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SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

May 10, 2017

A Rock in the Middle of the Sea

Madison Lichak, Port Watch, Barnard College

Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Where the sky meets the sea

32° 22.7’ N x 064° 40.9’ W

Description of location
Docked at Penno’s Wharf, St. George’s, Bermuda

mostly clear skies, wind F2 WNW

Souls on Board

I spend a lot of time thinking about the moments that led to this one. There is nothing like living on a boat for 22 days to make you think about time’s influence on your life. To think about prior moments and decisions that have led to this one. To think about the way that we got to this specific point in time.

Approaching Bermuda I felt the a sense of awe coming from my fellow shipmates. It was, like so many other things aboard the Cramer, a commonly shared experience and emotion. Traveling by plane, the journey would have taken us hours. Instead, it took us approximately 20 days to reach the remote island by sea. Adding in our time on shore brings our trip to two months, and if I consider the chronology of moments that allowed me to be here, participating in this program, the journey stretches to years. In many ways, Bermuda is not just a rock in the middle of an indescribably vast ocean, but also an unmoving point in the middle of a sea of time.

On our voyage into the coastal waters of Bermuda, we overheard our captain trying to make contact with Bermuda via our ship’s radio, still far enough away from Bermuda that it was out of sight, and therefore still seemed well beyond our reach. Today our class visited Bermuda Radio, the Bermudian organization tasked with communicating with ship traffic, as well as ensuring the safety and rescue of ships in Bermuda’s waters. There, as we heard the watch officer make various radio calls to ships in the area, I felt a pervasive sense of having lived both within and outside of a memory.

At the end of the day our class returned for dinner aboard the Cramer with Robbie Smith, a fellow scientist who has spent much of his life studying the same Sargassum that many of our own research programs revolve around. After dinner he told us about his experiences studying Sargassum, and about how his observations of Sargassum have changed over time. I closed my eyes and again I was met with an inescapable vision of the past and the present overlapping. In my mind I could see layers of golden seaweed, drifting across the ocean, and drifting across time.

Moments and memories are intertwined, and as I sit here under a darkening sky dotted with the lights of foreign ships and strangers in pastel houses, I imagine the past, present, and future leaking into one another, and the intricacies of time and past decisions seem almost tangible. I feel as if I am close to understanding something indescribable. I touch the wooden deck of the ship, traversed by so many other students, and time bleeds into itself.

I am finishing this blog post in the darkness when our policy professor, Mark, walks by me on deck and stares for a moment out at the hazy moonlit water. Gesturing to nothing in particular he says, “not a bad setting”. Around me, the ship clings tenuously to this rock in the middle of the sea, and I breathe out. “No,” I reply, “it’s just about as good as it gets.”

- Madison

P.S. Thanks to Ridge, for taking a picture with me in it. There you go, Dad.

P.P.S. Hi buddy. I hope your brain is being kind to you. If not just imagine us riding manta rays into the sunset. That’s what I do.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c273  port stops  bermuda.  study abroad • (4) Comments
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#1. Posted by Rob Lichak on May 12, 2017

Thanks kid!!!!
What a wonderful blog..
And don’t worry I made a deal with Audrey.. She is going to save me snap chat pics.. Since I am not in that era and still “not cool” Facebooker..
Thanks for sharing the worlds greatest experience with all of us..

#2. Posted by Renee Giannone on May 12, 2017

You should be a writer. This is written beautifully. It was captivating and visual and poetic. I just felt like I was reading a book that transported me into your experience. Embrace every moment. Thank you for sharing for sharing
Lots of love,
Aunt Renee smile

#3. Posted by Chris Seidel on May 17, 2017

Beautifully written! Hope you’re doing well and enjoying your time. Seems that you are. Mynderse is aware of your journey (I shared the blog link with Mr. Doell and he told the building, hope that’s okay!)
Looking forward to speaking with you about your adventures when you return.
Be safe,

#4. Posted by Lisa Lichak on May 23, 2017

You sound like a writer and a scientist smile I am so happy you are following your path and making amazing memories. May every adventure and experience “be as good as it gets”.



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