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 26, 2014

An eXXpedition on The Sea Dragon

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

After following this blog for the last week, you may be wondering why there’s an icon of an “XX” running somewhat parallel to the SSV Corwith Cramer‘s cruise track.  This is, in fact, another science research voyage sailing a similar course to the Cramer.  The Sea Dragon is a 72ft steel hulled sailing vessel built in the UK in 2000. She is one of 11 yachts built for the Global Challenge Race – one of the longest, most demanding ocean voyages ever undertaken. Now run by Pangaea Explorations to carry out scientific research, the Sea Dragon has a crew of 14 female scientists, sailors, and conservationists onboard, on a mission to understand in more detail how environmental and specifically ocean toxins affect women’s health.  While onboard, they are using surface trawl nets to sample for plastics and to catch pelagic fish, which will be stored and shipped back to laboratories for assessment following the voyage’s completion. Collected microplastics will be sent for assessment for POPs, PCBs and other toxic contaminants while the fish will be assessed for plastic fragments in their guts and presence of toxic residues.

Not surprisingly, we are collecting similar data onboard the Cramer.  In fact, SEA Semester voyages have been collecting microplastics in net trawls in the North Atlantic since the mid-1980’s and we happen to have the argest data set of North Atlantic Ocean microplastics in the world. When we learned - through SEA Research Professor Dr. Kara Lavender Law - that we would be sailing in tandem with the Sea Dragon, we decided to do some collaboration, sharing our observations and data back and forth.  It has been nearly thirty years since SEA Semester has sailed across the Atlantic (from the Canary Islands to St. Croix), and we have never sampled these waters for plastics.  Therefore it’s very exciting to have one ship sailing this course, much less two!

Dr. Law recently posted this to our blog:
I have been enthusiastically following your progress through the daily blogs, not only to learn about the plastic marine debris you are encountering (possibly the first time anyone has sampled these waters for plastic!), but also because my research assistant, Jess, is helping guide you through lab, and my collaborator, Dr. Jenna Jambeck (U. Georgia) is sailing in the same “neck of the woods” with eXXpedition.  It sounds like an amazing voyage on all fronts, and I wish you fair winds and many memorable experiences to come.  Keep those plastics updates coming, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

To learn more about the eXXpedition, visit their website: and also, read their blog posts: eXXpedition/blog

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, • Topics: c256  plastics • (3) 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 annette grant on November 27, 2014

What a learning experience!! Every day is an amazing adventure. The stories you are collecting.  Can’t wait to hear some of them.  Love and miss you:)) aunt annette

#2. Posted by linda barutha on November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to all aboard from wonderful snowy
Fond du Lac, WI.

Love and miss you Shell.

#3. Posted by roseann velez on November 27, 2014

Dear Missy and Crew,

Happy Thanksgiving from stormy, snowy northeast!  We miss you and know that you are safe and happy aboard your ship.  Such amazing stories to read about your daily life.  Enjoy and thanks for the daily updates..

Love you Missy and we are thinking of you!!
and Quinn Families
(Austin the dog sends his love too).. : )



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

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