SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
May 24, 2015
First Day at Sea
40° 27.2N x 073° 49.5W
Underway south of western end of Long Island
Wind Southwest force 4, Clear skies
Hauling up the anchor south of Brooklyn marked our first full day at sea as we began to sail through the day and night and began our first 24-hour cycle of watch rotations alongside informative classes on the quarter deck, weather and navigation reports, scientific deployments and lab work. The boat staff of captain, scientists, mates, engineers, deckhands and stewards were the best of teachers allowing for our group of participants to learn the many tasks required to keep a ship on course while fulfilling its mission to pursue scientific studies.
Reporting on the wind's direction was one of my favorite assigned tasks while sailing on the Corwith Cramer. I’d stand in front of the compass, shed my hat, close my eyes and would slowly move around the compass until the point at which I could feel the wind evenly on both sides of my face. I’d open my eyes and look at the compass to see the wind’s direction. Throughout much of the second day and night, these favorable winds, were coming in from the South and Southwest, pushing the ship forward along its course at a steady 8 knots without the assistance of the engine.
Of course, there were many assigned tasks during our time at sea and not all were equally enjoyable. One cannot compare feeling for the wind’s direction with being on your hands and knees scrubbing the soles (floors); but what was common between all of the required tasks was simply that they had to be done; they were necessary and important to proceed. Personally, what resonated most during the second day at sea was the realization that the distance between one’s efforts and one’s rewards had been compressed and, in that compression, their purpose and meaning had been enhanced. Further, as members of our watch, we quickly learned that none of these tasks could be accomplished individually but only through effective collaboration and communication with one another. It is not difficult to imagine the cumulative impact of several weeks at sea for our students as they learn about, participate in, become masterful of and teach to others a broad range of tasks, responsibilities and lessons.