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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

June 21, 2015

Happy Father’s Day!

Joseph Sitzmann, C Watch, The George Washington University

Transatlantic Crossing

If You Squint Your Eyes, They Spell “DAD!”

Ship's Log

Noon position
47° 37.3’N x 024° 50.9’W

Description of location
In the North Atlantic, east of the Mid Atlantic Ridge and headed for Ireland!

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
7.8 knots

Taffrail Log
2125.5 nm

Weather/ Wind/ Sail Plan
Breezy, not too chilly/ SxW wind Force 6/ SxE seas 6 feet/Sailing under the four lowers with a single-reefed main.

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs
One unidentified whale

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs

Souls on Board

Here I am:  perched out on bow watch. Visibility is about 30 yards, if that. The fog-covered ocean exudes an ominous sort of feel on this chilly and moist morning, something you expect out of a movie (perhaps Pirates of the Caribbean). After a solid 2 weeks of tall-ship experience under my belt, I start to feel the routine sinking in. Enrolling in this program, I had relatively high expectations. I kept telling myself not to but, on some sub-conscious level, I clearly did. I expected to come to sea and “discover my true me,” have an “epiphany,” or have some other profoundly eye-opening, philosophical experience. However, I was wrong to expect that, with a little added salt water, my life and all of its problems would be solved. Something I’ve learned is that, seeking out these types of moments is the exact opposite of what I should do. These moments come to you when your guard is down and when you least expect them. And such a humbling moment did come.

So, here I am: 134ft of steel brigantine below my feet. Not even 5 minutes into bow watch, and I am already bored. The habitual singing of Led Zeppelin, John Mayer, Les Miserables and the bits and pieces of camp songs I can remember gets old pretty quick; and, when you’re stuck listening to my voice you’d get bored, if not irritated, too. In lieu of singing, I decide to let my mind wander. It takes me back to high school: I start thinking about my freshman soccer experience, then to my kooky physics teacher from sophomore year. Next, I think about prepping for the ACT and soon I end up reminiscing on prom and graduation. In the spirit of nostalgia, I decide to rewind even further. I attempt to go through every year of my life and recall the most salient memory from each year, if there are any still left. Aside from a unique dodge-ball game, the only other memory that stood out to me from elementary school was in my fifth grade play where I was one of the MCs. After weeks of preparation and rehearsals, the big night finally comes. I go on to stage, dressed as a traffic man while holding a stop sign. My first line is literally: “stop!” I completely blanked. All of the saliva instantly vanished from my mouth as I stared out at dead silent crowd of anxious parents. To be honest, I do not even remember what happened after that (I guess Freud really was right about suppressing memories). I was mortified and wanted to sink into a hole. I decided: my life was over.

But here’s the thing: my life wasn’t over. In fact (spoiler alert), I’m still here some 12 years later and going strong. I’ve had a few of those terrifying moments, as I’m sure many have. Standing in the middle of the Atlantic with just my thoughts, it dawns on me that none of these really matter. Things happen. Good things make us feel good. Bad things make us feel bad. Just as one good thing makes me feel content for a day, maybe a week, one bad thing makes feel discontent for a day, maybe a week. So, after a momentary stint reliving that frightful stage experience, I realize how naïve it is to think that the minor things in my life will forever leave in imprint on my future. I see life as a continuum. On it, there are many variables, things that change: your activities, schools, and friends. After 5th grade came a new school. I made new friends; I participated in different activities. So with all these changes going on, is there any stability? In the purposeful reminiscing exercise I did, I realized how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. Everything seems so different now from what it used to be. It becomes apparent to me that the one thing that never changes, however, was and is my parents, and particularly my dad.

Let me elaborate. In life there are constants and variables. For example, on this ship the schedule is constant and unchanging. I can rely on its consistency even if sometimes it can drive me crazy when I get a 0230 wakeup for dawn watch. At the beginning of this voyage, I was in a completely new world. I felt like a fish out of water with a new home, new language and new family. Naturally, this made me uneasy. Would I make friends? What if I don’t like ship life? Lo and behold, 18 days later, I am fully immersed in life at sea- those original qualms now seem foreign to me. When did I adjust, because it seemed as if nothing ever changed? This thought reminds me of a quote: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but, when you look back, everything is different?” The change happens over time. The schedule and rigidity of the program, the constant, gave me just the stability I needed as everything around me changed; it allowed me to adjust. 

