Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs
  • View SEA Semester campus visit calendar
SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer


November 21, 2015

Field Day and Fire Hoses

Holly Westbrook, B Watch, University of Connecticut

Oceans & Climate

Swab the Decks! The freshwater hose we use to rinse the decks, feat. Eben. Photo Credit: Katie Lyon

Position
21° 12.0’ N x 25° 43.0’ W

Description of location
High Seas, Canary Current

Souls on Board

Hello from the open ocean! Today has been a whirlwind—you don’t get Saturdays off while crossing the Atlantic on a tall ship. My watch had the morning watch, 0700-1300, and in a few hours we’ll be taking the mid watch, 2300-0300. I’m pretty excited because that is my favorite watch so far; I fall asleep really quickly afterward, though sometimes I sleep through breakfast. Even though we have this nice 10 hour gap in between, don’t get the idea that we’ve just been sitting here twiddling out thumbs. Today was our very first field day! We had three legged races, played capture the flag, and even hired a face painter! Okay, so that didn’t actually happen.

Field day means we clean the ship from head to toe, and it actually isn’t as bad as it sounds. The work is broken up between the watches and when we work as a team even a daunting task can be manageable. Plus, after we cleaned the ship we got to take a deck shower using the salt water fire hose. Even though it was a little intimidating at first it was really fun to scramble around with everyone trying to rinse the grim off without loosing our balance. Plus that thing has great water pressure.

An interesting thing about living on board is that I find myself enjoying pretty much everything, including the things that I hate doing to on land (a.k.a. cleaning and waking up early). Even when what you’re doing isn’t inherently fun you still know that at this very moment you’re doing something absolutely amazing: sailing in the open ocean and crossing the Atlantic. There’s really no way to ignore that this is going on, especially when the swells send you sliding across your bench. Plus it’s hard to be grumpy when work/class is repeatedly interrupted by dolphins and flying fish. There was also a rogue squid who made its way on deck a few nights ago, which was discovered via the very scientific process of me accidentally stepping on it.

So far one of the biggest challenges has been trying to plan coursework around watch hours. Even though we technically have fewer assignments than on land, we’re on a very tight schedules because of the watch hours. I usually procrastinate on my projects but that’s not really an option here. At my home institution if I needed to get something done I could just stay up super late and be ridiculously tired the next day. It didn’t really matter if I wasn’t fully functioning, or if I skipped a morning class. But that’s not an option here, people are relying on you to be awake and prepared. So yesterday I sat myself down and planned when I was going to work on what assignment for the entire six (well, five now) weeks, all based around my watches rather than actual days.

I’ll be signing off now, but first I’ll give a shout out to my parents, my brother, my sisters, and my best friend Mary, I miss you all like crazy. Except you Anna, I opened your letter the other day and have never been more deceived in my life. I honestly feel that this trick was on the “fishing-pole in the pillowcase” level as far as victim distress goes. But the good news is I have five more weeks to think of a way to get you back.

Fair winds,
Holly

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: c263  life at sea • (2) Comments

Reactions

#1. Posted by andrea on November 23, 2015

So exciting to be able to get an idea of what life is like for you at sea. My first graders are happily watching the red arrow move across the ocean. They ask me everyday if they can see where your boat is. Yes, it’s now your boat. Love you!


#2. Posted by Crystal aka Sister-in-law lol on November 24, 2015

You go Holly! Oh my goodness, I read it thinking, “Wow, this sounds a lot like when Evan was a deck seaman in the Navy!” I’m sure it is a lot of work and very tiring. I think you will learn a lot about life and yourself on your time there. Good girl planning class work around watches! It will seriously help make life easier; I know from experience, minus watches. That was Evan’s job lol. smileThomas, Evan, and Tucker say hi!


Name:

Email:

Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.