Our last sight of land was that of the Florida coastline on the night of April 11th. In the past five days we have left the EEZ of the United States and are truly in open, international waters. An occasional passing plane or tanker is our only human company out here in the Atlantic. However, by night we have the stars, planets, and moon. By day we have the sun, the flying fish, the mahi, and some resting sea birds to join in our passage.
Something that struck me early on in our voyage was the deeply rooted sense of purpose and community of this ship. As students, we quickly learned that the Cramer is our floating sanctuary. We must clean, maintain, and tend to her every need.
Isabelle, Elizabeth, Kayla, and Karen furling a sail on the headrig
To do so, we must also tend to each other. Within the first few days off anchor and sailing, many of our own encountered bouts of seasickness (including myself during a choppy dawn watch in the Florida Straits). Assigned responsibilities are taken up to allow those affected to rest and recover, many a seasickness pill is distributed by professional crew and med-officers, and emergency stashes of ginger ale are broken out for the worst cases.
As we are a full company of 31, news of those impacted travels quickly and nearly everyone takes their turn checking in on the sick, ensuring they are eating and hydrated in addition to providing some entertainment, so they remain somewhat distracted.
As a result of our remoteness, we remain socially disconnected from the shore-based world. A quick change was the move from worrying about our personal situations back home and directing focus on each other and the ship. At this time in our voyage, we are all fairly well versed in the Cramer’s anatomy, understanding our lines and what to notice during boat checks. I myself have begun to realize her individuality as a vessel, seeing how she reacts at the helm under certain wind and sail conditions as well as her movement on the swells.
The professional crew, many of whom are alumni themselves, act as extensive resources to us students, guiding us through what is expected and required for this journey (as well as providing wonderful forms of entertainment with impromptu singing and swizzle activities). Amongst the students, we all contribute the same personalities we had on shore, but it is apparent that we’ve all changed a little bit. We have new found confidence, skill, and an aptitude for life at sea. I expect this to grow stronger as the days roll by. For now, we can assuredly say that we are now all part of the storm tris’l club and true open ocean sailors.
Isabelle, Maeve, Elizabeth, Adam, Ashley, and Holly swimming with miles of ocean below
As I write this, the sun has finally made its appearance (I was on dawn watch as torrential downpour came at us in the dark) and the swells are rocking us around like a bath toy. To my family at home (Mom, Dad, Bella-girl) I miss you lots. To my adventuring/Courageous family (Liv, Francesca, Dan, Danny, Anneli, Maeve, Emilio, Jesse), I wish you could be out on the waves with me. Send us fair wishes and winds as we continue north and I’ll see you back in New England!
--- Isabelle Cadene, A Watch, Roger Williams University Alum
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