Science and Snorkeling: Days 8 & 9 on the Corwith Cramer

6 February 2014, 1830 h

SSV Corwith Cramer

Day 9, Sailing Toward San Juan


CAPTION: Victoria from SUNY Maritime presents her findings on light attenuation at sea during this morning’s oceanographic research presentation and poster session.

Hello again! It’s been a busy two days for Williams-Mystic S14 on the SSV Corwith Cramer, with everything from a snorkel adventure to on-board drills and science presentations. Taking advantage of our anchored location in Vieques, Professor Lisa Gilbert orchestrated morning class on the sandy beach at Sun Bay. With a quick lesson on oceanography and biodiversity of coral reefs and proper reef etiquette, students were outfitted with snorkels, facemasks, and fins for their watery investigation. Amongst the many organisms seen were sea fans, sea urchins, brain coral, porcupine fish, lion fish, and even an eagle ray.

Along the beach we encountered a group of wild horses (there are over 3,000 on the island!), conch shells, sea glass, and coconuts (two of which we opened and savored on the foredeck). After a little bit of free time back on board, we mustered on the quarterdeck and prepared to leave our lovely little anchorage. The remainder of the afternoon was spent working on science posters by students both on and off watch in preparation for the next day’s symposium.


CAPTION: Julia from Williams happily stretches her legs during a walk along the beach at Sun Bay in Vieques.

This morning brought about peach cobbler for breakfast, some splendid pink and gold clouds, and a well-done gybe by the students of A Watch. At 1000 h, all hands were called to the quarterdeck to commence the 74th Bi-Annual Williams-Mystic Symposium on Blue Water Oceanography. Dividing first into their watch groups and then into their respective research teams, students presented their chosen research topics in five-minute presentations to the ship’s crew. The students’ hard work certainly paid off, as the posters were colorful, creative, and very informative; Professor Lisa Gilbert called the collective research “a beautiful story” during her remarks at the end, and she couldn’t be more correct.

Though it would seem that things would be calm and quiet for the rest of the day, Captain Beth Doxsee decided that the early afternoon was a perfect time to practice emergency drills while underway. Sounding both a verbal and general bell alarm, Nellie from West Chester University began the drill, calling everyone to their watch quarter station bill and students did everything from use the fire hoses to donning immersion suits.  This will be our final night underway on the Corwith Cramer, as tomorrow we’ll be at anchor in San Juan Harbor for a full day of cleaning and packing. Following our departure from Cramer on Saturday morning, please turn your attention to our Facebook page ( for pictures and updates regarding the last leg of our trip home.

We’ll see you back in Mystic!



Author: williamsmystic

A one semester interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea.

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