Current position of the SSV Corwith Cramer. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
December 09, 2017
The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean
16° 48.1’ N x 062° 12.6’ W
Description of location
Anchored west of Little Bay, Montserrat
At 0600 I woke up to the strange feeling of not rolling back and forth in my bunk, the sure sign of anchorage. I sleepily crawled up the salon ladder, bright sunlight briefly obscured my vision of our second anchor point, Montserrat. Known affectionately as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat is characterized by swooping, green mountain lines; an almost Jurassic view complemented by a looming, active volcano.
With promise of a free day premised by a meeting with the island’s chief fisheries officer, we scarfed down our breakfast, and split up by watch to tackle the morning chores. Once the ship looked in top shape, we loaded up the rescue boat and station wagon and motored our way to the port. As the group trekked towards our meeting point, I couldn’t stop looking up at the scale of the shore bluffs, eager to begin exploring.
Our meeting with the charismatic Aowyn, the chief fisheries officer, consisted of a brief walk around the port discussing the changes that have come from the volcano’s eruption in 1995. The majority of the island’s infrastructure was destroyed, leading to restructuring and repopulation efforts in the Northern side of the island. We talked a bit about the lives of subsistence fishermen in the area, and had the opportunity to speak to some of them firsthand about the changes they’ve experienced in fish populations and ocean characteristics over the years.
The class broke up into groups, scaling the mountain roads on foot looking for adventure in the jungles or delicious fare in the cool shade of street side shops. Kylie, Tom, Hannah and I took foot to the vertical climb of the Silver Hills, eager to look out over the beauty of the country. After a sweltering hike, we found ourselves high up among waves of grasses and rolling hills. Sparse mountain trees and shrubs dotted a rolling landscape of green. It was no surprise to me in that moment why the Irish donned this volcanic rock the Emerald Isle.
After wading through the grasses, greeting a herd of goats along the way, we reached the rocky peak overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The landscape was pristine, homes and buildings dotting the western coastline towards the south were bathed in midafternoon light. A daunting look over the left cliff showed us a magnificent view of waves crashing against the tall bluffs of Rendezvous Bay. Small tropic birds appearing like specks of dust did acrobatic dances from the cliff trees out over the sea. To top off the beauty of this view, we spotted our nautical home anchored just offshore. The Cramer never looked so proud and so scaled against a vast blue ocean.
After taking in the breeze and some good discussion we clambered down the cliffs to refresh ourselves and head back to the ship to get ready for Calypso night. Calypso is an annual musical festival that touts political and social commentary in the form of expressive entertainment. Once the warm sun pulled the colors beneath the horizon, the crew set out back to shore to enjoy some food before the festival began.
Walking into the festival, we grabbed our wristbands and were greeted by a lively scene of all ages. Wooden stands bordered the field, where centered stood a tall stage. The performances were unique and refreshing, filled with energetic sounds and apparent motifs of social lives. I had the chance to talk to a few locals and share stories about our life at sea. Once the night ended, we headed back to port and took our last ride back to the ship.
I sit here now typing this post, sorting through my photos, tired and fulfilled from the day. Tomorrow we set out to begin doing snorkel research on the reefs in this area. I’m curious to see what kind of formations a volcanic island has in store. This day of exploration has been much needed, and I’m ready to get back to some hard work tomorrow kicking off our Montserrat port stop.
For now, signing off…
P.S. Shouts out to all my family and friends back home. Don’t use up all the snow without me guys.