Williams-Mystic S16 is Underway!

Monday, 1 February 2016
Position: 19 o 18 ‘N x 066 o 11 ‘ W
Heading:  050
Speed:  5 knots
Weather / Wind:   Wind Force 4 SE x E

Greetings from the waters outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico! My name is
Mauro, the Admissions Director with Williams-Mystic, and current
resident-for the next 10 days–of the foc’sle upper bunk, port side (in an
area affectionately known as the Anti-Gravity Chamber). I’m here with 17
great students and Teaching Assistant Hannah Whalen and Professors Lisa
Gilbert and Mike Nishizaki on Williams-Mystic’s Spring 16 (S16) Offshore

S16’s start to this voyage-though delayed by roughly 3 hours at the offset
at the airport due to, of all things, the pilot being sick-has been
phenomenal. Our students have proven to be flexible and capable travelers
(many, from my observations, possessing the invaluable skill of making a
pillow out of luggage and being able to sleep on an airport floor) but, more
importantly, a flexible and capable crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. We
could not have dreamed of better weather to greet us in PR-nor a better crew
and captain!

After a quick taxi drive from the airport to our port, we were greeted by
the captain and his crew. Orientation Part 1 ended early on our first day,
with Quiet Ship at 2100-an opportunity for a full night’s rest that everyone

Day 2 began early, with B-watch waking up at 0600 (and other watches at
0640), and with a breakfast of fruit, blueberry muffins, and spicy brown
sugar bacon (the stewards are the BEST). Our schedule for the day:

0800: All hands on deck muster for Orientation.

0805 to 0830: Pin rail orientation (our diagrams come in very handy these
first few days)

0830 to 1015: Overview of station bill and other operating procedures (watch
standing, walkthroughs)

1015 to 1030: Snack

1030 to 1230: Overview of safety and emergency response procedures, followed
by drills and practice (we make red Gumby suits look great)

1230 to 1315: Lunch

1315 to 1430: Science deployment in harbor: all the students assisted the
science team with the deployment of a Secchi disk, Shipbek Grab,
Microplastics sampling, and collection of water samples for Chlorophyll and
Phosphate concentration sampling.


1500: After a flurry of activity to prepare to set sail, we waited until an
issue with our anchor was solved (a sailor’s life, we were told, is to hurry
up and wait). There was a long period of silence, as if students and staff
stood at the starting line of a race, waiting for the starting gun to go
off. Once Captain Amster gave the order to set sails–fired the starting
gun, if you will-everyone sprang into action. A good, strong wind has been
keeping us steady underway.


On last evening’s watch, Chelsea (URI ’18) stood at the helm of the Cramer,
while her classmate Erica (Williams ’18) worked with Second Mate Eric on the
bowsprit. Kenny (SUNY Maritime ’18) and Nicola (CUNY Hunter ’16) walked
carefully in, on, and around the ship conducting their hourly walkthrough.


I had the opportunity to stand the 2300 to 0300 frame with B-watch. I
believe we were all impressed with each other’s abilities to navigate, find,
and adjust as needed lines in such a dark setting. Jessica (Maine Maritime
’16) stood bow watch for quite a while, her dark shadow constantly scanning
the world around us for obstructions and other marine traffic, becoming a
reassuring part of the horizon each time we glanced towards the foredeck.
Erica (Williams ’18) and Marlo (Smith ’18) worked in the lab, analyzing the
contents of our Neuston net tow-a procedure that required Thomas (SFSU ’16),
Rachel (Wesleyan ’17), and Lizzie (Millersville ’18) to help maneuver the
Cramer using a double gibe. All of our activity constantly stirred up
bioluminescent creatures, making the white-capped waves around us to glow
turquoise green.

Day 3 promises to be as equally exciting with our first onboard, under-sail
lectures beginning at 1430. Until then, let us hope that the days continue
to be warm, the stars bright, and the winds fair!

Author: williamsmystic

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

One thought on “Williams-Mystic S16 is Underway!”

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