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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

March 07, 2016

Halfway Mark

Chris Nolan, Captain

SEA Semester Caribbean

Above: Cramer sailing in light air. Below: Maddie standing lookout watch

The Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti

Northeast winds at 20 knots

Souls on Board

By my reckoning we are at around the halfway mark for the sea component of C-264. So far it has been a really great trip. For me, the best part of the trip is a toss-up between all the awesome people we have sailing with us, and the amazing experience at Silver Bank with the Humpback Whales. I guess since none of our ship's company will read the blog until we get ashore, I'll go with the whales as my favorite part.

Yesterday we had a fitful day of sailing around in light air (really calm winds). The normal trade winds in this area have been blocked by a big cold front coming off the east coast of the USA, so we've had light and variable winds, which makes it challenging to both cover the miles we need to make as well as conduct science operations under sail. Yesterday, the seas were calm and allowed for a swim call in over 2000 meters of water, which was a welcome relief from the hot and sticky conditions. However, the same cold front that was blocking our trade winds eventually caught up to us around midnight and delivered some cooler temperatures, some rain, and some strong winds from the north. So as I write this, we are just finishing up a long stretch of sailing at over 8 knots towards Cuba, making up all the miles we lost yesterday. 

To paint a picture of what is happening right now, we are hove to for science in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti with a fresh northerly breeze and partly cloudy skies. As we drift slowly to leeward, our science team is deploying equipment to measure water properties such as salinity, temperature, and visibility to help finish up student oceanography project research. Julianne, our visiting NOAA scientist, is listening for Humpback Whale songs through a hydrophone. Earlier, our maritime studies professor, Craig, delivered a nice synopsis of Cuban history to the on-watch students. Later, students will measure the altitude of the sun with sextants to determine our latitude using celestial navigation. Behind the curtain, Tia, our steward, and her assistant Tess are whipping up another delicious lunch, and Alex, our engineer, is up to her elbows doing an oil change on the main engine and keeping everything on Corwith Cramer running smoothly.  So all in all, at the halfway point of our voyage, we are definitely living up to the spirit of a "Sailing School Vessel."

- Chris

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#1. Posted by Tim Saburn on March 07, 2016

Assistant steward Tess????? Is that my daughter who never cooks? Please, Captain, tell me it is….
Seriously, what a wonderful trip and opportunity for all aboard!
Bueno suerte en Cuba.



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