SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
At Anchor in Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica
15° 34’ N x 061° 27’W
After 27 straight days and nights of running before the wind, we arrived in Portsmouth at 0800 this morning. Captain Jason continues to astound me with his precision sailing - he said we'd anchor at 0800 and sure enough, we dropped the anchor 15 seconds before the hour. I'll leave a description of our arrival and the day's highlights to Anna, who will add on to this entry.
My head is still a bit out to sea so I'm going to wax philosophical. The poet, Mary Oliver, wrote this:
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it
I have been paying attention, I am astonished by most everything, and I'll attempt to tell about by sharing a few of the many things I've pondered while on lookout at a low hour.
- the rightness and comfort of our hierarchical, obedient and structured lives at sea
- that I don't need anything more than I can fit in my little 3 foot by 4 foot by 6 foot bunk and that it provides such refuge
- whether it's our inner fish (evolutionarily speaking) that makes us so at home on the ocean
- why it is that so many of the sailors on board are water cucumbers (quiet cool leader types)
- that the east winds that bring fog, rain and cold to Maine have brought only sun and warmth to 15 degrees north latitude
- how it is that the stars and all we know could have arisen from an infinitely hot and tiny and dense point
- that I haven't heard a single complaint or seen a single sulky face while on this voyage
- how sublime it is to be rocked to sleep every night
- that it's December and that such a thing as Christmas exists
- the hard essential never-ending work of Morgan and Kate, our two stewards - and they sing and laugh through the days - always
- that music and sailing our two sides of one coin for me
- that Orion rose on our stern and set on our bow, guiding us across the Atlantic
- how do dolphins, whales, mahi mahi, masked boobies, flying fish see us and the world
- how I have so easily traded my green world for this blue one
- that my time is the only thing worth spending, but carefully
- that we've seen so many shooting stars that I'm recycling my wishes
- how the world, when you stop to look at the little things, is so full and good
It's nearly swizzle time, so I'll stop here. I'm sending as big a hug as I can to everyone at home - think of those bright beautiful stars of the celestial G wrapping around you. I can't wait to see my mr buddy, Josie, Maya, Sophie and Anna in Vieques - I have missed you! Happy birthday time to Anna and Papa, and Sophie, I hope you had a wonderful recital. With all the love I have to give.
Thanks Janet for a lovely entry! I am lucky enough to stand watch with Janet, we have fun and make mistakes and fix them and laugh together. But back to today- C-watch took the deck at 0700 and Jason took the con at 0701 and for the following hour all C-watchers were scurrying around preparing the ship for her arrival, doing tasked that ranged from striking sails to inflating fenders. By 0830 we were anchored and I was exhausted. Nonetheless we continued to make our lovely vessel presentable to the world, harbor furling all the sails and doing an epic deck wash. Now we are sitting pretty in our anchorage and enjoying some much needed relaxation. The students handed in their research manuscripts yesterday and are thrilled to be done with the bulk of their academic work. Although, they probably don't know what to do with themselves somehow everyone is managing. Card games are being played, lots of books read, naps taken and many are going aloft just to check it out.
Our arrival in Dominica marks the completion of our transatlantic voyage! An accomplishment that we are having trouble fathoming. We just crossed an ocean, we will say to each other in amazement. Some people still believe this whole experience is a dream and that they will wake up in Woods Hole still on campus. I remember at the start of our trip looking at the chart in the main salon and seeing the great expanse of space between Gran Canaria and Dominica. But day by day we would add blue dots that marked our position and now they stretch the entirety of the chart. Our arrival is met with excitement and apprehension we think about stepping on land. It has been just the 30 of us for the last month, no other people or interactions and that has brought us together. The experience we had is just ours and as much as we try to describe it cannot really be understood by anyone else.
Students are already nervous as to how they are going to talk about it. But suffice it to say our trip was amazing and we are so excited to go ashore and to have two more weeks together.
On another note our chief scientist departed the ships company today to return home to her family. Amy we will miss you lots and we wish you safe travels and the happiest of holidays with your family. And to my family I miss you too! Been thinking about all of you in your various places and I think we should all go sailing together. Jonathan can we make that happen?
Sending lots of love from the warm Caribbean!