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Sea Education Association | SEA Currents

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer


Apr

26

Observations from the Sargasso Sea

Dr. Robbie Smith, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, C-259 Visiting Scientist
MBC spring 2015

Robbie prepares to dip net sample Sargassum

Noon Position
25° 03.8’ N x 67° 11.7’ W

Description of location
South Sargasso Sea

Ship Heading
355°

Ship Speed
5.0 knots

Taffrail Log
380.5 Nautical Miles

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
29.8° C; 15-18 knot south westerly winds; scattered clouds; stays’ls and jib

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
Some windrows throughout the day

Souls on Board

Hello to all the extended families and friends of the Corwith Cramer crew!

What a great feeling to be sailing again! After yet another beautiful night, lit by a half moon, the breeze returned early this morning and we have had a fantastic day of sailing. We have a strong breeze on our port quarter, with the seas building gradually, and Mama Cramer and her crew are loving it. This wind is pushing us in the right direction. Late this morning we crossed the 25th parallel and are truly deep in the Sargasso Sea. We had lots of windrows this morning and I was busy collecting seaweed samples with the dip net. But a strong indicator of the Sargasso Sea was very evident today: lots of large and small plastic fragments trapped in the windrows.

It has been a very busy day for flyingfish. The large waves and stronger winds favor their flying and it is always exciting to see three or four fish explode out of a wave and soar over the ocean’s surface, then splashing back in. We have had other animals in the air today with a visit from a white-tailed tropic bird, known as the longtail in my native Bermuda, and two Wilson’s storm petrels, who are a long way from their Antarctic breeding grounds! More surprising were visits from two swallows this afternoon, either bank or rough-winged swallows, who winter in South America and are migrating north now. Yesterday we had a visit from a barn swallow,  who swooped around the boat a few times and perched right on the quarterdeck rail for a few seconds and then left us, continuing its journey.

It has been a busy day of sailing and science and the students have some “downtime”  in the PM, meaning they do not have to prepare reports or attend class.  But they are hard at work on project reports, celestial navigation work and planning out their sample processing tasks. Everyone had to pitch in this afternoon to help put a reef in the mainsail, in case stronger winds happen. This is a lot of work: holding, tugging, wrestling our biggest flapping sail into submission, but carefully orchestrated by mates Allison and Ashley. But all of this came to a grinding halt when Lauren delivered her 16:00 (4PM) snack to the deck, with a hearty “hot coming out” warning. There she was bearing platters of super-delicious warm cheese-y pizza bread loaves, watermelon and orange slices!!!

Another day at sea is winding down and we all look forward to another week at sea. Lots of hard work ahead but wonderfully balanced with great camaraderie, more singing and maybe some surprises.

- Robbie

Big shout out to my family in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia; Philadelphia and in Bermuda. Good luck with your finals, Sarah and Tyler! Much love to you all.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, • Topics: c259  sargasso sea  sailing  research • (0) Comments
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