SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 01, 2019
Dolphins and Sunsets
18 N x 065 W, approaching Pillsbury Sound, USVI
Thursday began with students conducting a Science Super Station, including deploying a carousel in order to collect samples from throughout the water column, with the deepest from nearly a mile below the surface. As detailed in an afternoon class presentation by Angus from Middlebury, Dayana from Williams, and Charlotte from Wellesley, this information can be critical in understanding oceanographic processes, such as the way temperature and salinity change as the ocean becomes deeper and deeper, and in turn, helps us trace the origin of such water. A neuston net, deployed at the surface of the ocean in order to collect plankton, also revealed an astounding array of creatures that live just at the crest of the waves.
The afternoon brought some of the best sailing conditions we've seen thus far on the trip. To our surprise, the Williams-Mystic students, faculty, and the SSV Corwith Cramer crew were not the only ones enjoying the refreshing tropical weather. Just as everyone was coming on deck for afternoon class, a pod of spotted dolphins was sighted off of the ship's bow, energetically keeping pace. For twenty minutes that felt truly timeless, we excitedly observed the dolphins weaving between each other and along the front and sides of the ship, pointing out juveniles and calves among the adults, and eagerly waiting for the next breach through the surface.
The nautical science class also did its part in bringing Williams-Mystic S19 together. Students learned how to make their own eye splice under the instruction of 2nd mate Tristan, with assistance from other crew. This splice is found several places on board, including in the rigging, and our own eye splices will undoubtedly be put to other uses back in student homes in Mystic. Working together, students are diligently trying to memorize the SSV Corwith Cramer's lines and their relationship with the sails, so that every maneuver ordered can eventually be carried out seamlessly.
Living at sea, time has a way of melding together of its own volition, pressing days to merge into one another as the hours pass. This leads to most experiences being defined as pinnacle moments, and this day had no shortage of them. The afternoon's watch turned over tonight under the backdrop of an incredible Caribbean sunset, with the island of St. Thomas off our stern, St. Croix at our bow, and St. John alongside. Looking into the chasm of stars above, one cannot help but anticipate what tomorrow has in store.
Stay tuned for more updates here and on Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program's Facebook page!
- Samuel from the University of Rhode Island