Today was our first reef survey in St. Thomas. To be honest, I had to double check while writing this that we were actually in St. Thomas. We’ve done a lot of moving between bays and islands that they’ve started to get jumbled in my mind. But it turns out that yes, we are indeed anchored in Magen’s Bay here in St. Thomas. Not sure if any of you heard but we here on the SSV Cramer have had quite an eventful week. A stomach bug has been passed around to many students and crew members. I was one of the first casualties, but the good news is that I felt better after about 2 days so I’m hoping that things will start looking up for the rest of my shipmates. We took a much needed rest day yesterday allowing us to recover and relax before we finish up all of our snorkel surveys and head out to sea.
We had our second-to-last snorkel survey today in Hull Bay. Even getting out to the snorkel site was an adventure. We had to move the Cramer to Hull Bay for a day anchorage and then use our 2 small boats to get to the site.
However, today we had lots of wind and pretty big swells. It was a process trying to load all of us and all of our equipment onto the boats (we did lose a snorkel and mask, sorry Kelly!). But it was super fun sitting on the bow of the small boat and going over, and through, the huge waves around us.
Many of us sitting atop the lab.
For the snorkel surveys on the starboard watch, there are 4 teams. There is the photo-quadrat team who are in charge of taking a picture of the corals we see every meter. There is the chemistry team who collect a lot of samples of seawater which they use to run all sorts of tests. And then there are the invertebrate and fish teams who basically get to swim around and identify all the fish and invertebrates they see. Today I was on the invertebrate team with Natalie! It was really awesome. The reef we visited today was arguably the liveliest reef we’ve been to yet. There were a ton of fishes, especially parrotfish, and there were a lot of cool coral structures that housed many urchins and other organisms. It was also a relatively shallow reef, so we were able to see everything pretty well from the surface. While I was (mainly) looking for invertebrates, I saw a reef lizardfish jump through a school of fish which was absolutely fabulous!
When I was reading some of the blog posts the class on the Cramer while we were still up at Woods Hole, I read a blog post about bagels. It made me concerned. Mainly because I was concerned that they got so excited over bagels. HOWEVER, I would like to rescind my concern. Because the highlight of my day today was breakfast. Our fabulous stewards made us pancakes!! After the week I’ve been through and after waking up at 0530 for a dawn watch, it was exactly what I needed. We also had pizza for dinner, so we are living a luxurious life right now!
Our group mojo and energy has been a little off this week. I also think a lot of us are starting to realize that this is real life. At least for me, I feel like it’s finally dawned on me that I’m living on a boat for a whole month. It’s suddenly become really real. This realization has been a little hard to process. On one hand, it is so insanely cool. I’m having such a unique experience and learning so much from the coolest people ever. On the other hand, I’m gonna be stuck in the same 130ft floating box for the next 3 weeks. I think a lot of us are coming to terms with this and getting over the sickness hurdle, so hopefully next week will be more upbeat than this one.
Either way, I’m having a blast and can’t wait for tomorrow. We are having our first “real” sail day. We’re headed 12 nautical miles offshore to make new fresh water and feed our food scraps to the fishies. I really hope we can use some sails!
- HuxleyAnn Huefner, Scripps College
P.S. Dear family, if you read through Abby’s wonderful blog post from a few days ago you probably saw that I was indeed one of the members of the nausea pinwheel. Do not fret, I am no longer in fetal position on the quarter deck. Feeling much better and craving Mike n Ikes more than ever. Also, a 7/11 Slurpee. Really anything cold… it’s so freakin’ hot here! Miss you and love you all!
Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications, 508-444-1918 | firstname.lastname@example.org