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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

May 14, 2015

The best day ever!

Joseph Townsend, C Watch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

A photo of a typical day on the quarter deck, my favorite place to see what is going on with the ship. From left to right, you see Captain Jason using a sextant to get a sunline for navigation, followed by Amalia at the helm, followed by Anthony and myself.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
35° 09.1’N x 70° 02.8’W

Description of location
North Sargasso Sea

Ship Heading
315 degrees per steering compass

Ship Speed
~4 kts

Taffrail Log

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs
Not much, some S. natans fragments

Souls on Board

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to one of the best days of my life. Allow me to walk you through it. The day began with a wakeup from Sarah and Lena, both of whom are quite gifted in the art of a “boat wakeup”.

Boat wakeups are used in lieu of alarms on the ship to wake up shipmates before their watch, and therefore have very specific rules and regulations. First and foremost, the waker must never open the curtain or reach inside the bunk of the wakee. The waker must then gently coax the wakee from their slumber, identify themselves, and give the current time and weather, all without waking any adjacent bunks. Sarah and Lena today outdid themselves with reports of bacon and fried eggs as they woke me this morning, allowing me to leap out of bed in preparation for the day.

These reports of delicious breakfast were not unfounded, as I soon discovered that today’s breakfast would be none other than chicken on a raft (eggs and toast for you landlubbers), both my favorite breakfast and favorite sea shanty. Lauren, with the help of her wonderful assistant steward of the day, Lizzie, had outdone themselves.

The day had only just begun. Immediately following breakfast my watch (C-watch: Grayson, Sabrina, Mareike, Liz, Caroline, and myself, along with 2nd mate Ashley and assistant scientist Laura) took control of the deck, and took care of sail handling and science from 7:00-1:00. The day was new, cloudy, and full of waves to rock the boat back and forth (what we refer to as “sporty” conditions onboard). On deck now that we have had some experience we are really starting to learn more and more about what it takes to sail a beauty like the Cramer, and Ashley our mate is giving us more and more responsibility as a result. Soon we will begin the “Junior Watch Officer/ Junior Lab Officer” phase of the trip, where we will take turns being fully in charge of what happens on deck and in lab while on watch (with Ashley and Laura’s supervision).

Since C watch has been really taking to the ship, Ashley (hereafter referred to as Shlee) decided to begin trying out some of our Junior Watch Officer abilities. When it came time to slow down and collect science samples with the CTD and Neuston net, Shlee passed the reigns to me and gave me charge of the deck to both handle navigation and steering as well as lead the sail handling that would get us slowed as needed. For the first time, I would have to make the judgment calls of when to pass and trim sails, tell the helmsman where to steer, a job I had seen and observed it seemed like a million times, but had never done myself. So of course as the time comes to make the calls, I couldn’t help but feel an incredible mixture of excitement and nervousness swell up inside as a called across the deck “Prepare to gybe!” The gybe went as planned, and soon enough we were away sampling seawater for science.

Shlee had me run the deck for the remainder of watch, and by the end I felt not only more confident in my own commands and understanding of the ship, but that much closer to my watch. As I said before, it was a little nerve wracking to for the first time handle responsibility of an entire ship (Mark Twain had a similar experience to me, look it up!), but I quickly realized I was not handling the ship myself, but instead C watch together took control of the ship and got her where she needed to go. The experience made me most
of all feel even closer to my watchmates, which I didn’t even think was possible.

To close out my amazing day of incredible adventurous day, dinner was tortellini! Shout out to Lauren and Lizzie again for their amazing ability to find my weak spot for food.

Well, if after reading all this you don’t think this is one of the best days ever, I know it will be because I didn’t have enough room to describe it properly.

Yours in sailing,

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c259  sargasso sea • (2) 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 Jarrell's (Joe's family) on May 19, 2015

Sounds like one of the best days ever!  Love you Joe!

#2. Posted by Jerome on May 23, 2015

How have I never known that is what chicken on a raff means? Also, so serious about the scurvy comment. IS NO ONE NOTICING THE BAND OF SIRENS OFF THE POOP DECK, STARBOARD OF THE NORTH STAR



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