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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

March 05, 2016

To Cuba!

Maddie Taylor, Barnard College of Columbia University

SEA Semester Caribbean

Above: Corwith Cramer's bell at sunset. Below: Physical therapy time

Northwest of the Dominican Republic, leaving Puerto Plata

Dark storm clouds leaving the DR, fair skies ahead.

Souls on Board

Today is the day we've all been waiting for: the day we head to Cuba! Today also marks the halfway point of our voyage. I was awoken this morning around 0900 by the utterly terrifying sound of our anchor being dropped right outside my bunk on the port side of the forecastle. Last night us C-Watchers had the Mid-Watch from 2300-0300, so we had the luxury of sleeping in this morning. We were anchored in Puerto Plata, DR for the morning to pick up a new shipmate, Marissa, who will be with us as a scientist for the rest of the trip.

Today's festivities began with everyone's favorite, or most dreaded, day of the week: Field Day! As outlined in previous blog posts, field day involves scrubbing every hidden and mysterious inch of our floating home. We scrubbed, cleaned, and polished for two hours, after which we ate some lunch, set our clocks back an hour in preparation for the time zone change that will occur while underway to Cuba, retrieved our new crew member, and got underway once more. This meant stowing the rescue boats, bringing in the anchor, setting the mains'l, the staysails, and the jib, and motor sailing onward. These preparations were lead by Leah, the afternoon watch's apprentice.

The rest of the day flowed on without much interruption as we continued along our course towards Cuba, leaving the Dominican Republic behind. Around 1500, I stepped off watch to go below to do my daily round of physical therapy. I am the first person with cystic fibrosis to sail with SEA, so my daily routine differs a bit from that of my shipmates. Besides bringing an entire suitcase of medicine on board the ship, I also do physical therapy, or PT, every day after class around 1600. This involves doing a nebulizer of medicine and wearing a vibrating vest for 30 minutes every day. Many of my shipmates, including Jeff, our chief scientist, have bravely tried my PT routine-most find it to be one of the weirdest things they've ever done, but to me it's second nature. Other than this, though, my shipboard life is the same as that of my shipmates, proving that even those with illnesses and disabilities can be sailors!

After my PT session, we decided to gibe to hove to for science, after which time the students on lab watch conducted a CTD deployment and a Secchi disk deployment, among other things. A gorgeous sunset followed, we all ate some dinner, and headed off to bed.

Today was a long day on board the Cramer, and I think we'll all sleep well tonight.

All my love to the folks back home, including my grandmother who inspired my pursuit of the sciences and my love of the ocean and my ever-supportive parents.


P.S: Hey Walter, look up siphonophores, they're dope.


#1. Posted by Linda Westinghouse on March 07, 2016


You are a hero to everyone back home.  I’m so proud of who you are…you reach for the stars.

love ma, pa and Walter

#2. Posted by Cynthia Fenneman on March 13, 2016

You are absolutely awesome, Maddie! Love reading your blog. Your sailing family roots are showing.
So proud of you. Can’t wait to hear more about your science discoveries, Cuba and the daily adventures.  We love you!

#3. Posted by Arnet Taylor on March 14, 2016

Hi Maddie…now I won,t have to struggle with anchors and rigging when you’re on board. Rerrific trip…I"m green with envy. Love you!!! Gramp

#4. Posted by Andy Westinghouse on March 16, 2016

Glad the trip is going so well, what a great adventure - keep a list of all those sea creatures, can’t wait to hear all about it Maddie! Stay strong and soak up the sun and salt air!

#5. Posted by Maggie Mair on March 24, 2016

Excellent work shipmate Maddie!! I offered my culinary services as ship cook but I guess you were all set. The trip looks amazing and I hope you’re all having the best time.
Love from the big apple,
Maggie (and Melik, Kieran and Finn too)



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