Musings from C Watch

August 13, 2023

Lily Li

Lily on helm in the fog

Ship's Log

Noon Position
41 deg 08.3' N x 068 deg 34.5'W

Log
302.6 nautical miles

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan
Winds WSW Beaufort Force 4, but we are protected by Nantucket Shoals so seas only 2ft. from SW; perfect conditions to practice tacking Cramer during afternoon class. Patches of sunshine mixed with dense areas of fog

Description of location
 20nm SW of Nantucket sailing in the Great South Channel

All blogs from C-308H

"If I jump off into the ocean now I would have landed on a dolphin".As odd as it may sound, Calvin was quite accurate with his words. After a tiring six-hour morning rotation, C watch encountered a pod of dolphins (estimated at over a hundred in number) crossing the bow. We all hastily clipped our harnesses to the securing lines and headed out on Cramer's head rig. Under the shallow morning draft, we uniformly peeked down through the intersecting lines of netting that kept us suspended above the water and observed the many dolphins swiftly swimming by. Photographing, whistling, exclaiming, and hushing each other, as if scared to startle them away. Never would we have imagined that merely twelve hours after this serendipitous moment, when C Watch once again took the deck, we would behold to completely different scenery.Starting from the late afternoon, we sailed into a fog bank with visibility limited to less one nautical mile. Eighteen knots of apparent wind clearly didn't benefit the situation. I sensed the coming turbulence looking out of the library port hole to see the instigated waves splash over and over again, pounding on the glass. At 1900 (or 7 pm), we fumbled our way into this weathered night, trying hard to steady our bodies amongst changes of the windward side. Sliding on the fog immersed floor, bumping in and out of egresses; feeling like astronauts, tumbling as the ship rolled, a feeling of weightlessness just for a moment.  Observing surroundings as the forward look-out, I saw the curtained horizon of ocean blurrily blended into the sky; reminding me the mixing layer of coffee and creamer. Riding on top of the pitching waves, humid air condensed into droplets upon my eyelashes and gusts of wind blew hard on my face.  The grating fog horn sounding every two-minute period could barely cover the heavy breathing of ocean -- sounds of splashing waves meeting and unfolding onto each other. Sky darkened, faint glow of red light overflew out of chart house, outlining the silhouettes of our shipmates working in the dark."Out, in, to the pin!" Under the rhythmic order and skillful use of body weight leverage, Ari, Jay and Calvin sweated in the jib sail neatly. In lab, Serhii and Hadley were focused on their hundred counts, mumbling numbers of copepods or isopods or euphasiid found in the neuston net. On deck, Delphine reached up to the noise canceling headphones in preparation to complete her boat check down in the engine room. Relaying and shifting between the positions, we sailed invincibly through the fog and darkness.I tend to forget that Cramer is an educational sailing vessel onboard with my Watch. It could be the formidability of the nature that made me understood sailing is so much more than transportation. Maybe it's the uncontrollability of the plan for the voyage that it felt like ocean is guiding us on our exploration instead of a willful decision on our part. Or perhaps it's much simpler than that: a song, a peaceful moment, a burst of laughter, and a common obsession with riddles.Authored by Lily Li with tremendously significant support from the rest of C Watch and steady supply of ginger cookies and Oreos.

Delphine on lookout in the fog

Kaman, Leo and Mary give a weather report about, you guessed it, Fog!

Our classroom on the SSV Corwith Cramer - learning how to tack!

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One Comment

  1. Catherine Seltsam August 14, 2023 at 12:04 - Reply

    I am captivated by the descriptive power of the author of this blog entry. One senses the the intensity of natural events present at the location of the ship. It re-enforces one’s belief in the power and awesomeness of the natural world. I am in awe that my grandchild is having this wonderful opportunity.

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