SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
August 02, 2015
You can tell it’s the ocean from the way it is!
36° 42.2’ N x 010° 35.8’ W
Description of location
70 miles SW of Cabo de Sao Vicente
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
23°C, 15-20kt winds out of the NNW, Sailing E x S under four lowers and the top’sl
Back to routine: On Watch, Sleep, Eat, Class, Read, Eat, Write, rinse and repeat, mixing up the order. August 2 was our first full day back at sea on the last leg of our course. At midday with the sun directly overhead and sending its rays plunging down vertically into ocean, the water transformed from steely blue-gray to a shade closer to turquoise. Some of us not on watch stood on the science deck and for one the first times in the last month, we wished for the utterly calm conditions required in order to swim off the boat.
For the time being, though, we are also thankful for consistent northerly winds that have carried us speedily south and west since we left Lisbon -- perhaps the last vestige of the Portuguese tradewinds before we round Cabo de Sao Vicente. At the time of writing, we have just changed from a course of SW to nearly E, toward Cadiz.
The bones of the ocean floor are a type of basalt, and I like to think about how the crust somewhere beneath Cramer was at some distant time far out in the Atlantic, welling up from deep stores of magma at mid-ocean ridges and beginning to spread to the east. Here relatively close to shore, the ocean floor likely has thick layers of sediment, deposited by currents and slow erosion off the continental shelf. Yet in spite of all that deposition and our proximity to shore, between Cramer and the sludgy bottom lies a water column that is currently more that thirteen thousand feet tall. That's pretty neat!