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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.

SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer



Sailing and Science under the Stars

Annabelle Leahy, A Watch, Carleton College
Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Cramer at sunset

Ship's Log

28° 29.6’N x 069° 09.5’W

North Sargasso Sea

080° PSC

5 kts

clear skies, SE x S winds, Force 2

Souls on Board

My day started and ended under the stars. The day technically began watching a triple stack of nets go down to 100 meters for one last sampling from the South Sargasso Sea. As Marie mentioned before, there’s a certain amount of coordination (which we all sometimes lack) required to set up a wire deployment at night, hoping you don’t knock anything overboard or trip over anything. Even with these difficulties, there is something about science under the stars that is pretty unreal.

As with everything on the Cramer, even the stars are a new experience. We all know about light pollution, but it is hard to understand just how many stars we are missing until you are out on the high seas. It is almost overwhelming how many and how bright they are. Since planetarium classes at my elementary school I have always loved the stars, so coming out of the doghouse for my first dawn watch was remarkable. Some are familiar, from Orion the Hunter to the Big and Little Dipper, but many are new, such as Scorpio. Our work with celestial navigation, using sextants to plot lines of position has shown me a new side to the stars, their usefulness. The best part of sitting at the bow for lookout at 3 am (looking for practically non-existent vessel traffic) is watching the stars, finding the familiar and contemplating the unknown.

The sad part is that we cannot capture the stars through images, so it will be hard to share with anyone who was not on this trip. But I guess that’s starting to becoming a theme here. So many feelings, good and bad, and experiences that I have had on this trip are really only understood by my fellow crew members. But hopefully this blog helps to capture some of what we are doing. 

Though I feel very far from everything on this little island that is the Cramer, as cheesy as it sounds, the stars feel like a connection to home. My family around the world, from Hong Kong, to LA, to France, to DC are all seeing these same stars that I am using to find my way to Bermuda and then to find my way home.

So now, after a full day of emergency drills, UARV flights, sail handling, and afternoon watch, I am finishing off my day watching the stars come out. Getting woken up at 12:30 am for a 6- hour watch may not be my favorite thing in the world, but I remain very thankful for the starry sky I get to see. I can’t wait for new observations and constellations to come.

- Annabelle

P.S. Hi to Maman, Daddy, Caroline and Sebastien, and all my friends and family. Much love to all!


Leave a note for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Dez on May 04, 2017

A captivating sea tale can work just as well as a picture. A picture would be amazing to share, but imagine the faces of your loved ones when you describe in tremendous details the breathtaking views and remarkable experiences.
Glad to hear the voyage is going well.

#2. Posted by Sophie Leahy on May 06, 2017

Greetings from Hong Kong! Life at sea seems very busy and rich in new experiences. It’s great to get a glimpse into your lives through the blog posts and pictures. I enjoy following the position of the Cramer in the ocean, looking at the meteorological conditions, wondering if bad weather is the reason for backtracking or taking an indirect route to Bermuda, trying to imagine what if feels like on the boat at different wind speeds or wind and swell wave heights.

Annabelle, nous pensons bien à toi. C’est parfois difficile de voir les étoiles à Hong Kong au nord de l’île avec la pollution atmosphérique et toutes les lumières. Quelle chance vous avez de voir le monde sous un autre angle ! Je suis impatiente de te parler dans quelques jours. Bisous. Maman



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