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
October 27, 2016
Feeling at Home in the Ship’s Particular Time and Space
35°40’N x 008°21’E
Bay of Cadiz, Eastern Atlantic.
Winds ESE Force 3 with 5’ Seas from the East
After our ship meeting yesterday I was inspired to reflect upon our cruise track in more general terms than what you may have been reading in the blog so far. Upon the conclusion of our shore-side visits we have a “port stop debrief” where all students share the latest observations and insights on their projects. Since this was our second time in Cadiz and our last port stop we were encouraged to reflect upon the trip in general and give a last update on our projects. For my part I discussed a recurring theme that has had a profound impact on me and I suspect for those of us on board who are new to this lifestyle – the peculiar nature of space and time on a ship.
The distinct nature of space and time onboard the ship is never more evident than the day we are preparing to leave a port and we are asked a specific question by the captain: “are you ready to depart?” This is not a simple question, and just understanding what it means has taken me a while. But now as we near the end of this trip I think I know what it means “to be ready” for sea, though it is still not an easy question to answer. It is not simply a question of whether or not you have straightened your bunk and stored things safely for sea. Primarily, it is about making the transition within yourself from a life lived on land—where time and space have a very particular meaning to most of us—to a life lived where the awareness of time, the near-constant moving, the limited personal space, all challenge you to feel a part of the ship’s crew. A life lived where you must constantly be in the present and aware of where you fit into a carefully arranged system and ready to play your part in the next task. In other words, when the captain asks you this question, he wants you to stop and consider – “are you ready to be an integral part of the community on board?”
So, what did it take for me to learn the answer to the captain’s question? It took all of the time that was necessary to adjust to the ship’s lifestyle. The adjustment it takes to feel like the watch schedule is normal, your bunk feels like home, when putting on your harness doesn’t feel awkward anymore and when going to the head (toilet) no longer is a walk of shame. It took time to feel comfortable with myself in this new environment before I felt prepared to play my role in the ship’s community. It has taken time to familiarize myself to the daily movements of the ship, and appreciate the important role I play in the work of the (24 hour) day. In general, it takes time, it takes courage and it takes friends.
P.S. Also a short capture from the day: Today we had quite a bit of wind. On our watch from 1900-0100 we had 10-12ft (3-4 meters) high waves as we rolled around in the Atlantic, leaving steady ground behind. Everyone did great holding on to themselves, watching out for each other and securing things, which especially was a challenge in lab. I got very seasick, which is luckily not as common on board the Cramer as you might have feared.