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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

March 20, 2018

The End Is Near

Matthew Lin, Cornell University


About a third the way up the foremast

Ship's Log

Current Location
24° 12.79’ N 081° 081.91’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
Hove to, 4 knots, offshore Key West, FL

Force 4 winds, from the Southwest. Waves perhaps 5 feet.

Souls on board

Cramer 277, it has been a blast. Really, after spending a solid five weeks together on a ship, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Of course, starting the first two weeks or so, sleeping on deck, eating perhaps a bowl of food and drinking a single liter of water a day, feeling like the weight of the world was squeezing my skull and viscera, having foulies on continuously, and getting hands and faced crisped by the sun, was all pretty rough.

After that, it was all pretty sweet!

To see a different shade of blue water almost every day, to work together with a shared purpose, to shout commands under the lights and rain like a track meet on a gyroscope, all create an experience like no other.
Oh lord, it was indeed the best and worst times for me!

Anyways, today we landed in Key West, Florida, and the finish line’s in site.  Now that we’re solidly back in the developed world, I find myself with a new sense of discomfort. Often when I’ve previously traveled, I’ve simply felt the discomfort of being in a new place, off my regular routine, usually with a headache of some kind, and wondering where I can find the next meal and bathroom. I’ve now learned a new discomfort, keeping in mind a theme from our “Maritime Studies” class, which is tourism. Lectures from Dr. Craig Marin tell us that tourism seems to have both a parasitic yet mutualistic relationship with the native country. Basically, tourism brings in an enormous amount of revenue to a country, but at the same time, harms the country. Environmentally, countries might not often have the sanitation measures to accommodate for massive fluctuations of tourists, and cruise ships discharge inordinate amounts of black water offshore. Looking at debt and employment, one can consider the current situation as essentially the new slavery, with people of color still being bound to those in power. On the whole, as someone of the developed world, I do feel far more aware of my socioeconomic privilege.

Well, that’s been my own experience with the port stops, but what about ship life? Personally, my absolute favorite part is going aloft. Relax Mom; it’s not the same as “getting high!” Aloft is simply climbing up the rigging, all the way to the top of the ship. Now, to be able to do that, one needed to have completed all of their “1st Leg” skills (such as knowing how to steer the boat, learning cardinal and lookout directions, and navigating the hazardous areas of the vessel), which took me up until a few days ago. Keeping pace with my fellow shipmates was difficult since I had lost a lot of ground in those first two weeks, but I got there in the end. Energetically yet deliberately I climb up the rigging, clipping in every few feet to stay secure, and when I get to where I need to be, I feel limitless. Death by sudden deceleration is of course always possible, so we also always maintain three points of contact when aloft (so don’t worry Mom!).

Anyways it’s been such a journey. Darn it, what a rollercoaster! I feel so torn about the ending, since on the one hand I can still sometimes feel stupidly sick and cognitively incompetent, but of course I can experience nature to the fullest, travel to entirely new places, and build wonderful relationships with our shipmates. On the whole, I’ve truly enjoyed the odyssey of C277. Sadly, it’ll soon be back to Ithaca for me!

- Matthew Lin, CALS, Cornell University 2019

CROA⟂OAN Watch (Anna, Lauren, Maya, Nick, and Natalia)
Further acknowledgments in no particular order include: Lin Family (first names omitted for security (my dad likes that)), Dance-House (Emma G, Emma P, Bastian, Adam, Katie, Anna). Evan, Kelvin, Tricia, Jacob, Carolyn, Lydia. Casey and Charles. Mike and James. Jason and Ronan. Luc and Jean. The Professor and Mary Ann. Ric, Connor, Ned. Mr. Bernstein, Mrs. Craig, Mrs. Zawel, Mr. Cass, Meurcie, Sylvia. Viewers like you. IXC and TF, IHS Band, CUWinds, BRMB and Drumline, Risley Hall.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, • Topics: None • (0) Comments


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