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SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer


December 23, 2019

Studying or Snorkeling?

Valeriia Vakhitova, Middlebury College

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Above: SSV Corwith Cramer in St. Croix; Below: Valeriia on deck.

Today we all said ‘goodbye’ to Corwith Cramer. I could see her proudly standing in the golden waters of St. Croix from the window of my plane: that was my last sunset with her. I believe not a single person remained unchanged through the program. But it might be a little too early to see the difference yet. Days, months and years will pass before we stop talking about “our ship” and using “that’s well” instead of “enough already.” Even then, the memories of Corwith Cramer and C-289 will not erase a smile from my face.

Our last few days aboard showed me that I am capable of multitasking and enjoying the multitude of the assignments at the same time. We analyzed data, created figures, became upset about their insignificant results and wrote pages about what could have made the p-values smaller. We also stood watch: anchor or not; cleaned every single cm of the ship, packed, cleaned again, wrote haikus, read cheesy novels, sang and cried out of frustration. It was a lot, but we did it and that brought us even closer together.

My memories are all getting blurry as the waking hours become longer. All I remember from yesterday is that we docked back at St. Croix in the afternoon. That was the first time throughout the trip I visited a place I had already seen. The same yellow building was staring at me and the same ship anchored nearby. It made me realize that the world around me might not have changed as much as I did in the last weeks. Throughout this trip, the only stable thing in our lives was the horizon, everything else: the positioning of the books in my bunk with every swell, the angle of the ship, the wind, the steering course and the dynamics in our community was changing with every second. Every day had something new to offer. Right after we docked, for example, we saw a few couples of dolphins slowly parading on our portside; on our way from Antigua to St. John, we caught a wahoo that Cody marinated and served raw with a cucumber salad; often the squalls offered another entertainment – the game called “try to stay dry under your foul gear.” I am worried a land life will be too boring after this.

But what made this trip even more special were the people. We didn’t always get along well but as the time went by, I fell in love with every single one of you. I’m so happy to have shared those moments with you. I couldn’t wish for a better crew.

We learned so much on the boat and we might forget some of it in the future, but please do remember Greg’s advice for your entire life: “Never choose studying over snorkeling”. Never.

- Valeriia Vakhitova, Middlebury College

Categories: Corwith Cramer,Caribbean Reef Expedition, • Topics: c289  study abroad  caribbean. • (0) Comments
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