As I write this we have finished swizzle (a talent show, talent not required) with many of our beloved shipmates and crew performing acts ranging from readings to songs. We have spent nearly 12 days aboard the Cramer, many days more on a ship than others in their entire lives. Yet we persisted through an either strange new environment or a familiar one that is more Intense than what we have experienced before on much smaller vessels.
Through rough seas and scorching days without cover we have persisted, performing our duties on watch with professional attitudes and a firm resolve of raw material of future mariners and scientists we have learnt the trades of the sea from a crew member’s and scientist’s perspective. Many came as the sea called to them with the voices of mariners past and present, we never ignored their calls for exploration and discovery as its allure had already wrapped around us and swept us off our feet.
Yet we never forgot where we came from or how we got here, and it is doubtless, to me that we will remember this for years to come as we take our skills and knowledge back to the world on land. Our time at Shoals Marine Lab taught us that knowledge for the sea can come from land and vice versa as we looked both at the ecology of the gulls nesting ground and the micro grid keeping the lab illuminated and water running hot. It’s hard for many to believe that we spent 11 days on this ship despite us feeling as though it was our whole life revolved around caring for the Cramer and the ocean she sailed upon and learning how she is and how to care for her nearly as much as she cares for us.
Some of us may never spend more time at sea, seeing it as a passing fancy that will never be experienced on this scale again. But to the rest it may be just the tip of a world we will love for the rest of our lives and shall make our goal of living on and driving the world forwards into the future; the crew that started as our teachers have now turned more into our upperclassmen and refining the skills they taught us or giving us small tips to improve ours.
While I can’t say the same for others I for one will more than willingly sail the seas again with this crew of the present and future onwards to further in the Atlantic, down into the Pacific or anywhere in the world and learn more of its secrets to finish the puzzle. Cramer wasn’t just our home and way of life, it became part of our family as we cared for each other, picking up each other’s slack or lifting the load on our shoulders and she will for many more after as she has for many before. I am grateful to have had this experience that will guide me for the rest of my life as I learn more of the sea.
David Paul Goodman, A Watch