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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

February 15, 2018

Sailing and Science

Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist


Above: Claire, Katharine and Meredith practice with the fire hose; Below: Laurel collects our first Surface Station to measure water quality.

Ship's Log

Current Location
18° 40.5’ N x 066° 05.4’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Motor-sailing with reefed main, staysails, and jib, steering 125° per ship’s compass (psc).

Trade Winds continue from NE x E at Beaufort Scale 5, seas from ENE 7ft. with scattered cumulous clouds and warm tropical temperatures.

Souls on board


For those fortunate among you to have set sail on a long voyage nothing more need be said.  You can share in the exhilaration of this moment that is encapsulated by the beaming smiles worn by each member of the ship's company.  All the planning and preparation, hard work and sacrifice have led to this moment.

We are at sea, riding the waves upon a beautiful tall ship, the SSV Corwith Cramer.

Some of the essential hard work and preparation included hours of safety training that continued through to this morning.  Students practiced and discussed their responsibilities during several emergency situations, which included Man-Over-Board, Fire and/or Flooding, and finally Abandon Ship. For some, this training meant they had to learn how to operate the ship's fire hose.  We then all shared in a hearty meal of baked chicken, pasta salad, and green beans; our final meal on stationary tables, and then it was time to go.

Students and crew dispersed to their General Quarters stations, commands were given and executed with alacrity, dock lines and fenders came aboard and were stowed, sails were set, and soon Old San Juan and her cruise ships, her rich history, colorful architecture, and vibrant people receded from view across a blue horizon.

We have become an island unto ourselves; reliant upon our ship, our stores and supplies, and ourselves.   As we each turn and look around we realize that our safety and well-being is now in the hands of our shipmates.  I need them.  They need me.  The simultaneous feeling of responsibility and vulnerability is difficult to convey unless you too have been on a long voyage at sea.

As Chief Scientist for this voyage I would be remiss if I did not explain that the oceanographic lab has been busy as well. Even before we set sail we deployed our hydrophone to record the acoustic soundscape of the waters in San Juan harbor.  As you might imagine a busy port city is just as loud below the sea surface as it is above.

As we left the harbor we also measured sea surface temperature, salinity and numerous other ocean characteristics.  And while some students were setting sails others collected a series of water samples to determine nutrient, chlorophyll-a, and bacteria levels; all important measures of water quality that we will compare in each of our port stops.

Outside the harbor entrance we were greeted by a dramatic change in scenery, first we saw (and felt) the large waves brought in by the Trade Winds, then the pale green harbor water transitioned to a deep blue of the open sea, and finally, schools of flying fish, drifting patches of golden algae called Sargassum and seabirds foraging for food completed the scenic transformation.

Our voyage had finally begun!

What will we discover...
about the Caribbean,
about the sea,
about ourselves?
Stayed tuned to the Corwith Cramer blog and you shall see.


Jeffrey M. Schell, Chief Scientist

PS  To family, friends, and loved ones ashore, be well and sweet dreams.  I will see you upon my return.


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 Mark Cramer on February 16, 2018

God speed to the SSV Corwith Cramer (wonderful name)and her crew. I offer to all of you a traditional prayer of the Coast Guard:
“Almighty and Everlasting God, Whose hand stills the tumult of the deep, we offer our prayers for those who serve in our Coast Guard.
We are mindful of their traditions of selfless service to the seafarers who make their ways to appointed ports.
Employ their devotions of good ends as they track the weather and search for the seas for those in extremity of storm, shipwreck or battle.
Make their soundings and markings sure that safe passages may be found by those who go down to the sea in ships.
Encourage them, O Lord, as they stand guard over our coasts and the bulwarks of our freedoms.
Graciously deliver them from threatening calamities in all their perilous voyages.
Bless the keepers of the lights and be Thou their close friend in lonely watches.
Keep the beacons of honor and duty burning that they may reach the home port with duty well performed, in service to Thee and our land. Amen.”

#2. Posted by Stacey Strong on February 16, 2018

Deployment of the hydrophone!!!!  Woooooo hooooooo!!!



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