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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

December 06, 2019

Fisherman Science!

Muriel Bingham, Stony Brook University


Above: The best views; Below: Haulin’ lines (with Captain Greg, Carla, Heather, Jess, and Courtney).

Ship's Log

Current Position
14˚ 47.666’ N x 062˚ 08.537’ W - 130 nautical miles away from Montserrat Current

5.80 knots

Sail Plan
Sailing on a starboard tack under the four lowers (Jib, Forestays’l, Mainstays’l, and Mains’l) with one reef in the Mains’l

29.0˚C, 3/8th cloud cover of cumulous clouds

Sea Conditions
NE and 5ft waves Current Heading: 010˚

Souls on board

Captain’s Log: Day 642………..Just kidding it’s student blog time! Hi friends and family! We are still underway on route to Montserrat. This leg will be about the same duration as the first from St. Croix to Grenada because of a couple exclusive economic zones (EEZs) that complicate our scientific observations.

During dawn watch from 0100 - 0700, we gybed twice in order to stay within Martinique’s waters, where we have permission to do research from the French government. Our first gybe was to keep us in the area. However, the second gybe came a bit too early due to not nice- looking clouds, so we turned and ran away.

While on watch, I learned how to use our radar system and tracked a cargo vessel on the horizon. I’ve wanted to practice using the radar for my potential future career in marine science after college. During the wee hours of the morning, Izzy was reading aloud pages from a book about celestial navigation and how to use the star Polaris for steering. We had to give a presentation on steering with Polaris later in the day during class. While I was at the helm around 0600, Izzy, Carla, Thomas, and Second Mate Christine were using the sextant to get celestial navigation readings on the morning stars in relation to our current position.

I’m getting very used to the weird sleep schedule that we’ve been following for the past two weeks. Dawn watch, however, will always be the hardest. Falling back asleep after a six-hour watch, though, is pretty easy. We were the last seating for breakfast this morning, so after cleanup I crawled right back into my top bunk for some nice zzzs. Normally after breakfast, everyone else is either on watch, on deck, or back in bed like me, so it’s usually pretty quiet and easy to sleep then.

I woke back up in time for lunch, which was falafels with pita bread, toppings, and sauces. I’ve never had this before and was willing to try it. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it! There have been a couple of different dishes on the ship that I’ve never had before.

After lunch, so many people, including Izzy and myself, got distracted from preparing our presentation to go help SET THE FISHERMAN SAIL! This is one of the sails that doesn’t get set often because it’s very particular about the wind speed. But we were in luck today! Everyone got so excited that it was up, and I helped haul on the fisherman throat halyard that hoists up one of the sail’s corners. That glory and awe was short lived though; it started raining (booooooo, clouds stink).

Following that, it was time to prepare for my watch’s presentation! I was so nervous because I barely knew anything! My role in watch this morning consisted of boat checks, lookout, helm, and waking up Dan for assistant steward. Izzy’s reading from the celestial navigation book was done while I was always doing something else! I got a quick run-down during preparation, meaning I assigned myself some fun facts about Polaris and drew the celestial map. The presentation went pretty well and everyone enjoyed learning about a star they’ve always known, but didn’t know exactly what to do with.

After a class full of fun, we had study hall. This was looooong overdue. There were a bunch of us doing coral ID photos, editing our proposal writeups for our own personal projects, looking through the previous two years’ data for an oceanography project, and, if you’re like me with a Mac, just straight up trying to figure out the network on board. We are trying to get a lot done in a short time span and if there is anyone better for that crunch, it’s college students!

Double watch day!!! Since our schedule is 6 hours on and 12 hours off, having dawn watch means you have evening watch that same day. Boy was last night interesting. Christine, Dan, and I were helping Courtney come up with a parody of “I Don’t Want to Work on This Old Boat Anymore” about seasickness, due to her constant suffering. We were all laughing, singing along, and overall having a great time. I started asking Christine about the degree of angle in which the Cramer can tilt without causing issues and learned A LOT about the stability of this ship. Captain Greg overheard this conversation and put a presentation for C Watch in the night orders on boat stability! I was laughing so hard when I read that.

We had to take in the jib to reduce our speed for science stations, which meant going out on the bowsprit. Going out on it at night is soooo cool!!! Good thing the moon was bright, so we had some light to see what we were doing. We had to tend to the stays’ls sheets finally and, when we were almost done, BOOM, we got soaked with a huge wave. After that whole adventure, the rest of the night was pretty calm. Science got their samples and the boat was rocking and rolling as per usual.

FUN FACT TIME! Did you know that Polaris is a north star, so you can only view it in the northern hemisphere?  Did you know that Polaris is actually not due north, it’s 42’ off due north!  Last but not least, Polaris is the 49th brightest star we can see.

- Muriel Bingham, Stony Brook University

P.S. I love and miss all my friends and family so much! I can’t wait to see y’all very soon! I will be writing a second blog post as well on 20 December 2019! Stay tuned for your next adventure with me underway to St. Croix for the home stretch!

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c289  caribbean  study abroad  life at sea • (1) 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 Kathryn Bingham on December 15, 2019

Hi everyone, what a great adventure you are all on, Muriel I am so excited for all of you. Everyone will be on the high seas sailing their own ship real soon with all that you have learned.  Reading all the blogs it sounds like everyone is learning many new things and having a great time.  grin



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