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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

October 03, 2016

On the Way to Tonga

Paige Dempsey, A Watch, Whitman College

Taco Tuesday

Ship's Log

Current Position
18°37.5’ S x 174°05.4’W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Heading 226°, speed 6.2 knots.

Sail Plan
All four Lowers

Fairly cloudy. Light wind. 30.0°

Souls on Board

So, the last few days have more or less collapsed into one large blur. Marking our days by watches and the chances to sleep and study between them has turned around my ability to keep track of time. It doesn’t help that sometime yesterday we crossed the international date line. Skipping October 2nd all together before arriving at October 3rd. Fortunately all that happened was that we changed the dates on our watches—the world did not turn upside down and we did not all suddenly age a day faster than we normally would. To the ocean around us, there was no significance to the date change.

Life continues as normal for us too. Well, as normal as fending off the last vestiges of sea sickness, waking up in the middle of the night to stand watch, and, of course, learning (slowly and confusedly) how to sail a tall ship will ever be.

Despite all I’ve just said, there have been standout moments—many of them. Just yesterday we crossed over the Tongan trench. 9000 meters of water moved through its slow circulation below our feet. Never before had I stood over that much water.

We also caught our first fish of the trip, a Mahimahi. Most of the ships company rushed above decks when we heard that a fish was on the line. This was the first time I’d seen one of these fish not already cooked and on a plate. And let me tell you it is gorgeous. All yellow bluey green. And massive. (I grew up in Minnesota and am stoked to catch a largemouth bass that’s as long as my forearm. So yeah, this fish is huge in my books.) Despite the fish’s best attempts to flail its way off our deck, we’re enjoying mahimahi fish tacos today.

Last night, I helped to deploy a neuston net—a contraption built to catch organisms that hang out in the Nueston layor (where the atmosphere interacts with the sea surface). Almost immediately the water lit up with blue sparks of bioluminescence. The net caught plenty of those lights, turning its triangular shape into a kind of horizontal Christmas tree.  Though there weren’t many stars out, the net built its own sort of constellation as it slowly scooped up zooplankton.

Today we are to arrive in Tonga. The first time SEA Semester has sailed there. Today feels a little momentous. You can see Tonga from the deck right now. Green and rocky cliffs rising from the blue. The first thing in a handful of days to break up our endless horizons. We’ve read and learned a little about Tonga. Mostly that there are whales that migrate through here, feeding a growing whale watching industry. Naturally, we all hope to see a couple.

Fair winds,

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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 Clare mcclellan on October 04, 2016

I’m so envious of the night skies you must be seeing.  My favorite time on our boat was very early morning, mist rising, birds moving around, crabbers at work.  Also at night, with sound of waves against the hull.  We didn’t sail much at night, shore lights and passing freighter lights were pretty disorienting til you got your bearings.  Very quiet here now.  Grandpa at a meeting.  He says this is the last paper he will give, but I think he will probably change his mind before long.  Yoga today very strenuous, lots of plankand upward dog plank.  Went on an outing with Nell yesterday, to a nursery, but I haven’t bought one single new plant all fall!  Really!
We’re you really the first one to steer the boat?  Terrifying but grand.
Lots of love, grandma

#2. Posted by john powers on October 04, 2016

Snowing in Butte today. I’m sporting more clothing than your entire crew as I head out for a load of firewood.



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