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 18, 2021
Stars on the Sea
2 knots (slowed for Neuston net deployment)
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Fairly strong southwest wind, 1 ft waves, clear skies, sailing under the four lower sails
Description of location
Gulf of Mexico, clear skies, minimal ship traffic, dark blue water.
Until yesterday, I’d never really seen the stars.
Feels a bit odd to say that as an astronomy major, but it’s the truth. Sure, I’ve spent hours at my school’s observatories, and I’ve taken numerous trips out into the desert to get a better look at the sky, but, no matter where you go, it’s nearly impossible to escape light pollution. I think that’s why my first dawn watch (the Cramer’s 0100 to 0700 shift)—or, in other words, my first chance to stargaze dozens of miles from civilization—was such an incredible experience. For the first time ever, I was able to truly see all the different celestial bodies I’ve spent many a course learning about.
Let’s back up a little bit. I’d be lying if I said I was excited going into yesterday’s dawn watch. See, one of my favorite hobbies is sleeping; if I’m not getting my 8 hours, I’m not going to function at 100%. You can probably see the issue: last night’s dawn watch wasn’t exactly conducive to a full night’s sleep. Of course, I wasn’t going to be a no-show so, after a short midnight nap, I grabbed my safety harness and windbreaker and joined the rest of my watch out on the quarterdeck. And then… well, you know the rest.
There’s no experience on Earth quite like being on the open ocean at night. The stars stretched every which way through the sky above—the Scorpion off starboard and Orion somewhere off port, all silhouetted by the distant, glimmering spread of the Milky Way—weaving a divine tapestry that was mirrored by scores of teeming, bioluminescent algae (and the occasional dolphin) dancing through the otherwise pitch black waters below. And as heaven and earth came together to turn our world into a kaleidoscope of light, I think I came to truly understand why we’re going on this expedition. Our world and its countless facets—every sea and star, every bird and bacterium, every single organism populating its remote corners—is beautiful. As far as we currently know, Earth is the universe’s one shot at life, and we simply cannot afford to throw that chance away. We are all stewards of our planet, and we owe it to ourselves and those that’ll come after us to protect it.
- Ryan O’Hara, B-Watch, University of Arizona
PS: Happy early birthday, Mom!