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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

June 14, 2015

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Sea

Kelli Walsh, A Watch, Ripon College

Transatlantic Crossing

As the Squall Rolls In (Danielle, Sean, and JJ)

Ship's Log

Noon Position
44° 03.8’ N x 45° 13.5’ W

Description of location
Western North Atlantic

Ship Heading
120° PSC

Ship Speed
4.5 knots

Taffrail Log
1228.8 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Winds W x SW Force 6, Sailing under the stays’ls and the tops’l on a starboard tack, jacklines run, lookout posted on quarterdeck

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs

Souls on Board

This is the phrase our Chief Mate, Mack, will say when she is about to shine a white light on deck at night or when she is behind you doing something and is letting you know she’s there. And every time I hear these words, I think of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a book where the phrase holds some significance.

You may think it strange that while on a ship at sea I have a book about outer space on my mind rather than perhaps a more fitting novel like “Moby Dick” (which we have multiple copies of on board right now, of course). But I actually find myself thinking about Hitchhiker’s Guide often. As I watch the dolphins circle our boat at night, something my classmates have surely discussed in prior blog entries, I think about how intelligent they are. They must be swimming alongside of us, bioluminescence surrounding their quick movements, mocking us as we try to match their speed. I’m pretty sure I even heard one say “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

As Chief Scientist Audrey writes poems in the night orders that the lab crew receives, I surely do not think about the poetry from Hitchhiker’s Guide. No, her poems are always the cream of the crop. Last night’s poem was particularly spectacular, I don’t know if it was because of the two lab assistants who aiding her creative thought process, Aiden and myself, or if it was because those same two lab assistants were specifically mentioned in said poem. For whatever reason, it was another excellent poem and I once again want to stress that I am in no way comparing the brilliant science poems to poetry as it is discussed in Hitchhiker’s Guide.

Because, while we are learning an exceptional amount about the sea while we are out here, our education is growing far beyond the maritime parameter. We are learning about weather patterns and food webs and even celestial navigation. There it is: outer space. During summers back home – shout out to Iowa – I sometimes drive out in the countryside to get a better view of the stars, one that is not as contaminated by light pollution. But
absolutely nothing compares to what we have seen out here on a clear night. Seeing the Milky Way so clearly and watching as some stars twinkle from red to white is an experience I’ll forever remember.

The big question in the Hitchhiker’s Guide is: What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? I’m not here to go off on a philosophical tangent where I discuss why 42 is the clear and concise answer, but I think the question does open the door for some good exploration while my classmates and I are at sea, as we study in a classroom that we get a relatively miniscule glimpse of compared to the great ocean depths the lie below us and the vast universe above us, and as we grow as individuals in this journey and consider our future plans for schooling or careers. Cramer is a wonderful atmosphere for contemplation, education, and discovery and I am so thankful for the experiences that I am having while on board.

Now then, what has our Sunday looked like? Well, A watch woke up to a nice squall. We saw some pretty awesome waves that helped us to really make tracks. The watches saw a shift in crew members and each received a new mate and scientist to work with. Today also marks the last of the birthday’s on our voyage: one of our deckhands, Clare, turned 22 and Jen and Sarah M. made some delicious cupcakes in celebration. A few of us played ‘Whist’ (a card game—similar to Mahoney, Dad, just a slight variance to your rules), before moving on to playing Bananagrams—please help us settle the debate on whether or not ‘zounds’ is an actual word because the group is divided. And now we are waiting to see what the good chef Jen and her faithful assistant for the day are serving for dinner—it’s sure to be amazing.

And, after a pretty chilly past day or so, today felt pretty darn good on deck. Here’s to hoping this warmer air sticks around for a little while (knock on wood).

- Kelli

P.S. Mom, Dad, Robbo, Kristi & Ryan, and Grandma W. I am thinking of all of you and hoping you are having a great month, and mom please pass on to Grandma S. that I am thinking of her as well!

Message in a bottle:
“Mom, Dad, Hannah, Sam- Miss you all and love you lots. No seasickness to report, plenty of dolphins spotted and no nail-biting to be had. Everyone have fun in Israel and Sam enjoy CLTC. Zoe it’s hwhy not seeing you. Love,

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: c260 • (6) 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 =b= on June 16, 2015

Of a certainty, “Zounds” is a proper word, a venerable and useful exclamation oft used by none less than the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. 

A quick search unearthed the following example, perhaps relevant to young sailors on a boisterous sea when the wind howls and the sails need furling:

‘Zounds! how has he the leisure to be sick in such a rustling time?

- Henry IV, Part I [IV, 1]

Fair winds m’dears,


#2. Posted by Bob Walsh on June 16, 2015

Excellent!  I envy all of you,  Sounds like you’re all having a great time, a great experience, and learning a lot about the ship, the ocean, each other and yourselves.

Hope you packed the ‘lemon soaked paper napkins’.  Did you remember to bring your towel?!

#3. Posted by Kristi L on June 16, 2015

Hey Kelli-I should have known you would talk about the Hitchhikers Guide. It sounds like everyone is having a great time and learning a lot. Today I texted Mom, “I miss talking to Kelli”. I can’t wait to hear more about your trip when you return. Also, I just wouldn’t be me unless I ask…what are the bathroom(s) like?  Love ya

#4. Posted by olga walsh on June 17, 2015

Kelli ,
I did contact you but apparently my message didn’t get through.
I wanted to make sure you knew, we were following your activities
with much interest.
What an awesome experience you are all having!!! We are with you in spirit and are so happy for you. Keep safe and Happy. God Bless!

#5. Posted by Robbo on June 19, 2015


“We’re crab people now Dee!  We’ll live and die by the crab, we’ll eat off the fat of the sea.”

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

#6. Posted by Leanne on June 22, 2015

Hi Kelli!
Gram, of course, let me know about the website.  This sounds like so much fun! Just like your Father said, “I envy you.” It sounds like such an amazing experience. Can’t wait to hear more about it! Stay safe!



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