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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

June 05, 2017

Stanford@SEA: Field Day on the Seamans

Marianne Cowherd, Stanford

Photos: Stanford@SEA

"Help! I've been murdered by someone on the ship, somewhere on the ship, with a specific item!"

And with that, she collapsed on the quarter deck. The time was 14:37. A light breeze wafted through the 38 others gathered for ship's meeting as the sky filled 7/8 full with cumulus clouds.

B Watch took command of the investigation, immediately producing a list of suspects, potential locations, and weaponizeable items. Murmurs of suspicion began to circulate. To my left, I overheard a hushed whisper of "I bet it was Emma in the fo'c'sle with the tepid coffee." Others suspected Jan in the galley with the hydrowinch. I myself was certain the deed had been done with concentrated Envirox cleaning solution, but held my tongue.

The solution to the mystery of Charlie's murder, it was explained, lay hidden throughout the ship in the form of small cards, reminiscent of the board game "Clue," to be found in exactly the places that were due for a deep cleaning, Field Day-style. The only way to discover the truth was to clean, so off we set, in the tradition of many a weekend ship's meeting, to scrub and polish those areas of the ship so often neglected during Daily and
Galley cleans.

Field Day on the Seamans is special in many ways. It's the only time we can play music out loud, there's ice cream at the end, and we discover all the festering gunk that lives in crannies and crevices. When we're done, however, the Bobby C. is not only ready to appear in public but also just smells and feels nicer to be in. While removing all the mugs from the cupboard to wipe out each rack (as I have done twice so far) might be a bit of a shoulder strain, it is good to know that it does actually get cleaned back there.

Once the mirrors were spotless and the soles (floors) were swept, we gathered as a ship to compile the results of our sleuthing. The cards came rolling in, deftly gathered from hiding spots in the stove grease catches, under stacks of plates, in hatches, behind fire extinguishers, and in with the pots, we had a solution: third mate Rocky in the salon with the JT halyard. And we, with our steward restored to us, feasted on ice cream. The autumn heat melted my summer treat, swirling deep purple taro and pastel pistachio together in my cup.

We're headed toward Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga at decent clip and expect to arrive in two days, as much as we understand days given our 18-hour watch rotation and the impending date line crossing. There are many things to look out for when approaching land. When people before us searched for coral atolls, they looked at the undersides of clouds for the different colored reflections from shallower lagoon waters. Pacific Islanders for years have known that frigate birds venture 100nm from shore; when the first distinctive forked-tail flyer meets our ship, we'll know our range, no radar necessary. I saw a brown booby today, my first bird of any type in days.

Closer in, nighttime lights will glow on our horizon hours before the piercing silhouette of land.

We've been catching fish and shooting stars, and having one heck of a time doing it.

Categories: Robert C. Seamans, • Topics: stanford@sea  life at sea • (0) Comments
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