So it is with fathers. The little variables that seem like they’re going to “change my life” pale in comparison to things that are busy at work in the background.  The culmination of this dedication from my dad shaped me into the young man I am today. Thinking about my childhood and how far I’ve come since my toddler years, I have a newfound appreciation for all that my father has done for me. The constants were everywhere. My Dad always came home right at 5pm when I was a kid, usually interrupting the daily argument between me and my mom, to get me to do homework, bringing a smile to my face as I’d run to greet him. Sunday mornings my dad made chocolate chip pancakes; usually the smell alone would get me out of bed. Now, if my dad came in to my room on a Sunday morning at 9am, I’d muster the words, “are you kidding me Dad? It’s too early for conversation.” Oh how things have changed. But what hasn’t changed is my Dad always being there and being the rock for me in the whirlwind that is life.

I can barely begin to scratch the surface on articulating enough gratitude to cover all of the effort put forth by fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers worldwide. If I could quantify the amount of love I have for my Dad, assuming everyone loves their dad as much as me, and multiple that by the number of dads that are loved in the world (roughly speaking) the equation would look something like this:  infinite love for my dad x 2.5 billion dads in world = infinite love. And covering all of the personality, life lessons and moral compasses they imbue in all of their children and grandchildren is simply impossible. This long-winded, and possibly incoherent message goes out to all of the fathers (don’t worry mothers, you’re amazing too!) out there. Happy Father’s Day! A special shout out to my dad who, for lack of better words, is the best dad I could ask for.

Now, since I am sure all the dads and granddads out there are missing their children who were crazy enough to sail across the ocean (trust me it really is that crazy) let me give you a brief update on today’s happenings. The weather has proven rather favorable over the course of the last few days and today was not an exception. I was the dish/engine guy for Watch C’s morning watch today, so I got a sneak peak at today’s lunch and snacks, as I poured my heart and soul into cleaning the dozens of dishes. I rather impatiently awaited the well-raved-about black bean soup for lunch. Shortly after eating, as I was preparing to go aloft, I hear “Whale!” from the doghouse ladder. I scurry topside and catch a glimpse. While there is little conclusive evidence on the type of whale we saw, I’m convinced it was a Sperm Whale. Granted, I failed my Whale Morphology 1001 (WHM 1001) course, freshman year, so take my word with a grain of salt (or many grains).

After the excitement of the whale simmered down, I went aloft to take the picture that you see posted with this blog. After just barely setting foot back on deck, Aidan, coming up into the doghouse, says, “This is a Drill. Flooding in the Engine Room!” I press the General Alarm for the ship, and the drill is in full swing. We test a new piece of equipment called the eductor pump, which creates a pressure difference between a standard fire hose and the air (Willie, our engineer, did a much better job explaining this).  For the purposes of the drill, we sucked water out of the ocean and pumped it back into the ocean on the other end.  In a real-life situation, we could pump water from the area of flooding through the pump and off the ship, in very large volumes. The drill went smoothly and then watches B and C stood down and A Watch had the deck.

As I am sure you may have read in the previous blog post, we caught a tuna yesterday. It is my humbled privilege to announce that, on this esteemed night, we will be eating it. Aside from that, ship life is going on as per usual. We have been making great ground. Yesterday we traveled a whopping 170 nautical miles where as we usually only cover 100 or so nautical miles per day. At this rate, we might end up in China by July 2 (barring the obstacle that is Europe).

I hope all of you land dwellers are doing well and rest assured that all of us aboard the Cramer are being well fed, sensing an appropriate level of safety, and having a truly surreal and majestic experience. 

Happy Fathers’ Day, once again!


P.S. Dad, I love you; I wish I could be with you today. I’m thinking of all of the many memories we have and looking forward to the many more. If I am correct, you are in Israel or on your way there, as we speak – did you know they have a bikeshare system there? You should check it out. Much love to you, Opa, and the rest of the family.


Some Father’s Day Recollections:

My dad has always been constant in going to all my events in my life; rain or shine, he will always be standing there on the sidelines, cheering me on at my soccer games to track meets, supporting me and telling me how I can improve.  -Sarah McTague

My dad provides a constant in my life in his enthusiasm and love for the Great Outdoors.  My childhood was rich with moments outside with my dad, whether it was fishing on Island Lake, hiking the hills of South Dakota, camping beside Lake Superior, or skiing through the stunning forests of northern Minnesota.  To this day, my dad is always up for a conversation around a bonfire and appreciating the simple beauty that comes from sharing moments outside. -Maria

My dad always has something new to teach me. From the books he would tirelessly read to me when I was small to the piles of typewriter-written letters with fun facts he sends to me at college, and all the assorted math, science, and engineering in between, he really inspires me to learn. I wish I’d listened when he tried to teach me to use a sextant. Dad, your Father’s Day gift is that when I’m next home we can shoot stars together. –Rebecca

My dad took us to Mets games every summer; we never had tons of money, but he always made sure we had enough for that. Some of best childhood memories are with him at those baseball games. – Sarah H

The sound of “The Fallen” playing from the living room while I’m writing in my room – as that’s one of the things I miss most when I’m not home. When I think of your voice I hear the vibraphone. Happy Father’s Day with love, Danielle.

