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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

December 06, 2018

New Routines and Rhythms

Laura Blum, Middlebury College


Above: Night fades into day (featuring Captain Sean, Mike, Savio). Below: Day fades into night (featuring Nina at the helm)

Ship's Log

GPS Position
15 degrees, 57.2’ N x 62 degrees 06.4’ W

Ship Heading
010 degrees

Winds from East by North, clear skies and a pleasant 28 degrees C.

Souls on board

When I was a young girl, I used to feel lonely when I woke up in the middle of the night.  Night was a time to be sleeping, and I would spend hours trying to force sleep to come even when it couldn't - counting the minutes and hours impatiently.  But here on the boat, we are asked to be up at odd hours.  Whether you are on watch or falling asleep in your bed, it is reassuring to know that someone else is also up and about. From my bunk in the squalor (which used to be a much less comfortable place to live but is now quite pleasant thanks to a new vent bringing fresh air below) I can hear the engine room door open and close when those on watch do an hourly check of the boat. These night noises have become both familiar and comforting. I'm also right next to the library, which is also where we do a lot of the lab work for our project on the reactive oxygen species dynamics of corals.  I usually hear our reef specialist Kalina puttering around in there at unusual times. The repetitive beeps of the spectrofluorometer are a reminder that science never sleeps either.

Last dawn watch, like a lot of days, began at a time when I would never normally be awake.  It was a rocky and roly-poly watch for my team.  Some of us were in lab trying not to be seasick while combing through buckets of critters, and the rest were trying to keep their footing while managing the slippery deck amidst squalls of rain. We processed the sample from the midnight Neuston net tow. It held some treasures, including our chief scientist's favorite find - Sargassum, a type of seaweed which provides a microhabitat for all kinds of other organisms.  The oncoming watch met us as the sun rose and we worked together to set the mainsail in the rain. Our watch ended with delicious banana pancakes. As odd as it still feels to be going to sleep as the sun rises, my watch crawled back to our beds and tried not to bring the sogginess with us.

It has been an odd experience trying to resist the rhythms that my body is used to.  I can't walk on a rocking boat like I walk on land.  I can't sleep the hours that my body would normally sleep.  But the practice of adjusting to a whole new rhythm of life on the Cramer - one which relies not on night and day but moves along like clockwork as we rotate through our watches - has been a beautiful challenge. The outcome of 36 people committing to something which initially feels out of our comfort zones is remarkably harmonious. Our days here are packed with new experiences that can occur at any hour and for that I am so grateful.

- Laura Blum, Middlebury College

P.S. Much love to my family - thank you for always encouraging me to explore!

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c283  life at sea  study abroad • (3) Comments
Previous entry: The Sea and History    Next entry: Bunk Love


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 James White on December 07, 2018

I love reading all of these blog posts.  It brings all of us on board with all of you. I’ve said this before but reading these posts is so heart-warming.  “The outcome of 36 people committing to something which initially feels out of our comfort zones is remarkably harmonious. Our days here are packed with new experiences that can occur at any hour and for that I am so grateful.”  That’s the world I want to live in—a world where harmony and purpose of being meet with warmth and gratitude.  Thank you, Laura, and all of the bloggers, for sharing so much with us back home.

~Alyssa’s dad

#2. Posted by Tom Blum on December 08, 2018

Hi Laura! Just read your blog post. It’s cold outside, here in New England (about 20 degrees), so it’s nice thinking of you and your mates in a warm place. We’re happy to hear that your shared adventure is going well. Love, Dad and Mom (and Leo).

#3. Posted by Loraine Dryak on December 09, 2018

Thank you all for your posts and pictures, your excursion reminded me of this old song:

Walloping Window Blind

Now a capitol ship for an ocean trip
Was the Walloping Window Blind
No winds that blew disturbed her crew
Or troubled the captain’s mind
The man at the wheel was said to feel
Contempt for the wind that blow.
Tho it often appeared when the weather had cleared
That he’d been in his bunk below.

The bosun and the mate was very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too;
So they played hopscotch with the starboard watch
While the captain tickled the crew.
And the gunner we had was apparently mad
For hed sit on the after-rail,
And fire salutes with the captains boots
In the teeth of a blowing gale.

What an experience to be sure!

Thanks Mahalia for your anniversary wishes. Love you bunches and bunches,  Mum



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