SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
May 17, 2018
Notes of a “Voyager”
36:50,1’N x 070:37.0’ W
Fore and main staysail
The wind has picked up and there are sizeable swells today - not the smooth, sunny conditions we've enjoyed since leaving Bermuda. It's just after lunch and conditions may be classified as "sporty" as we approach the counter-current of the Gulf Stream - about Force 7 on the Beaufort Scale.
Too rough to deploy scientific gear, students have been spending time on the quarterdeck, where, just after breakfast, we were visited by a pod of dolphins, the third such social call we've experienced since leaving Bermuda. The dolphins were sometimes nearly level with us as they swam in the rising swells, and they seemed almost as interested in us as we were in them!
I should back up and introduce myself. I am classified as a " voyager" on the Bermuda to New York City leg - a designation given to shore-based members of the SEA staff who occasionally accompany a portion of a voyage. My primary responsibilities involve marketing and communications back in Woods Hole. I'm also classified as an "other," which means I'm not assigned to a watch, but can float around from watch to watch. I spend several hours every day after breakfast helping whichever watch is on duty, and two or three hours after dinner helping that watch. During the day I take pictures, help furl sails, haul on halyards, and wash dishes - whatever needs doing.
Most of all, I enjoy the company of the students, faculty and crew. I continue to be so impressed by the students' cheerful attitudes, enthusiasm, humor, intelligence, and sense of responsibility. One never hears a complaint, and students pitch in with enthusiasm whenever duty calls - whether it be calculating the hourly dead reckoning position or sweating a halyard for those last few stubborn inches -these are tasks that challenge both mind and body! It's all the more challenging given the students' heavy workload . In addition to the molecular biology research they're doing, they must learn how to do celestial navigation sail a tall ship, and organize and present a symposium upon their return. It's a lot to ask for especially on the high seas, but I suspect when all is done, students will come away from the experience thinking "if I can do that, I can do anything."