Our own Little Island
November 2, 2020
Audrey Wood, gap year student
23° 46.9’ N x 069° 39.6’ W
Ship’s Heading, Speed and Sail plan
Full and by (steering to keep sails full) with Main, Main stays’l, fore stays’l and Jib at 5 knots.
Winds SSE force 2, cloudy with 3 foot seas
It was another hot and sticky day aboard the Cramer. My fair Scottish skin is struggling during these scorching temperatures. Yet I am still loving all of this wonderful and challenging adventure. This morning I was woken up at 0610 for a nice breakfast before heading up for morning watch. I was in galley which meant it was time to get washing dishes. As much as I hate washing up at home, cleaning on the ship never really feels like a chore to me. With Katey, Adam and Campbell cooking veggie pot pie, along with many other delicious things, the six hours seemed to slip by.
At 0800 we had Atlantic history hour where we discussed the similarities and differences of life aboard a boat to that of an island. I’ve really enjoyed these conversations as everyone has a lot of fascinating points. After bouncing ideas back and forth off each other, I do think we are like our own little island. We have all had to adjust to a completely different way of living at sea and I have grown to love this lifestyle.
From the intense 6 hour on, 12 hour off watch cycle (which sometimes makes this feel like a full time job) and not being able to walk in a straight line due to the constant “motion in the ocean” as Captain likes to put it to standing lookout on the bow with bioluminescence and dolphins below you, stars above and the whole ocean to sing to (my new favorite thing to do). Every little thing together is what makes this experience. I then stayed up on deck for a while, I helped strike and furl the JT and was the J-frame driver when deploying the carousel and CTD.
Science had a very busy day with lots of deployments and the deck crew was kept on their toes. Kerren did a great job of organizing everyone to strike the Jib, double gibe and get the boat going 2 knots (a perfect “bagel walking speed”) to allow science to collect all that awesome data. Then it was back below for more dishes. My fingers started to wrinkle up but I didn’t mind.
We had class on the quarter deck at 1300 and afterwards I took a nap. I’ve actually grown to like my tiny bunk. Sleeping there has forced me to destroy my extremely picky sleeping habits (which I am very grateful I no longer have). Megan and I then worked on our myctophid project. I have enjoyed learning all these new things in a hands-on way and regained my love of learning.
I am now almost able to dissect a fish, (If you know me you’ll get what a huge deal that is for me) compared to the start of our trip when I struggled to even pull out shrimp and other critters when processing the Neuston Tow I think I’m making good progress. I feel as if I’ve learned a whole new language, I now know what it means to “Brace sharp on a starboard tack” or “Hands to the Fore Stays’l halyard”. Yet more importantly I know where to go and what to do when I hear these commands.
I love being away from my phone and the crazy distractions of normal life. I have become more aware of everything and spent a lot of time in awe of the beauty of Mother Nature. From whales and dolphins to flying fish landing on the deck, your eyes always have something amazing to take in. Almost every night I write in my journal how today’s sunset was more spectacular than the last one. The stars at night are breathtaking and I have been amazed when learning how to plot our position through celestial navigation. Being here I have realized how much I took for granted back home. I now really appreciate the simple things such as being able to do laundry, not falling over in the shower or even just going for a walk. This past month has been the most magical and mind blowing experience but also extremely difficult. I have grown in many ways and learned so much, as a result I can now see changes in myself and I am able to do things I never would have imagined. I look forward to relishing our last few weeks aboard but for now I better get some sleep before I’m woken up in the dead of night for another dawn watch. I wonder what wonderful new and exciting things tomorrow will hold.
- Audrey Wood, gap year student
P.S: Thank you so much Mum for supporting me with this. I can’t wait to give you a huge hug and tell you all about it. Hi Katrina, I miss you tons and I wish you could see the sunsets, you would love them. Sending love across the pond to you, Dad, Granny and Grandpa. I hope I can see you all sometime soon. Hi Howzzzz it, here is your shout out! Chicken Fried was played yesterday during field day and I smiled and thought of you all. However, I’m glad none of you are here as I’ve said the word “choppy” so many times…
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