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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer


December 06, 2014

Deep Thoughts from the Galley

Nina Murray, Steward

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

Tiny colorful cups emerging from the styrocast.

Noon Position
15°56.7 N x 54°47.2 W

Description of location
North Equatorial Current

Ship Heading
290°

Ship Speed
8 knots

Taffrail Log
2791.7 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Motor sailing in the rain, with the mainsail and stays’ls

Marine Debris Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
One small buoy and a water bottle as part of a Sargassum windrow. 

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
Intermittent Sargassum windrows throughout the entire day.  On several occasions seabirds (frigate, boobie) were observed foraging among the Sargassum.

Greetings! Your friendly steward here, reporting for blog duty. Sitting in the library as I write, the outside world floats by, visible only through the port hole. As the water streaks and sloshes across the round glass, it would be easy to imagine that I am just watching my laundry on its agitation cycle while lost in some little reverie, but that is improbable for several reasons. First, the luxury of a washing machine is still several hundred miles away. Secondly, bursts of distant and ethereal lightening illuminate the water through the glass—an unlikely sight and a probable electrical disaster in a washing machine. Finally, there is little time for daydreaming in the life of a sailor or steward—you are either awake and entirely vigilant, or sleeping the sweet, face-crinkling sleep of one who has walked many miles on a 134-foot ship.

Much like the sailor who is either working hard or sleeping hard, Roxy (my darling diesel oven) is either off, or hotter than Hades. Life in the galley can be challenging in many ways, but the challenge of cooking all of our meals in a persnickety diesel oven is one I relish. I have come to feel that Roxy is a dynamic old girl who changes moods from one day to the next, and it is up to me to read her signals and make adjustments. Student galley assistants, upon depositing the batter of some delicious baked good in the oven, always want to know “when will the ___ be done?” I always answer with a chuckle and a wink to Roxy on the side, and answer “whenever it is done.”

Not only do we constantly rotate the oven’s contents from top to bottom, side to side, and front to back to avoid the scorching wrath of the central heating column, but we also must tack our food at improbable angles onto each oven shelf to accommodate the ship’s heel. Now that I’ve had each student and voyager in the galley with me for at least one day, many of them have started to master my patented tinfoil log™ technique in which I fashion long tubes of foil to prop up the low side of whatever potentially sloppy item is entering the oven. I’ve never been prouder of my amazing assistants than when I witnessed one fashioning their own tinfoil log completely without prompting.

In news outside of the galley, earlier today we were zipping right along at 9.5 knots, entirely under sail! You wouldn’t even have known it down below, the movement was so smooth that nothing even had the audacity to slide around in the cupboards. Today was also the day for our styrocast, in which we decorated Styrofoam cups, sent them down to a depth of 1500 meters inside a pair of nylon stockings, and brought them back up, adorably shrunken. They make excellent Christmas tree ornaments, conversation starters, presents, and earrings (maybe?), and best of all, no matter your drawing skills, every stroke of the Sharpie looks precise and stunning when tiny.

It is now time for me to sign off and crawl into my cozy bunk where I will get some of that face-crinkling sleep. I must say, it’s pretty hard to believe that Dominica is only a couple of days away now—the time has simply flown by due to the stellar company we are keeping here aboard the Corwith Cramer as we cross this vast stretch of water.

- Nina

Hello to Mingles and Secchi, Pops, Mums and Charlie, and my sweet, sweet Portland pals! I can’t wait to play in the snow.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, • Topics: c256  styrocast • (0) Comments
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