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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

June 11, 2015

The Great Pin Chase

Sean Stivaletta, A Watch, College of Charleston

Transatlantic Crossing

Looking down from the top of the foremast on my first time up the rigging… sorry Mom

Ship's Log

Noon Position
44° 29.2’N x 055° 00.3’W

Description of location
South of Newfoundland, just west of Grand Bank

Ship’s Heading
105° PSC

Ship’s Speed

Taffrail Log

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Dense Fog, Wind Force 2, Motor Sailing under the Main and Stays’ls

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
1 minke whale and 6 dolphins

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)

Souls on Board

Day 8 at sea and life could not be more different than from home. Yesterday the fog rolled back in and it has remained pretty dense ever since, aside from a few precious moments of sunshine breaking through. Last night A Watch had the evening watch from 1900-2300 but unfortunately the wind shut off and we had to turn the engine back on (and unfortunately the fog horn with it). Mack (the first mate) had us take down the Jib Tops’l (JT) on our own as the fog rolled in like walls all around us and limited our visibility to several feet. As Kelli looked out at bow watch, Danielle, Aiden, and I clipped our harnesses into the head rig and carefully moved toward the bow sprit to strike and furl the JT. Aiden and Danielle’s glasses both fogged up around the same time as well, making our efforts all the more exciting as rolling waves plunged the bow into the sea. We succeeded, however, and were rewarded with galley cleanup… All was well again after Jen’s ginger cookies though.

A Watch was then woken up at 0545 for breakfast at 0620 and watch from 0700-1300. From the lab, we deployed just about all of our gear including the hydrocast, phytoplankton net, neuston net, secchi disk, and a surface station bucket. The hydrocast, which has been having trouble lately, worked for the first time in a while making Audrey and the other scientists extremely happy. The watch was cold and wet but we stayed in high spirits after several cups of coffee and a very up-close-and-personal meeting with a Minke Whale. As we were deploying some of the science gear, Captain Rick and Audrey were the first to shout with surprise as an approximately 20-foot-long whale passed the ship while we were hove-to (stopped). The whale proved to be exceptionally friendly and decided to hang out with us for a while so everyone could see, and even rolled over underwater a few times.

After lunch came the moment we had all been excited for: the famous pin chase. Each watch has been practicing their lines and studying diagrams in preparation for a friendly competition to demonstrate who knew their lines best so far. Today we discovered the format and the stakes (just pride). We lined up on the quarterdeck by watch and were handed a flash card by an assistant scientist with the name of one line. We then had to move as
quickly as possible without running to the line and show a mate that we had grabbed it. Rick enforced the no-running rule by making Joe crab-walk back from his line. Our shipmates could help only by yelling one of two words: “hot” or “cold,” which some people found extremely difficult *cough* Kelli *cough*. The crew had thrown in a few twists including a card that said, “use a good pick up line on an assistant scientist.” I received that card for A Watch, but feel like I really let a lot of people back home down by not being very original and instead asked Gabo, “Did it hurt?” “When you fell from heaven?” In my defense this was a race. Despite a few hiccups, A Watch prevailed with a dominating performance that led us to be the first to complete the Conga Line of victory around the deck. To say our street cred has increased would be a dramatic understatement. Even better, just as the activity came to a close, the sun shined through and about 6 dolphins began swimming with the boat. It was a clear sign to those in A Watch that Poseidon approved of his champions.

We all celebrated with peach cobbler and BC played the tune from the Lord of the Rings movies on a flute while Maria, Danielle, and JJ danced in their best Irish Step renditions.

Life on board has included more work than I initially imagined but also dramatically more fun. We are on watch twice a day and spend our down time sleeping and eating – there really is not much time for anything else. We scrub the floors every day and take one afternoon of each week to thoroughly clean the whole ship with the rallying cry, “Up with humans! Down with Mung!” Everyone gets a full day in the galley helping Jen with breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, as well as a mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and midnight snack. It can be tough but we can see the immediate purpose for every action we take. Living with 29 other people in very close quarters means you have a perpetual fight to keep our home clean.

The things I had looked forward to most have more than lived up to the hype and had a tremendous impact on me. The sunsets and night skies are truly awe-inspiring and bow watch at night with a clear sky has become my favorite time. I also got the chance to climb the rigging and went to the top of the foremast where I saw a cargo ship around 12 miles away.  Dolphins and whales have become so common that people have stopped running to the side of the ship to see them, which is incredible in itself. And finally, the people are truly some of the happiest people to be around. From Rick and Audrey, who make every class a fun and educational experience, to the scientists and crew who keep us in stitches laughing with ways to remember lines (don’t ask) and who put up with our consistent and repetitive questions. Now that 8 days of living together have broken down all initial inhibitions, my shipmates have proven to be a genuine and kind group of people who have common interests and who have left their judgments 800 miles behind us. We collectively have agreed that despite the difficulty of some of the material we are learning, we truly appreciate immediately putting it to use and seeing how it will affect our day-to-day lives.

With just under 3 weeks left, I am sure there will be plenty more moments before Ireland that will make this trip one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

- Sean

PS: Please don’t text me with Game of Thrones spoilers for when I get to Ireland…

Message in a Bottle:
“Dear Family & Haymar: The world is made of fog. It looks like we’re sailing into the fields of Asphodel, in a pretty way. Love, Danielle”

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: c260  megafauna • (5) 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 Nicole on June 18, 2015

Thanks for the update, Sean! I’m following along from Brazil and cheering your every move. So proud of you! Can’t wait to see you in just a few weeks.

#2. Posted by Donna on June 18, 2015

Sean, Thanks for the update! Love hearing about your adventure.  So glad to hear that you climbed the rigging and got to the top of the foremast (using your lingo, as I would have just said “yeah you got to climb to the top of the the tall stick in the middle of the boat, woo too!”)
Sounds so exciting….you are a brave person!
Look forward to hearing more stories.
Safe sailing……..


#3. Posted by Momma on June 18, 2015

Sean miss you but have to say I look forward to these blogs and was dying for yours to be posted. Such an amazing journey you a having once in a lifetime trip. Can’t wait to hear all about it. All great hear see you in less than two weeks. Till then I will keep reading. Lov you Mom

Ps. Made my stomach turn looking down from the mast don’t know if I could have done!!

#4. Posted by Jane on June 22, 2015

Wow Sean, Sounds like you are on a great adventure.
Lot of work but what a fantastic opportunity to learn.
Stay safe and Erin Go Brah, Ireland Forever. You’ll soon be standing on land again.
Enjoy the trip.
Love Janey

#5. Posted by Nancy Flynn on June 23, 2015

Sean it has been incredible following along on your journey! A trip you will surely carry with you for the rest of your life. Stay safe, and we’ll see you on this side of the pond.

The Flynn’s



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