SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
December 01, 2014
The Sargassum and the Sea
17°57.0’ N x 45°13.6’ W
North Equatorial Current Transition Zone
Weather/wind/sail plan, 1300
Light sporadic rain. Wind from the east at force 4. Mains’l, mainstays’l, and forestays’l.
Marine Debris observed in the last 24 hrs:
1 hand-sized piece floated past during our science station and only three small pieces collected in our neuston net.
Sargassum Observed in the last 24 hrs
Today is an historic day for the Corwith Cramer crew because we had our first sighting of Sargassum! I was in the main salon drinking hot cocoa and catching up with two other shipmates when we heard excited exclamations from on deck. For a second we were confused, but then we heard a word ring clear: Sargassum sighted! I headed up the mid-ship ladder with my mug in hand to see if I could catch a glimpse of the algae that has eluded us for so long.
Once I reached the quarterdeck the atmosphere was electric as everybody craned their heads to spot the yellow-green clumps. Once we thought the moment was over, another sighting was shouted, followed by another. For the next ten to twenty minutes Sargassum continued to meander past the ship. While this was happening, we were performing a neuston tow that was being followed by a mahi-mahi. The fish was brilliantly blue, and it weaved around the slow-moving net. Later it was seen moving with more alacrity as it leaped out of the water after fleeing flying fish. The excitement and activity of the morning was complimented by sitting down and socializing on top of the elephant table at sunset while each person worked on their own projects, and I typed this post.
Here’s hoping there’s another green flash!