SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
September 10, 2018
Williams-Mystic students learn their lines
43.5’N x 069.9’W
Williams-Mystic F18 enjoyed warm temperatures, calm seas and light winds for the first part of our offshore field seminar, but as we head north the air is getting a little chillier and the wind is expected to pick up a bit. With 15 knot winds expected, the students learned to reef the mainsail during our afternoon nautical class. After reefing, more jackets and hats came out, and it's starting to feel like fall.
As new members of the crew, it is tradition for students to learn all the lines on the ship. The students have had plenty of practice handling lines on watch, with our frequent gybes, and have also been reviewing their pinrail diagrams off watch in order to identify a line at the pin quickly during the line "chase." Friday's line chase included a healthy bit of competition and lots of celebration, too. With increasing knowledge comes more responsibility, and students have started to take more leadership roles on watch, which includes keeping track of the hourly duties and calling ship maneuvers.
Because we are always on lookout as part of our duty to the ship, we have been lucky to spot megafauna! Some of our best sightings were when we were approaching and sailing through Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, which were described as square elephants with wings, have been spotted waving nearby on several occasions. Humpback whales are a coveted sighting, with many saying "please wake me up if you see whales". We have seen three breaching whales and many blows with one whale coming quite close for a visit to the ship. And dolphins, playing in our bow wake, which at night on bow watch, are shadowy gray with glowing streaks from the bioluminescence in the water. If you listen closely you can hear their squeaks.
As we head towards Maine, students are busy completing their shipboard science projects and will present their findings to the whole ship's company tomorrow.