SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 13, 2014
Leaving anchorage in Dominica headed for St. Martin/Maarten
This morning was our last round of anchor watch in Dominica. I was up for the 5-6am shift, a beautiful time of day when the sun haze begins to glow behind the lush green rain-forested mountains that surround Prince Rupert Bay here in Portsmouth, Dominica ~ the Nature Island. After launching the small boat with Tanner, our trusty assistant engineer, a gaggle of eager students and voyagers followed Nina, our super-chef, and Cap’n Sean to the morning market in Portsmouth. During a peaceful quiet sunrise hour on deck, I nestled up on the elephant table with my favorite 4-stringed boat guitar to play a few parting tunes to what I’d easily call my favorite island (so far). Our marketeers returned with an enormous bounty of tasty local foods and fresh lettuce (its been a while.)! Soon the whole ship was up and bustling around to prep for our departure.
Dominica is a really special place. It’s hard to put into words the beauty that many of us were exposed to in the mountains, valleys, and rivers of Morne Trois Pitons National Park. As a geology-student I knew Dominica would blow my mind but nothing could have prepared me for the surreal unique experience that is the Boiling Lake Hike. When I think about Dominica I know I’ll never forget that hike and every facet of it. Forests were teeming, honestly exploding, with green. Massive ferns were larger than trees, crickets bigger than my hand, soils varying in colors from deep dark brown to pale yellow due to the volcanic features throughout the park. Lichens and mosses I’ve only imagined or dreamt about before were huge and carpeted any open substrate. Dominica has 365 rivers (one for every day of the year as they say), we definitely crossed what felt like at least a month of rivers by my count, many of which were the perfect hot tub temperature. Climbing up and down peaks to reach the active volcanic crater that has been filled up with water and boiled was a full day thrill. The second largest boiling lake in the world! On the return hike from the lake we hopped from one hidden hot spring to the next washing off gathered clay from the day’s hike. To cap off the whole experience a handful of us leapt into the cold waters of Titou Gorge, and swam deep into the rocky recess to a rushing waterfall. A spectacular swim. Speechless.
The people, the land, the culture, and communities really blew my mind. I look forward to the day when I return to Dominica so I may once again experience its rich heritage and enjoy its many natural wonders - from its mountainous, geothermal backbone to the beautiful fringing coral reefs, and all the rivers in between!
St. Martin/Maarten will be a stark but interesting contrast. Every Caribbean island is so incredibly different, and yet many get lumped into the same classification. Sailing around them certainly gets me stoked to explore more in the future. In ship news - JWO phase has begun! Tonight I was the ‘Junior Watch Officer’ during evening watch. Everything we’ve learned about sailing while crossing the Atlantic has lead to this beautiful opportunity to run the deck and communicate directly with the Captain about sail plans. Being able to experience what it’s like to be a mate first-hand is stimulating and rewarding. Learning how to sail a tall ship while crossing a huge open ocean to running the deck onboard the Cramer in the Caribbean are quite different experiences; each with their own challenges; but most pressing for the JWO is to keep track of all the oncoming traffic and the many islands in our way! I look forward to fine-tuning my skills on deck, at the chart table, and in lab as we wrap up what’s been an unbelievable trip!
Much love to all those on journeys ashore and at sea ~
Shoutouts: to those who know me and are reading these blogs. lots of love to you and see you in the snow soon!