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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

October 13, 2021

Ooh, Ahh, Science Report!

Katherine Rigney, A watch, 3rd Scientist


Above: Phoenix (A watch) "dances" on a wire deployment of the Shipek grab, which was deployed to over 200m depth and snapped shut on the sea floor, bringing back a sediment sample that we can sieve to learn about the geology we're sailing over, or maybe even find some cool fossils! Below: Steph and Brier (C watch) give the daily science report, showing how oceanographic parameters such as temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll-a have changed over the past 24 hours. Today, we may be sailing through an eddy of the Gulf Stream, bringing warm waters and Sargassum farther north than usual! Alec (A watch) deploys Pete the UNICORN, a new lab mascot! Pete the UNICORN gallops alongside our ship with "legs" made of four different materials-wood, rubber, cloth, and plastic, in order to better understand what can and does grow on different substrates present in the ocean.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
40 deg 0.7’ N x 70 deg 23.5’ W

Ship Heading
100 degrees

Ship Speed
5.3 kts

Taffrail Log
221.7 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Motor sailing under mains’l, main and fore stays’ls, wind ESE BF2, seas ESE 3-5 ft, clouds 4/8 coverage

Description of location
77 nm south of Nantucket

Souls on board

At this point, everyone onboard knows the science report song, a tantalizing snippet of which is the title of this blog post. It's a catchy song, catchy enough to get stuck in your head on lookout, really short and to the point. It's one of a million little things that you just kind of get used to, absorb by accident, when you live on this boat. And oh boy, I do mean a MILLION things.

There is SO much to learn when you first step onboard the Cramer, and we ask students to learn it pretty much all at once. It can be overwhelming, and the first few days feel very much like "drinking from a fire hose" as Captain Allison put it. I was a student with SEA myself, and I remember the panic of the first 48 hours underway-where exactly in my overstuffed, saturated (not to mention seasick!) brain was I supposed to find space for the three different sets of tweezers in the lab, which all have different functions?! Or another new knot? Or the lyrics (such as they are) of a silly science report song? There is nothing like sailing, nothing remotely similar to the skills we're putting to use here (except maybe other different types of sailing). And the same generally goes for shipboard science-all the lab experience in the world isn't going to prepare you to pipette your sample when the ship is pitching 30 degrees in either direction. Even the most hands-on classroom science won't teach you to tie bowline knots in the pitch black, which is a surprisingly big part of lab watch.

But this complete immersion in the brand new world of the Cramer brings something miraculous-bit by unannounced bit, everyone settles into this new routine, new community, and new home. There's an excitement in the air about finally being really out to sea, which partially comes from feeling more comfortable and familiar in this new watchstanding role. We said goodbye to land back at Block Island wind farm, and now we're headed off the continental shelf and into deeper waters, a really exciting feeling! For a while now, it's been water to the horizon on all sides, which is a view we'll get used to eventually but right now is still gloriously shocking, not to mention beautiful.

In other exciting news, today's evening watch was punctuated by some VERY charismatic megafauna! During class time we did rotation stations with some lab watch trainings, and after class nearly everyone stuck around on deck to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. This was lucky because soon, the lookout spotted a whale spout very near our boat, just a point or two off the port bow! Everyone who was below rushed on deck for the first real, close whale sighting of the trip, and were admiring the three whales frolicking a ship's length or so away from us, when the next call came-"dolphins off the starboard bow!" For about 10 or 15 breathless minutes, nearly the entire ship's company watched the whales and a pod of about 10 dolphins, walking back and forth across the deck for the best view of each, gasping when we saw a whale fluke or a dolphin leap out of the water, generally very impressed with the show. Up close encounters with whales and dolphins as the sun sets on a huge, wide water world-what could be better?

- Katherine Rigney, A watch, 3rd scientist

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Atlantic Odyssey,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: c300  life at sea  sailing  science  gap year  megafauna • (7) Comments
Previous entry: Radioactive Dolphins Ho!    Next entry: A Still Day on the Slimy Seas


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 Patricia O'Brien on October 14, 2021

These blogs are amazing.I feel like I’m going thru this marvelous adventure with you. Keep it coming!
Grandma Pat

#2. Posted by Lynn Sullivan on October 16, 2021

Love reading the adventures of the Cramer and wish I had such an opportunity!

#3. Posted by Donna Robillard on October 16, 2021

WOW, what an adventure or excursion or class lesson. I caught my breath a couple of times while reading your entry. Be careful, and stay safe, this is a lifetime memory.
Donna Robillard

#4. Posted by DEIRDRE CONNOLLY on October 16, 2021

Your words bring the day right off the page to me. Love you to the moon and back. You write and live beautifully. Xx

#5. Posted by Sarah Murdock on October 17, 2021

Reliving my SEA experience through these blogs and filled with joy thinking about the adventure you’re having Robbie. Love Mom and Dad

#6. Posted by Andrea Hunt on October 17, 2021

As the grandma , I find myself waiting with great anticipation and excitement for each new blog. Thank you for taking the time to share
this outstanding adventure with we landlubbers who are thinking about our young sailors. God Bless you all and keep the news coming!

#7. Posted by Andrea Hunt on October 18, 2021

Hello all you swabbies! .. i am loving these pists and following you daily. You give me the sense of riding the high seas right along with you. I most dearly loved my Taylor’s blog and I know her Dad celebrated his birthday with tremendous joy to hear her excitement with all that ,’( her family,on Corwith Cramer ) are accomplishing. You guys are an amazing team. Ride those waves with great joy and anticipation . I think Corwith Cramer deserves a nickname .    Something like The S.S.Learnalot. Keep our Good Lord riding on the bow! Love to you all. Special wishes, to our Tayloy! .❤️



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