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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

February 26, 2018


Emma Palmer, C Watch, Barnard College

Window Dive

Ship's Log

Current Position
37˚51.69’S 179˚36.04’E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
162 True, 5 knots

Partly cloudy, mostly clear. Winds from the North and swells large enough to knock your coffee cup easily from any point on the ship. Sailing towards Wellington.

Souls on board

There’s a window above the computer I’m writing at and every four seconds white water splashes over the top of the metal bars. Our ship is moving quickly today and the swells are bigger than my virgin sea legs are comfortable with. The ‘feel-better box” of saltines and ginger chews that lives on the hutch has been emptied entirely today by shipmates who (like me) are feeling a little swirly. We just finished a wind-swept class on the quarter deck and discussed everything from the distant whales we saw this morning to the knots we should know and the case studies we should write. Sailing has felt a lot like a stop-and-go race of red-light-green-light. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to drown in the stillness and other times I feel like my brain is going into overdrive with more new information than I can process. Ginny told me that this is how she imagines it feels to be a baby; new information overwhelming you constantly as you’re surrounded by a gentle rocking and the calm swoosh of waves rising and falling.

My yesterday started at lookout. The sky was clear and the stars were wild. I could see the soft fuzzy glow of the Milky Way and the startlingly bright Southern Cross. So many stars. After an hour of staring at the horizon and singing to myself, I took the helm and started my birthday off steering a tall ship surrounded by ocean off the coast of New Zealand.

Yes, there have been watches where the rain has been brutal and the waves have left me throwing up bile and it’s been tough to scrub the muck out of the heads. Yes, I’ve gotten frustrated and short with people, and had to pull myself away many times to breathe. Yes, I constantly smell like sunscreen (thanks for the light skin Dad).

Still, even then, I’m so glad I left New York City and threw myself into this adventure. And I’m sure many of my shipmates feel that way also. We’re in it. And we’re here for it. And I’m okay with being able to smell myself more than I can smell deodorant. I love how good it feels to shower here. Friends, you have no idea. I love the feeling of crawling into my bed after a day that has left me feeling  tired and content. It’s exciting to realize that I’m getting  the hang of engine room checks and Neuston Net deployments and determining the direction of the wind. It feels good to learn points of sail and complete a jibe without feeling like a naive college student. I like getting my hands dirty and sweating the line and knowing the names of the sails and where to find which halyards. Life is good. So good. Thanks, Sabrina.

I guess this is a sort of birthday blog, so I’m going to take a couple sentences to send love to my family and a couple eye rolls to my brother. I missed talking to you yesterday as I finished up year twenty, but we’ll have time together soon. Hugs and clear skies.

- Emma Palmer, C Watch, Barnard College

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s277  study abroad • (8) 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 Amy Young on February 27, 2018

Happy Birthday, Emma! Thanks for the update. I got chills and grew a bit teary at the taking the helm bit. I hope you and Eliza are sharing your appreciation of the stars. What a memorable birthday! Love to all on board, and a special hug for Eliza.

- Eliza’s mom

#2. Posted by David Whitworth on February 27, 2018

Emma, so glad to get the picture of you watching the stars and steering the ship. Sounds like you had an unbelievable birthday. Sorry none of us could be there to enjoy it with you. But we can’t wait to hear all of the stories. Hope you feel better and enjoy beautiful New Zealand…or at least its shores.

God bless,
Uncle David

#3. Posted by Julie McCracken on February 28, 2018

Beautiful blog Ms. Emma B.
We face timed you and called you to leave you a message on your birthday.  Just wanted to let you know that we are thinking about you and love you to the moon and back!
I am so proud of you for venturing out and living life.
Grace is trying out for high jump and long jump in track and Jabe is playing in soccer tournaments so we are pretty busy running these rugrats around smile
Grace got accepted to St. John Paul 2 high school so she will be attending in the fall.  It will definitely be a change for the whole family but we are super excited!!
And she is doing VASE at the junior high this year so she has been working on faces.  She can’t wait to show you.
So that is about the gist of the McCracken household.
Stay safe!!
We love you

#4. Posted by Sharon Palmer on February 28, 2018

Oh, my gosh! I was so happy to see your blog and hear the news of your experiences.  Though I missed talking with you on your birthday, I could see you through your words and feel you in my heart.  I hope you have gotten your sea legs and are feeling better and that each new day brings a lasting memory of your birthday adventure. I send my love, dear Emma, and all good wishes to you and your mates for a wonderful and safe voyage…..Grandma

#5. Posted by Dad on February 28, 2018

Hello Emma and sailors all,
Thanks for sharing your voyage and thoughts. We think about you everyday. Love the glimpses of life and learning aboard ship. Live well and learn lots.
  Happy sails to you until we meet again…
Sunscreen is your friend,

#6. Posted by Joey Higa on February 28, 2018

Belated birthday love to you, sweet Emma!  What an adventure you are on, and once again I revel in wonder and burst with pride at your bravery and ever evolving sense of self.  I found this poem and thought it fitting:

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


May the sea and its winds be kind to you and your crew.
Enjoy each day of your adventure and forever know that we love you!

Aunt Joey (and Uncle Rob)

#7. Posted by Grace on February 28, 2018

Oh Emma! It sounds absolutely dreamy! I have to teach myself the skill of drowning out my surroundings and envoking myself in a book to even imagine and experience what you are going through with this new opportunity. I am so glad you are enjoying it, you deserve every bit of adventure that comes your way! It sound like a dramatic change of scenery from small town Brackettvile though, lol.
Nothing exciting enough happened here that could even compare to the daunting waves and breathtaking sunsets on your side of the world. A true Pirates life for thee.
Although it is track season, I have been focusing more and more on soccer lately. My friends and I are trying to start our own club and everything, I even get to design our logo! Very excited for that.
From Grace

#8. Posted by Sam Palmer on March 01, 2018

Haha, you’ve got to be kidding! Your fan base is bigger than mine… surprising. Anyways don’t mind me, struggling to pay off my jeep and trying hard to keep up with random ass homework. Hope you’re having as much fun as me! Shred the wake baaaabbbbbaaaaayyyy and be safe.

          Sammy P



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