Light Winds Over Blue Water

Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Time: 1815
Position: 19° 04.32’ N by 66° 16.575’ W
Weather / Wind: Bright and sunny, no clouds, winds at 2 miles from the NE

Greetings again from aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, slowly gaining ground
(moving along at 0.9 knots) as we head generally towards the U.S. Virgin
Islands.

Currently Williams-Mystic S16 is enjoying a swim call in the beautiful blue
waters above the Puerto Rico Trench, a much welcomed break after today’s
class: up and overs (going aloft), sail handling, and review for our pin
chase tomorrow. Second Mate Eric informed us that many sailors were not
considered sailors until they completed their first up-and-over—though they
did so in harbor. I wonder, then, what sort of sailors that makes our class,
who completed their first aloft session approximately 45 nautical miles away
from the nearest harbor?

Professor Mike Nishizaki led today’s lecture on latitude patterns,
productivity, and biodiversity in the ocean, comparing the tropics to our
home turf’s (Connecticut) cooler temperate waters. Rachel (Wesleyan ‘17),
Jessica (Maine Maritime ’16), and Marlo (Smith ’17) gave a brief
presentation on the Mantis Shrimp, one of many specimens caught in this
morning’s Neuston tow net. Fun facts: did you know that a mantis shrimp’s
jab can easily puncture bulletproof glass, or break a human bone? They have
the fastest recorded reaction time of any animal at 8 milliseconds, so be
careful the next time you collect one in your tow net!

Excitement builds over the pin chase, with students gleefully and quite
expertly being able to traverse the deck and differentiate between the
mains’l halyard, forestays’l jigger, JT downhaul, and others. Everyone keep
a lookout for Amanda (Pacific University ‘18) and Chelsea (URI ‘18)—they’ve
been spotted on deck in the early hours of the morning and late into the
evening pointing out lines and quizzing their classmates!

As a group, Williams-Mystic S’16 has put in much work keeping the ship going
forward: striking sails at 0200, scrubbing soles after dawn watch, reading
and preparing for classes, and so forth. And once again, they are rewarded
with the most gorgeous of sunsets as we wrap up Day 4 of our offshore
voyage.

Until next time,
Mauro

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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