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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
November 25, 2018
This must be the place
If you’ve read all of our posts diligently, you may have noticed that we students have become much more than classmates. We often revel in the miracle of having met, wondering what it would’ve been like if we had chosen a different SEA program, or chosen a different way to spend this semester altogether. Who we are, our choice to be open and vulnerable with one another, and our practices in Woods Hole have made us close. Now we have experienced novelty and adventure in Grenada together, and our lives are about to be bound by the confines of a ship and the expanses of the ocean. Our relationship to one another has and will continue to influence every other component of life this semester. I feel quite lucky.
Today was our free day during this shore component to do as we wished. My post will not be like the others, as we did not all do the same thing and some sections will be quoted from my journal. But, ultimately, it’s about the learning we do outside of an academic setting—about our surroundings, each other, and ourselves.
“Here the air is thick with water, thick with energy and life, thick with love—or maybe I’m the one in love and this was bound to feel like a dream, one I can hardly bear to take a pause from to sleep. I never wake tired or reluctant. The coqui frogs sang me to sleep last night. I woke full from a night of dancing, laughing, loving, and swimming under a full moon.”
After a breakfast of cocoa tea, toast, and an omelet, I committed myself to finally washing my clothes in order to prepare for the boat on Tuesday. I washed them in the tub, at one point wringing red rainforest clay from socks I left outside for days. As soon as I could, I ran down to the dock to meet up with others to take advantage of the resorts’ water sports. While some kayaked, the rest of us got in line to get on the Hobbie Cat, a small sailing catamaran. The sailing instructor took Ryanne and I out first. The wind cracked the sail and the water was beautiful, a green respite from the sun above us. It sprayed us and rested in droplets on our tanned skin. Though the excursion was brief, I was reminded that in just a few days I would begin learning to sail a tall ship. The dream I’ve had for years of learning to sail, and hopefully someday owning a sailboat, is coming to fruition
We all chose to do different things with our mornings and, later, while some stayed back, some of us went to the beach. On our way to the bus, we stopped at the “Container Park,” a collection of restaurants inhabiting shipping containers. There were dozens of St. George’s University students there. We stuffed our bellies with smoothies, burgers, and sandwiches and we were on our way to Grand Anse, a beautiful local beach where we did our first reef survey practice a week ago.
“At Grand Anse the sun is beginning to sink, though high up, giving the hills around us a golden halo. Light strikes the water, a hard, enchanting glitter reflecting back. The water rises, just lapping at my toes as I read, sinks, and rises again. People meander the stretch of sand and pepper the water, the sounds of laughter, wind, and music mixing.”
Five or six of my friends snorkeled most of the time. They played and explored for hours. At one point, Hannah, Ryanne, Maria, and Sharil were trying to recreate the photos of people walking along the bottom of the ocean holding a rock (it’s the simple things in life). Later, Bryce, Alyssa, Laura, and I had respective matches of sock wrestling in the water. This is a practice that began one night on the kitchen floor of our Woods Hole house, just after dinner, and it continued for weeks. The objective is to wrestle, but with the goal of taking off the other persons socks. So, we would put on the longest ones we could find, play loud and intense music on Bryce’s speaker, and slide around like fools. We joke that we started a loving fight club.
So it went. We read, we wrote. We traveled in and out of the water to snorkel, play, or just float in the endless blue and green. I took many photos, so often was I moved by my friends, by the light that graced their brilliant smiles, and the people and environment around me. It was beautiful. We took the 5 o’clock bus back to St. George’s, and from there we walked home. This was arguably my favorite part of the day. Though I was tired from the sun, I felt so rested. The sky was painted in pastel and it was a perfect temperature out. It was still. The light danced through the flickering and swaying leaves and branches, birds sang, and gravel crunched underfoot. At dinner we were thankfully altogether again to eat and laugh.
I know these may read like unnecessary details. It was a slow day and nothing seemingly remarkable happened. But it makes me sad to think that this trip is about to end, and that eventually the semester will too. So I take photos and scribble along the way to preserve these details, to cement them in my mind as I struggle to accept that memory fades. May I keep sand and rocks in place, so that these memories of white buses and sparkling eyes and salty skin not be lost or mixed with other sunsets or fits of laughter. I know that this component must end for the next leg of our journey to begin, in the same way that the beauty of Woods Hole had to give to this. I can’t wait to begin sailing with my friends and incredible professors and crew. But, for now, let me hold on tighter and try to catch my breath so that I may better understand the world around me and the way I’m being changed by these people and this place. Then you can send me on my way.
- Ale Tejeda, Colorado College