SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 12, 2014
Idle Minds and Free Time
At anchor in Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica
For the past three weeks we have been kept to a strict schedule, a schedule that is required for the safe operation of the vessel, but today, for the first time in three weeks, I found myself without a schedule. Being in port changes almost every aspect of ship life that many of us have gotten used to and grown fond of. The watches change from A watch, B watch, and C watch to Port watch and Starboard watch. The sleep schedule changes, as night watches require fewer people on deck allowing each person to stand for only one hour each night, rather than the traditional four. When on duty during the day, instead of standing watch for six continual hours the watch lasts all day, but in a much more relaxed fashion. Music is allowed now that constant vigilance is slightly less necessary and the meals become “All Hands” meals since there is usually a group of people ashore during meal time, making for a much smaller group of hungry people who need feeding. The biggest change, however, is that in port each person has one day when they don’t stand watch during the day or night. For me, that day is today.
It was a slow start to the day to begin with. Wakeups didn’t happen until 7:10 and breakfast wasn’t served until 7:30, rather than the traditional 6:00 wakeups and 6:20 breakfast. Once the ship had finished chowing down I began to realize that I had the whole day ahead of me. I could leave the ship and would not be expected back until curfew at 23:00. I had no chores to do, no errands to run, and no real limitations on what I could do with my time. It was bizarre… There were several of us that had today off and we all decided to head to Roseau, the capital of Dominica.
Upon getting to shore I boarded the bus with Missy, Heather, and Emma as well as two of our professors, Craig, and Clare. We then embarked on an hour-long ride that eventually deposited us in Roseau. We stepped off the bus into the middle of the Friday Market and were immediately overwhelmed by the sites, sounds, smells, and people. It’s a bit shocking to go from interacting with a select group of 28 people to being thrown into a street full of shoppers and vendors. After wandering aimlessly for a short while we finally found our bearings and started towards the botanical gardens. The day was already hot and was only going to get hotter and the air was heavy with humidity. However, we still made the short, yet steep, trek up through the gardens to a hilltop that offered a breathtaking view of most of Roseau and its harbor. Upon arriving at the top we sat in the shade, drenched but pleased, and cooled off for a bit, enjoying the view and the leisure of being able to sit and do nothing. After enjoying a moment of peace and stillness we headed back down the hill and walked towards the waterfront by way of several small vendors and market places. Products for sale ranged from locally grown and ground spices, to hand made jewelry, to imported souvenirs such as shot glasses and cigarette lighters. We met up with Craig for lunch and enjoyed ice-cold coffee and juice and delicious local foods.
Soon we were on a bus again, heading back to Portsmouth for the afternoon.
For me the ride seemed slightly less frantic due to the fact that I fell into a solid sleep for a good portion of it. We arrived in town just in time for a Caribbean Rainstorm to settle in and our dreams of enjoying a sunny afternoon on the beach began to fade. I think we were all fine with the change in schedule though, I know I was beginning to feel a bit drowsy, having spent the entire day in the sun and on a schedule so different from the one I have become accustomed to. So instead of heading to the beach in the rain we settled into the Purple Turtle Café and enjoyed more cool refreshments, watched the rain fall, and allowed our minds to wander aimlessly in ways they had not done in weeks. Tomorrow we leave port and begin our short trip to St. Maarten, the next stop in our island hoping adventure. Tomorrow we settle back into a schedule that more closely resembles “normal” onboard. Tomorrow we spring back into action, mind and body, renewed after our short mental and physical siesta from boat life.
Tonight though, we sleep.
Signing off with peaceful thoughts,
* Sending good island vibes back to Mom, Dad, and Alex and wishing Amy and Lauren good luck and safe travels!! Finals are almost over!!! I can’t wait to talk to you all when I get back and tell you all of the things that can’t be explained or described in a blog post. – Lots of love! Becca
* To Maia and Victoria back in Woods Hole, we miss you!! Victoria, “Fast and Loose Friday” is now a well-known phrase amongst the crew. Maia, thanks to your inspiration there were efforts to make paper football happen on Local Apparent Thanksgiving. Thinking of you both as the end of our trip begins to near! – From, your Corwith Cramer Family