lead of Rocky and our watch scientist, Lila, and pulled on and eased halyards, sheets, and braces, adapting the ship’s sails to take wind from the other direction, as we turned 180 degrees. As is the case with many components of our ship life so far, learning to gybe was a steep learning curve, but an enjoyable one too, and our crew never failed to walk us through procedures, uttering the names of lines they’ve already repeated 10 times or prompting us to repeat commands. As we continued to sail, we prepared to deploy several pieces of science equipment that would tell us a range of data, from pH to salinity to what invertebrates live in the neuston layer. In order position the boat for deployment, we had to gybe to hove to, which included climbing out to the bow sprit. With shaky legs and only a net (and a clipped in harness) holding us from the lurching waves below, my watch mates and I tied down the jib, and supported the lab team as they deployed their scientific instruments.

After being relieved of our watch by Watch B, I scarfed down some delicious lunch prepared by our stewards, Ashley and Katey. At 1400, we all mustered (gathered) on the quarter deck for class. We began with presentations from our last dawn watch, one about all things waves and another displaying our current cruise track. Very quickly, our already fairly short attention spans were diverted to dolphins playing through the wake of the bow. As we watched the playful animals leap effortlessly through the salty air, we were all reminded to take a breath and appreciate our time spent on the Corwith Cramer.

- Caroline O’Connor, C watch, Columbia University
- Katie McKenna, A watch, Williams College

P.S. To dad, Tim and the many others, Happy late Thanksgiving! Hope you’re enjoying the powdery Juneau snow, and are able to get in a few extra turns and strides for me. Love you all! – Katie

P.S.S. To Tad, Kim, Mike and Cay—I miss you loads, and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Love you! -- Caroline

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 shore, 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.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c295  study abroad  coral reefs  gap year  sailing • (5) Comments


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 Tom McKenna on November 28, 2020

Love hearing from you all! Katie, it’s blowing 50 and snaining here, today. I know you miss the annual sourdough biscuits, though! Enjoy it all and keep a steady hand on that helm. xxx. Dad

#2. Posted by Kim O’Connor on November 29, 2020

What an exciting first dawn watch! We miss you and love you and are thrilled to hear of your adventures. I can picture your face as you watched the shooting stars. You go girl.

#3. Posted by Tad on November 29, 2020

A great report of a busy night and day at sea. Glad to hear some of the sea sickness is passing. Hope that’s true for all soon.

PS. Caroline. We had a fun (but small!) Thanksgiving.  We missed you at the table, but so happy to hear about your trip. Dad.

#4. Posted by Cindy Gallegos on November 29, 2020

Lindsay we are so excited to follow your adventure!! Rayna, Ra and I send our love and look forward to hearing all about your trip.

#5. Posted by Rosie Caouette on December 07, 2020

Hi Katie!! This is awesome I can’t wait to hear more about it soon!!!!!



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.