SEA Currents: c256
Finding Researcher’s Ridge
We forwent our regularly scheduled science stations yesterday. Instead of dropping our Secchi disk, free CTD, phyto net, and Neuston net in the morning, we charged forward, making miles early so that we could spend an extra few hours with science gear overboard in the afternoon and evening.
We sailed towards the Mid-Atlantic Ridge’s western side from the heart of its rift valley, a tight and narrow topographic feature bounded by almost incomprehensively steep, deep cliffs that plunge over two thousand meters vertically in a mere hundred horizontal meters. We sailed west, and set our sights toward an elusive shallow spot called Researcher’s Ridge.
The Wide Sargasso Sea
There is an ebb and flow to life at sea that creeps into your bones. Three weeks ago, many of us crowded onto the quarterdeck of the Corwith Cramer for the first time, having never set foot aboard a sailing ship before, much
less crossed the second largest body of water on Earth. Today, at the midway point of our voyage, we are much more than the varied crew of 29 who waved goodbye to Gran Canaria on November 15. When our voyage ends, we will become part of a very small group of people to have completed a tall ship trans-Atlantic voyage after the end of the age of sail.
Abundance of Sargassum and Mahi Mahi
Greetings from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge! Today has been a very eventful and exciting day onboard, a great day to write the blog. Morning watch began as a typical watch, getting equipment prepared for our morning science station, until we heard the call “Fish on”. The science team headed aft to help Chief Mate Sarah pull in the fishing line while Farley helped bring the catch on deck. It was a beautiful Mahi mahi, the largest one caught yet, 60 inches long and weighing 40 pounds!
The Sargassum and the Sea
Today is an historic day for the Corwith Cramer crew because we had our first sighting of Sargassum! I was in the main salon drinking hot cocoa and catching up with two other shipmates when we heard excited exclamations from on deck. For a second we were confused, but then we heard a word ring clear: Sargassum sighted! I headed up the mid-ship ladder with my mug in hand to see if I could catch a glimpse of the algae that has eluded us for so long.
Change is Good: The Musings of a Bow Watch Insomniac
Before leaving for my voyage aboard the Cramer I was told by my father and mother, both seasoned sailors, that on a trip like this my mind would find time to wander to topics that I didn’t know existed. I was told that long sailing trips have the ability to “change you”. Goodness were they right! While up on bow watch on dark nights, calm nights, raging nights, and long nights I have had time to think about a plethora of topics, among which include: college, careers, 90’s songs, cloud watching, star gazing, ranting, philosophizing, and my personal favorite, singing loudly and obnoxiously into the wind because there is no one around to hear you.
Happy L.A.T.!!! (Local Apparent Thanksgiving!)
Never fear folks, we here on the Corwith Cramer do in fact celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving, we just maybe don’t celebrate them on the traditional date. Yet when we do decide to have a holiday, we do it in style. Everybody put on their finest and cleanest cloths, even those of us standing watch decided to do so in handsome dresses and beautiful shirts (occasionally accompanied by foul weather gear as the squalls flowed in and out).
Be assured though, we do know what day and time it is out here at 21° 20.2’N X 041° 01.1’W, we simply have the ability to alter the calendar and have Local Apparent Thanksgiving not on Thanksgiving Day.
Plastic, plastic, and more plastic
Hello to all the readers of the C256 blog! This is Nick Dragone, one of the two visiting scientists on this= transatlantic crossing. I am onboard to work on a collaborative project studying the microbial communities living on marine plastic debris. After reading this blog post, I hope you will understand a little more about the collaborative ship-wide effort that is required every day to perform the research that I, Annie (my fellow visiting scientist), the students, and the faculty are conducting onboard.
Thanksgiving - Where art thou?
Today, as our taffrail log passed the 1530 nautical mile mark, we reached the island of Dominica, our first port stop! Just kidding, we still have over 1400 miles to go, but today was just as exciting as any port stop. Though today is American Thanksgiving in the real world, here on the boat we’ll be having “Local Apparent Thanksgiving” on Saturday, so for us aboard the Cramer, today was just a normal day.
Ode to the Funk’scle
Life is busy as always onboard the Cramer! Today, we officially enter Phase Two of our program onboard. This means that mates and scientists rotate watches, giving each watch a fresh new perspective and an opportunity to learn. Similarly, we students will begin shadowing our mates and scientists while on watch to learn the reasons why certain decisions are made, and overall, how to lead each watch’s activities. I am definitely looking forward to being able to rely on the information and knowledge that I have developed during my short time onboard, and direct that new-found knowledge into preparing for the Junior Watch Officer phase.
An eXXpedition on The Sea Dragon
After following our blog for the last week, you may be wondering why there’s an icon of an “XX” running nearly parallel to the SSV Corwith Cramer cruise track. This is, in fact, another science research voyage, eXXpedition, sailing across the Atlantic to Martinique, and on a very similar cruise track to the Corwith Cramer The Sea Dragon is a 72ft steel hulled sailing vessel built in the UK in 2000. She is one of 11 yachts built for the Global Challenge Race – one of the longest, most demanding ocean voyages ever made. Now run by Pangaea Explorations to carry out scientific research, the Sea Dragon has a crew of 14 female scientists, sailors, and conservationists onboard, on a mission to understand in more detail how environmental and specifically ocean toxins affect women’s health.