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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

April 15, 2019

The Sounds of the Corwith Cramer

Gail Johnson, C-Watch, Oberlin College


The Corwith Cramer during a sporty day. Sounds on this day: louder outside voices to be heard over the wind, water splashing on the hull, squeaky salty shoes on the deck.

Ship's Log

Current Position
30o28.22’N x 065o23.08’W, a bit over 100nm South of Bermuda.

Course & Speed
020o PSC. 4kts.

Sail Plan
Sailing under the two staysl’s and a single reefed mains’l.

24o C. Wind SxE/F3. Sea SExS/3ft. Sky 3/8th Cu, Ac, Ci. Baro 1019

Souls on board

This was an idea given to me late last night while on watch, around 0010, by Betsy, a fellow C-watcher that will be greatly missed upon her departure in Bermuda!

There are many sounds on the Corwith Cramer, so many, that when I first got on board it was overwhelming, but in less than 24 hours they were all familiar and - comforting.

During boat checks, every hour, every space, every time, one gets incredibly familiar with the sounds and the smells of the boat, to ensure that nothing is amiss. And my bunk, is right in the corner of the main saloon (people could lean their backs into my bunk during meals if they wanted), so I really am in the middle of the action.

I'll just list a few - because I have a running list of these sounds in my journal that I think could fill a short novel. It sounds like water slapping on the side of the boat while I lay in my bunk. Or, the loud click-click-click of the chirp that mimics someone clicking their tongue against the roof of their mouth - but amplified to max volume. Or, the sounds of the heat blocks in the lab, beeping when they are "testing" or "not ok." And the low hum of the generator, and the loud whir of the engine that lulls the entire boat to sleep.

There's also the loud squeaking sound heard below deck, every day, twice a day, around 0950 and 2200, of the CTD getting pushed across the wet deck above. Then there is the meal chime, a triangle that is rung 3X a day for both first and second seating of each meal - probably one of the favorite sounds aboard. Though alarm clocks are not present, every six hours, you can hear someone on watch waking up everyone on the next watch, by saying their name, over and over, until they stir.

There is also the ever-present sound of call and response: "Hands to set the Jib!" said by one person. "Hands to set the Jib!" said by everyone in proximity. And there is the sound of hushed voices in the saloon, talking about star lines, herbal remedies, or favorite books on board. While there is also the sound of loud voices in the saloon when a meal comes out, someone makes a witty joke, or during field day. On field day - many of the sounds are the same, but there is also a new one that is only heard once a week, music. Music is one of the sounds I miss the most, and in turn, one of the things that makes field day so thrilling.   

But, I think my favorite sound is being up on the bowsprit - dead ahead of the boat so you cannot hear any of the commotion onboard, just the waves crashing around the Cramer's bow as she rocks up in down in the ocean's swell.

As silly as it sounds, the SOUNDS of the Corwith Cramer all make sense and all are comforting in their own way (as long as everything is running smoothly). And I really wonder how bizarre it is going to feel to be in a totally quiet space again - I imagine it'll feel like something is missing.

(hello family!! and pals, Talia, Mecky, Julie, and Noah - I love and miss you! I will see you soon and can't wait to hear about your adventures.)

- Gail Johnson, C-Watch, Oberlin College

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c285  life at sea • (6) Comments


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 Charrisse Kaplan on April 17, 2019

Hello to the crew of the Corwith Cramer!  So great to read your impressions and learn about all you are doing and experiencing!

Gail, my love, it’s thrilling to us to “hear” your voice!  A sound we do miss!  It’s very cool to learn about and imagine life on board through your description of the sounds.  Such an active environment.  Can’t wait to hear more in person!

Love to you and the crew,
Mom and Pops

PS randomly met Mary’s mom out at dinner the other night.  It was great to meet her and talk about following the “red dot in the sea”, which is how we parents know where y’all are!

#2. Posted by decaf mocha on April 17, 2019

:’) miss you so MUCH! love you so MUCH!

#3. Posted by MJ Jr on April 17, 2019

So excited to catch up with you soon, can’t wait to hear more stories! You rule!

#4. Posted by Felicia Wiggins on April 19, 2019

Gail! I can’t even imagine what an incredible, indelible experience you will/are having and how I can’t wait to hear at least a few stories! I love the the imagery of the sounds on the bowsprit!! Much love to you and your crew of lucky adventurers! xoxo MiMi

#5. Posted by Roelfien on April 20, 2019

Dear Gail, so wonderful hearing your voice and learning about your wonderful journey. I hope to see you once you board in Brooklyn, with love, Roelfien

#6. Posted by Talia Greene on April 27, 2019

Gaily!! I miss you so much! Such beautiful thoughts and writing. I hope you had a good Passover. Sending lots of love.
—Talia & fam



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