SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
May 16, 2021
Lamentations and Salutations
42° 26.3’ N 70° 10.8’ West
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Sailing under the 4 lowers on a port tack c/o 260°. Wind SxW F3, Seas 4 ft, Visibility 5 nm.
Description of location
20 nautical miles North of Provincetown, MA on Stellwagen Bank.
It feels like only yesterday that we were boarding the Cramer for the first time. Those first few days on the ship still feel like a blur: being told where my bunk is (with no idea of what the location name actually means - Squalor? Where is that!?!), getting to man the helm for the first time, and running into each and every wall while trying to find my "sea legs."
Over the past weeks, we have learned how to handle sails and lines, run science stations and processing, take showers with minimal water once every three days, and how to find times to sleep in the middle of the day. More recently, as Junior Watch Officers (JWOs) and Junior Lab Officers (JLOs), we have had the unique opportunity to lead our watchmates in lab and on deck. While this was stressful at first, I now - after over a month at sea - feel like I sort of know what I'm doing!
It feels like all this time has been just an introduction to the boat: I've just adjusted to my sea legs and finally figured out how to run the deck. I'm ready for another handful of weeks at sea. but we only have a few days left. So, I've decided to give this blog a few parts. I'll celebrate some of the amazing experiences we've had on the Cramer (see yesterday's post for more), include some "day in the life" content my mom requested, and I'll wrap up with describing some of the things I'm looking forward to as we return to Woods Hole for our Shore II part of the program.
Life on the Cramer is a challenging, special, and exciting experience. While adjusting to an 18-hour day schedule, we also got used to walking on a boat (in varying conditions), using heads which pump-flush manually, sleeping in small bunks, and not being able to exercise in ways some people were used to (running and biking, for instance). While the adjustment to life at sea was hard and took awhile for many of us, it has had so many rewarding experiences. During night and dawn watches, I've gotten to see more stars than I have ever seen before and may ever see again. I've seen bioluminescent organisms glow in the wake of the ship, and in the wake of dolphins. I've seen shooting stars. During the morning and afternoon watches, I've learned how to set new sails and preform sailing maneuvers I'd never heard about before coming aboard the boat.
In my off time, I've gone aloft, relaxed on the head rig and on the housetops, and watched for whales and dolphins. I've seen a rocket launch at night, been snorkeling in the Dry Tortugas, and jumped off of the head rig while at anchor during a swim call. I've had so many good experiences and learned so much: it feels like this has only just begun. However, we are reaching the end of our cruise track towards Woods Hole and the end of our days on the Cramer. I'm going to miss so many parts of life on the boat, and those moments- swim calls and whale watching and stargazing- will stick with me forever.
Some of you may be wondering if these last few days on the ship are any different than they have been over the rest of the trip: the answer is yes and no. We are still sailing, having class daily, and following our 18-hour day schedule. However, our strictness of trying to follow our cruise track has diminished. We are close enough to our destination for tomorrow that most of today and this evening was spent trying new maneuvers or setting different sails: freedom that we haven't had for much of the trip. This isn't the only fun we've been having in these final days: today we went whale watching on Stellwagen Bank (to be continued tomorrow), and some of us are trying to cram in a few more climbs aloft or onto the head rig. Whale watching today was pretty great: many people on the boat saw whales that they'd never seen before, or behaviors that are amazing to witness (we saw a slapping/waving behavior). Tomorrow we'll be doing some more whale watching before heading through the Cape Cod Canal.
Getting in those last few climbs aloft or those last times setting certain sails aren't the only things that we are doing as e prepare to leave the Cramer. Cleaning and inventorying the ship are also important to help them prepare for restocking. Each set of top and bottom bunk students was assigned two sets of items to inventory: a job which includes digging under mattresses and under settees. My mom had asked me how we stored so much food for such a long trip on this boat. The answer is that pretty much under everything is storage space. Pasta, spices, toilet paper, cleaning supplies- it is all crammed in every possible space on the ship. Some dry goods are in the "dry stores" (like potatoes), some fruits (like oranges) live on deck, and other foods live in the reefer and freezer. We have had different meals practically every day and have enjoyed the variety of food greatly.
Even though life on the Cramer has been amazing, there are still some things that I miss about land. Ice cream is pretty much at the top of my list. Long showers, cooking for myself, and talking regularly to my family are all things I've missed. Also, me and much of the crew are excited to finally get our vaccine doses. So, even though I'm sad to say goodbye to the Cramer and all of her opportunities, I'm ready to once again say hello to land and all of the people and things that are in store for me upon our return.
Goodbye to the Cramer, and salutations to Woods Hole
Shout out to all the folks from home who are reading this blog! Apparently, my parents have been sharing it far and wide, so thanks to everyone from FPS and WMC and everywhere else who have found their way here! To my family: I love you and I'll talk to you all soon!
- Lucy Manlick, C Watch, Mount Holyoke College