SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 28, 2018
Jump In With Both Feet
11deg 43min North x 061deg 52min West, 24 nautical miles south of Grenada
Evening twilight approaches. We are close-reaching under Main, Main Staysail, Fore Staysail, Jib and Jib Topsail (affectionately known as the JT), steering SSE in the light Force 3 (7 - 10 knots) Easterly Trade Winds. The students are getting their sea-legs on this first day underway, adjusting to the 'motion in the ocean.' It's rewarding to watch the evolution, from consternation to smiles, as the students transition from reacting to the Cramer's motion to responding. This evolution will continue over the coming weeks, the ship's routine shaping the daily 'flow' of the community aboard. Whether it's the ready smile when the dinner bell rings or the sudden recognition that 'oh, this is what this line does' - the community evolves and morphs, and character is formed that lasts far beyond the end of the voyage.
The last 24-hours have been busy. Beginning with yesterday's boarding at 1400 (i.e. 2pm), the students have been getting an almost non-stop orientation to the ship, from learning the intricacies of doing a boat check to the skills required to operate the hydro-winch, the challenges of cooking for 36 people in a constantly moving galley to the proper technique for doing wake-ups. The ship is a 'foreign country' with its own language, unique customs, and specialized way of doing things. It takes courage to step into this unique community, yet the students have jumped in with both feet.
We capped off this morning's drills (Man Overboard, Fire and Abandon Ship, as mandated by the US Coast Guard) with a display of sail power in action. Following a brief use of the main engine to shift the Cramer clear of the dock, we sailed out of St. Georges under the Square Tops'l and Staysails, paying homage to the traditions of this fine natural port. The Grenada waterfront is called the Carenage, named after the ages-old act of careening a vessel, a technique of hauling a ship down on its 'beam-ends' (its side) to clean the bottom prior to heading out across the Atlantic to England and Europe.
Tonight we'll heave-to and conduct a shipek grab, snatching a bottom sample from the northern edge of South America's continental shelf. Following this geological sampling, we'll shift to biological sampling by conducting a midnight Neuston tow, a method that SEA has been doing for over 45-years. On that note I'm off to bed, excited to be awakened in a few hours for 'Science'!
- Sean S. Bercaw, Captain