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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

July 18, 2015

Heave, Ho! And Away we Go!

Isabella Martinez, A Watch, Brown University

Historic Seaports of Western Europe

Above: Sunset over the Port of Douarnenez as seen from our ship. Below, from left to right: Isabella Martinez, Jamie Schicho, Madison Pleasants, Jack Kasparian, and Kyle Johnson with the Corwith Cramer (the biggest ship) in the background

Ship's Log

Noon Position
48°06.8 N’ by 004°39.5 W’

Description of location
Just off the coast of Brittany having exited Douarnenez Bay

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
6.8 knots (and 1500 rpm since we are currently motor-sailing against the wind)

Taffrail Log
272.5 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
light rain every few minutes from a cover of clouds; Wind and waves coming from the west. But we only have small waves today – much better than the last time I sat down to write this blog!

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs
no mammals except for 27 slightly soggy humans but our tow got us some nice little shrimp and the gulls saw us out of the port.

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs
since we got away recently the Science Lab has yet to report any numbers but stay tuned

Souls on Board

Some numbers from Douarnenez:

  • 1 haunted island (Isle de Tristan) that was once inhabited by…
  • 1 old house once inhabited by a rich “Jay Gatsby” de Douarnenez and lavish parties
  • 2+ number of Nazi bunkers
  • 2 old sardine factories
  • (unknown number) of ghosts
  • 4 operating sardine canneries out of 24 original factories
  • 1 trip to the Mayor’s office for a wine and cheese reception in our honor
  • 2 old-fashioned sardine-catching fishing vessels
  • 1 Roman Ruin – the remains of a garum (fish gut sauce) factory that would have fed the edge of the empire and her thousands of legionnaires
  • 2 departing faculty members
  • 3 wonderful days in France
  • 1000+ photos taken
  • 27 people back onboard

I am an engineer. So I find something inherently soothing about making lists. But the short list I made above cannot come close to describing our first (technically second, if you count Cork) port stop. In trying to quantify what we saw, smelled, tasted, heard and felt in Douarnenez, I run into the problem that words cannot describe it – so numbers most certainly cannot.

Today we left Douarnenez.

An odd mixture of excitement, trepidation, and sorrow floated through the air on deck as we cast off lines, heaved to, and basically made ready to set sail.

Excitement because we are once again heading out to sea towards Lisbon! At least ten days at sea stand between us and dry land. We are excited to be headed to open water, to dolphins playing off our bow, and warm weather. Finally, we can leave behind the unpredictable weather of France and the predictably wet and freezing weather of Ireland!

Trepidation because the ship is once again swaying. The original sea-sick crew took some meds to prevent uneasy stomachs and stayed busy on deck for as long as possible. Captain Doug says that we may get queasy again; but, not nearly as much as the first time. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and I have my ginger tea at the ready.

Sorrow because, somehow, this journey is already a quarter of the way done.

The Captain explained to us this morning that a voyage is only called such when the ship returns to its original port at the end. By this definition, this program is not a voyage but a trip. A journey, perhaps, but not a “voyage’ like those undertaken by Charles Darwin, James Cook, or Christopher Columbus. But I don’t believe that this is true. We, the students of the Corwith Cramer, will return to our “home port” at the end of this journey.

Some of us are going to travel a bit more in Europe at the conclusion, still others will go on to spend an entire semester abroad before flying home; but, we will inevitably complete our voyage at our own front doors. Making it a voyage. And we will be changed by our voyage because we will be carrying the memories of rosy sunsets over Douarnenez, of fishing boats and museums filled with French signs proclaiming the nautical heritage of the region. We will still have the sweet taste of dessert crepes, French cheese, and local cider. We will still have the sound of the ship’s whistle as we waved farewell to the crowd gathered on the dock to bid us “Adieu.” We will look back on the bounty of pictures and say, “I was there. And it was truly a voyage.”

On a lighter note, I am pleased to report that our tables have once again been gimballed. Gimballing is when the tables are weighed down lengthwise along the table and left to swing freely. With a combination of science and nautical magic, the ship sways around the table. The table is tethered only with gravity – keeping its surface still while everything else is moving. Although it is extremely unsettling to see my scrambled eggs swinging back and forth, it is the only thing keeping my coffee from ending up in my lap.

Hailing from the waters somewhere off the coast of Brittany, France,

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Historic Seaports of Western Europe, • Topics: c261  port stops  france • (0) Comments


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