SEA Currents: study abroad
May 03, 2017
A Day with Mama Cramer
0000 May 3rd 2017 — My watch beeps. It is midnight. I have been standing as lookout at the bow for one hour now. I look down into the water that breaks beneath me. It is speckled with bioluminescence that glimmers like sparks deflecting off of the hull. I look up into the sky, a bright crescent moon rests above me. I realize how thankful I am to be on watch on such a beautiful night.
May 02, 2017
Sailing and Science under the Stars
My day started and ended under the stars. The day technically began watching a triple stack of nets go down to 100 meters for one last sampling from the South Sargasso Sea. As Marie mentioned before, there’s a certain amount of coordination (which we all sometimes lack) required to set up a wire deployment at night, hoping you don’t knock anything overboard or trip over anything. Even with these difficulties, there is something about science under the stars that is pretty unreal.
May 01, 2017
Arrival in Raiatea
After 32 days at sea, the 32 people aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans have made it safely alongside the dock in Raiatea, French Polynesia. All are healthy and morale is high. Our arrival was slightly delayed this morning due to responding to a Mayday call from a grounded vessel on nearby Huahine. We were able to relay messages between the vessel, coincidentally named Argo, and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Tahiti and we made preparations to assist as needed. However, as we were approaching the island, authorities were able to reach the vessel and were we able to resume our sail track into Raiatea.
May 01, 2017
Day in the Life of a Galley Steward
We reached our 1,000th cumulative mile of our journey during early dawn this morning while the spray was whipping over the bow and the only light on deck was from the stars. We were taking a slight diversion South through the South Sargasso Sea in hopes of obtaining more samples of Sargassum and possibly the form we have not found much of on this voyage:
April 30, 2017
An Island of Our Own
It was the beginning of dawn watch. And everyone knows that dawn watch is the birth place of deep and somewhat ridiculous thoughts. But on this dawn watch, I was on the struggle bus. I was at the helm, staring intently at the red light on the compass, trying to keep the ship I was trusted with on course. Scott was giving us an evening star lesson, where all of us gaped at the expansive and wondrous celestial sphere. No light pollution, no limits in how long our horizon could run. We were discussing the naming of stars and who figured out what is where in our galaxy when Scott mentioned that plankton and planets have the same root word- meaning wanderer.
April 30, 2017
Another day has come and gone aboard the Cramer. I can’t believe we’ve been at sea for almost two weeks already! It was a warm and beautiful sunny day, although a strong twenty knot wind producing six to eight foot waves had some feeling unwell. Our watch group (B) was supposed to undergo a training for going aloft onto the fore mast today, but the rough sea state prevented us from doing so. I spent the afternoon in lab with Maggie and Grayson, our assistant scientist, counting microplastics and identifying zooplankton and Sargassum fauna from our morning station Neuston tow.
April 29, 2017
I knew something extraordinary was going to happen today. After five weeks, we’ve gotten into a definite rhythm of life on the ship. There’s the 18 hour cycle of being on and off watch, there’s the three day rotation of different watches, and there are all the tasks that need to be done every hour, on the hour, every hour of the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle, and time has seemed to pass quicker and quicker the longer we’ve been on this ship. But then, there are afternoons like this one that break the rhythm, bring us all together, and remind us how precious our time aboard the ship is.
April 29, 2017
We have now entered stage two: The Shadow Phase. After nearly two weeks of sea life immersion aboard the Corwith Cramer we are finally beginning to learn the behind the scenes details that our Watch Officers and Assistant Scientists do every day. On deck this morning from the start of my 0700 watch, I followed around our mate Finn, who began to show me what was needed to keep the CC running safe and smooth.
April 28, 2017
Race to the Finish Line
Greetings land dwellers!
Today has been a historic day on the Corwith Cramer. Today, during our designated class time, 16 students competed to prove their seaworthiness in the famous challenge appropriately deemed the Line Chase. After weeks of fumbling with ropes, afraid to meet the disappointing gazes of our mates and scientists as we attempted to strike the mains’l with the forestays’l downhaul, one watch was crowned victorious.
April 27, 2017
Sweet Life on Deck
We have officially left the coastal waters of the Bahamas, and have entered the high seas, en route to Bermuda. Today was another eventful day onboard the Cramer; standing watch, collecting samples, conducting genetic extractions/analyses, and setting sails. During the allocated “class time,” the crew divided into watch teams (A, B, and C) and set all nine of the Cramer’s sails.