SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 13, 2015
Sunset Over the Mountains Near Gibraltar
36° 18’N x 5° 03’W
Just off the Strait of Gibraltar
In my mind today actually started at some point yesterday at about 2100 with the call of "Whales off the Starboard bow!" After quickly rolling out of my bunk, it was straight up to the bow where lo and behold, a school of pilot whales had come to play. Not a bad sight to end a night on. After that it was back to sleep since our watch (A watch) had to be up for Midwatch from 2300 to 0300. Midwatch is usually a beautiful time to be awake with the rest of the ship asleep. When you're just standing there on lookout by yourself with the stars above you and the bioluminescent jellyfish below, it's a good feeling, and yesterday was no exception. After Midwatch, as always, it was time for a very long nap. In this case I slept from 0300 to 1045, since our watch had a morning class at 1100. It's still quite a unique experience for me, and I think for everyone else on the ship, when your professor (Craig) is your alarm clock for class-certainly not something I ever experienced on land.
After class it was time for lunch and then watch again from 1300 to 1900. Every watch is different and every time you go on deck you don't know what to expect. Today was no exceptation. Once on deck, we were greeted with a rather unexpected object approaching us: a floating beach ball from ether Spain or Africa. Within half an hour of the beach ball incident we witnessed a couple of dolphins feeding, and 20 minutes after that we got yet another surprise visitor; this time a sea turtle who surfaced less than 10 meters away from the Cramer. One of the coolest starts to a watch I've had, and I'm sure one of the coolest you're ever going to get!
As we continued to sail through the day we had our usual 1430 class with a very interesting lecture on blue fin tuna from our Chief Scientist, Chuck Lea. I especially enjoy having class at sea on this day as, in addition to having an entertaining lecture, we were treated to views of shipping vessels all around, some of which were crossing our bow just over a mile away. The Cramer doesn't stop just because you're in class.
As our watch neared its conclusion, we continued on at a sedate pace with the engine turned off, sailing into one of the most beautiful sunsets any of us had seen. For you don't get many sunsets where you have Gibraltar and the coast of Morocco to your left, while dead ahead the mountains of Spain rise up from the horizon, the clouds and mountain side dyed red from the setting sun. And, as you turn around to go off watch, the smell of pizza greets you in the air.
There aren't many better ways to end a day than that, I say.