SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
May 07, 2014
C252 Web Blog - 07 May 2014
34° 36.9‘N x 065° 30.4‘W
Force 4 winds from NWxN, NWly 4 ft. swell, scattered cumulus clouds, 21.6 °C
Kiah and I each spotted a barn swallow fluttering near the ship yesterday. She tells me they were likely blown out to sea by a storm during their migration north. By now they have almost certainly succumbed to exhaustion and drowned.
Not many creatures are meant for life on the open ocean. Humans certainly are not. But by the grace of Mama Cramer and the diligence of our shipmates, we sleep soundly each night. The ocean is as unrelentingly savage as it is unrelentingly beautiful, and we are privileged to experience it up close.
One animal splendidly adapted to this environment is Velella velella, the by-the-wind sailor. We collected a couple dozen of these blue jellies in todays noon Neuston net tow. Each has a hard chitin fin that protrudes above the surface, catching the wind and propelling the jelly across the waves in search of food.
A Watch took the long port call in stride and returned to life underway sharper than ever. A complex maneuver like the double gybe we executed today would have taken half an hour a few weeks ago. This morning we got in position for our net tow in just 15 minutes. Watchstanders are being asked to take on more responsibilities each day, and all are rising to the challenge. Now the mate relies on one student each watch to make sure we complete our tasks on time. As we get closer to New York, students will graduate to more complex roles. Its hard to imagine how far we will have come in just one week by the time we tie up at Pier 25 next Wednesday.
As I write, the students are getting their first introduction to radar, one of the many tools we use to keep the ship safe. Using this and other instruments once the sole domain of the mates and captain will soon be instinctual for the students.
Wish us fair winds.
P.s. Love to all ashore. I look forward to seeing many of you soon.