SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
March 29, 2015
Written just after sunrise as we sailed west with the Course, Topsail, and Main Staysail en route to our final destination, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were well past 2000nm on the taffrail log and the following breeze gave a gentle roll to the Cramer as we head for port.
It has all been said, or so it would seem. The student blogs these past six weeks have provided an honest, vivid, and uniquely personal view of their time onboard the Corwith Cramer. An experience that has been at times challenging, rewarding, and deeply profound in ways specific to each and every student and crew member onboard. There is an undeniable sense that we have all shared a common adventure, weathered the 'storms' together, and have forged unbreakable bonds together; and thus, as a ship's community, we are all the stronger for it. It has been a pleasure and an honor to sail with the students of C257 and I am delighted to now call them my shipmates.
So how does one describe this six week academic adventure? Where to start, what details to include, to leave out? This will be a challenge for each student. For friends and family back home eager to know "How was it?" I offer a few recommendations.
First, know that there are a ton of pictures. I have been the ship's personal paparazzi (along with Thomas!) capturing all of the student's hard work. They have been busy, often too busy to bother grabbing their cameras. And ironically, when they do have a spare moment, kicking it on deck or onshore with their shipmates, they are no longer working. So the perspective of student pictures is often a bit skewed?!?! Know this - the students of C257 have certainly earned their academic credits, have earned their sea legs, have earned the right to be called shipmates and crew of the Corwith Cramer!
Secondly, think of the port stops as convenient, albeit important, academic waypoints for the voyage; but by no means think of our island stops as the sole purpose of the voyage. So much of the experience, learning, and personal growth occurred during the days spent at sea - out of sight of land. As an oceanographer with over 20 years' experience I can say with a straight face that there is a magic, a mystery, an inexplicable power to the sea that draws upon each and every one of us that I hope science will never be able to explain. For the last 40 days the sea has been a close, ever present companion that has opened a window to a better understanding of ourselves. Though port stops are an easy and familiar way to describe and understand this experience the true magic occurred at sea.
And finally I encourage you to ask the students to see their journals. Each student, with the help, encouragement, and guidance of many, have 'Documented Their Voyage' with drawings, paintings and words. Like the many explorers of generations past, whose logbooks, diaries, journals, and scientific publications we studied onshore, the students have also diligently, meticulously, and artistically recorded their journey through the Caribbean and all that they have learned. For the past 48 hours the faculty have read through these journals with an ever-growing sense of pride. A tremendous amount of energy, thought, inspiration, and talent has been poured into these pages and the result is truly remarkable. A deeply personal story of each student's adventure has been captured in these pages - so enjoy the show!
To conclude this humble missive I would like to give a final shout-out to an important member of our community. If you have been following the last few blogs you will notice a change in tone and subject. The entries are much more reflective with an emphasis on shipmates and community and less about specific, daily events. However, one member of this community deserves special recognition - the SSV Corwith Cramer - a most excellent sailing, scientific, teaching platform. She has been our shelter, our classroom, our office, our home these past 40 days. She has treated us with care and for that we thank her.