SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
November 19, 2018
Woods Hole to Grenada
12 o 02.7’N x 061 o 45.0’W
At anchor in St. George’s, Grenada
It felt like we had been on the Cramer for months, if not years, but as the Cramer was docking at Port Louis Harbor in St. George's, Grenada things felt different. It felt like just yesterday we left Dyer's Dock in Woods Hole, MA.
I remember C Watch was on-watch. Lou and I had been sitting in the doghouse writing the names of all the crew members on old sails (these would later be tied to each of the rescue boats as a roster in event of an emergency) while the rest of the gang had been doing galley clean up. Captain JQ came into the doghouse and said, so casually, "Muster on the quarterdeck, we're getting ready to set sail."
All the staff members knew their roles for departure and all the students were assigned new roles. I was the "engine saver." Basically there is a system that automatically turns the engine off if there is a problem (such as low oil pressure or high coolant temperature) to protect the engine, however, the engine turning itself off while navigating out of a close-quartered harbor can be very dangerous. That's why before the engine would automatically turn off, an alarm would sound in the doghouse and you have ten seconds to press the override ("engine saver") button before it shuts down.
I remember standing on the quarterdeck, ready to jump into the doghouse to press that button, if needed. Captain JQ climbed on top of the wheel box and had a radio in either hand, Sophie took the helm, and Mike seemed to just be standing beside the wheel box (turns out he was working the throttle for the main engine). I thought it was so funny that Mike and Sophie would repeat everything JQ said.
Yesterday, when we pulled into Port Louis Harbor, I was, once again, the engine saver, JQ was calling the shots, Sophie was at the helm, and Mike was working the throttle. And once again, Mike and Sophie repeated everything JQ said. It went a little like this:
"Ahead dead slow."
On September 2nd the freshmen/gap year students moved onto the SEA campus. Craig took us on a field trip into Woods Hole. JQ lead some team building activities. Nino made some awesome pasta. Two days later we met the rest of the bunch, along with Ben, our chief scientist.
"Ahead dead slow."
On October 13th we said goodbye to our cozy lives ashore and boarded the SSV Corwith Cramer. Craig taught us how to use the heads and we gave him a drawing of himself as a parting gift. The next day, we set sail. Well, kinda. This was also in the time period (a day after to be exact) that the remains of Hurricane Michael were making their way up the east coast so we sailed down Vineyard Sound for a couple days. October 16th we set sail into the open ocean.
Phase 1 started on October 13th and ended on October 26th. This phase consisted of learning the ropes (literally and figuratively). For us, this phase also consisted of three brutal gales. For me, this phase consisted of surviving two weeks of unrelenting seasickness.
Highlights: finally making our way out of the gales, leaving the cold weather behind, BIOLUMINESCENT DOLPHINS, the moonlit quarterdeck dinner Anna and Tristan made, the pin rail chase (even though C-watch lost), sailing through a cold core eddy.
Phase 2 ranged from October 26th to November 3rd. In this phase we became "shadows." As shadows we learned the specific roles of the mates and assistant scientists, meaning we learned how to call sail maneuvers, delegate tasks, and do logbook entries, among many other things.
Highlights: Halloween (TRICK OR TREATING, PUMPKIN CARVING COSTUMES! What more could you ask for?), dodging Hurricane Oscar, eating Paula's arepas, Sargassum artwork, playing pinball in lab, Cori's cheesy jokes.
"Two turns left."
Phase 3 ranged from November 3rd to November 13th(ish). In phase 3 we became JWO's and JLO's (Junior Watch/Lab Officers) where we got to put the skills we learned in phase 2 to test.
Highlights: my seasickness went away, the official JLO skirt, finally going aloft, stealing the science disco ball and putting it in Squalor, deploying styrofoam cups to 2500m below the surface.
"Two turns left."
Maddie called, "LAND HO!" on November 11th around 2100, which was closest to Duncan's bet of 2047, so the two of them won ice cream purchased by none other than Captain JQ. Despite the "Land ho!" we did not anchor off of Hillsborough, Carriacou until November 12th and the first port call did not happen until November 13th. We had three days of port calls. Each watch had two days off-watch and one day on-watch.
Highlights: Our first SWIM CALL!!!, solid ground, being able to walk more than 100 feet, green things, fresh fruit, drawing a face on a pepper and calling it Triste, ICE CREAM!
"Astern dead slow."
Today, October 19th, was field day and swizzle. Field day consisted of packing, cleaning our bunks, an epic deck wash, and normal field day activities like cleaning the heads (bathrooms) and showers, sweeping the soles (floors), sweeping the overheads (ceilings), etc. After field day we had a few hours to wash up and prepare for our evening festivities. Swizzle is a ceremony at the end of SEA voyages where the ships company gathers around and performs for each other (singing, telling jokes/stories, playing games, etc.).
Highlights: lots of quarterdeck-sitting and story-sharing and walking down memory lane, Ben made science parodies to numerous Greenday songs and performed them at Swizzle, Lou and Shanna made delicious swizzle punch!
"Astern dead slow."
Recently there has been a lot of talk amongst the students about how strange it is that we met twelve weeks ago, have spent almost every moment of every day since together, and now we are all going to go our own separate ways. There is a lot I am going to miss (to say the least).
I'm going to miss the way the world seemed to stop for a minute when we saw a bird out at sea-everyone paused and stared in awe as if we were amazed there was other life out there. I'm going to miss singing songs with lyrics we didn't know and the horribly clashing music we'd play on field day. I'm going to miss Lou and Jonathan singing me their parodies to Beatles songs when I was seasick. I'm going to miss Paula laughing every time anyone tried to speak in Spanish; I'm going to miss every time we tried speaking in Spanish and it came out horribly wrong ("I'm lonely," instead of "It's a beautiful day."). I'm going to miss constantly defending Squalor (side note if you read the last blog post: it is the best place on the ship and Emma is just jealous). I'll miss our daily "beach trips" and dawn watch sunrises and laughing at everything because we were too tired to think straight. I'll miss JQ's complaints about crumbs and having to move out of the way for deck washes. I'll miss laying on the quarterdeck and learning about the stars. I'll miss all-hands meals and musters and constantly being surrounded by so many loving, supportive, hilarious people. I will miss all of it.
Abigail Fisk, C-Watch