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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 12, 2016

Sargassum, Whales, and Adventures Aloft

Isabella Du Mond, Smith College

SEA Semester

C Watch aloft!

Ship's Log

39° 10.2’ N x 067° 19.8’ W

Description of location:
Slope waters, north of the Gulf Stream

F2, W, Clear, Sunny, 20.9C

Souls on Board

Living on the Cramer has filled our lives with many exciting moments, today specifically was full of amazing moments. My day started out with morning watch, where I shadowed the C watch mate, Rebecca Johnson. Initially, watch seemed to be moving along like most other morning watches on deck, we scrubbed the deck, wrote out the weather, and did boat checks, while the lab persons did science. However, our morning policy class was interrupted by something we have been lacking: clumps of Sargassum! The small boat was deployed with Taylor and Walter aboard to dip net samples that we were having trouble reaching from the side of the ship. We have passed the Gulf Stream, but there are still eddies moving out from the stream that send life and plastic by as we sail through. While they were out, Grayson, who was lookout for Sargassum clumps, yelled "This may not be the best time but, WHALE!"  That's right, there a whale was swimming by the Cramer, on its way to Stellwagen Bank for summer feeding! Our whale calls, taught to us by Bex, Grayson, Natasha, and Eric, have worked. The species of whale spotted today has been debated, but it was most likely either a Humpback or a Minke. We hope to see more whales as we travel north, closer to New England.

Class was also an exciting time. I personally love sitting out on the quarter deck in the warm sun and learning about nautical science, ocean policy, and ocean biology. Thank you to Ethan and Kathleen for teaching us how to "really" put on a harness, Lydia for teaching us the rules of the ocean highways, Kate for getting a great sun line, and to Nate, Agathe, Walter, and Andrew for teaching us about the Cramer's Raw Aft (and forward) Poo. Another thank you to Bex and Pedro for turning the White Marlin that was caught yesterday into a delicious lunch. Pedro asked me to point out it was his personal recipe. It was a good choice that did't allow for any left overs.

I would also like to congratulate B watch and C watch for finally making it aloft today. It was really quite the experience being up there. For me, it was terrifying, but when I reminded myself to look out at the horizon, I couldn't help but love being up aloft. Seeing how far the ocean went, I remembered a day back on shore: a group of us had gone down to Racing beach, where Kathleen looked out at the horizon and said "I can't wait until all we see is horizon." Seeing all that horizon from up on the mast was a reminder of how small and alone we might be in the middle of the Atlantic, but also a reminder of how beautiful life is out in the open ocean. Bex told us to enjoy being aloft and she's right, moments like that allow me appreciate being here even more.

Hello to my parents, family, and friends! I miss you all and can't wait to see you all soon. Also, shout out to any Smithies (and Capenites and Smith Crewbies) reading the blog. Lots of love you to all.


Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: life at sea  megafauna  sailing  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 M ruggiero on May 23, 2016

Hi Isa & all
Re-reading the blog….when II first read it you were on Fri. The 13 th
I thought it fitting you found clumps of Sargassum and saw whales!
( For when you were little you thought fri the 13th meant Good Luck,)
Glad you also saw Dolphins on the 13 th.!
Loved your description of being aloft.
Welcome home!



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