SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 02, 2015
So long Barcelona, it’s been swell
Alongside the Pier in Barcelona, Spain
Today marked our fourth day aboard the Corwith Cramer and our last day in the port of Barcelona. Since first boarding the ship on Tuesday our time has been divided between training and excursions into the city of Barcelona itself. Although our training does include many aspects of sail and line handling (as well as safety drills and science) much of it has been dedicated to learning and getting accustomed to the daily routine of life aboard a ship. The watch system, the various (and numerous) cleaning duties and the subtle actions one can take to contribute to the growing sense of community are examples of this less physical training. I cannot wait to see how our initial training will be put to the test with tomorrow’s journey off the dock towards the island of Mallorca!
Since tomorrow has us leaving port and beginning our time at sea, I will take a moment to talk about Barcelona itself, specifically the port. As I mentioned above, in addition to our training we have also made several excursions onto land and one such field trip happened to be a tour of the Port of Barcelona. I would be lying if I said that I have always found ports fascinating, in fact it wasn’t until I began this program that my interest was truly piqued. Ports are intrinsically intriguing in that they are an interface between land and sea, but although I may have always appreciated their role, my ears (prior to this program) would have hardly perked up at the mention of “port logistics.” This is no longer the case. As our tour guide, Marta Miquel, the Course Coordination & External Relations officer for Escola Europea de Short Sea Shipping, showed us around the various port sectors (recreational, cruise, industrial and logistics) my ears were as perked as could be.
As it so happens, Barcelona is one of the top four cruise terminals in the world (wowzers) and is also an incredibly active container port, distributing goods that arrive from distant ports to other areas of Spain and Europe by both land and sea. That being said, the port isn’t nearly as overwhelming as one would expect. A lot of this has to do with the organization and separation of the distinct port functions. For example, Port Vell (or the “old port”) where the Cramer is currently sitting is almost entirely cut off from the cruise and industrial areas of the port (with its own entrance to boot!). This gives Port Vell a “small port” feel so to speak when in reality the port is much, much larger with four cruise terminals, short haul terminals and two enormous logistics areas for loading and unloading shipping containers (among many other specialized functions and infrastructure).
Cool stuff eh? Well next stop should hopefully be a stop for science in the Balearic Sea on our way to Mallorca. Although it means leaving behind the ever-exciting Port of Barcelona, I am beyond ready to cast off these darn dock lines and set some sails!