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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

February 13, 2019

Snorkel Survey Surprise !!

Jeff Schell, Chief Scientist


Above: Our first snorkel survey is met with much enthusiasm. Below: This doesn’t happen every day; dolphins checking us out, the unusual visitors to their watery home; Students enjoy the view of Coral Castles – a notable formation of pillar coral in Cane Bay, St Croix; Delphine, being true to her name, takes a closer look at a coral nursery managed by The Nature Conservancy.

Current Location
17° 45.0’ N x 064° 41.0’ W

Ship’s Heading & Speed 
Alongside Gallows Bay, Christiansted, St Croix, USVIs

Light trade winds E x S sunny with a few passing clouds and occasional rain shower.

Good Morning faithful followers of Cruise C284 Blog!  Welcome to the story of our academic and scientific explorations of the Caribbean.  Today we stepped off the deck of the Corwith Cramer and visited Cane Bay, St Croix, a popular beach and dive destination on the north shore.  Our mission, to practice and refine our snorkel survey techniques, document coral reef health and reef fish and invertebrate diversity, and finally to have a bit of fun at the same time.

Pictures, thankfully, are worth a thousand words.  Conditions were excellent, water visibility greater than 40’ provided cathedral views of sun-dappled reefs, and during our survey we were visited by sea turtles, rays, and finally a small pod of dolphins!    As if that were not enough, we visited a well-known coral formation called Coral Castles that I have personally visited each year since 2002.  I am happy to report it is looking very healthy!

An interesting destination along our underwater tour was a coral nursery managed by The Nature Conservancy.  Here we observed floating ‘fields’ of staghorn coral meticulously ‘cultivated’ in an effort to protect coral reefs from the many threats of human-caused environmental change.  We learned more about the future plans for the coral nursery from Ashlee Lillis and Allison Watts, two members of the Nature Conservancy’s coral restoration team who joined us for dinner onboard the Cramer.  I proudly listened in as the students carried on a lively discussion with our guests concerning the future of coral reef conservation.

The other half of our fun-filled, day was dedicated to additional ship orientation and safety training.  A full day indeed.  Once the student learning curve levels off to a moderate level you will begin to hear their side of the story!  Stay tuned. 


P.S. To family, friends, and loved ones ashore, though we may be 1000s of miles apart you are never far from my heart.  Sweet dreams.


#1. Posted by Skylah Reis on February 14, 2019

Protect those reefs and sweet dreams xxoo

#2. Posted by Anne-Lise Eikeland on February 14, 2019

For en fantastisk begynnelse for alle spente og lærerike ungdommer ombord.Veldig spennende og følge dere Hilsen fra en farmor fra Norge.Mvh.Anne-Lise Eikeland

#3. Posted by Renee Reis on February 14, 2019

Skylah, you have inspired us to help protect our environment on land now we will do the same for the sea.  Love reading the blog!
Enjoy every minute

#4. Posted by Fred Saas on February 14, 2019

We love following the blogs and looking for Emma in the pictures!  Sail on and enjoy!  Can’t wait to hear the stories.

#5. Posted by Michelle Gaydeski on February 15, 2019

So cool to see that all creatures in the water are curious about each other!

#6. Posted by Grandpa Reis on February 20, 2019

Skylah can’t wait to hear all about your experience when you get back.



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