A Whale of a Time
Alex Ellerstein, B Watch, University of Chicago
May 24, 2022
Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Winds/3 ft Seas/Sailing under four lowers and shallow reefed mains’l
Description of location
Hey land lovers! Welcome to the thoughts of a person who has helped set around 3 sails and thinks she is now a seafarer. Well, except for the whole seasickness thing. Anyways…
On the morning of my 21st birthday, after the deep sleep following 6 hours of evening watch stargazing between deck tasks, I was greeted with the most exciting phrase you can hear on the SSV Corwith Cramer: “WHALES OUTSIDE!”
Trying not to get my hopes up, as my peers often wait too long to report a sighting until the whale is long gone, I ran onto the deck (half a bagel in hand and in pajamas) with about ten eople shoving me forward to see. It was not “the boy who cried whale.” Not only were there whales, there were at least 3 pods of whales! The sighting was no fluke (I think this is the last of my whale “humor”); we watched, mesmerized, for about 20 minutes as the whales continued to leap from the water. We pitied A Watch, who had to return to deck chores, because we could relate; just days before, me and my B Watch friends had to fold in the jib sail on the bow (see Isabella’s description), and I truly don’t understand how sailors get anything done when there are cool critters in the water. For those of you who are curious, the zoology nerds in the group identified the whales as “pilot whales” (I hope I spelled that correctly, it is weird not having internet!), which are really similar to belugas. Cool!
The rest of the day included (in no particular order) brownies, celestial navigation class, steering the ship, more brownies, gorgeous sunsets, leftover brownies, and copepod poetry. All in all, a good day at sea.
PS- For those of you who didn’t believe in me, I have NOT fallen off the boat. They gave us harnesses
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