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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

April 27, 2015

Smooth Seas Never Made a Skilled Sailor

Margaret Keefe, B Watch, Mt. Holyoke College

Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Margaret snacks at the helm with a little help from Amy.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
26° 16.5’ N x 067° 27.0’ W

Description of location
Over halfway to Bermuda in the middle of the Sargasso Sea!

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
3 kts

Taffrail Log
450.6 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sailing on a port tack under backed forstaysail and mainstaysail and single reefed mainsail with wind coming from WSW at a force five and waves WxS ranging from 6-8 ft

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs
8-12 dolphins! Sighted off the starboard bow around 0900 this morning

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs
Well over 900 fragments total of all species and many clumps as well!

Souls on Board

Hello to all family, friends, loved ones, and anyone else who is tracking C-259’s journey through the Sargasso Sea!

The calm seas from the past couple days have turned, and we are currently experiencing our first squall complete, of course, with foul weather gear. Within the past 24 hours, B-Watch, my watch, have watched the gentle 1-2 foot waves turn to 7-9 foot waves with swells up to 11 feet. These conditions have put our sail handling skills to the test as things become more high stakes, but never fear, even these strong gusts don’t deter us from handling lines, counting Sargassum, and of course catching the occasional nap! During watch this morning we completed not just one but two gybes in order to both complete science tows and slow our northward process, as believe it or not, we are currently ahead of schedule! The excitement does not stop on deck but the lab has been a buzz of activity as well.

Last night on evening watch Callie and I tackled processing a major haul of Sargassum from both the Neuston net and dip net samples. We counted and weighed over 900 fragments of just S. natans alone from the 1200 Neuston tow earlier that day. After completing the processing of those samples, I tackled sorting through dip net samples and am sorry to report, I found over 20 pieces of plastic in just one dip net sample. Despite the presence of plastic, the sample was still full of life from mobile fauna, which is great news for my research team! Speaking of Team Mobile Fauna, I’m happy to report that we are honing our identification skills and picking out traits on small shrimp is becoming easier and easier every day!

As my fellow watch-mates were handling the big swells and gusts above deck I was below as it was my turn to be the assistant engineer for the day. This entails shadowing Ted, the head engineer, and learning more about what keeps the Cramer running smoothly. While as part of the routine boat checks everyone checks the engine room for major issues, today I got a more in depth run down on the workings of our generators, engines, water makers, and  other parts that require Ted’s engineering touch. I have to say from the both the complexity of the machinery to the extreme heat I have a large amount of respect for the work Ted does aboard the ship and really enjoyed getting to learn more about the inner workings of Mama Cramer. 

Lastly, on a more personal note; a quick shout out to all of my family, lovely girlfriend, and friends who are tuning in to follow my adventures. I love and miss you all very much! I know it must be approaching finals time and I wish you all the best of luck on the end of classes and final exams!

I think I’m going to try and have a quick nap before dinner to be ready for another full night of working in the lab tonight!

Calms seas and fair winds,

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c259  sailing • (1) Comments


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 Brian Keefe on May 19, 2015

Hi Margaret, wishing you an early Happy Birthday. May 21. Swimmy is probably sad he missed the trip. I remember watches well. I likes the 3 AM to 7 AM the best. Have fun. Enjoy, experience , learn and reflect. Hip doing better, much more than I expected. XOXO dad and the girls



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