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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

December 22, 2019

The Last Watch of C-289

Matthew McKenzie, Visiting Professor of Ocean Science and Public Policy


SSV Corwith Cramer (file photo)

Ship's Log

Current Position
Christiansted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Souls on board

There are no happy returns without departures, and three months ago, you—the loved ones of C-289—said goodbye to your people in Woods Hole. Three months later, they will soon return to you.

Don’t be surprised if they look a little different. They worked extremely hard, got bounced around by the winter Caribbean easterlies, dove on reefs and analyzed data, and prepared and presented remarkably professional and accomplished research at last night’s poster sessions. Yes, they will look tired.

They may also look a little more worldly. They’ve seen things few people see; done what few have done; and forged a community few have the privilege to know. Their eyes may be set a little deeper; they replaced the bright-eyed excitement of last fall with a calmer confidence that only comes from doing something truly remarkable. Don’t be surprised, too, if they speak in weird time units (for example, “the game starts at 1330, but it’s only just past two bells”). Or if you hear in the dark of night, a clock strike 2am, and then your returned sailor scrambling around for a harness fearful they will be late for the mid-watch. Or, if you find them sleeping on a couch, braced hard against non-existing swells. This has been the world that they have overcome with smiles, poise, even grace (sometimes). These habits may, or may not, pass.

Also don’t be surprised too, if you ask them, “How was it?”, they pause before responding. They may look down, pensively; or they might look fleetingly at an invisible horizon. And after that moment, don’t also be surprised if they respond with an answer that leaves more unsaid than said.

The experiences of C-289, simply one of the best classes with which I have ever worked, will come out. It may take some time, though, for them to get back used to land. It’s OK. But please, when you do greet them home for the first time, remind them that on land, a red light means “stop,” not “port.”

Thank you for the privilege to work with these amazing young people. I will miss them all, each and every one, and hope if they swing through eastern Connecticut, they will stop in for a cup of green tea. They’re amazing people, and this has been an amazing trip. Fair Winds and Following Seas to each of you, my class 289 Cramers. We will always be here for you as you go forth.”

- Matthew McKenzie, Visiting Professor of Ocean Science and Public Policy

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c289  life at sea  study abroad • (0) Comments


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