SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
March 01, 2014
C251 Web Blog - 01 March 2014
North of the Island of La Désirade, off Guadeloupe
Heading & Speed
Northeast by North, 3.6 knots
Winds out of the East at Force 3 and light clouds. 26°C
Hello from the SSV Corwith Cramer, currently in the Eastern Caribbean!
On this lovely first day of March, 2014, we find ourselves about two day out of our first port-stop, and the ship’s company has quickly adjusted back into life at sea. The sun is high and bright and the waves are rolling past the port-hole in front of me as I write this. I’m hot and tired, but in a satisfactory kind of way. These sensations, after all, make possible some of the best parts of this experience; the simple pleasures of rolling into your bunk after a long watch or emerging into the unbelievably refreshing breezes of the deck, both of which I’m looking forward to at this very moment. But not before I give you a brief glimpse into my life aboard the Cramer!
Thinking back to our recent time in Falmouth Harbor, on the south side of Antigua, I recall of flurry of activity and new experiences. My main day ashore consisted of a long morning run through the coastal hills of Antigua, including ruined forts, famous British Admirals, herds of goats and a pack of dogs, and a lot of much needed rain for the small dry island. All of that was then washed down with some delicious local ginger-beer and coconut milk. That afternoon I got to experience working from a bosuns chair, which hoisted me high aloft so I could spread protective tar on a shroud (one of the long cables that stabilize the masts). The thrill of being thirty feet above the deck (clipped in with a safety harness of course), a blue Caribbean harbor surrounding you, is beautiful, exciting, and impossible to describe. Then a few days later, after having set sail and departed Antigua, I again went aloft to put a preventer on a loose halyard (a line that was loose and clanging against the foremast), this time while the ship was underway. Talk about exhilarating! With all the stimulation of being aloft, it sometimes feels miraculous that I am able to remember the knots needed to complete my task. But with practice and persistence, these sorts of small victories occur all the time on board the Cramer, along with the accompanying minor failures. This is truly hands-on learning in its purest form, teaching perseverance and persistence in a very technical and often foreign environment. Really diving in takes a lot of courage for us all!
Since my return to SEA as a deckhand, I have been constantly reminded of all the wonderful memories from my own student trip two years ago. So much comes back to me as I work with and get to know both the students and the ship. From standing bow watch at night to trying to keep that swinging compass on course, it is all very familiar. I even find myself humming the same old songs I sang to myself on the Seamans. But this experience is new and great in so many ways: from the geography, to the history, to all the new friends. The crew is a brilliant and ragtag group of shipmates, as I knew they would be, and I’m very much enjoying my place in the community here. Our amazing stewards Jenny and Becky are keeping us extremely well-fed, often under conditions in which I struggle to get myself coffee… Inspirations abound here. As the voyage continues, we will soon be able to stop struggling eastward (into the trade winds, which force us to tack inch by inch to the east) and turn south for a much more direct course to the Grenadines. And that really feels like a well-earned accomplishment!
P.S.: Love to my whole family. Pet the dog for me. Don’t worry Mom, I’m doing great! Grandma Nell, I’m thinking about our Cuba trip! Also, shout out to all of my S-239 companions, thinkin about you all! and to all the Fellahs, remember “I’m your huckleberry”
To Trevor’s Mom: “Hi Mom, Love you, would you mind filing for my PFD if possible? Thanks”