SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
March 07, 2015
16 ° 44.11’N x 062° 16.26’W
Off the west coast of Guadeloupe by about 20 nautical miles
Topsail at first, then a shallow reefed Main, Mainstays’l , and Forestays’l
Cumulus clouds covering the sky and the wind from East by South at a force 5.
Marine Mammals Observed in the last 24 hours
Many dolphins!! (And us human sailors on the Cramer)
Sargassum Observed in the last 24 hours
Seems to follow us everywhere we go, and today we observed many windrows both small and large in diameter.
Today was field day!! Compared to our last big clean up, I felt like this one went much smoother. The fire line crawled up the forward ladder and out on the bow, music booming, galley pots, pans and spices moving outside. After the line dispersed, I prepared for a dive deep into the belly of the Cramer. The rest of my fellow watch mates tackled the galley, I submerged myself below them to begin the deep clean of the dry stores. Now, it is not all that bad, you know; you actually get time to yourself to think ('wow, look at this smudge on the wall that I must scrub many times. oh I wonder how good lunch will be- I thought I heard voices but it just might be me.') But ohhhh boy is it work. Gotta scrub the ceilings and walls, then the floors! After all, it's gotta look good for the cook because she feeds us all and pretty much keeps us alive (and of course the rest of the crew does as well, but I meant energy wise).
The cleanup ceased at around 1040 which brought all on deck and into the ocean! That water felt GOOD. I took my snorkel and mask to see what I could find on the sea floor (which was visible more than 20 feet below) and observed a school of Bar Jacks hanging out underneath the Cramer. We set sail shortly after, heading towards our next destination: Dominica! I stood watch for the next 6 hours, where I took the helm (a favorite duty of mine), and washed the deck! That in itself was fun, but might have been torturous for my watch mates who were scrubbing the deck in front of me while I watered down the deck and sprayed them as well (muuhahaha!!). By the mid-point in our watch, we could see both the smoking island of Montserrat and Guadeloupe in the far distance, covered in haze. The Labbies had Dip Net fun, and captured some Sargassum to look at back in the Lab. We are looking for all species of Sargassum, but today mainly Fluitans and Natans; two species familiar to all who know Sargassum, but are always subject to the encroachment of the newly discovered species labeled as 'Other.' There has always been 'Other' in the waters we sail through, giving us much to think about. My oceanography project is actually looking at what characteristics of the Sargassum species specifically define each of them, also comparing sizes and shape in the different areas in which we find them; using salinity, light and temperature as variables to get a bigger picture of what could possibly be happening.
As I am writing this in the muggy library of the Cramer, the ship is currently sailing full and by (Sailing as close to the wind as possible without losing speed) off of the west coast of Guadeloupe under some BEAUTIFUL stars. The moon hasn't risen yet, giving us the opportunity to view the sky in all of its glory. I wish you (my wonderful family, and every friend I have out there on Earth) could be here with me so I could show you what is happening on this vessel, and how amazing it feels to have the wind and maybe a wave come and spray your face while you stand watch on the bow in the middle of the night; watching for tankers, cruise ships, sailing ships, and even sea monsters (yes I have seen one). I could go on, but will finish with a little something I wrote with my time at the Montserrat Hotel in the Exclusion Zone under the volcano:
An entire town desolated by smog and ash.
Nothing is left but memories, skeletons and trash,
The vegetation grows and grows, never stopping just creeping past
Human progress and abandoned civilization.
It is as if we've been transported here 1000 years ago, to when
No beeping horns or people knew how to bend metal and minds for their own use.
Ancient mills and ancient seas are subjects to the Mountain's decree.
It decides when things shall grow and thrive,
While in the midst everything dies.
I feel as if life is happy here without all the hustle and bustle reel;
That these abandoned homes provide a new habitat-
Alien, but they adapt.
Everything is overgrown: the roofs, walls, roads of stone.
As for the eye, as far as it can see,
Its reddish brown, grey and green;
A soothing warm breeze upon my sweating brow
With the humming leaves telling me of their childhood
And how they grew up and come to this space
Available for them to repopulate.
A bird knows more than a scientist knows
Even before everything goes up
In ash fire and flame.