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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

October 29, 2018

The Next Phase : Shadow Watch Officer

Maddie Hurtgen, A Watch, Hamilton College


Maddie and Cori steering together at the helm.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
23° 40.5’ N,  061° 54.1’W, South Sargasso Sea


7 knots

NW Force 5

Sea Surface Temp

Sea Surface Salinity
36.68 PSU

Souls on board

Hello to all friends, family, and blog followers,

Spirits are high today as we have finally crossed into the tropics! Warm layers have been shed, and it is officially sunscreen season. We have also shifted phases into the Shadow Watch Officer phase. This means that each person for each watch will have a chance to shadow their mate and scientist to get a better understanding of all that we have learned on deck and in the lab. A lot goes into a successful and safe watch, and this phase helps teach us how to lead our peers through the daily procedures that watches require, and this helps us all come together as a well functioning watch.

This morning I was woken up at zero dark 30 for dawn watch, which was busy, squally, and exciting. It was my turn to be shadow for deck, and my skills were definitely put to the test. I surprised myself with how much I have learned during these last two weeks, and how my mates have helped me know how to organize a watch and get everything that needs to be done completed.

We eased into the watch this morning; I learned how to log initial relief of watch, changes in course ordered, rotate people on deck for the helm and lookout positions, getting hourly boat checks, plotting DR positions, and doing hourly weather. At the beginning of watch we were still within 300 miles of hurricane Oscar so we sent in our fancy weather reports because NOAA wants all information possible from ships that are able to report what Oscar is doing. We also got hands to set the Tops'l to get a bit more speed.

Things picked up a bit when we began our star frenzy. We used the nautical almanac to determine the time of star twilight, which is the time at which the stars and the horizon are both completely visible, allowing the best conditions for using the sextant. This morning's star twilight was between 0520 and 0540. We had three sextant readers out with one marker (me), so it got crazy fast. The wind was blowing, it was still dark out, and I was running all over the quarterdeck marking down over 25 times and fixes of Sirrius, Al Tores, Riger, Beetlejuice and more within the small gap of star frenzy time. Right after the star frenzy was over we had to quickly shift gears when we spotted a large squall approaching. My mate gave me the reigns and had me call hands to strike the Tops'l, and in this moment I remembered all of the lines and what needed to be done, and we struck the Tops'l in less than 5 minutes.

It turned out to be a very hectic morning, but after watch we were all able to relax and have a delicious breakfast of Paula's Colombian Arepas with eggs and bacon - she has been killing it in galley all day, keeping us well fed and happy.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into what a watch can look like; this has been an incredible cruise so far, and I can't wait to share more!

To my CT and NC family: I hope everyone is healthy, happy, and carving a pumpkin for me! I can't wait to see everyone at Thanksgiving. Love and miss
you so much.

- Maddie Hurtgen, A Watch, Hamilton College

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: c282  study abroad • (3) Comments
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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 Martina on November 01, 2018

Maddie loved your vivid description of the star watch
So exciting. I would love to be there but your report was the next best thing
We all miss you so much

Jet blue has one flight a day from JFK to. Grenada
So they must have one back as well

All the photos are being throughly scaned and enlarged as we all frantically go over each shot for a glimpse of you That red jacket was a good choice

Love you xxxx nana

#2. Posted by susan on November 01, 2018

Hi Maddie and crew. Yes thank you for the great post on your watch activities. My daughter Ally is in your watch so it helps me know what she is up to also. Happy sailing.

#3. Posted by Nancy Hurtgen on November 02, 2018

All of us in NC have been following your daily progress and keeping a close eye on the Corwith Cramer.  What an exciting adventure for all of you aboard this classroom in motion.  We await your stories and look forward to your safe return.  See you at Thanksgiving!  Love from your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins here in NC.  Love you Maddie!



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