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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

February 26, 2015

Week One Reflections

Sarah Tyrrell, C Watch, Miami University

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Kathie (student) doing some celestial navigation using a sextant during the morning watch.

Ship's Log

Noon Position
20° 27.6’N x 063° 18.5’W

Description of Location
Sargasso Sea and the Puerto Rico Trench

Ship Heading
Hove To/225°

Ship Speed
2.1 kts (for a neuston tow)

Taffrail Log
523.9 nm

Weather/Wind/ Sail Plan
Sailing under the four lowers when C Watch relieved B Watch at 0700. By 1300 we were sailing on a port tack under the mains’l, the mainstays’l, & the forestays’l with winds at southeast by east Beaufort force 5.

Sargassum Observed
Sargassum was collected today, but has yet to be sorted (something that I am particularly interested in as my Oceanography project will be focused on the species distribution of Sargassum over the course of our cruise track.)

Souls on Board

Every day thus far aboard the Cramer has been active and eventful, with today being no different than the rest. Between taking on a marathon of science deployments and experiencing our first Atlantic History Hour, C Watch had an exciting morning watch shift. Beginning at dawn where we received a 0600 wakeup, we next were served another awesome breakfast at 0620, and then made our way up on deck at 0650 to relieve B Watch. I scored a spot in lab today with Julio and, as mentioned before, we got our science on. We deployed the secchi disk, hydrocast, free CTD, and Neuston net. While we were having a good time over at lab, the deck crew got their hands on some sextants and they were able to try out some celestial navigation.

But, before any of the celestial navigation or any of the science deployments took place, our watch was able to experience our first Atlantic History Hour with our Maritime Studies professor, Craig Marin. Atlantic History Hour is playfully  abbreviated AHH, similar to the relieved sigh noise students make when getting the chance to sit down during a time they would typically be standing watch. 

During our first AHH we finally came together and discussed A Small Place, by Jamaica Kincaid, one of our assigned readings for this trip. Over the hour we dissected the book as well as Kincaid’s purpose for writing it. A truly provocative piece, Kincaid pushes her readers to feel somewhat uncomfortable and become exposed to an entirely different perspective on tourism. The book and especially our conversation in class today later provoked some self-reflection. 

During our port stop visits and as a tourist in the future, I want to become more cognizant and more self-aware when I am visiting new places. My goal moving forward as I travel is to learn about someone else’s home rather than just escape my own work-a-day life. Far too often we take vacations in these paradise-like destinations, overlooking the truth that this paradise is someone else’s home. We often choose to ignore the waste we create, the water we consume without thought of conservation or the issues and concerns in the society that is integral to the places where we are guests—those places we consider as vacation paradises. According to Kincaid, everyone is a potential contributor to the more negative aspects of the tourism industry, native and tourist alike, leaving the floor open for discussion of possible solutions from all perspectives. Kincaid was successful in asserting this truth, and maybe large-scale change isn’t going to come from her narrative, but her narrative, along with many of the other truths I am discovering about tourism and the effects of globalization on these island economies is certainly impacting my own outlook on tourism and traveling.

I continued to reflect during this afternoon when Captain Sean got me thinking about our journey as a whole.  During our 1415 class on deck, he emphasized how this really has been one heck of a week for all of us, and when we do reach St. Martin, we will have earned St. Martin. For many of those back at home who thought we were taking it easy this semester, island hopping around the Caribbean on a beautiful tall ship, and escaping the never ending snow up north, it has been nothing of the sort.  The winds have hardly been in our favor; we had the majority of our students, including myself for a good eight hours, seasick for the first one to two days; the sunburns are very real. We are learning how to sail a tall ship, meaning we are learning the lines, commands, sails, etc. all while continuing our classes from on shore, yet we remain smiling and laughing almost all of the time. Yes, I would definitely agree with the Captain in that we have absolutely earned our first port stop.

I’m proud of us, as sappy as that might sound. It’s been one week since our first day aboard the Cramer, a week that has been one of the longest and inimitable weeks that most of us, as students, have ever endured. I have no doubt that this is a time in our lives where, although the days are long, often times exhausting, the weeks are going to fly by quickly. I know that I, for one, don’t want to miss a second of it. We are exerting a ton of energy, fully committing ourselves to continuing to learn and progress academically, while enjoying ourselves and truly finding joy every day. Here we are, in the Sargasso Sea, unattached and living in the present moment. We challenge one another, we help one another, and together we are progressing day-by-day, watch-by-watch into something pretty damn incredible. I am tired, I am smelly, yet I am so blissfully happy and I cannot imagine spending this experience without these great guys and gals. The adventure has just begun…

With watch in a half an hour, I should probably go get myself some coffee, but before I go I have to make a few shout outs to those at home. To my family, I am very grateful for this opportunity as well as for your endless love and support, give the dog a hug for me! Oxford, I certainly do miss you, but sorry G, no nest. Boys, stay behaved. Insert hamburger bun emoji… Love and miss you three, stay warm!

Until next time, my friends.

Love always,

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, • Topics: c257  science • (8) 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 Ann Marie on February 27, 2015

Great post, love the perspective on tourism and hope you enjoy your port upcoming port stop

#2. Posted by Felicia Hall on February 28, 2015

I am thrilled to be reading the entries and feel so privileged to be sharing, through the blog, in your experiences.

#3. Posted by Susan on February 28, 2015

It’s a pleasure to read about everyone’s experiences. Agree on the tourist perspective. Hi Kathie - we miss you. Love, Mom

#4. Posted by Ed Majewski on February 28, 2015

Sarah:  What a Journey!  Kathleen (nanny, in case you forgot) and I have traveled the Caribbean extensively, but never the way you are experiencing it. I never heard of a secchi disk, hydrocast, free CTD, and Neuston net. Guess we’ll have to further our education when you return. Thoroughly enjoy reading the daily blogs.  Our very best to completion of this trip.  Love, we miss you! Ed (papa M.)

#5. Posted by Bromley on February 28, 2015

Woof. Mom dad and Buffy say hi.

#6. Posted by Sean T. on March 01, 2015

@ Sarah - great post!  Happy to hear that you are really absorbing what must be a great experience.  Miss you! 


#7. Posted by Diva on March 01, 2015

Wow great to hear from you, i was getting a little worried. Glad everything is going well but you gotta wear that sunblock!!! So proud of you girlie XO

#8. Posted by Nanny&Papa; on March 10, 2015




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