SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 28, 2015
Location, Location, Location
14° 54.0’ N x 036° 28.8’ W
We're sailing along and I think everyone is finally used to the rhythm of life at sea - the strange sleep schedule and frequent snacks. However, there have been some changes this week. We've transitioned into phase two of the program, in which one student shadows the mate and scientist each watch. Each watch also is working with a different mate and scientist now. I think we're all sad to leave our original watch officers, but as we start taking the lead, it's good to see different styles and learn new things from another person. Another big change came as we took a turn westward. For several days we had been sailing at 245 per ships compass, but now we've turned to 290. I hope that soon we'll also be using some different sails. We had been sailing downwind and using our squares'ls - the tops'l and course. Yesterday during class, we had set-strike-furl practice in which each watch got a chance to set the jib, the fisherman, and the main.
Hopefully we'll be using some of those soon to get more familiar with the Corwith Cramer.
This is the longest I've ever been at sea and I'm loving every part of it - looking through a microscope at our Neuston Tow hundred count, hauling and sweating lines, and taking time for cherished moments of peace: looking out at the blue horizon and reading, knitting, or just sitting quietly. And then there are those moments that don't seem so great but are alright among good shipmate: carrying heavy and dirty mats up to the deck to be cleaned, getting pushed from side to side in the main saloon, or scrubbing out a crevice that looks like it hasn't been cleaned in months (gross, but immensely satisfying).
I am a sailing intern for C-263 so I didn't do a shore portion for the semester and I'm slowly catching up with the students' knowledge of celestial navigation (parents who are reading, your children are great teachers). I'm finally able to shoot the sun and stars with a sextant and I'm figuring out how to use all of the tables and plotting sheets to determine where in the world we are. I can't quite grasp it all yet, but I am learning every day. Every hour, we plot our position on the chart using a celestial fix or a dead reckoning and we watch our progress unfold on paper from the Canaries to the middle of the Atlantic. It sometimes feels odd to be working so hard on plotting our position because I mostly feel like my location is the Corwith Cramer, not a latitude and longitude. I'm not really thinking about getting to Dominica or Saint Croix because I'm focused on the day-to-day activities on board. Every day I see the same people, get out of the same bunk in the focs'le, and see the same people. My surroundings seem more constant than ever before, even as I travel more miles than ever before.
To my friends and family who may be reading, I miss you very much and can't wait to see you when I return. Happy Thanskgiving! I'm sad that I couldn't spend it with you Mom and Chris, I hope you have a great Atlantic crossing as well. Laura, I'm bringing you Flakes all the way from Gran Canaria. Dad, I can now teach you some things about stars when we escape the city glow. I'm having a splendid time and learning so much.