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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

February 03, 2016

Rainbows, science and the pin chase

Mauro, Admissions Director, Williams-Mystic

Pin Chase Starts

Above: Getting ready for the first pin chase competition. Below: Experimenting with Skittles and completing the pin chase.

Ship's Log

18° 33.47’ N x 065° 43.82’ W


0.4 knots

Weather / Wind
Bright and sunny (once again!), few clouds, winds at 7 knots from the E

Description of location
10 nautical miles off the NE coast of Puerto Rico heading towards Virgin Passage

Yet another gorgeous morning on Corwith Cramer, with Puerto Rico's mountains to our west and the seemingly infinite Atlantic stretching out to the east.

A brief rain greeted B watch this morning, but students-under the direction of the watch captain-struck the JT and began a slow gybe to create optimal conditions for science deployments. Drenched, yet smiling, laughing, and in high spirits, all on deck had the opportunity to see a double rainbow off the port side. We eventually hove to - essentially "parked" - for our third and final science super station.  B Watch mustered on the science deck and students were taking turns deploying various pieces of equipment off the port side.  First, a secchi disk was sent out, measuring the depth of light penetration in the water column (giving us an indication of how much photosynthesis is occurring).  Any guesses how deep the students were able to maintain sight of the white disk?

Hint: It was way more than when we sampled in San Juan harbor (a mere 3 m).

Answer: 38 m!

Light attenuation experiments with Skittles

Next, students further experimented with light attenuation using our highly scientific and extremely delicate Light Attenuation Spheroids (LASs), otherwise known as Skittles and M&Ms.  This consisted of deploying the various colored candies overboard and timing how long they could see them before disappearing.  Of course, any extra LASs, with the permission and encouragement of the Chief Scientist, were quickly consumed--always a popular scientific method!

To finish out their superstation, B Watch deployed a carousel, used to measure various aspects of water quality (temperature, nutrients, chlorophyll, etc.) at 10 different depths selected by students, and a Shipbek grab. Our grab descended to 708 meters below the surface, hauling up a sediment sample that students had no qualms about digging in to with their bare hands. [Thomas (SFSU '16) discovered a variety of spines in the sample, while Sarah examined sediment composition, all while Rachel (Wesleyan '17) took notes {we can't formulate proper results if our data sheets are muddied}]. C Watch deployed a Neuston net tow to capture and later examine surface plankton in lab.  All in all, a very exciting morning for science.

Our 1430 lectures began with Virginia and Sophie discussing the Acoustic Doppler Radar Profile (ADCP), a method of measuring the distance of objects and waves. Professor Lisa Gilbert followed this up with a policy lecture on creeping jurisdiction, or boundaries at sea, and the establishment of the 3/12/24/200 nautical mile limits since the 16th century.

Following class, a stillness swept over the deck at approximately 1515. Captain Jay stood up, asked us all to stand with him and stretch out, then began to explain the rules of the pin chase. Students glanced at one another and towards the deck, their eyes tracing sail to line to pin. The time had come to showcase four days' worth of scrambling around deck learning lines. Split into their watches, students were handed a card with a line name on it by the science crew and speedily walked to that line, had it confirmed with the Cramer crew, then made it back to the quarterdeck, tagging in their next two teammates. Always mindful of our safety training, there was absolutely no running allowed in the pin chase. The penalty for running: one had to crab walk across the deck while out searching for pins and returning to the quarterdeck for their turn.

Even with a record 3 penalties, C-watch emerged victorious and enjoyed a conga-line victory dance. Congratulations Amanda (Pacific '18), Kenny (SUNY Maritime '18), Nicola (CUNY Hunter '16), Chelsea (URI '17), and Athanasia (Illinois U-C '17)-winners of the 2016 Cramer Pin Rail Chase! But, truly, congratulations all around to all of the students for learning the names, locations, and functions of over 100 ship's lines in just under 4 days-what an amazing accomplishment!

Our super station completed, our pin rail champs announced, and our stomachs contentedly filled with Light Attenuation Spheroids, we are currently making our way to the Virgin Passage with our course ordered roughly 120°.  Upon crossing the Virgin Passage we will officially be in the Caribbean. Land once again fades behind us as we continue our journey. It's hard to believe that 5 days have already come and gone, and our voyage is almost halfway over.

Until next time.

Categories: Corwith Cramer, • Topics: williams-mystic  c263c • (0) Comments


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