SEA Currents: c261
October 16, 2015
Yale Chronicles Summer Western European Voyage
SEA Semester® in the News:
“Yale sophomore finds empowerment in her time at sea”
by Susan Gonzales, Yale News | Oct. 16, 2015
Summer has given way to autumn, but for Yale undergraduate Alexandra Leone ’18, memories of July and August sunsets, stars, and ocean winds are vivid reminders of an experience that felt to her like “a dream come true.”
August 09, 2015
SEA Semester Voyage Featured in The New York Times
SEA Semester® in the News:
“At Sea With Joseph Conrad”
by Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University professor of history
The New York Times | Aug. 9, 2015
The tall ship Corwith Cramer stumbled into the Celtic Sea, engine roaring, 7,500 square feet of sail furled up mute. Its two masts ticked against the horizon like a metronome set to allegro. I joined a row of pallid sailors crouched at the leeward rail. Foam-lathered swell swung for my face, then reeled abruptly away. By the third time I threw up over the side, the “wine-dark sea” of Homer’s poetry just looked like the basin of a billion vomits.
Misery loves blame, so I blamed Joseph Conrad, whose fiction had brought me here. Before Conrad published his first novel in 1895, he spent 20 years working as a merchant sailor, mostly on sailing ships, and fully half his writing — including “Heart of Darkness,” “Lord Jim” and “The Secret Sharer” — deals with sailors, ships and the sea. These loom so large for him that as I have researched a book about Conrad’s life and times, I have felt it essential to travel by sea myself.
I had already taken passage from China to England on a giant container ship, tracing a historic route with the comforts of a queen-size bed, round-the-clock hot water and a mass of steel as big as the Empire State Building between me and the sick-making swell. But the more I read Conrad, the more I realized that I had to get on a tall ship like the ones he knew best, and experience its unique ways of moving, working and speaking.
The brigantine Corwith Cramer, 134 feet from bowsprit to boomkin, is registered as a “sailing school vessel” and offers hands-on courses for college students in seamanship and the marine environment. Its operators, the Sea Education Association, generously let me hitch a ride on the first leg of the Corwith Cramer’s summer cruise along Europe’s Atlantic seaboard, from Cork to Brittany.
By “cruise” I don’t mean a pleasure cruise. For the 12 bright, game students who boarded with me in Cork, this was a floating boot camp. Under the patient instruction of 13 professional crew members, the students plunged into a grueling schedule of round-the-clock watch duty, hauling and heaving lines, setting and striking sails, scrubbing dishes and floors. They were learning the ropes just as Conrad did, 140 years ago.
August 07, 2015
The Final Blog Post! Goodbye to our students!
With our journey to Cadiz, Spain complete we say goodbye to our dear students and release them back into the world, perhaps (and hopefully) a bit more experienced, and a bit more salty than when we received them in Cork, Ireland. We’ve sailed more than 1,500 nautical miles by the taffrail log! immersed in the lifestyle of the sailor, the scientist, the historian… the observer, the adventurer.
August 06, 2015
Our Concept Map
Today was our last full day onboard the Corwith Cramer. And our last full day together in Spain. And the last thing any of us felt like doing was returning to the ship at 1630 instead of 2300 to present our final “school project” – a concept map. Our professor, Dan Brayton, had stressed the important of this poster/art project communicating a concept that linked what we had learned – about history, about the ship and how to sail – with our own lives.
August 05, 2015
About a Tree
Looking for beaches in Cadiz, Spain, but instead we happened upon a tree.
Isabella, Jamie, Madison, Avery climbed the tree with me.
Like climbing aloft it was old and fun, the tree was pleased to have us five.
August 04, 2015
Reflections from a Deckhand
Dear Shore & Co.:
This evening marks the end of our last full day at sea together. Sitting here in the library, the last month seems like the blink of an eye, but when I focus a bit more, I realize how full every day has been. Port arrivals and departures, cities to explore, science deployments, constant learning, supportive camaraderie, and plenty of filling meals along the way have kept every last one of us busy.
August 03, 2015
I had a nice early start to my day this morning. Wake ups were promptly at 2:30am and after a few minutes of gathering my things and hauling on some clothes, I scrambled up on deck along with the rest of B watch. The deck was dimly lit by the shimmering moonlight and I zoned out staring at the waves, drinking a cup of hot cocoa while we were mustering. I came to realize it was my turn to be point person on our watch.
August 02, 2015
You can tell it’s the ocean from the way it is!
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.
August 01, 2015
Hello! This morning we set sail for Spain. We left Lisbon today at around 0900 and we’ve been making great progress all day long. We sailed down the River Tejo and under the April 25 Bridge, which closely resembles the Golden Gate Bridge. It was an amazing sight to see in the early morning light. We had a pilot help navigate us to the mouth of the river and then watched as a small boat pulled up alongside us, and with the grace and skill that only can come with years of practice, the pilot simply walked off the Cramer and onto the small boat while both ships were moving along at a steady pace.
July 31, 2015
The Simplest Things Come Last
Within a couple of weeks of her mother’s passing, Emily Dickinson concludes a letter to her cousins-Louise and Frances Norcross-with an admissive manner: “I cannot tell how eternity seems. It sweeps around me like a sea.” I remember concluding my admission essay for SEA with the same quote. To me, as it was then, the sea is one way of understanding eternity-its sweeping motion and endlessness, the expansive quality of which renders the heart an abundance from a sense of perspective of its insignificance.