"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."
It was a flurry of emotions as we prepared to enter the channel leading into the harbor this morning. In the wee hours of the morning prior to arrival, members of A-Watch had scrubbed and sprayed the deck so it would shine like the sun for our visitors that would soon follow. As the sun rose in the sky, we made our way through the shimmering liquid blue beneath us, guided by two ship pilots from Bermuda. Rising up on either side of the Cramer were walls of rock cloaked in brilliant hues of green with splashes of color from the flora that bloomed there. With near seamless precision, we slid into the dock and lowered the gangway.
The land we have arrived on is both foreign and familiar, with some eyes seeing this port for the sixth time and many for the first. Stepping on to land after nearly three weeks at sea, smiles were seen all around, accompanied by jumping, running, and even a jig was done celebrating the solidity under our feet. Following a brief orientation, students made their way to BIOS, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science, for a discussion with a local scientist studying pterapods and other related organisms, many of which we have held in our hands as we processed our neuston and meter net tows in the Sargasso Sea. Amazingly enough, after assuring family and friends of their safe arrival, most students elected to remain electronically disconnected to engage with this vibrant new environment.
As with any foreign country, differences in the people and way of life are to be expected in those local to the area. However, as the students of the SSV Corwith Cramer stepped ashore, the differences in those aboard were just as palatable. Be it the increased assurance and self-reliance, or the intentional mindfulness and appreciation for the world around them, the crew as a whole is truly beginning to change. In the coming time, we will be welcoming many new faces (and some old ones!) on board. These next few days in port are sure to be filled with many adventures across this unique landscape as we rejuvenate before the next leg of our journey.
Shout out to my mom, I will try and call if I can but know I am safe and am sending you love. To all those students (and instructors?) testing this Saturday, I wish I could be there but know beyond a doubt you will all do great!
- Leah Martinez, A-watch, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire