Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs

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

November 27, 2019

Our First Squall!

Rikki Borkowski, Colgate University


Above: Class in the saloon; Below:Lexi and Jen on the quarterdeck with Lexi at the helm; Dolphins spotted on the morning of the 26th.

Ship's Log

14°54’ N and 64°28’E (approximately 175 nautical miles west of Martinique’s north coast)

4 knots

Sail Plan
4 lowers with a shallow reef in the main

28.2˚ C, some clouds, force 3 winds ExS

4 ft. seas


Souls on board

Welcome to our second day underway! We are currently on a course from St. Croix to Grenada, which should take about six or seven days. We are heading generally southeast, though the strong easterly winds prevent us from going directly towards our destination. We jibe from starboard tack to port tack in order to zigzag towards Grenada. We have had most of our “four lowers” up since we left St. Croix. These sails are the mains’l, the mainstays’l, the forestays’l, and the jib. The jib had to be taken in recently, around 1420 due to an approaching squall. The weather has been mostly fair with only slight bits of scattered sprinkle and a relatively tame squall. Our sail plan is to head south and as much east as possible to be able to make it to Grenada on time.

My day started early when I was woken up by a member of the previous watch at 0030. It was quite exciting to have our first watch be a dawn watch, though at times it was difficult to get around in the dark. The stars were beautiful and trusty Sirius was able to help guide our helmsman in the right direction. For the first hour of our six-hour watch, I was trying to steer a course of 165. This was accomplished with lots of little adjustments, as well as constantly checking the nearby indicator that tells you which direction the rudder is pointing. I then moved on to doing a boat check with my good friend Liz. The boat check consisted of us walking through the entirety of the ship checking for anything that was hazardous or out of the ordinary. For instance, there was a line coiled on the deck that we were unable to identify and that we thought may be out of place. We also recorded various numbers from the engine room and galley. The third hour of my watch was mostly spent as the lookout. As I perched myself on the bowsprit, I began to feel the beginnings of some seasickness and, low and behold, it wasn’t long before I had to ask to be relieved of my duties. After an hour-long recover and another hour at the helm, it was close to 0700 and we were almost done with watch.

After our watch, some of us ate some breakfast-oatmeal with all the fixings- and some of us, myself included, tried to eat, decided it was better not to, and returned to the deck. Soon, however, everyone on my watch was fast asleep. The dawn watch had certainly tired all of us out. I woke up briefly to surface again to the deck, grab a handful of delicious pretzel goldfish, and returned again to my bunk. Lunch was served at 1300. It was Francesca’s now famous homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti with a cucumber and white bean salad on the side… yum! As we started to make our way up to the quarter deck for our Oceans and Global Change class, we noticed we were headed straight for a squall. Our first squall! We rushed downstairs for our foulies, but class was moved to the main salon and they were no longer necessary. In class, we were introduced to our OGC project that will compare data sets from this trip with data collected for the first and second years of the CRX program.

I am still getting used to the rocking of the ship. My inner ear and my brain have yet to reconcile with each other. I am also getting used to this schedule. So far, when I am not on watch, I am sleeping; but, soon, I will have work to do and readings to read. Hopefully managing all that will come with time. And I am so excited for that! Among other firsts today, I also took my first freshwater, below-deck shower. It was definitely a challenge trying to conserve water while balancing on a rocking ship, but, all in all, I think it went okay. Despite the new schedule, the new motion, and many other new things, I am still so excited to be here and know that this trip is going to be extremely positive in more ways than I can currently know. As I was standing my first watch at the helm, I kept thinking to myself, “This is one of the coolest, if not the coolest thing I have ever
done!” and I am beyond grateful for that… and we saw dolphins!

- Rikki Borkowski, Colgate University

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c289  study abroad  life at sea • (1) Comments


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 Nancy McCormick-Borkowski on November 28, 2019

We all gather for Thanksgiving as we collectively read each and every student posts to date.  WE are rocking and rolling with you all on the sea and love hearing about your experience and excitement for The “Cramer”  All of your posts keep us connected to you as we follow your progress every day!!  We can’t wait to read your posts tomorrow.  Giving a huge shout out to Rikki and hope her sea legs are good!!

Love from the Borkowski Clan



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.