SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 16, 2019
Snorkeling, singing, and smiling
16° 21.87’ N x 064° 45.00’ W
Ship’s Heading & Speed
Anchored in Francis Bay, St. John.
Sunny, scattered cumulus and cirrus clouds. Hot (30+°C) and humid.
Aside from those of us who had anchor watch this morning, our day began at 0630. After breakfast, chores, and some packing, we launched our two inflatable boats and shuttled everyone to the nearby beach. From there, we walked across the island to Waterlemon Bay where we spotted a reef shark in the shallow water and surveyed a lively reef. While snorkeling, we saw, among others, a ray, turtles (including a “momma and baby”), ctenophores, parrot fish, lots of sea urchins, and a couple of barracuda. My job was to look for yellow-tailed snappers, bar jacks, blue-striped grunts, and barracuda, and to keep a tally of their numbers on a dive slate. I found a few of all four species—especially grunts and jacks.
After our survey, which lasted about an hour, we sat down on the rocks beside our entry point and gobbled down our goldfish and our sandwiches made with home-made (or rather boat-made) bread. We then worked our way back to “Momma Cramer,” arriving at around 1300. The afternoon was our first extended period of free time on the trip. In the shade of the canvas tied over the quarter-deck, we played ukulele and guitar and sang and laughed and drew in our journals. Some of the girls braided hair and made friendship bracelets, and B watch completed bi-hourly anchor checks, and hourly boat checks and weather observations. Over the rail, we spotted two enormous remoras in the clear, blue Caribbean water and fantasized about the size of whatever they must have been attached to. Finally, the afternoon was capped off beautifully with a delicious meal of boat-made curry, rice, and naan. This evening, C watch is on anchor watch from 1900 until 0100 tomorrow when A watch will take over.
Overall, I’d have to say that the theme of today was the natural beauty of this place; this is what I dreamt of while freezing my socks off in Woods Hole. Indeed, there is a resounding appreciation for the clear blue water, the rolling, hilly islands, and the sprawling skyline, filled with the rare-to-the-Caribbean combination of low-floating, puffy cumulus and high-floating, wispy cirrus clouds. Francis Bay seems to be somewhat off the beaten path and undisturbed by heavily commercialized tourism (i.e. cruise ships) making it truly a wonderful place to visit—and one that I plan on revisiting if I ever can.
P.S. Hi family, I made it St. Croix and found the ship. I was told that I seem to be in my element here on the Cramer. Maybe sailing is in my blood.