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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

May 13, 2016

Productive Slope Waters

Kathleen McKeegan, A Watch, Whitman College

Marine Biodiversity and Conservation


Ship's Log

39° 40.5’ N x 070° 44.5’ W

Description of location
Temperate North Atlantic

6.8 kts

Foggy, Cold, 17°C, winds SWxS, force 3

Souls on Board

I would just like to preface this blog post with a quick statement: I absolutely love being out at sea! Every day has been an adventure and the whole experience is incredibly rewarding. With that being said, there have definitely been moments, especially at 3 or 4 in the morning, when I’m half asleep and looking through a microscope, counting copepod after copepod after copepod, wondering why on earth I’m sitting in the dark lab and not fast asleep in my bunk. However, today made every dawn watch, every bruise, every policy paper completely worth it.

The day began as any other, with a whisper through my curtain to wake me up from a very deep sleep. While we were all enjoying our delicious pancakes, Bex casually mentioned that there were some dolphins swimming alongside the boat. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I promise you, I’m not. It took 2 seconds for the table to empty as we all (safely) rushed towards the bow to get a look at the dolphins. They were absolutely beautiful! There were about 6 common dolphins speeding along, riding the wake produced by the bow. I couldn’t stop giggling, I was so happy. We ended up seeing 4 pods of dolphins throughout the day. Yeah. Best day ever.

Weather today varied from sunny and wonderful to cold and rainy to sunny and wonderful to incredibly foggy. I guess we’re close to New England or something. As Natasha says, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes.” During watch, I was lucky enough to be the personal duckling to the great Nate (ship's engineer). I dutifully followed him around as we switched out a water filter, ate some peanut butter cookies, cleaned another water filter, and ate another peanut butter cookie. I also led the deployment of the CTD for our lab station and helped out with the usual neuston net tow. Due to the unfortunate rip in the mains’l, A-watch helped set up the storm trys'l. While standing on top of the doghouse, holding a marlin spike, and attaching the storm trys'l, Eric said that he felt “salty” a total of about 15 times. Maybe even 20. I lost track. 

For all you academia fans out there, we had our lab practical today! Although there were a couple of tough questions, the practical made me realize how much I have learned in just a couple of short weeks. I now know what ADCP stands for, how to properly set up a neuston tow, and I can tie a bowline behind my back! We are all mighty biologists and oceanographers now!

To top off the amazing cake that was today, A-watch got to go aloft! Yes, I know, we were one day behind the other watches; they were just too good, we couldn’t keep up. But we finally made it! Although this is very cliché, being aloft really was a dream come true. And don’t worry Mom and Dad, I was very safe the whole time. There is absolutely nothing better than standing aloft and looking off at the distant horizon. I shall repeat: best day ever. I would like to give a quick shout out to all my friends and family! I love you all so much!!!


- Kathleen

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: megafauna  science  life at sea  c266 • (1) Comments
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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 Megan on May 16, 2016

Baby sis! Of course you would be the one to post with the dolphin sighting!!! So happy to hear about your grand sea adventures but I am not entirely sure how you are going to stay on land after this! Love you so much and can’t wait to see you!!!




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