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 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

June 19, 2015

Dolphins and jellies and birds, oh my!

Sarah J Hindle, B Watch, SUNY-ESF

Transatlantic Crossing

Darcy and Gabo collect pH samples from the surface station bucket… for science!

Ship's Log

Noon Position
45° 24.4’N x 031° 31.6’W

Description of location
Western Atlantic Basin. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is getting closer.

Ship Heading
075° PSC

Ship Speed
5.3 knots

Taffrail Log
1848.6 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Motorsailing on a starboard tack under the 4 lowers with a single-reefed main. Wind SxE Force 2. Seas S 2 feet. A beautiful sunny and warm afternoon!

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
Lots of Dolphins!

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)

Souls on Board

At 0620, I rolled out of my bunk in the main salon, saw muffins on the breakfast table and thought “this is going to be a good day.”  And, boy, was I right! The motor was running, since the winds were too light and variable for strong sailing.  But, we can’t let anything get in the way of our great circle route to Ireland, which is now only about a thousand nautical miles away! It’s hard to believe we’ve made it this far already.

We’ve recently entered the phase of our cruise known as “shadow phase,” where each watch one of the student crew shadows the mate or assistant scientist to learn more about the inner workings of running a ship.  So, with Garrett as our shadow for the day, B Watch made our way to the deck for morning watch, with some extra muffins and bacon to go. When we got there, we were told some disheartening news: a small storm petrel, fondly nicknamed “Stormy” (or “the pelagic bat”) had crash-landed on deck that night and was recovering underneath the rescue boat.  Every now and then, between swabbing the deck and marking the sun’s position with our sextants, we (mostly Doc) would go over and check on him.

But Stormy wasn’t the only bit of wildlife we encountered today. Late that morning, Audrey and the others cheered from the science deck as a jellyfish drifted into our neuston net. We’d caught quite a few of them in the past few days, and it seems the longer we sail the more jellies we find floating in the waves.  Especially on a calm day like today, everywhere you look are little brown jellies!

After lunch, we all got together on the quarterdeck for class, and were entertained by our MCs Nolan and Maria as Nolan donned his banana suit and they led us in a collaborative story. It was difficult at first to tell a story only one word at a time, but pretty soon we had a lovely tale about swimming with sharks.  That led right into a group activity where we all learned about each other’s leadership styles.  I guess whether you’re a cool cucumber or a hot tamale, you can be an awesome leader and crew member on the Cramer!

All these things were fun, but my absolute favorite part of today was what came afterward when some shipmates and I decided to go aloft for a while. Together we climbed to the top of the foremast and gazed out over the endless ocean.  We felt like we could see forever, and the views were definitely worthwhile.  We hadn’t even been aloft for 10 minutes when Joe, who was at bow watch, yelled “Dolphins off the starboard bow!”  We looked out and saw, clear as day, 8 beautiful Atlantic common dolphins gliding through the clear glassy water, as though they were flying above the surface. A few congregated underneath the bowsprit, while a few more in the distance amazed us with some midair flips. It was an amazing display of nature that I’ve never seen the likes of before, and I couldn’t think of a better place to see it than the Cramer’s mast.  Then, as if the evening weren’t beautiful enough, the last thing we saw before climbing down was Doc releasing Stormy over the edge of the boat.  He struggled a bit at first, but within seconds was flapping his wings and soaring away into the light blue sky. 

Maybe Ireland can wait a little longer.

- Sarah

P.S.- Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! 23 years and going strong. Much love to you both and Jen and everyone at home.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: c260  megafauna  science • (0) Comments
Previous entry: Place in the World    Next entry: Drop On the Deck and Flop like a Fish


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



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

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