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 13, 2019
16º 47.9’ N, 62º 12.8’ W
At anchor in Little Bay, Montserrat
27C, 10 kt winds from the northeast, mostly clear skies with intermittent squalls engulfing the ship
1-2 ft. seas
Dear friends, family, friends of friends, and family of friends,
My name is Jamie Dinulos, and I am a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Like my shipmates before me, I am writing to you all today from the Caribbean aboard the 135 ft. legend of a vessel named the Corwith Cramer. If you are just tuning in to our daily broadcasts, allow me to provide a quick recap of the past few days.
Since December 11, we have been anchored in Little Bay, Montserrat. Contrary to popular belief and my own intuition, life aboard a sailing vessel does not slow down while at anchor. Our days here consist of at least six hours of anchor watch a day per watch group, as well as two-hour night anchor watches completed by groups of two students. It does not take a math major to figure out that those numbers only add up to about eight hours a day, and in a 24-hour day, there still remains roughly 16 hours not taken up by watch. But wait! There are more tasks to complete besides standing watch! The remainder of our time here in Montserrat has been spent working on our various research projects, completing readings, helping clean the galley, snorkeling, analyzing data, and, of course, spending time with friends. I am sure that the vast majority of the people reading this entry have been diligently keeping up with our blog posts, and thus you know all of this already. But for those of you who are less blog-inclined, hopefully this recap served a useful purpose. Now, let us dive (pun, of course, intended) into some new material.
Today (December 13) began with our last snorkel mission in Montserrat and last data-collecting snorkel mission of the trip. My watch (C-Watch) loaded into the small boats at 0800 and sped along to our survey site. Apart from being the final data-collecting mission of the trip, today’s survey was unique in that the wind was whipping, the seas were slapping, and the small boats were bouncing up and down as they struggled to fight against Mother Nature’s power. These conditions made for the most difficult field work that we have done this trip. However, I do not mean to exacerbate the anxieties of already-worried parents at home; we remained in control the entire time, and mates and crew members took every precaution to ensure our safety while in and out of the water (a.k.a. don’t worry mom, I’m completely safe). Upon C Watch’s return to the Cramer, neither of the other two watches was permitted to venture back out into the bay, as conditions were worsening. After hearing this announcement, disappointment fell over all of my data-hungry classmates. However, our chief scientist and fearless leader Heather Page reminded us that this was all part of doing fieldwork and that safety was the main priority. Thus, instead of doing the afternoon reef survey sections as planned, we held a round-robin style class on the deck. We all split up into three groups and took turns rotating through different classes.
My first class was the inaugural meeting of the Corwith Cramer Poetry Society with our popularly dubbed “chief historian” Ben Kochan, who led a discussion of the poem “Dan is the Man in the Van” by the calypso artist Mighty Sparrow. In the interest of time and word count, I will spare an entire explanation of our discussion. Instead, I will simply mention that the poem offered a commentary on the English educational system in colonial Trinidad and alluded to how this can serve to invalidate Caribbean cultures. After my section, the CCPS met with two more groups, each reading a different poetic work. The idea was that we students could later come together and discuss the various works in our free time. Brilliant.
The next discussion was led by Matt McKenzie and investigated what seems to be an ever-present idea upon the Cramer: how boat life is a perfect analogy for shore life. Specifically, we talked about the balance between security and personal freedoms on the boat (such as shoe requirements and phone prohibitions), and how this relates to a similar balance in real life. The theories of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes made appearances, and we grappled with the ideas of moral and ethical codes as they relate to a “personal contract.” In all, we talked about how we must give up certain luxuries and “freedoms” that we believe to be inherent in order to guarantee the safety and betterment of our community. What a way put everything into perspective, right? After this discussion of ship public policy, our third class was a study hall to continue work on our reef projects. We spent the rest of the day conversing and unwinding.
Today’s snorkel mission and class discussions illustrate why I believe that life aboard the Corwith Cramer is an incredibly unique and invaluable experience. Where else can you perform top-tier, hands-on research in the morning and discuss poetry and public policy in the afternoon? Where else can you experience the audible sounds of classmates disappointed that they couldn’t perform their research in scourging seas? This environment is truly an intellectual paradise. It is filled with passionate students, teachers, and crewmembers alike, and I couldn’t be happier to have been part of it today.
- Jamie Dinulos, Dartmouth College