SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 30, 2014
Pilot Whales and Dolphins
32° 44.2’N x 16° 43.9’W
alongside the commercial dock in Canical, Portugal (Madeira)
The day started out with B watch on deck at 6:55am. It was a smooth turnover from Alyssa, the Junior Watch Officer from A watch. We were headed for Canical, the commercial port in Madeira. As I was assigned to bow watch, I could say that I had the best view; the skyline was decorated by the beautiful sunset and stratocumulus clouds. As we approached closer to land, we could spot signs of life: houses decked on top of each other on the hills. It had been 9 days since we were so close to land.
As I was enjoying this magnificent scenery (and looking out for boats), I suddenly saw large ripples on the surface of the water. The next thing I knew, I saw the dorsal fins of two pilot whales! Of course I was excited – I ran across the deck in the hope of informing my other watch members. Very unfortunately, I tripped and fell. Lesson learnt: never run on the Cramer.
In the afternoon, we went to the Museu Da Baleia (the whale museum). The Director, Luis Freitas, gave us an insightful talk about the great transformation of Madeira’s whaling past to its current conservation efforts. The museum’s exhibitions were interesting, but the coolest part about the tour was seeing the museum’s basement storage. There were real dolphin and whale skeletons, as well as carcasses of dolphins that still had blood on them. This was something we would not be able to see if we came to Canical as holiday tourists.
I concluded the day by reflecting on the things I am grateful for on land. I have ever so taken for granted the constant internet access that I have almost everywhere; frequent communication with family and friends; space to roam around as and when I like; and even the instant flush button in the restroom. Oh, these are just some of the valuable lessons that I will never forget.
Thank you, Mama Cramer.