SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
September 06, 2018
A day in the life of “A-Watch”
41o 31’N x 070o 39’W
Williams-Mystic F18 has quickly adjusted to shipboard life and the rhythm of standing watch, classes, meals, and sleeping. For example, today "A Watch" had the morning watch. The morning watch included a science Super Station dedicated to collecting water and data from the surface down to the seafloor of southern George's Bank. In the middle of the station, we spotted dozens of Atlantic Striped Dolphins jumping in the distance. We paused our measurements of light attenuation to delight in the antics of these charismatic megafauna. After lunch, A watch took a nap, attended classes, saw more dolphins - this time Short-beaked Common Dolphins. They then had dinner and headed off to their bunks to sleep and will wake again for dawn watch.
Every afternoon the whole ship's company gathers for class meeting. We begin with announcements and then hear a weather report and a science report, both of which are led by students from the dawn watch. Academic classes are often an interdisciplinary topic drawing on maritime history and oceanography. Today's class was "Citizen scientists at sea," which addressed Lt M.F. Maury's large-scale effort to collect data from 19th century mariners and involved analyzing Benjamin Franklin's 18th century account of the Gulf Stream, an excerpt from Rachel Carson's Under the Sea Wind, and the article "Technology and Ocean-Scape" by science historian Helen Rozwadowski.
Following our academic class, we had snack - blueberry shortcake - and then a hands-on nautical class. During the nautical class, students set allthree of our square sails: the course, the topsail, and the raffee so that we could sail downwind toward our final Super Station. It's hard to believe that Friday is the midpoint of our offshore field seminar!