Integrity, steadfastness, support- thanks dad for bring these constant into my life – Gabri

My dad acts as a constant in my life in so many ways, exemplified by the birthday breakfast ritual, the projects that are never done until it’s Tuesday, and the lasting lessons that he has taught me about people, work and life situations in general. – Kelli

My dad has always loved looking at the ocean. Born in a seaside town, he told me ever since I was young that he could look at the ocean all day – that he loved looking at it since he was a child, and that it functioned as a medium for him to dream big dreams, and foster his identity in the world. His words influence me to this day. –BC Park

My Dad has always been a constant in my life from the day I was born up till now. He saw me off to school every morning and was always there waiting when I came home. That’s the kind of Dad he is and the kind of person he is. No one leaves the house without him waving form the driveway. I hope I can be half the man my father is, I love him dearly. –Ethan

My dad has always been the best role model.  I would not be as successful as I am today without all the love and support you have given me.  From all the fun times skiing and trips to the Caribbean to swim with sea turtles to endless family bbq’s, golf outings, or days at the beach, every memory is a treasure.  Lots of love!  <3 BMauer

Even once school has ended, it is never truly Summer until my dad and I are out on the boat each weekend in Oak Bluffs, Hadley’s Harbor, and Tashmoo, and debating the logic of why I choose to sleep on the couch each night rather than in bed. Even when none of my friends can come along, the one constant is that my dad and I will be on the water, eating cheese and crackers, and reading a book. And even though I usually get chewed out for not knowing how to do it all myself, he’s also the one I call whenever I need mechanical advice. Finally, my dad is a still the biggest advocate of common sense I know, constantly reiterating, “Use your head!” I am dad, happy father’s day. - Sean

Messages in a Bottle:

Happy Father’s Day Dad! You are one of the incredible influencers in my life and always help me to exceed in school, athletics, or even just life in general. I owe so much to you and Mom for helping me become the person I am today, so thanks for being such a great dad these past 18 years. I wish I could be there for your big day, but I am glad I will get to see you and everyone else very soon. Happy Father’s Day Dad! Your favorite daughter, Sarah M.

Hey, Big—Happy Father’s Day! I really appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I’m sending love from across the Atlantic.  I hope everything is well back home, and I can’t wait to share the incredible stories that have occurred while aboard the Cramer.  I was the Assistant Steward a couple days ago, and Jen (the Steward) and I cooked a Greek dinner for the entire crew, with you and the rest of my Greek family in mind.  I love you, and see you soon!—Maria

Happy Father’s Day!!! See you soon in Ireland. -Darcy

Mr. Scheurich!  Happy Father’s day Dad, be home soon.  Love, Willie

Opa at sea sends Father’s Day love to Betty, Anne, Sons and Grandchildren.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! Love you and miss you. – Garrett

Thank you Dad for loving me so much – Fabia

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thank you so much for everything that you do for me: for all of the help and guidance you give me, and for all of the fun times. I’m sorry I’m not home to celebrate, but thank you for allowing me to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can’t wait to celebrate with you in Ireland! Love you! -Kelli
(Also, sorry I never really thought of a code word in my previous blog post, but I thought you’d enjoy the Hitchhiker’s reference at least.)

Happy Father’s Day Papa bear!  Love, Aidan

Happy Father’s Day and retirement Dad! Sorry I’m not home to celebrate everything with you, but I’ll talk to you soon!  -Julia

Sorry I haven’t written more but I bet none of you are surprised. Ireland is so close I can taste it… Love and miss you all! Happy Father’s Day Dad! –Ethan

Happy Father’s Day Dad! Thanks for coming to visit in Woods Hole and many thanks for bringing Mario with you!  Love and Miss you.  BMauer

Cheers to Pop for being a great dad and grandpa. Also Happy Fathers Day to my brothers Dan and the newest father I know, Ben. -Matt

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for being a constant I could count on to lovingly support me in life’s many adventures. Missing you lots from out here over the Mid Atlantic Ridge. I love you! Audrey

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: s260 • (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 Zoe on June 22, 2015

Joey - you are incredible. I can’t wait to hear about everything in just ten more days. Missing you tons!

#2. Posted by Laurence Lague on June 23, 2015

I am very proud of you and your fellow students for what you have accomplished. Special thanks to the Sea Semester teachers for their patients and professionalism.
Laurence Lague

#3. Posted by Ethan Flethcher on June 26, 2015

Hi Son,
Thanks for the father’s day message!
Looks like you are in the home stretch. Your last position posting was six hours ago and you may be looking at the coast of Ireland right now.
Can’t wait to talk soon and hear all about the trip.
Love you!



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