SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 27, 2014
Thanksgiving - Where art thou?
22° 42.0’ N X 37° 0.0’ W
Mid Atlantic Gyre
Ship Heading (degrees)
Ship Speed (knots)
6.5 knots (average)
Taffrail Log (nm)
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change)
Easterly wind at a Force 4, 45% cloud cover. Sailing by and large with a single-reefed main, the main stays’l, the course and the tops’l.
Marine Debris Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
A medium sized buoy floated by during morning class, possibly some type of fishing related equipment
Sargassum Observed last 24hrs (estimate of totals)
Today, as our taffrail log passed the 1530 nautical mile mark, we reached the island of Dominica, our first port stop! Just kidding, we still have over 1400 miles to go, but today was just as exciting as any port stop. Though today is American Thanksgiving in the real world, here on the boat we’ll be having “Local Apparent Thanksgiving” on Saturday, so for us aboard the Cramer, today was just a normal day.
A-watch had the joy of morning watch from 0700-1300. For me, this involved an exciting six hours in the lab. As I came up to the quarterdeck on my way to relieve C-watch, I noticed an unfamiliar aspect to the morning: the sun was out! I felt like I had spent the last 100 years in an iceberg and was only just emerging, unsure of everything I had missed. Luckily, the world decided not to give me too many surprises and maintained a brisk breeze, just enough to make me slightly uncomfortable but insufficient to justify putting on a jacket.
With our first deployment at around 0900 and an upcoming AHH (Atlantic History Hour) with Craig, we were given the luxury of free time for the first section of our watch, during which we prepared equipment for deployments and worked on student projects. As part of my oceanography project, I’m looking at the distribution and size of ocean plastics as we travel away from coastal areas. This mostly involves picking up individual plastic pieces with a pair of forceps and carefully using calipers to measure the pieces’ largest dimension.
If you’ve never measured small objects while aboard a moving vessel, here’s one way to think of it. Imagine you’re sitting at a table with a small digital ruler, measuring objects ranging in size from an almond to a grain of salt. Now imagine that you’re also on a roller coaster, and everything on the table has essentially no friction. Also sometimes your seat falls over. While this may not sound like the most pleasant activity, it’s a good lesson in motor coordination and definitely makes the act of measuring much more exciting.
Other morning highlights included setting two of the boats’ square sails. With a quick “hands to set the course!,” A-watch flew to action. Faster than a pack of flying bison, A-watch had the Cramer gracefully cruising across the water, catching the wind to fill the course and tops’l. After a quick circle round the deck to coil and hang any stray lines left off their pins, the crew dissipated back to their respective positions and I returned to the lab, ready to deploy some scientific equipment.
In the afternoon, following a delicious meal of burritos/tacos/way too much cheese, I embarked upon a personal adventure: Laundry! Unlike on shore, laundry on the Cramer requires more than just a washing machine and some quarters. Instead, you take two buckets, one filled with saltwater and detergent and another filled with a small amount of freshwater for rinsing. No matter how clean I thought my clothing was before I washed it, the color of the rinse water at the end of the operation was enough to convince me otherwise. Just like all the students on this trip, I suspect my clothing will be forever transformed from its time aboard the Cramer.
Now, as I settle down for a nice nap before mid-watch, I have time to reflect on how fast time passes aboard the Cramer. Between the (briefly) beautiful weather, my awesome and encouraging shipmates, and the numerous new skills I learn on a daily basis (my laundry hangs drying from my bunk as I type), there’s always plenty of adventures to be had on board. Even though it’s not Local Apparent Thanksgiving for a few more days, I still have plenty to be thankful for.
Shoutouts: Thanks to all the people who put up with my sass on a daily basis and to my parental units, who don’t necessarily have a choice in the matter. Also, to all my college friends, I’ll have you know I’m making good choices. I hope you got the Avatar references. Blelelelele.