SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 11, 2019
Big Waves, Little Moments, and a Bunch of Remixes
16° 48.006’ N, 062° 12.690’ W (anchored in Little Bay, Montserrat)
26.0 C. Steady NE winds, Beaufort force between 5 and 6
Average 6 ft. seas
Hello from Montserrat! My name is Lexi Wright and I’m a junior at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. It has been a wild few days here on the Cramer! We spent all of Monday circumnavigating Montserrat and Redonda, where we experienced choppy seas and high winds. C Watch woke up at 0100 Tuesday to find that the main sail had to be taken down due to increased wind velocity, with seas averaging around 9-11 feet. Puppy runs lined both sides of the deck so that we would remain somewhat stable when the boat lurched, which made the Cramer look like a ropes course on an episode of Wipe Out. And that’s kind of how it ended up—we were all stumbling around the deck and many diggers were taken. Luckily, no bones were broken and no heads were concussed, so it was actually pretty funny. The spray of the waves would occasionally reach the side of the boat and my friend Rebecca always happened to be right in the splash zone, managing to get sprayed at every angle. When it’s 0100 and you’re on the boat in the middle of the Caribbean, all you can really do is laugh when things like that happen.
We got a bit more accustomed to the sporty weather as the morning went on, so we got to enjoy seeing the moon sink into the horizon and search for constellations. Every deck shift consists of rotations between steering at the helm, doing boat checks, and being lookout. At lookout, I like to keep a running tally of all the shooting stars I see. Last night was the most I’ve seen in a shift: fourteen total! The lookout rotation is probably one of my favorite parts of watch. You get to stand at the tip of the bow looking out at the waves, clouds, and any boat traffic. You can always count on a nice breeze and, most importantly, it is the best time to put on a solo concert. We only get to listen to music on cleaning days, so we all joke around about how we go on lookout and belt out Christmas carols or any other song that’s stuck in our heads. When we aren’t gybing, doing other sail handling, or science, we pass time by making nautical remixes. Dawn watch usually inspires the best lyrics because we’ve all got the early morning giggles. Sometimes it’ll be a Journey song where we sing:
Sailing just to a find an island
Somewhere in the nighttttttttt”
or “Get Low” by Lil Jon, where it’s
Haul that line,
Hoping she can sweat it for me one more time”
Little moments like these, where we are all just enjoying each other’s company, are what make all the challenges of weather and seasickness worth it. Whether we’re having a watch jam sesh, stargazing in port, jumping off the bowsprit, or hanging out on the head rig before sunset, I find myself stopping and thinking how thankful I am for this experience and the people I’ve met.
It’s kind of crazy to think about how far we’ve all come from the shore component. We all knew very little about lines, rigging, weather, engine checks, or navigation, and now we know our pin rail, how to plot positions, DRs, set and drift, how to properly identify clouds, and so much more. Our mates have slowly been handing control over to us each watch as we become more confident with our skills, which is pretty cool to see considering we’ve only been on the Cramer for a little over two weeks. Not only that, but everyone has experienced so much personal growth. While it’s bittersweet that we only have twelve days left together on the ship, I’m so excited to see all the things to come for everyone in C-289. I couldn’t be prouder of my shipmates, how far we’ve come, and how far we will continue to go.
On a less gushy note, we ended the day anchoring in Little Bay! The next four days will be spent surveying reefs and exploring the exclusion zone from the Soufrière Hills volcanic eruptions, which began in 1995. The smell of sulfur still fills the air downwind from the island, which we learned while sailing around it for two days. Of the people that left the island twenty years ago, less than half have come back. I’m excited to see the state of the reefs and learn more about the people and history of the island.
And to add to Becca’s comment about the yogurt vs. sour cream controversy: we definitely put yogurt on our breakfast burritos this morning. Special birthday shout out to my dad today! Thank you for always encouraging me to be bold and chase my dreams—my strength and passion are a result of the example you’ve set.
To all my people back home—I love and miss you all bunches. See you so soon!