SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 10, 2019
16° 55.3’N x 062° 35.9’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and sail plan
Hove-to for science on a port tack under the mainstays’l
Wind ESE Beaufort force 4, clear blue skies
As the assistant engineer I have spent a long time familiarizing myself with our engineering spaces and the things we keep in them. We have vast, organized stores of tools, materials, knick-knacks, and thingamabobs so that in any problem-solving scenario we may have the supplies on board that we need to fix just about anything that could pop up. While we were at our calm, Caribbean anchorage however, a new and mysterious tool appeared on our workbench. An angled tool with flat edges, it contains a clear tube filled with a bright green liquid and a bubble inside. I’ve never seen this tool on Cramer before, and neither of us engineers knows where it came from. Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “what’s so mysterious about a level?” But of course, a level doesn’t work on a boat. As we’ve often described to you, dear readers, everything on our ship is in constant motion. Even so we still sometimes need to know the “level” of, for example, our diesel day tank - so we know there’s enough fuel available to power our equipment. Checking this level is a task we assign our boat checkers to do hourly, but it’s no easy feat. They read an indicator on the tank that rises and falls dramatically as the fuel in the tank sloshes back and forth with our motion. It has taken time to become familiar with levels on our vessel, and it’s one of the many skills these students have gained over the past few weeks.
Our students have entered a new level in their own experience on the ship together. They’ve completed the first port-call, had a taste of land after life at sea, and have returned to sailing in the third and final phase of the program. It is incredible to watch them return after the excitement and foreignness of land to the familiar rhythms of our sea voyage, now fully taking the reigns as junior watch and lab officers. They’re no longer
strangers to the language and motion of shipboard life. They’ve reached a new level in their bonding as well, and it’s a joy to see the whole crew letting their silly selves shine. Whether it’s leaning in to the dawn watch giggles, writing goofy wakeup songs, or letting out their creepy monster voices, these students have certainly transformed since they stepped on board.
All levels are relative here, and they can’t be measured against the fixed land standard. We’ve all grown to measure ourselves by the ocean’s motion. There is a freedom that comes with this new level that each of us will carry with us to wherever the wind brings us next.
- Sonia, Asst Engineer & SEA Alum S-252
PS – Happy birthday Mom, I love you! Sending love & gratitude to friends and family back home, can’t wait to see you soon!