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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 23, 2016

Mama Cramer Presents: Whale Watching

Sarah Nickford, Stony Brook University

Transatlantic Crossing

Above: Pilot Whales. Below: Looking out through a chock at the sea.

Ship's Log

44°31.4’N x 21°45.8’W

Description of location
525 miles away from Cork, Ireland!

6.3 knots (with engine)

Weather / Wind
partly cloudy/ none (F3)

Souls on Board

Although more recent blog posts all seem to commonly mention Phase III: JWO/JLO, it rightfully deserves this attention. This responsibility tests all of our learning over the past 2+ weeks. From sail handling to hourly responsibilities on deck and in lab, we are the ones that have to make it all happen. The SSV Corwith Cramer usually conducts sampling for science twice a day, weather permitting. One might think that preparing the boat for science deployments is a breeze, however, it takes a little more coordination.

My first experience as JWO today seemed overwhelming for the first two hours as I prepared the ship to be hove-to in order for the JLO to carry out a Meter Net / Styro-Cast (I’ll explain later). Throughout the cruise, the mates make it seem easy as they determine when the sail handling needs to begin in order for the ship to be ready in time for a deployment. On my watch, we had to strike one of the sails and then double gybe. It ended up taking longer than I thought but it worked out just in time.

Back to the Styro-Cast. For this experiment we got to design, color, and write on Styrofoam cups, creating a masterpiece that would be sent 2,000m deep into the ocean and then brought back up. The pressure from all of the water above forces the air out of the Styrofoam allowing it to shrink. From pictures and doodles to chemistry equations and letters to deep sea creatures, everyone had their own style.

Aside from the science experiment, all afternoon a pod of Pilot Whales swam with the ship and left everyone wondering what their interest in us was. They have been consistently nearing the ship for a few days now and there is speculation that it is the same pod each day. Are they attracted to our depth recording instruments that make noises in the water? Is it the taffrail log that trails behind the boat recording the distance we travel?

Is it their curiosity in the ship as a whole? …Or none of the above. Regardless of the cause, seeing these amazing creatures (for 3 days in a row!) has been surreal. They have been so close to the ship that we can tell the calves are just learning how to swim by waving their fins in the air and flapping their tails. Along with the Pilot Whales, we also saw a Blue Whale (possibly two) in the distance. Despite all of the other events of the day and the fast approaching deadlines for final projects, there was a flock of excited sailors on deck.

It is crazy to think about how it has already been 20 days out at sea and the remaining days are zooming by. For the remainder of the trip, we will all have to appreciate the moments that make this adventure such a unique experience. I’m sure some of us are starting to miss land but I already know that I will miss being at sea.

~ Mom and Dad, I hope you have a safe flight and enjoy your trip. I’ll see you in 6 short days! ~

- Sarah

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: c267  megafauna  styrocast  science • (0) Comments
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