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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

December 11, 2017

Sharks and Sights of Montserrat

Alex Cormack, A Watch, SUNY ESF

Caribbean Reef Expedition

Gretchen hiking up to the bluff on our day off

Ship's Log

16°48.059’N x 062°12.539’W

Anchored, NE of Montserrat

668.9 nm

Clear night with a slight North eastern breeze

Souls on Board

So there I was, done with my first transect for the day. Steph and I finished our sampling early in Rendezvous Bay and instead of doing another as professional scientists would, we decided to explore. The reef in Montserrat was one of the best we’ve seen so far, even better than the Tobago Cays I’d say. The diversity of coral was surprising and exciting to see, as were the fish. Some big sights of the day include a lionfish, two sea turtles, and a big fat barracuda. It was an amazing morning of snorkeling however, not completely because of all of that.

When snorkeling you must always stay close to your buddy, a rule that keeps us safe in any kind of situation and makes sure we’re accounted for. After Steph and I decided to explore, we wandered out toward the edge of the reef where I was following small schools of fish and generally just looking around. Out of the blue (literally) comes a beautiful blacktip reef shark. In sea stories you’re supposed to exaggerate but I’m happy to say he was small, only 3 to 4 feet. He spotted me and slowly went away, not wanting to be bothered by the strange human yelling in the water out of pure joy, admittedly tearing up behind her mask. It finally happened! I saw a shark!!

While that is the highlight of my existence at the moment, the past few days in Monserrat have been amazing overall. We arrived early due to some fortunate winds, something that earned us all a free day on the island. We wandered around and ate ice cream that was immediately walked off. Two days later my legs are still sore from walking up the hilly roads. Many of us made our way to a hiking trail where we went to the top of the bluff and looked out at the Cramer before making our way to the beautiful beach on the other side. The night on the island was completed with an incredible Calypso festival.

When we arrived back on the boat it was late at night but we spotted something in the water, possibly a shark? Quickly a few of us grabbed our masks and climbed into the rescue boat that was tied to the side of the ship. Using the dive lights we stuck our faces in the water to watch what turned out to be big Tarpons that were wandering around the ship. For me, it’s been little moments such as these that I know I’ll always remember. There’s nothing like shoving your face off the side of a boat in the middle of the night.

This is getting a little long, (mostly because of shark excitement) but I just wanted to mention that this morning I got the opportunity to speak on radio Montserrat along with Bryant, Nic, and our professor Jan. We spoke about the mission of SEA Semester and talked to a local Calypso artist about his song “Voice of the Ocean”. It was a very cool experience to have, as are pretty much everything we do here. For example, tomorrow we’re touring a volcano!

Stay tuned for the next blog which will most likely contain those photos!

Thank you for reading my incredibly long winded account of my time so far in Montserrat, I’m just so overwhelmed with all of the amazing things we’ve been doing the past few days on this beautiful island.

- Alex

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom! You’re old! <3

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c276  port stops  caribbean.  study abroad  research • (3) Comments
Previous entry: Day 15 of 28: Halfway there!    Next entry: Soufriere Hills Volcano Day


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 Auntie Kathy on December 12, 2017

Wow, such excitement in your blog! I feel so fortunate to be a recipient of this wonderful time in your life!

#2. Posted by Travis Cormack on December 14, 2017

What a great experience you are having. I’m very happy for you. The ocean brings me so much happiness, as a can tell it does for you too. I love to see the sea creatures around the reefs ❤️

#3. Posted by Grandma on December 14, 2017

Glowing when I read your well written blogs, and can hear the excitement in your voice. I have been showing Grammy the photos, and she can’t wait to hear about your travels…Love you.



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