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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

June 29, 2015

Reflections on Land Ho and Hard Work

Maria Kalambokidis, C Watch, University of Wisconsin—Madison

Transatlantic Crossing

Setting sail.

Noon Position
51° 17.1’N x 006° 59.4’W

Description of location
Celtic Sea, south of Ireland

Ship Heading
080° PSC

Ship Speed
4.6 knots

Taffrail Log
2993.8 nm

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Cloudy, with drizzle. Wind S Force 4. Seas SSW 3 feet. Sailing under the 4 lowers and the JT, including a single-reefed mails’l.

Marine Mammals Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)

Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)

Souls on Board

Greetings from across the Atlantic!

I write to you, having just completed a combined “fire” and “abandon ship” drill.  The seas were a churning gray as the crew moved through a thin mist of rain this afternoon, completing our assigned duties.  We each clambered into our bright red immersion suits, laughing as they transformed us into oversized lobsters—or clumsy Martian aliens, as I like to imagine.  As I stood on the quarterdeck with the sea shifting relentlessly beneath, watching my shipmates work together with ease, I was able to reflect on just how far we’ve come.

After nearly a month aboard the exquisite Cramer—a month of sailing through the grand expanse of the Atlantic—we have found land.  I was standing evening watch two days ago with my fellow C-Watchers, when we first saw it. Emerging from the loom on the horizon, Ireland rose before us.  Sarah M was first to yell “Land ho!” from the helm, and the rest of the crew scurried on deck to gape at the scene before us.  Quite honestly, it was enchanting. With the dark mound of land growing larger on the horizon and the golden sun beginning to set, we were greeted with a pod of blue dolphins darting and leaping through the waves.  While groups of four dolphins jumped in unison a few meters from the ship (I may or may not have exclaimed very loudly over this), our resident philosopher and musician, BC, began to play a long and sweet Irish melody on his pennywhistle.

When I reflect on this moment, I am not surprised to find that more than once on this voyage, I have thought to myself: “Now this, this, is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.”  The ocean is a constant, moving, thriving force that encompasses most of our planet’s surface.  Being out here has helped me to realize the context in which we all live our lives, and I shall go forth with a little more understanding of our pale blue dot that we call home.

On a slightly more academic note, last night marked the epic completion of our projects, for both leadership and science students alike.  After hours of writing—and the consumption of a considerable amount of trail mix labeled “for stress eating”—my trusty partner Raquel and I are done with our analysis of copepod pigmentation and diel vertical migration.  Today we are all basking in our liberation.

I feel that this blog would not be complete without mention of the hard work that has been in full swing as we go through our last few days aboard Mama Cramer.  A few days ago, Jen, Garrett, and I were found cleaning out the reefer (our climb-in refrigerator).  After being covered in a strange slimy substance whose origin I do not care to know, and tossing some very questionable fruit overboard, the three of us emerged with stronger characters and a dire need to shower.  Additionally, all of the students are working through inventory of the ship’s dry stores (I was found amidst a
small palace made of canned fruit yesterday evening, as BC and I endeavored to count them all), and we are all beginning to think about the end of our journey, as it draws ever closer.


P.S. My apologies to friends and family back home for not writing the blog sooner.  I am bringing back many tales of bioluminescence, the stars, and the hard work of being a sailor.  Sending my love!

Message in a bottle:
Happy 21st Birthday Brianne! Don’t do anything too crazy -Sarah

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Transatlantic Crossing, • Topics: c260  sailing • (2) Comments


#1. Posted by Laura K on June 30, 2015

Reading your blog entry has made my day, Maria! We are very eager to see you and hear your tales! love, Mom

#2. Posted by Kirsten on July 08, 2015

Just got back to the world of interwebs and so happy to hear your reflective voice on this blog and see that you and your crew arrived safely. Can’t wait to see you back in the States and hear more tales of adventure, dear Maria!



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