Life at sea on the Corwith Cramer can often feel like a flurry of watches, food, and some sleep in between. Students are often seen flitting about between the lab, library, and the main saloon busying themselves with research work and nautical science assignments. We recently learned how to shoot sun lines with a sextant to derive a line of position for use in charting our current position. It never ceases to amaze me how ingenious sailors of old were in utilizing the world around them to navigate the high seas.
Dawn watch (0100-0700) as of late has emphasized sailing by stars, rather than the compass for direction which gives a more real time relay of your heading. In between all the hustle and bustle of life aboard are the little moments in which the ship's crew seems to pause for a moment and time slows. Some moments are predictable, like the sunrise and sunset, where many gather on the deck boxes lining the sides of the ship to gaze at the day star as we acknowledge another day. Others, however, come without warning when the beauty and surreal nature of our current voyage take you by surprise.
Moments of the second kind are hard to describe. There is a certain invaluable quality to them as they are often preserved only in the minds of those who experience them, not a camera in sight. Perhaps you find yourself musing over the story of the heroines after which the stars are named after on a particularly clear night. A moment like this was gifted to the members of A- and B-Watch today as we all climbed aloft the foremast for the first time, navigating the ratlines and stays leading up to the first platform. Many of us found ourselves dangling 40 ft. above the deck, gripping the course yard and marveling at the deep blue that stretched out below and around as far as the eye can see.
Back aboard, there are a few spots of note, reading nooks and lounging centers morphed into one, atop the lab house, dog house (navigation room), or out along the bowsprit nestled in the webbing that is secured there. The rocking of the ocean is often accompanied by the trillings of Ger on her flute or a trio of guitars in the hands of off watch students and staff. As we near Bermuda in the coming week, I pray that we all find more moments where we simply stop to smell the roses.
Shout out to my mom who is responsible for all the 80's rock ballads sung during dawn watch, to my grandparents on Lime Tree Dr. <3, my McNair Cohort (hang in there guys!), and last but so close to my heart, my Hwa Rang Do family, you are all loved and missed. Hwarang!
- Leah Martinez, A-Watch, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire