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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

March 17, 2014

C251 Web Blog - 17 March 2014

Anne Schulberg, Carleton College


St Lucia off in the distance.

17°11.8’N x 061°58.7’W
4.5 knots
Force 3, ENE
Just full moon, just apparent stars
Air Temperature

We’’re at that point. In every long undertaking I’‘ve endeavored upon in my life so far, there has been some sort of alumni who has warned: just wait for the end because it’ll get crazy and hard. Sure enough, we have arrived. Our professors have been fair and judicious in assigning periodic deadlines in order to advance our projects, and yet here the majority of us are, scrambling to figure out what it is we have been scientifically up to in the last month. It turns out the absence of internet research availability really works the critical thinking skills which I found to be embarrassingly sore for what my liberal arts college purports to teach me. This showboat academically docks at 2359 Thursday night, after submitting our final drafts and delivering our final presentations, and we’‘re all pretty excited to kick it and coast in after that point.

But wait! It turns out that we run this actual showboat now! Junior Watch Officer phase is in full throttle now, and it’s no joke. Actually, when I hear the phrase “Junior Watch Officer”, it reminds me of pointedly staring at flight attendants when disembarking planes to get wings denoting my Junior Pilot status or listening to a Smokey the Bear presentation and receiving a Junior Firefighter patch to sew on my L.L. Bean monogrammed backpack as a kid. But oh no, I’‘m a legal adult now and feel the snug sense of responsibility now imbued in my worn harness. I’‘m generally a fairly irreverent kid (a byproduct of too much college application related introspection I suspect) and learning the time to be serious and tell your friends to shut up and make you look good is a lesson I’’ve learned the hard way.

On my first JWO shift, I came in a swaggering and delegating force. Considering that the essential tasks were being done and I successfully solved some navigational quandaries regarding some island wind-shadow related doldrums in conjunction with the Captain, I began to vacillate between JWO monitoring and deciding mode and enjoying the waning days with my collective friends mode. The vacillation was not appreciated nor was it appropriate for the handling of a 158 ton boat and the lives of its 30 occupants, though this only occurred to me afterward while observing my poor chief mate doing everything in his power to remain professional after seemingly watching his charge flippantly passing off his job. Communication and compartmentalization is my new motto, and I’’m so glad I’’ll soon get the chance to exercise what I’’ve learned from my 20/20 hindsight. 

The thing I’’ll miss most will be the proximity of an incredible knowledge base within these humans. I have to believe that I’’ll experience the brigantine thrill again, but communities are delicate sculptures not so easily happened upon. In the computer game “Sims,” your virtual human pawns can be taught skills by reading and cooking and looking through telescopes, and skills gained are assessed through a meter that works its way up from amateur hour to virtuoso. This is the only analogy I can assign to my rate of knowledge uptake: it feels like new skills to be learned are popping up every couple of days, with skill meters exploding across the board every day.

And everything is beautiful and we’re going to Montserrat to see an active volcano tomorrow.

Much love from the Cramer to you,

To my family, increasingly excited to see you. Can I request a welcome-home-take-a-shower apple pie please?

To Maija Liv, you know that I know that you’‘re reading and I know that you know how much love I send to the 55057.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Ocean Exploration, • Topics: c251 • (0) Comments




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