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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 31, 2016

Whatever The Weather

Maya Ludtke, Wellesley College

Snorkeling at Karoraina. Pictured: Johan, Student. Photo Credit: David, Assistant Engineer

Ship's Log

Noon Position
9°22.9’S x 150°59.2’W

Description of location
9° and counting down towards the equator

Ship Heading

Ship Speed
6 knots

Taffrail Log

E x S Beaufort Force: 4

Souls on Board

Hello to friends and family far away! Last night at 19:00 the crew of the Robert C. Seamans “Heave Ho’d” together to set the main’sl and begin the next leg of our journey en route to Kiritimati Island. Yesterday, we spent the day snorkeling at Karoraina conducting reef surveys. Students broke into pairs to focus on inverts, coral, and fish within the ecosystem. Although impossible to ignore evidence of bleaching, the reef was magnificent. While wind and rain hit the surface of the water, the world below felt so calming. Schools of fish hovered below our rescue boats, ducked in and out of dark caves and crevices, and rhythmically flowed back and forth under a surge of breaking waves at the shore.  We spotted lots of reef sharks and a couple sea turtles gliding around. 

Back on the boat we have begun to dive into our scientific work. Today during watch I had lab and we conducted a full morning station. We deployed a phytoplankton net, secchi disk, neuston tow net, hydrocast and CTD; conducted hourly weather observations, processed micro plastics, and completed a water surface station- testing for pH, phosphate, and chlrophyll-a using a variety of technology.

After a little over a week at sea the students are starting to get into the swing of many hourly, daily, and weekly routines. Yet, there is still much to learn. I’ve come to accept that for the next 20 days I will more or less always be wet, whether it be from rain, sweat, or cleaning. Life at sea is organized to perfection to ensure a successful voyage, yet the environment surrounding us is always changing.

The skies are alive today. We are getting close to the equator and squalls are impending. While our crew may not take part in eating zoo plankton, shaving our heads, getting tattoos, or any of the many strange equator-crossing-at-sea-traditions, we certainly plan to celebrate. As a city dweller it is incredible to look out from the ship and see sheets of rain pounding down in the distance. The squalls have been quick and pleasantly cooling.

Today during class Captain Pamela taught us squall safety tactics. I think I’ve seen more rainbows in the past week than I have in my 19 years on land. Dawn and dusk happen like clockwork but every day brings unique variations of color and light. At night we are learning to use the stars to navigate. Sometimes cloud cover makes it hard to distinguish the sea from the sky. We have seen flashes of lighting, sea birds, whale spouts, dolphins, and shooting stars. It’s terrifying yet wonderful to look out and see nothing but shades of blue. Here’s to three more weeks! 

Sincerely yours,

PS. Happy birthday mom!  Wishing you a cheerful day on Buena Vista. Hope all is well with your crew on the Charles, and with your writing.  I imagine the ballet was lovely. Tell Orion (and the others) hello for me. I will give you a call when we reach Honolulu. – M

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Pacific Reef Expedition, • Topics: s267  science  research  life at sea • (4) 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 Melissa Ludtke on June 03, 2016

Maya, you sound so happy! And that makes me happy to know this journey is such an extraordinary experience for you and your shipmates. Loved how you pulled me on board with your writing about all of your daily routines and your dives into the reefs. Wow! Eager to hear your voice, of course, but also want your amazing explorations and sailing voyage to last forever. Sending you big hugs, from all of us, Mom

#2. Posted by Meg Evans on June 03, 2016

Nice photo David! Glad to see you had the camera at least through Tuesday!

#3. Posted by Ellen Hume on June 08, 2016

Maya, this is a wonderful, professional report that has the level of detail a mature writer and scientist would look for. Your mother and i had dinner tonight in Boston, and celebrated your independent spirit, your scientifc and world-healing effiorts, your life as a young woman of real promise and accomplishment! Your mother is doing great, it was fantastic to see her in fine form! Enjoy your adventure! All the best to you.

#4. Posted by Sara on June 10, 2016


I am thrilled to be able to read about your adventure at sea. Your description takes me there along side of you and I am imagining all of the beauty that you are seeing across the world from us. I can’t wait to hear more when you get back. Safe travels, enjoy every moment.




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