SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 17, 2018
And We’re Off!
39 o 50’N x 70 o 1.4’W
160 nautical miles off of Cape Cod, about 100 nautical miles North of the Gulf Stream
Out of the West at a Beaufort force 5 (17-21 knots)
20.4 o C/34.95 psu
Hi everyone! Today marks our first full day on the open ocean! After leaving the anchorage at the mouth of the Sakonnet River yesterday, we sailed a course of 170 degrees through the night on favorable western winds, making quick progress along our cruise track.
While at sea, we are split up into three watches, each with 4-5 students, 1-2 sailing interns, a mate, and an assistant scientist. We have been standing watch on a six hour cycle, with six hours on, then 12 hours off to sleep, eat, and relax. When on watch, your group is responsible for doing hourly boat safety checks, cleaning, keeping lookout, steering, and managing the sails.
Over the past day, we have had several exciting moments. While on dawn watch last night, we had our first marine mammal sighting - a group of six dolphins off of our bow. They followed us along for a couple hours, barely visible in the dark, but leaving bright bioluminescent streams of bubbles behind them. We have also begun seeing our first bits of Sargassum! One clump which was caught in the neuston net (a large surface net which is dragged alongside the ship) hosted some crabs and shrimp.
On the science deck, we have completed several carousel deployments. This instrument measures salinity, temperature, chlorophyll, and dissolved oxygen through the water column. It also holds bottles which are programmed to close at different depths, giving us water samples for measuring pH, alkalinity, microplastics, and other properties. Over the coming days, we will continue to deploy the carousel and neuston net to collect data for our research projects.
The weather has been consistently chilly, although it was considerably warmer today than it has been. In general, it hasn't bothered us and we have stayed plenty warm by wearing lots of layers and staying busy while on watch. Currently, we are riding out some sporty weather, waiting for the front to pass before crossing the Gulf Stream and entering the much warmer weather promised beyond.
I hope everything is well on land!
To friends and family in NH: Hi! Lia, do well in school.
To Sophie (Johnson): This is great and I can't wait to tell you sea stories and make you jealous!
- Nino Tomas, C-Watch, Middlebury College