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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer

October 09, 2015

Under sail again

Lara Bluhm, Bowdoin College

The Global Ocean: Europe

The Cramer under sail as we headed out of Palma, Mallorca.

37° 38.9’ N x 00° 19.5’ E

Mostly sunny, Wind NE, Force 4

Souls on Board

Today is our second full day underway from Mallorca, heading towards Cádiz. There are some pretty big swells, but other than that the weather is nice and mostly clear right now. We had a little rain last night, but then the stars came out, and it’s great to be able to see the Milky Way band (our whole galaxy sideways!) and various constellations. This sail is about three times as long as the passage from Barcelona to Mallorca that we already did, but fortunately we’ve been having less seasickness overall than last time around, and seem to be adjusting better so far. Soon we’ll cross the prime meridian at 00° 00.0’ E (I find this sort of thing exciting.)

We didn’t spend a long time in Mallorca, just about three days, but we got to see quite a bit while we were there. As others have mentioned, we were docked in a naval yard in the outer part of Palma, the main city. This rather barren naval area with industrial ships and guard boats disappears as soon as you start walking towards the city, and instead the water is filled by marinas crowded with yachts and sailboats, most of which are owned by foreign vacationers. Palma is a crowded and at times hectic feeling place, abuzz with tourists at seemingly all hours, but all that activity was a good contrast to the open seas, and the old parts of the city were especially cool to see.

My favorite part of Mallorca wasn’t in Palma but was actually a bus ride away. Mallorca, though little, is a surprisingly mountainous island, with large, jagged grey peaks rising out of the center, and with many small, stone-built villages scattered throughout the slopes. Almost all of the land outside of the city has been terraced with stone, a strategy used to create more flat agricultural areas, in this case for supporting the groves of gnarled olive trees that characterize the island. We visited the small village of Valldemossa, which is tucked partway up a hill between the peaks and the sea. It was tiny and adorable – all the narrow cobblestone streets were filled with plants and flowers, the stone-built houses had colored shutters, every square had a little café, and there was an old monastery farther up the hill with a nice garden. Basically, it was ridiculously perfect and I want to live there.

After all the fun sites we saw on Mallorca, we’re now also looking forward to seeing Cádiz, which like Palma has a lot of interesting North African and Muslim history and architecture due to its occupation by the Moors in the Middle Ages. There have been highlights from our couple of days at sea so far, too. Last night, for example, we used the Neuston net and pulled up some bioluminescent jellyfish, and then also saw some dolphins playing in the water under the bow of the ship. It was pitch black outside at that point, but the dolphins were all glowing because of the bioluminescent plankton they were swimming through, which was pretty awesome!

- Lara

PS Hi to my parents/sister/stepfamily/grandparents/friends/dog! I’m actually not as seasick as you maybe think I am right now, so that’s good. Hope all’s well and miss ya!

PPS Someone please carve a pumpkin on my behalf in the spirit of October.

Categories: Corwith Cramer,The Global Ocean: Europe, • Topics: c262  megafauna  research  culture • (0) Comments




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