SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
April 26, 2018
Getting Ready for the Big Race!
25°53.9’ N, 072° 23.8’ W
Course & Speed
HB/HT- We are currently “Hove-to” or stopped for science deployments!
Reefed Mains’l, Mainstays’l, Forestays’l, and the Jib
Overcast but still a little sunny, the clouds are helping keep the temperature reasonable
A big Mahi Mahi spotted today during class while sail-handling!
Tomorrow is the big day, the much anticipated Pin Rail Chase! We’ve been hard at work trying to learn every line on the boat in the past week, and we get tested on them all tomorrow in a big relay-style race between the watches. Much of today’s free time has been dedicated to really cementing our knowledge of the lines. I myself have already done 4 full laps of the boat going over every line, and learning ones that we haven’t used very much. We also had a very helpful class today where we set 3 sails that are rarely set on the Cramer, the Fisherman, the Course, and the Jib Tops’l. This helped fill in many of the gaps in our line knowledge for tomorrow as we have to each individually know every line. The Pin Rail Chase will be a relay in which one member from each watch will get a card with the name of a line on it, they show their watch-mates, and then they have to go find it. Their watch mates can tell them if they’re getting hotter or colder but nothing else, and they have 3 tries before they have to give up. Once they find the line they speed-walk (not run, as that would be unsafe on deck) back to their group so that the next person can go. Whichever watch finishes first wins, and I can already tell it’s going to be a fierce competition.
Life on the Cramer isn’t all just learning lines though. There’s constantly a million things happening at once on board from science to baking/cooking to celestial navigation, and we as students have a hand in all of it. It’s both exhausting and exciting at the same time. My last watch, this morning, I started learning how to use a sextant to take celestial fixes. The watch before that, yesterday afternoon, I helped process a Neuston Tow after doing some DNA extraction work for my group research project. Later this week I’ll be the assistant steward which means I’ll be in the galley all day helping plan and cook 3 meals and 3 snacks for everyone onboard. We really get to see how every aspect of life on the Cramer works, which I think is part of what makes SEA so special. Not only are we learning more about biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea and conducting research, but we’re learning how to sail, how to live and work in a small, close community as a good neighbor, and other life skills such as time management and organization. Captain Jason runs a tight ship (still fun though!), and your shipmates are depending on you to show up on time for watch, for class, and to get things done so that they can take what you were working on to the next step when it’s their turn. It’s been tough adjusting to having this much responsibility all while learning new things every minute, but I think its made each student stronger as a person. The Captain, our Mates, the Scientists, and the whole crew have been wonderful teachers so far and have made the adjustment to life onboard much easier, so a big shout-out to them for helping all of us through this journey of a lifetime.
I have to say that this has possibly been the coolest and most awe-inspiring experience in my life so far. I’ll never forget stepping onto the deck for my first watch, dawn watch from 1am-7am, and thinking that I must be dreaming. The entire sky was a blanket of stars, every constellation that could possibly be seen where we were on earth was visible, and the only sounds were the ocean and the ruffling of the sails. Watching the mast sway back and forth across the stars with the roll of the waves while I manned the helm (steered the boat) I was struck by just how small we all are compared to the vastness of the ocean and sky, and why our mission on this trip, studying the Sargasso Sea to aid with conservation efforts, is so important. This big, beautiful ocean supports so much life that it’s hard to even begin to comprehend. The Sargasso Sea has shown us countless interesting creatures both big and small, and it has also taken us into its fold. The Cramer may be our ship, but our home is the Sargasso Sea as it now supports us as well. This sense of place in the Sargasso Sea I feel makes our research that much more meaningful, and will help us translate our findings to those who probably won’t ever get the chance to sail through the Sargasso Sea. If we care enough, which I know as a whole group we definitely do, then we can make others see why they should care as well. I am excited to see what the rest of this voyage has in store for both my shipmates and myself as we sail towards Bermuda and then on to New York!
- Emily Brady, B Watch, UMass Amherst
P.S. Friends and family at home I love and miss you all! Mom and Dave please give the pups hugs and kisses from me, Mom or Dad give Chris a hug and kiss from me next time you see him, same to nana, Tyler happy 22nd birthday, and Dylan happy 7 <3 Love you all and can’t wait to tell you all about this journey when I get home!