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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 22, 2018

The Humpbacks of Notre Crame

Lauren McLaughlin, C Watch, Bowdoin College


Above: Meredith ventured out onto the bowsprit of the ship to get a better view of the whales; Below: One of the humpback whales we saw at Navidad Bank.

Ship's Log

Current Location
19° 55.2’ N x 069° 00.4’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed
160° PSC at 2 knots for the Neuston Net deployment

24.5°C. Force 6 winds coming from East South East, and seas coming from the same direction with waves between 8 and 10 feet. Cumulus clouds covering 4/8ths of the sky.

Souls on board

Today was an exciting day on the Corwith Cramer as we arrived at Navidad Bank, a breeding ground for whales off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Yesterday, one of my fellow classmates, Teahelahn, and I decided on a whim that we would cut our hair short if we saw a whale.  We were basically asking for it, but considering fresh water showers are only every 3 days, it couldn't hurt.  To our dismay, we had not seen a whale all morning or afternoon.  However, a Humpback mother and her calf were spotted right off the stern of our ship just in time for the end of afternoon class at 1545 (3:45 PM).  Afterwards on deck, Teahelahn and I proceeded to chop our hair with the highest end beauty salon supplies: a knife and a rope cutter. Thanks to the second mate, Kevo, my hair is now the shortest it has been since elementary school (he's now open for business on board as Kevo's Quik Kuts).  Following the initial sighting of the two Humpbacks, we were lucky enough to see a couple other whales.  Some of the students ventured onto the bowsprit and some of the officers climbed up the rigging of the ship to get an even better view of the charismatic megafauna.  Not only did we see whales, we were also able to record their underwater sounds and songs with a piece of scientific equipment called the sound trap.  Our soundscapes team, led by Genevieve Davis (a whale researcher of NOAA), will be processing and reporting on their data in the coming weeks.

Other than whales, I think it is also important to consider that this is our longest stretch of consecutive days at sea thus far.  We left St. John last Sunday and have been sailing along towards the Dominican Republic for days.  Everyone has now just about settled into their daily watch schedule routine and all that it entails.  It is truly exciting to see all the progress my fellow classmates and I have made since we first stepped aboard the Corwith Cramer in Puerto Rico.  We now know how to write up deck and science log book hourlies, conduct boat checks, set/strike sails, deploy various pieces of science equipment, and much more.  Without any prior experience sailing, I can now proudly say that I, along with my classmates, know all of the 9 sails and 88 lines aboard the ship, a task that appeared very daunting at first.  We have already acquired a great wealth of knowledge about the Corwith Cramer and its sailing/ science capabilities that will only continue to grow as the ship's operations progressively get handed over more and more to the students.

Tomorrow morning, we will arrive at our second port stop, Samaná, Dominican Republic, where we have various field trips planned.  We will also have a fair amount of free time to explore the city and conduct research for our change projects.

Stay tuned for an account of our adventures in Samaná!

- Lauren McLaughlin, C Watch, Bowdoin College

P.S. Happy birthday, Mom!  I specifically chose to write my blog post on this day, so I could wish you well.  Can't wait to share my experience with you, Dad, and Connor when I return home!

Previous entry: A Sea Story    Next entry: Land HO! Sailing into Samana


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 Nick Sette on February 24, 2018

Hi Nick The sighting of whales must have been exciting and I would think being docked again after a few days at sea is welcomed.  Weather looks great so enjoy!  We are heading to Jet Blue today to see our first Sox game against Tampa Bay - go Sox!  Luv Grammie



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